Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“…that’s got me down so low”–thank you, Linda Ronstadt

I’ve been home for three days. Never even crossed my mind to write anything. I’m not sure why. A friend of mine back home asked me to write something “soon” so they can see what’s going on.

I’m not sure if it’s the let down after a trip or just the frustration that has set in from realizing that this “experiment” won’t work out. But, I’ve been down. Other than going out for a caffe’ and to have my favorite spaghetti, I have not been out of my apartment much. I’ve gone to my two tutoring classes and my chiropractor. But I have no desire to do anything else. No grocery shopping. No travel to local towns. No walks on the beach. No weightlifting.

I have slept. A LOT.

And I know that is a sign of depression. It’s a manifestation of a desire to escape. Pull the covers over your head and shut out the world. I haven’t felt like this for awhile. Perhaps it’s to be expected that depression would ultimately hit me in Italy. Everything has settled down and I feel at home. The first two months were exciting and filled with newness. Now, here in January, naked reality is strutting its stuff and it’s discouraging.

It’s that reality that I will be returning to Oregon in November. Now, I know that’s still ten months away, but I’ve already exhausted my options for finding work. And I knew the odds were stacked waaaay against me before I ever got here. But as I kept saying, “if I don’t try this, I’ll never know.” I still honestly believe that. Nothing can take that way from me.

I know that things can change. Something I can’t foresee could happen. I have been using that potentiality to help lift my spirits. But I don’t want to lift my spirits so high that they’re dashed and I end up devastated.

I think I’m just feeling a bit lonely, too.There really isn’t anyone to talk to so, as usual, I have only myself to rely on and talk to. (Yes, I talk to myself. Grab the net!). And I’m not exactly objective! And I get tired of relying on and talking to myself because I can’t do much more. I know what I’m going to think and say to myself. I get tired of carrying the burden alone but there are no other options.

It’s just this same old crap. Getting down on myself. Feeling sorry for myself. Questioning virtually everything about myself–decisions, abilities. And the cycle starts and continues until <pop!> I snap out of it.

Sometimes I just have to treat myself. Even though I just returned from Sicily, I might have to do something else for myself. I’m thinking of traveling to a town I mentioned a few days ago called Grottamare for dinner. I’m also thinking about a train ride to San Marino, a tiny nation completely surrounded by Italy. Something to jar me. The Coke I just finished apparently didn’t have enough caffeine and sugar for me.

This, too, will pass but sometimes it seems like it will hold on forever. Two days spent mostly in bed does not help one’s depression. Although, I do feel that if I sleep, then the time will pass more quickly until that blessed day when I’m out of this funk.

I’m not sure what exactly that’s got me down so low. I don’t know what starts this. Yes, I’ve been taking my meds. Is it the let down of coming home? Is it the thought of returning to America? Is it the realization so soon that returning is probably going to happen? If so, what’s the problem when I knew this experiment was a crapshoot?

I’ve contemplated just chucking any dream of remaining in Europe long term. I mean, is it so bad to return to Oregon? No, however, there’s much that I don’t want to remember. Maybe staying here for a year will help me scrape off that shit. Maybe I’ll be stronger.

Maybe I just have to use this opportunity in Europe as a chance to spoil myself a bit. There are so many places I want to visit–Casablanca, Jerusalem, Istanbul, the Greek Isles. So many people are visiting Italy this year, that I will be constantly on the go. Maybe this is the “calm before the storm” when I will be constantly active and occupied. I need this be when I look over the last fifteen to twenty years, I think I need and deserve this break. Let’s look at the facts:

My adoptive dad died after suffering horrible health issues for a year. Mom was diagnosed with cancer four months later and my sister and I took care of her for four years before she died in my home. I struggled professionally and financially for the next decade, resulting in bankruptcy and the loss of my house. My bio aunt (the only real connection to the bio mother I never knew) died. My bio father became ill and ultimately died after I spent two and a half years running back and forth to his home in B.C. to help take care of him. I lost the only significant other that I ever loved. (I’m purposely ignoring the crap from my earlier rant.)

And I don’t like focusing on this stuff. It’s been years, for cryin’ out loud. But I think the fact that I just plowed through everything without stopping (or having the opportunity to stop), pushed me to the brink. I don’t want sympathy or pity from anyone. I just need to see this in writing to help me overcome.

I think I needed a cleansing emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Anyone else would go to the Oregon Coast for a weekend. I moved to Italy for a year. It’s part of my dramatic approach to life, I guess.

When it comes right down to it, I guess I don’t need anyone or anything else. Just writing all this down has me feeling light years better. I’m in my favorite cafe and I’ve been toying with the idea of having two enormous eclairs. I wasn’t going to do it because I felt it was too foolish and irresponsible. Gonna do it anyway.

And the thing is, I’ve got so much on my side. I’ve got more friends than I can count cheering me on. I get reassuring and uplifting emails and messages all the time. I have my family here and my beloved brother in Kazahkstan. I have my faith in God and my relationship with Him that has always protected me, kept me going and given me hope.

So why does this hopelessness hit? Especially when there is so much for which I should be thankful? When there are so many positive things happening?

It shows emphatically that depression is not only NOT a respecter of persons, it’s also NOT a respecter of situations. One can win the lottery, be cured of cancer, be engaged to Jennifer Aniston (or, in my case, Bradley Cooper, lol) and have the life of his/her dreams and still be stricken. And one can have a deep, abiding relationship with God and still be stricken. Depression respects nothing.

“This, too, shall pass” is a platitude. But, for me, it’s also a truism. The fact that I’m already feeling better and will soon be slurping through two enormous, dripping eclairs underscores that. I don’t know if I’m feeling better enough to do much more right now. But the sun has just come out and it’s sixty degrees so I’m feeling encouraged.


1 thought on “Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy–“…that’s got me down so low”–thank you, Linda Ronstadt

  1. Breaks my heart a little bit that you are feeling so blue~~ please give yourself a hug for me and then go take a walk!! If you make it back here in November please come stay with us for awhile!! The furgirls would love the company and so would I!

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