Reverse Culture Shock

DEFINITION of ‘Reverse Culture Shock‘ The shock suffered by some people when they return home after being overseas. This can result in unexpected difficulty in readjusting to the culture and values of the home country, now that the previously familiar has become unfamiliar.”

I know. Who knew right? You’d think that only being gone for a few months would result in nothing but joy and contentment to have returned home. That has not been the case. It has, in fact, resulted in the complete opposite. A feeling of displacement and homelessness that has resulted in feelings of immense anxiety, depression, and worthlessness.

That’s not to say that I regret leaving Scotland because I don’t think I do. I wasn’t happy there and it wasn’t what I wanted. But I suppose I was naive and foolish because I expected to return home and find purpose and fulfillment. At the very least I thought I’d find emotional fulfillment by seeing all the loved ones I’d left behind. But that hasn’t happened. What has happened instead is feeling a bit left behind in a world that no longer feels like mine. I miss my sister a great deal. She became my main confidant, my rock, and my support while we were both away. It’s weird not having her by my side, and weirder still not having her to talk to every day. Weirdest by far is Skyping with her and seeing my apartment in the background and wondering why I’m not there. Wondering why that feels like home even though the world outside it didn’t. And why I don’t feel at home in the house I lived in growing up, but feel at home seeing the Bay Area hills. Home and yet not at home no matter where I am.

I suppose returning home after being overseas is expected to having feelings of readjustments. Especially considering I wasn’t on a vacation, or a trip, or even an extended stay. It was a (semi)permanent move with a lot of new emotional challenges, and physical demands, and unexpected twists and turns every single day. You learn to rely on yourself and only yourself because there’s no one else you can rely on. You learn what you can handle, and when you need to ask for help. That’s hard to do, and it isn’t fun. I thought returning home would take away those feelings. I thought returning home would mean I could rely more on people, and I wouldn’t feel so lost and drowning in a sea of insecurity and confusion. Don’t get me wrong, I do have the support from people now. My friends these past 2 weeks have shown themselves to be the best people in the entire world and I can’t even begin to express the magnitude of gratitude I have for them. For their patience, and kindness. For their willingness to listen, and their understanding in my confusion. Most of all, for their willingness to stay. For not telling me it’s only in my head and allowing me the freedom and comfort to talk things out with them for hours on end. Their love has shown itself in numerous ways and I’m beyond grateful.

However. It is not up to my friends to make me happy. It is not their job to help me find fulfillment and purpose in my life. It is not possible for them to help me through this rough patch. Only I can do that. Only I can find the things that make me fulfilled. Kelsey wanted to stay in Scotland so she could find those things. I felt I would be better suited finding those things here.

So I suppose that’s what I’m going to do now. One step at a time. One day at a time. I thank you all in advance for your patience as I adjust. For your continued willingness to listen and be here when I need you. Because I still will. Even as I learn to be my own source of happiness.


P.S. Also, just found out yesterday I was waitlisted at RCS. So who knows, I may be returning to Scotland in the fall anyway. WTF with life right?? Seriously…

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