Musings from Japan: student exchange

For those who don’t know I’ve been living and studying in Japan since March, and I’ll be here until December. I’ve made some great friends, and had some incredible experiences. My anxiety and depression levels have decreased significantly since being here, and as a result I have been able to successfully halve my antidepressant intake. I have passed all of my Japanese classes and completed an online course that gave me a TESOL qualification. I finally have some idea of who I am and what I want to do in life.

At Kiyomizudera Temple, Kyoto with Anais

Some bad things have happened this year, and naturally I have been sad. It has been important for me to understand that sometimes the way I feel is not because of my depression, it’s due to life-related circumstances. I believe it is okay to be stressed, anxious, scared or sad sometimes. I also believe it is important to have a strong support network, and to ask for help if things become too intense.

Sometimes the way I feel is not because of my depression, it’s due to life-related circumstances.

I can’t help but constantly ask myself… what happens when I return home in five months? I don’t want to lose the progress I’ve made with my Japanese education or my mental health.

Naturally I will lose some of my Japanese ability from not using it everyday – that’s already happening since it’s currently the summer holidays…

As for my mental health, right now I’m in a good place, and hope to be able to stop taking my medication when I return to Australia. Only time will tell if that’s possible, but I have a good feeling – which is more than could be said six months ago.

Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto
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