I have to admit that sometimes I’ve felt detached from this blog. Its direction has changed since my first post in 2007, which was about saying good-bye to friends in New York City. I’ve focused on the places and sights in Taipei that make this city special to me, but I also worry that I’ve started to honey-glaze my life here by only presenting the good. I’m proud of Shu Flies because I can go through it when I’m feeling sad or discouraged and it reinforces my decision to live and work in Taiwan. At the same time, I also meant for it to be a record of the more difficult aspects of being an expat. That’s fallen off over the past year or so, partly because I’m worried about privacy and partly because writing about personal experiences without seeming self-indulgent takes time and effort.
As I mentioned in my post earlier this year about health and body image, I’ve dealt with major depressive disorder since I was a teenager. In high school and college, I was hospitalized a total of three time. Things gradually became better, much better, in my twenties, but you are never free of a chronic mood disorder. The past four years have been hard, but the only regrets I have are the times I did not take care of myself (by not adjusting my medication when I needed to, for example, or not exercising regularly even though that’s a key part of managing depression symptoms). I don’t want anyone to think that what I say about my experience with depression is anything other than highly personal, but it would really be worth it to me if I could help someone who is asking themselves the same questions that I did five years ago: “Can I do it? What is it like moving to a different country knowing that you won’t leave clinical depression behind?”