Moving to Boston was the first time I ever moved anywhere. I was born and raised in the same community. I have lived in the same house my whole life. So like you can imagine I felt stuck and I wanted to leave my small southern town. I wanted to move into a city and I wanted to be surrounded by strangers. I knew that change was what I needed to grow. I thought I wasn’t going to cry but I also thought I wasn’t going to miss home. When I said my last goodbye to the people that give me comfort and safety I burst into tears. I cried the whole plane ride to Boston. I realized that the feeling of being stuck was actually the feeling of security and I realized that I will miss the feeling of safety that my hometown gave me.
I suffer from Bipolar depression and my first concern when I realized I had homesickness was being triggered. I have found stability in the people I love and then they are all gone, I was scared. Who can replace them? How will I get support? How do I move on? Will I relapse? What will happen if I do? I was going down a spiral of anxiety. I felt scared and alone. It’s might be a cliche but I was a small town girl in a big city. I was lost and I was scared of being independent by myself. After a couple of months pushing myself not to fall back into the whole of depression I found friends who supported me and made me realize that we are all struggling to adjust to independence. Homesickness is a phase that we all face as first years. Of course it is different for everyone. Some might take longer to heal then others and that’s ok because we are still very young to be completely independent. But for some homesickness is just the beginning of a long dangerous path for their mental.
Society gave this stigma that homesickness only happens to children and that it’s not a big deal when it’s noticeable in teens or adults but it can affect your long term mental health. Homesickness makes your mind vulnerable to mental health problems so leaving it untreated can result into severe depression and anxiety.
The symptoms of homesickness is similar to depression: the lack of motivation or interest in activities, the change in diet or sleep schedule, the ability to focus on activities, and the lack of self-esteem. If you are noticing these symptoms in yourself or on someone else please step up and talk to someone. If it’s your roommate, a family member, a friend and if you absolutely don’t have anyone then go straight to ECAPS but please just open up to someone. Unlike depression homesickness is curable.
Here are the three things that I did to treat my homesickness:
1. Focus: Focus on the reason you are here. You are here to get an education for a better future. You are here because of you and your dreams. So focus on your academics. Focus on getting good grades. Focus on yourself. Focus on following your dreams. I focused on my dream of being a Journalist and that the reason I am pushing myself is for my future and for my mother. I always think about my mother when I am down. I also wrote my goals down to remind myself that I can’t give up
2. Social: Human interaction is the best medicine for homesickness. So join a club or an organization! Please just get out of your room and mingle. Don’t say no to anyone who ask to hang out with you. I know at our age making new friends is difficult and weird but the first step to have a great college experience is to surround yourself with people that understand you and supports you. I forced myself to go to the org fair and I forced myself to join a couple of orgs. I also forced myself to alway say yes if I got invited to parties or to just hang out. That is how I made most of my friends by just saying yes.
3. Talk: Speak up about your situation. People aren’t mind readers so they don’t know that you are hurting. Tell your roommate, tell you sister, tell your professor, just tell someone that you aren’t feeling well. After you talk about what you are feeling and thinking it makes the path of recover so much smoother. Instead of bottling my feelings because I thought I would misconvenience someone I talked out my feelings. I talked to my roommate a lot. She is probably the first person I go to with my problems because we lived together and I know it will affect her as well. The second person is my best friend back at home. I just give her a call and I feel better afterwards.
Lastly, get professional help! Go to ECAPS and talk to a therapist. If you already have a therapist give them a call because that is their job to help you to guide yourself into a better mental health state.
ECAPS Contact Information
Phone number: (617-824-8595)
Open Monday–Friday: 9am – 5pm.
They have new hours for Tuesday & Wednesday 9am – 7pm.