Apologies for not having posted for almost two months. The truth was I was not in a good place and I didn’t want to discourage anyone with my sob story. In the last post I hinted that I was desperately unhappy. And in the post before that, I said that I was longing for what I left behind in Malaysia.
Well, October came and I crashed, big time. I couldn’t sleep. I was hit by bouts of anxiety and depression and I found myself crying – sometimes to sleep. I was also achingly lonely. At first I blamed it on my work. Yeah, I’m misreable because I’m not doing the job of my heart. So questions whirled in my head: Should I study this or that Masters to get ahead in Australia? Should I restart my writing business?
Perhaps it was triggered with me working seven days a week, but I think these symptoms were building up long before. I believe it began on the day my parents left for Malaysia after spending a fortnight with me in Adelaide.
I brought them to Hahndorf, Glenelg- the usual touristy things. Taking those long walks with them down the beach at Glenelg and around the hills in Hahndorf reminded me of our morning ritual of walking to the nearby flats near my home in Subang Jaya for breakfast. I knew I missed that, but I didn’t realise just how much until that fortnight.
When I saw their backs going into the airport gates on their last day in Adelaide, something just broke inside me. And when I drove home, tears slid down my cheeks. I felt bereft and alone. I wanted to join them so badly.
After months of the symptoms: Anxiety, depression, loneliness,deep aching longing for home … I finally understood what I was suffering from.
I was homesick.
Which surprised me, because I didn’t think I was the type to suffer from it. I spent a year in Perth as a student without once longing for home. I travelled the world, and always enjoyed myself when I was there. I am mostly amazed by how incredibly intense the symptoms are.
Being homesick is a common affliction for the migrant, according to this New York Times article. I read the blog of this French lady who suffered symptoms very much like mine and find myself reassured.
Honestly, if not for the fact that I’m now on a bridging visa (I could lose my PR if I return home, and yes you can apply for special permission to return but I probably wouldn’t bother), I would’ve booked a one way ticket home too. I even spoke to my former colleagues back home, hinting that I’m coming home. The symptoms were that intense.
Now that I’ve realised what I’m suffering from, my symptoms have lessened somewhat. I’ve reconnected with my friends and family back home through phone calls and Skype calls, which helps immensely. I admit that I had gone on months without calling them, so absorbed am I on the act of survival in Australia.
I’m also connecting with people in Adelaide instead of just burying myself in work. I realised how much I’ve isolated myself (again!) socially. I’m also trying to reconnect with my personal legend eventhough on some days I just don’t effing feel like it.
But you know what? I’m also leaving the door open to return to Malaysia.
I know some of you are horrified. This is not what you came here to read. This is a blog called Malaysia to Adelaide, not Malaysia to Adelaide to Malaysia, isn’t it?
But honestly, I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, especially on the thought that I will probably have my parents for another 10 years. More, if I’m very lucky.
The thought of it all fills me with a kind of anguish I can’t really put words to.
Here’s the haunting question I’m dealing with right now: Shouldn’t I be with them in their twilight years?