PCV Blues

Holy cow! It’s been a month since I blogged. I apologize for that dear readers. A lot has happened in the past month. This post will be very candid, so prepare yourselves.

Right now, I am away from site in the city where the Peace Corps office is located. As many of you already know, I have Major Depressive Disorder, which means that even in America where I have constant access to my friends and family, things get really tough. When you couple the depression with all of the extreme changes I have been going through, the loss of one of my learners this week, and frustrations with my colleagues, it seems logical that what started out as a normal (shitty, but bearable) depressive episode has turned into a nightmare. I thought I was on the upswing last week, but I just can’t seem to shake this thing on my own right now. The Peace Corps medical team’s response, one amazing lady in particular, has been phenomenal. I told her about my struggle last night and within 24 hours I was in the city with an appointment to see the psychologist. Unfortunately, that appointment was cancelled, but I will be going in at 4 tomorrow then will follow up with our medical team the next morning.

I really thought I was handling things pretty well and wasn’t sure I needed to see the psychologist until today when I broke down sobbing on a taxi. I was trying to get to the Peace Corps office and the driver I was with insisted that the street I told him was located outside of the area of town I told him it was in. I paid him early on in the trip, as is customary. He passed where I needed to go. When we pulled over I showed him google maps and said that we had passed where I needed to go. He told me I needed to get out and take a different taxi. I told him I had already paid him and that I expected him to take me back. An hour later after he passed where I needed to go without stopping AGAIN, I got off at the first possible stop. I talked to one of the taxi guys, told him what had happened, and reiterated the address of where I needed to be and the fact that I needed to get there in 30 minutes. He told me to get into a certain taxi, at which point I told him I wasn’t ready to get in yet because I just wanted to confirm that he knew exactly where I was wanting to go and that I would be there in 30 minutes or less. Google maps said it was a 4 minute drive, so I figured we would be there in about 15-20 minutes. The taxi filled up and a woman asked where I was going. I told her and she said “oh, he will have to bring you back after we go into the city.” At which point giant crocodile tears started rolling down my face before I hid my face in my bag and started sobbing. At that moment, I wanted NOTHING more than to be back at my house in America hugging my mom and dad. I had been in contact with the medical staff during the previous taxi ride and told them what was going on, but by this point my phone was dead. I eventually got to where I needed to go (LATE of course) and it started raining. The PC driver came into the medical office to help me to the car and I can’t even remember the last time I was so happy to even just see a familiar face. We got almost all the way to my appointment when PC called and said my appointment had been rescheduled for the next day. The driver brought me to the backpackers, where I found some other PCVs, wifi, a pool, and a wood fired pizza oven. I immediately got online to start some downloads and eventually ate pizza. While I was eating, some friends of the owner came in and brought their 8 week old Jack Russell Terrier mix puppy, who let me hold her and licked me and made me feel better about life.

I am completely exhausted now. I know there is a light at the end of this tunnel and I know I will be fine, but people weren’t kidding when they said PC is an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve been told that the first three months are the hardest and that after this it will get easier. Re tlo bona.

Needless to say, emails, calls, letters, and instant messages of encouraging words would be greatly appreciated right now. I know that I will be ok, but it’s so different for me not to have my old support network. I love you guys and miss you.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

9 thoughts on “PCV Blues”

  1. Catherine, I love these verses from Psalm 18, and frequently put names in the verses such as:
    The Lord is Catherine’s rock, fortress and deliverer, her mountain where she can seek refuge, her shield and stronghold.
    Please reach down from heaven and take hold of Catherine. Pull her out of the deep water, and rescue her from her powerful enemies (Depression)
    Please be Catherine’s support, and bring her out to a spacious place (Peace!)
    Lord, please light Catherine’s lamp and illuminate her darkness.
    Lord, you live!
    here is something to brighten your day

    retrieval code is 18300914-55840

    Also thought you might like some funny church signs in this slideshow:

    Have you heard of Ken DAvis? Christian Comedian I have enjoyed many times!
    Here is Ken DAvis on Dogs!

    Have a wonderful day!! Maureen A with Moms in prayer

  2. Be strong Catherine! We are all thinking about you every day and smiling because we are so proud of the journey you have chosen. My class started writing your students today and they think it is “the coolest thing ever” that they will soon have contact with some kids in South Africa. Teaching is a hard profession in America and I’m sure it is even tougher in a new environment away from home. Hang in there and remind yourself daily that you ARE making a difference in the lives of these students. *hugs*

  3. Catherine, I wanted to share a blog post from my niece who is about your age!! Thought you could relate. Here’s the post and the link…. May God’s grace and love surround you. Maureen


    Sally Anderson says…

    I gave my heart to God a long time ago, but for a long time I didn’t know what it meant to rely on Him. Not completely. After graduating from college, I moved to France to teach English, fully expecting a fairy tale experience from start to finish. But what I got was a nightmare. I had never been more isolated or discouraged. It was there that I learned what it was to fully depend on God for everything. It was one of the hardest seasons of my life, but I really am grateful for it. Because the whole time I was there I had Luke 1:37 taped to my door. “For nothing is impossible with God.” Because day in and day out, He showed up and proved it.
    “This is by far the weirdest and roughest season of my life so far.”
    Fast forward a few years and He’s brought me back to a place of solitude. This is by far the weirdest and roughest season of my life so far. I’m surrounded by people all the time, but somehow I’ve never felt more alone. Serving as a house parent to a group of teenagers is rewarding, but as a single girl, I’ve got to say, it’s exhausting. And overwhelming. I don’t know what I’m doing. But at the end of the day, I know God wants me here. And if He wants me here, hard as it is, I don’t need the specifics as to why.
    “I’m clinging to my Anchor with everything I’ve got.
    I can’t sugar coat it for you and I don’t want to.”
    Every day I’m fighting to keep my head above water. I’m clinging to my Anchor with everything I’ve got. I can’t sugar coat it for you and I don’t want to. And it’s just my hope and prayer that if you’re going through some trial like I am, however big or small, that you’ll find the encouragement to hold fast to the One who’ll never let you go, who’ll never allow you to be snuffed out. You are so beautiful to Him; your quirks, your guilty pleasures, your really bad bedtime dancing rituals.
    And He’s got you right where He wants you.
    He’s got you. I promise.

  4. Hi Catherine,

    First, I want to wish you the best. Your taxi story reminds me of a very similar scenario I experienced while traveling in Panama.

    I am a prospective PCV; you’re blog posts have answered several questions I’ve had about the application process and medical clearance, as well as initial PC life in general. For that, I thank you! If you have the time and are willing, I’d love to chat a couple more specific questions. Please feel free to email me.

    Take care and hope to hear from you! (markr.herse@gmail.com)

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