Just when I thought the whole year of 2016 was a whirlwind, these last few weeks of 2017 have served to be an even greater one.
I’m extremely fortunate to have found a position that does not require me to go back to China in September. The good news for me is I will be teaching Developmental English courses at the University of Memphis beginning in August. Now instead of being a 14 hour flight (plus an extra four hours or so of train and bus travel in two countries), I’ll be a two hour flight (plus only an hour of extra transportation) away.
There are many reasons for my departure of China, but the most important is the continuing health problems facing my father. My father is 75 and really doesn’t take care of himself like he should. My family (including me) have long been suspicious that he’s suffered from some form of Alzheimer’s or dementia. That was all but confirmed this past Thursday. He is either dealing with these issues or the possibility of memory loss due to mini-strokes. We won’t know for a couple weeks.
What was surprising to me was the doctor saying my father may have a history of other mental health issues which went undiagnosed. Because his father wasn’t ever around and because his mother passed over 40 years ago, it’s impossible to identify a family history of potential mental health problems. Now I will be able to do that.
Whatever mistakes I’ve made in the past obviously can’t be excused, but it will be a tremendous help to better understand the mental health issues my father dealt with so that I can then be tested for them myself and understand my own behaviors.
This has been an interesting and difficult weekend, but regardless of what is happening at home in Chicago, I have to continue my own life. Going back to the gym (which I’ve already started) and returning to a therapist are at the top of my list of things to do. I am genuinely looking forward to my new position and living in a brand new city.
What I am learning from this experience and what I hope anyone reading this should learn is to take care of yourself. It is so important to take care of your mental and physical. I hate platitudes like “live life to the fullest” because quotes like that are empty and mean little. However, taking care of yourself is beneficial for you and for the people around you. The amount of strife my family has to deal with is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
I don’t know when I will go back to writing, but there will for sure be a hiatus posting on the blog.