April 12th:

My tears wouldn’t let me sleep. Everyone kept posting in the group chat, talking about the pubs they were going to one after another. Today was a pub crawl event. Almost all the students from Erasmus that I knew were there.

I feel that they all have come to Germany to have fun. Most of them are undergraduates and quite young. It seems that they want to experience the world and prove themselves to others, or maybe even to themselves. I feel like there’s no common ground between them and me. I study hard every day and prepare myself for my thesis defense. But they only study to pass and receive the money that Erasmus provides.

I was recently accepted for a PhD program and I am looking forward to stabilizing my life. While they are just entering their early twenties and they don’t know what they want from life yet, and maybe it’s not that important to them. I’ve been away from my family for years and I’ve built my independent life. But this is their first time living in a foreign country without their families.

Some of them told me that here they have turned into another person who does whatever he/she wants, things that they don’t normally do back home. For me, it doesn’t matter if it’s Germany, Italy or Sweden. My life has been away from my family for a long time, and I am who I am. I don’t expect to become a different person in these few months in Germany and then return to my previous life after going home.

It’s totally ok to have all these differences. It’s just hard to feel close while they’re constantly bragging about the clubs they go, or the new piercing they got. Whenever we hangout, I feel super drained afterward. But I have kept going out with them simply because I have nobody else to hangout with.

After the Covid time in Italy, it had been a long time since I had felt such detachment and loneliness. I search for “depression” on my browser. A list of books with different titles comes up. I open the first one. It says having at least four of these symptoms, you are depressed: feeling constantly low on energy, barely feeling sense of pleasure, changes in appetite and sleep, feeling tired, difficulty in concentration, and ultimately having suicidal thoughts. For now, I have all of them except the last one.

I have turned into a creature that is no longer me. The person who used to find joy in small things is no longer present within me. I can’t remember the last time I was deeply happy from within. I can’t remember the last time I let go of all these worries and hardships, or the last time I lifted my shoulders, laughed at life, and said to myself: “no matter how hard it gets, you can handle it!”

It feels like I’ve been stuck in this terrible nightmare for so long time that I’ve lost hope for things will to get better. I don’t even have the energy to explain myself to anyone anymore. Other people’s attention, parties, various experiences in Berlin, events, gatherings, and… seem to do nothing to improve my mood. Sometimes at night, I cry for hours in bed. My tears flow so much that my eyes get tired and then I fall asleep. At times like these, everything feels so dark and hopeless.

I am next to all these people, but so distant from them.

I am very lonely.

April 14th:

My family and close friends promise me brighter days in the future. They say that the days of pain, loneliness, and anxiety will pass and that one day I will feel better. I want to believe them, but every time I think about the future, I don’t see any bright point of hope.

Last night, I was really upset that a close friend of mine didn’t prioritize meeting me. I was so angry that I didn’t even want to talk to them. When I got home, they called me and my anger was overly uncontrolled. I feel that my rage was more than it should be, and I’m sure if I wasn’t depressed, this wouldn’t have affected me so much.

Today, when I woke up, I felt a strange feeling about our conversation. Maybe a little regret and a little not. I’m still angry and ready to cry and defend myself.

I feel really bad and my mood is deteriorating.

April 17th:

Mary has been staying with me for a few days now. After what happened a few days ago, my breakdown, feeling miserable inside and my bad mood, her presence has made some tough moments easier for me. We talked a lot over the past two days.

The feeling of someone understanding me so well, being by my side, looking into my eyes, and saying, “When I saw that you weren’t doing well and not responding to messages, that’s when I booked the ticket to Berlin,” is exactly what I need these days.

The presence of warm-hearted people who brighten up my days, people who are happy when I am happy and sad when I am sad. I know my life is full of such people, but they are all far away from me.

Not receiving this amount of love and attention up close for a long time has made me sick. For me, depression means the absence of love. Without love, we become sick and lonely.

I’m still not feeling great, but I’m getting better. My mom told me to be patient until these tough days pass. Do I have any other choice?

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