I have absolutely loved my year abroad. I have had the best time, which is why the past couple of weeks have been so hard. Recently I have been struggling. Really, really struggling with anxiety, which has obviously then triggered my IBS, and with a general feeling of being constantly overwhelmed and on edge.
The only thing that I can think has triggered this, is the fact that it will all be over soon. But if this is the case, why do I just want to be at home? Surely I should be wanting to soak up every last minute of living in Spain?
For a while now I have been a big mix of emotions. Some days I’m sad about having to leave soon. Some days I just want that last day to come as quickly as possible so I can stop waiting for it to be here. Pretty much everyday something stupid makes me feel awful and leaves me near tears. I feel drained and exhausted, which is not how I pictured my last couple weeks in Spain.
I have been umming and aahhing about writing up a post about this for a while, and now seems like as good a time as any. Last night I guess you could say I finally cracked; I cried a lot and booked to go home next weekend, despite that being only two weeks before I leave Spain for good.
I think there’s a little bit of a stigma (I can’t think of any better word to describe it) about going home on your year abroad. Because if you want to be at home, that means you’re not enjoying where you are, and that means that you’re doing your year abroad wrong, right?
No, no, no.
I can say with absolute certainty that this year has been one of the best of my life. I have travelled extensively and I really feel like I have made the absolute most of the last nine months. I have missed home, sure, but I haven’t felt like I really needed to be at home because I was struggling so much, until recently.
I have spent almost every day of the past two weeks feeling anxious. I can’t settle or relax, I have not been sleeping well at all, and the smallest inconveniences have stressed me out no end. This has triggered my IBS as well, which has left me feeling so bloated, lethargic and in a relative amount of pain.
So, whilst I adore Spain and have no doubts that I will miss it like crazy after I leave, right now I need to be at home. And that does not mean that I have ‘failed’ at my year abroad. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love this gorgeous place. And it doesn’t mean that I haven’t done myself really bloody proud this year.
Before I left for Spain, I wasn’t sure I would enjoy this year at all. In a way, I saw it as something I just needed to get through, to tolerate, so that I could continue with my degree. I would have been proud of myself just for seeing it through to the end. Now, though, I can be proud of myself for not just getting through it, but for making the most of it, for growing up so much throughout it, and for loving it so damn much. I can return home with so many memories and a lot of achievements.
And next weekend I can go home, hopefully fully relax and refresh, and then come back to Spain ready for my last two weeks in one of my favourite places in the world. Fingers crossed that way packing and leaving won’t leave me an overwhelmed, emotional mess, the way that just the thought of those things has done recently.
I wanted to write this post to remind myself, and hopefully maybe you guys as well, that it’s okay to struggle sometimes. And it’s more than okay to admit that too. It’s normal, and it’s always good to talk about it.