This week I made an incredibly difficult decision. After two weeks of not sleeping and being overwhelmed with anxiety because of rats and other ridiculous creatures living in my house, harassment every time I went into town and a few other frustrations, I have decided to return to the U.S.
I spent a year of my life preparing for this commitment but realized I was not up for the challenge of living at my site for two years. I feel guilty for having to make this decision but my body was taking the toil of non-stop anxiety and I realized I could not be an effective volunteer in my current mental state. Many other volunteers live with rats and various infestations, as well as harassment, but it was difficult for me to overcome these obstacles. It’s hard trying to explain concepts surrounding mental health, such as anxiety and depression, through cultural barriers.
On the upside to all of this mess I’ve created, I feel like I finally know what I need to pursue for the first time in my life. I realize how important my family and friends are to me, how necessary it is for me to have some form of familiarity in my life and how my life shouldn’t have to be defined by massive achievements but rather the small ones. I’ve learned more about my personal strengths and weaknesses through this. The way that knowledge will benefit future decisions I make is priceless. I only wish I could have learned these things without disappointing so many people.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet some amazing people here and I have the utmost respect for my fellow PCVs. I wish them the best of luck with their endeavors here in Mada!