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Compulsory Residence Abroad?

Hecate

Hecate

Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2014
Messages
21
Location
Ireland
Hi, I was hoping someone who has experienced similar might be able to help me.

For my college course, I'm required to spend a summer abroad to improve the language I'm learning. This absolutely terrifies me as I've never gone anywhere on my own before (not even in my own country!) and I think it's a bit much to ask from students. Everyone else in the class has spent some time abroad last summer.

I would talk to the staff who are quite nice but generally very unhelpful when I've asked questions in the past and it takes me a lot of courage and planning before I finally do something like that. Also, I don't want to let anyone know I have mental illnesses, to me it feels like I'm trying to excuse myself and I'm not sure how to explain it but it feels like I'm exposing something very private to them and it makes me uncomfotable.

Apparently there are services for students with mental illnesses but I wouldn't even know how to avail of them or how to find them. All I've managed to find group sessions my college offers but they're on late in the evening which isn't ideal and I'm very sensitive and empathetic and often hearing other people's problems does a lot more harm than good.

I don't have any friends in the class and for some reason, I still don't understand why, people really, really don't like me. When I try talking to people they are very awkward around me, shut me out of conversations, don't make eye contact, leave the conversation by talking to someone else and don't make any effort to communicate with me. I've asked them questions before and received short answers like "I don't know" or "Ask _____" or "yeah/no/whatever/sure" So, attempting to ask them is not an option.

The whole thing is really, really stressing me out and I feel so alone and alienated. The thought of working in someone's house all isolated in the countryside or having to walk through a city that I'm not confident in to get to work or a class when I can't even order food at a restaurant (I normally tell my order to someone else) genuinely disturbs me more than I can describe and just thinking about it hurts my chest and makes me want to throw up. All I can think about is how I can try to wiggle out of it by lying but I'm not sure how they'll ask me to prove I have been abroad.

Tl; dr: I have to work or study abroad for my course and I have nobody to talk to about it.

Has anyone any advice?
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
13,529
Location
The West Country
I'm sorry to hear that people in your class are being unfriendly towards you.
Do you think they have already formed cliques and so it's harder for you to make new friendships? I wonder if their behaviour is more to do with them that it is a dislike for you (not that i'm trying to invalidate you).

I totally get that explaining your mental health issues is something that feels exposing, but I don't think your "making an excuse for yourself", neither do I believe anybody else would think that.
Whilst I can appreciate the need to get on and live a 'regular' life, you do have to understand that mental health isn't something you choose, so don't be too hard on yourself about it.

I do think it would really help you to talk to someone at your college about it (I bet you knew I was going to say that ;)).
That way, you can access whatever services they have and you can have someone there to help you with this upcoming trip abroad.

As for the trip itself, it's an incredibly courageous thing to do. I think that in that situation, it would be sink or swim.
It could actually be really positive, you might surprise yourself and really enjoy it.
I suppose being aboard, you don't have to worry over any embarrassing incidents because you won't ever see the people you meet again.
(This is why I love to do Karaoke on holiday but never at my local pub - I don't care who judges me abroad, i'll never see them again).

Having said this, you can always make yourself feel safer by making arrangements if things were to go pear-shaped... having funds to buy an early ticket home etc.

I do think that having a member of staff or a student counsellor (or whatever is available) would help you in terms of getting emotional support and in terms of putting practical things in place to help you on your course and trip.
 
Hecate

Hecate

Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2014
Messages
21
Location
Ireland
Thanks for the reply, Scorpio. Yeah I think you've hit the nail on the head about the cliques. I do try to get along with everyone and not to chose a clique. On the first week or so of college I actually made a lot of friends (I don't have any anxiety socially apart from the occasional shaking but I do that around my family and people I've known for years and generally stop talking until I've gotten over it so I don't think its noticable?) But those friends slowly drifted away and I started noticing people going out, meeting up together and I wondered why my relationships didn't progress past "the people I sit beside in class" despite making an effort to meet up after class.

Anyway, I hope to email my department this week about going abroad even though I know it will really stress me out. I wish there was a way of wiggling out of it and studying for finals instead. I'm not really sure who to go to with reagrd to mental illness, apparently it's a problem. I'm arranging an appointment with the counselor atm.
 
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