When I left Vancouver, I was an absolute wreck. I was devastated to be leaving my friends and my family back home and couldn’t wait to be shipped back to Canada, cargo-style.
Turns out, coming home is overrated. No one really warns you of the sadness associated with coming home. I wish I could say I felt supported upon my arrival back in BC, but I felt anything but supported. None of my friends had experienced studying abroad, and though they were all so kind and patient with me, I couldn’t shake the feeling of loneliness. I missed waking up and getting breakfast with my roommates turned best friends. I craved the soothing sound of the rain against my bedroom window. The smell of the air was different in Scotland, and I felt like I was suffocating in Vancouver. I was so unbelievably confused. I didn’t even know what I considered to be home anymore, because this sure didn’t feel like it.
PSAD, also known as Post Study Abroad Depression, is a real thing. The symptoms include, but are not limited too…
From weight gain to not wanting to get to know new people to not wanting to leave my home to impulsively buying a round trip ticket to China and spending an unusual amount of time in bed going through pictures and group chat texts, I was feeling the effects of PSAD hardcore. It wasn’t until I spoke to my roommate, who I had lived with in Scotland and travelled all across Europe with, about what I was feeling that I realized I was not the only one feeling the effects of PSAD. She was also struggling, and though I don’t wish that pain on anyone, there was comfort in knowing I was not alone.
How to treat PSAD? I cannot speak for everyone, but in my experience, time slowly took away the pain I was facing. Being open with those around you with what you are facing was very important for me. It was tough, but admitting to my family that I needed some time to really just revel in the moment and talk about my experiences, as well as some time to look back on it alone and be sad was crucial to my “getting better”. Though I could still talk about my trip abroad for hours on end, I started to try and talk about other things going on in my life. I went out with friends for coffee, changed up the layout of my room, allowed myself to have bad days once in a while. I still have nights where I would easily empty my bank account just to be back living on campus in the most beautiful country in the world. I still have moments where impulse buying plane tickets seems like the only way out of this state of longing. I still have days where I feel so incredibly distant from everyone and everything in my surroundings.
But I am ok. And you will be too. This is more than normal. Hold in there. It gets so much better.