This is the sob story, the funny one is next time

Mos Burger is a strange place to work in (in which to work)… but, a couple of points. I didn’t intend to work here today, which I’ll explain later (oops, I forgot to explain later), and it’s the only place you can sit and chill around the station in my tiny Tokyo ‘hood. I needed to get out of the apartment before I jumped off our balcony. Seriously.

I have always sacrificed my mental and physical health to my work- I don’t think others have to so readily do that, but my stress threshold is far far lower than most people’s, and I go into an “I am not okay” spiral much more quickly. I wind up bitter that other grad students are smilingly bouncing around their research sites while I am crying in a room by myself somewhere. So.. what is RIGHT for me right now is going back to the U.S. for two weeks and trying to recover a little bit, but I’d miss some research stuff I feel like I need to do (plus the expense), so I won’t do that. Instead I stay here, with ever declining mental health… and my shrink has been away for three weeks so I don’t even have that outlet. (Really, I should be going 2x a week right now, I think).

When I go back to the U.S. I am homeless. I can’t live in my lovely home, because J wants to move, and he can’t afford to pay our home’s bills and apartment rent in NJ… if I’d had any idea this year was coming I’d have tried in some way to figure out how to stay in my home, but… I didn’t. I was really blindsided. I mournfully thought of trying to start a fundraising campaign “let Liz go home”, to raise the $1500/month (including all utilities… I’d have to check with J) that I’d need to not be homeless. But that idea just made me cry. I’m a really proud person, and I feel so humiliated by everything.

I mean, to write my dissertation I need to not be working (and that creates a vicious cycle because the longer it takes to write, the more money I need to pay my mortgage). Also, there are other complications to my working, which I am not ready to talk about here.

I am showing signs of PTSD, and I’m not trying to trivialize the disorder at all…  I am really worried that because so much of my helplessless has been tied up in being immersed mostly in Japanese-language contexts, the language itself is becoming an emotional trigger for me. I am worried that Japan itself is going to have too many bad associations for me to want to come back here… Right now America= safe Japan = unsafe, because when I left the U.S. I had a husband, a home, and relative peace of mind, and since then everything has shattered. I am worried that T himself has become a trigger for me, and he has no experience with mental crises like this, so he is absolutely scrambling to take care of me while I imagine the experience is somewhat like trying to drink water with a fork.

And even our apartment is causing me problems. The only thing that makes me feel better is gentle yoga, but I can’t do yoga all day every day.

I know some people here have questioned my manic insistence on finishing my tattoo despite it going over the money I’d so carefully saved for it. This is… the only thing that makes me feel like I am still me. I had planned that tattoo for so long, that I feel like it is ALL I have to remind me that somewhere in there, Liz still exists.

Because of my state, I am actually incapable of reaching out to people to socialize right now. I just feel despair when I think of it.. and I can’t talk about serious things without crying anyway. Also, I was confiding in one Tokyo friend a little while back about how bad it is and she scolded me that I am nothing but a self-indulgent whiner who invents problems in order to feel “sick”. I was so deflated by her comments that I withdrew for days, and I haven’t been able to talk with her much since.

At least with the door open to let in the spring air, Mos Burger doesn’t smell like tobacco. That stupid smoking room with it’s slatted doors makes the whole place reek.


2 thoughts on “This is the sob story, the funny one is next time

  1. Janice

    Awww – it’s not a sob story. It’s your story! It’s real-life and I think it’s 100% real. I’m sorry your ‘friend’ said that to you – that’s ridiculous. ‘Consider the source,’ as my Mom always likes to say. Try and remember that the people having a great time doing their field research are complete anomalies. Seriously. If you’re like me, you feel equal parts really, genuinely happy for them – but also consternated that your experience is/was sooooo not like that at all. And if that tattoo is tethering you to yourself, then keep doin it. I would guess it’s also somewhat of an outward manifestation of whatever is happening to you right now, recorded for your posterity. What will you emerge as? Definitely not friendless! And if you guys own the home, consider renting it out to someone. That way it would still be there when you get back, and might give you time to find a roomie. I wish I were rich – I’d fly you back to H-town in a heartbeat! I think you need a breather, badly. Whatever research you could do for 2 measly weeks cannot possibly compare to the benefit of a mental re-grouping, IMO. Love you, proud of you. X

    1. matchaproblem Post author

      Thank you so much for the comment! We’ll be in the house at least through around November, so I don’t need to rent it out right now, and it will be there when I return in late August. But starting in June, the process of cleaning it up to sell it begins, and that just makes me cry because I want my home. I felt safe there. My dogs feel safe there.
      (I also want fries as the person next to me just had fries delivered to her table and the smell is making me drool.)

      I definitely, definitely need a breather. I hate Japan right now. Not just dislike, HATE. But I’m a bit stuck.


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