It wasn’t really a fall, it was more of a complete transformation of a mild mannered *cough, cough* Aussie chick into a fully functioning, homicidal maniac but I must say I felt better getting it off my chest and I want to give all you guys a shout out as well. So many of you wrote to me and told me your horror stories living here in Türkiye (and elsewhere) making mine seem perhaps a tad absurd but also giving me the strength to face a new day.
I haven’t always been honest about how I was feeling mostly because I didn’t want to sound like I was complaining. For many of us there is a romanticism to living in Türkiye. I get that. So many people say how lucky we are and how they would love to do it too. Sure, we are very lucky – we chose this life but it isn’t always easy.
When I self-analyse my meltdown (thank you Google) I think it mostly stems from a depression that snuck up on me, so quietly that I didn’t even realise it until it swallowed me whole. I had an inkling back in January that there was something askew while I was having a long weekend in London. I caught up with my bestie who lives there and spent much of the day in tears.
Up front I don’t consider myself someone who gets depressed easily. I am pretty chill and I think most people who know me would agree however since my knee operation and its very, VERY slow recovery I found myself becoming increasing depressed which has been magnified by the fact that I am living in a country that doesn’t really take its mental health all that seriously (as it fecking should)!
Putting aside Türkiye’nin domestic and regional tensions an expat here is also contending with bureaucratic bungles, visa issues, cultural differences, language barriers – ugh the list goes on – but all of this has the potential to send even the sanest among us kicking and screaming to the looney bin. The simplest of tasks become untenable and, as an expat, it’s hard to make people understand that you feel lost and need help.
For me personally I find that, despite being surrounded by family ALL THE TIME, I still feel isolated and unsupported and very much alone. I would lock myself in my bedroom and cry and cry. I really started to resent the family, not just The Turk and Daughter, but the extended re-mix of family that lives within spitting distance. I missed my privacy. I can’t walk around naked (I would never walk around naked but now I don’t even have that option). Cooking a meal requires every pot and pan in the house and for feck’s sake why do they all have to YELL???? ALL THE TIME??? It rattles me. A family dinner is exhausting and takes me days to recover. A bayram is my personal hell with family coming in from other cities to add to the chaos. I’m getting the sweats just thinking about it.
The Turk isn’t really as supportive or sympathetic as he should be. I think growing up in the Village he has seen it all and his mindset is to ignore the problem and it will go away. Daughter is a hormonal teenager off doing her own thing and I often go days getting little more than a grunt from her as she passes me in the hallway. So it’s just me. Alone. And being alone can be scary.
But what I DO know about me is this I am, in fact, one badass bitch! I am fecking sensational! I am Sensational Janey (such moniker given to me by an equally sensational Turk) and I am part of a group of Sensational Bad-Ass Bitches who navigate life here in Mersin.
Now I’m taking it one day at a time. I find something positive and I run with it. I went to the pazar in Menderes this week (it is seriously the best pazar in Mersin). I spent much more than I had anticipated (tomatoes were surprisingly expensive with 4kg setting me back 18TL) followed by a delicious yogurt tantuni with one of the Bad-Ass Bitches that live here. I am really pushing myself to walk again to build strength back in my legs and to improve my health generally and finally, I am back to writing, which I have always found to be very cathartic.
Oh and I have wine. A LOT of wine!
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