I took a three-week hiatus from writing a blog post in an attempt to reorganize certain aspects of my life. My weekly FEA blogs are more than brief updates of my abroad experience. For me, these blogs represent an outlet to express my vulnerabilities. Writing has become a cathartic exercise to release thoughts of insecurities and emotions of fear. Writing has granted me the opportunity to unclutter the jumbled thoughts in my mind.
In the previous weeks, my stress levels have been heightened. Since I have arrived in Hong Kong, I have had to adjust my schedule and routines on a consistent basis. Stability has remained an arduous task to maintain. Back at home; I have the ability to regulate my diet, sleeping patterns, and exercise. However, in Hong Kong, there is a multitude of factors to consider. Socializing, exploring, and eating are my preferred activities. I did not move to Hong Kong to repeat the exact same lifestyle I have in the States.
In addition, my academic workload and career planning have contributed to severer levels of anxiety. These two significant responsibilities hover over me like a dark cloud. I encounter frequent jolts of irrational fear. I fear I will not succeed academically while abroad. I fear I will remain unemployed after graduation. Regardless of the amount of time I invest in these two responsibilities, I never seem to accomplish enough. I experience an immense sense of guilt whenever I do not work on my assignments or cover letters. I feel distressed for desiring to socialize and establish human connections. However, these moments of negativity have prompted me to reprioritize certain facets of my life.
One facet, which I have reevaluated, is the activity of learning. For the majority of my life, parents and teachers have preached the importance of education in the classroom. It was necessary to attend a prestigious university, so I could intern for a well-recognized organization. After spending two months in Hong Kong, I have discovered alternative avenues of intellectual stimuli. I experience excitement in traveling the world, learning about distinct cultures, and tasting unique cuisines. I appreciate the difficulty of cross-cultural communication. These complementary sources disrupt the monotony of classroom-orientated learning.
Although I am stressed, I have remained cognizant of my mental health. I am reminded of the importance of mental health on a daily basis because I volunteer for a nonprofit startup organization. I volunteer for Mental Health Alliance to promote awareness of mental health. In Asian countries like Hong Kong, mental health has remained stigmatized. Members of the Asian community perceive mental illness as an indicator of weakness. As an individual who lives with anxiety, I comprehend the difficulties of pursuing medical assistance. I refused to seek assistance after my friend had taken his life. I refused therapy because I believed I was “strong.” However, after months of internal suffering, I sought therapy to alleviate my issues. Therapy did not “fix” me, but it strengthened my resiliency in response to trauma. I learned to practice healthier coping mechanisms. But most importantly, I learned to express my emotions.