Friday, 15 May 2015

A big bag of emotion

It's been a while since my last blog post and I'm really, really sorry for this, but a lot has been going on, and to be honest, emotions have been all over the place. Today was actually the day I was supposed to come home...
I've struggled with how I was going to write this post and what it was going to be about, so it's been sitting in my drafts box for a couple of weeks, and initially it started off pretty doom and gloom.
I got home on Sunday 3rd May and had a lovely two days with my family. However, I think I was in total denial over the bank holiday weekend. It wasn't until Tuesday that it really hit me that I left Nepal behind. I left my friends and host family in a devastated country, both physically and mentally. I wasn't waking up to the buffalo or the sunshine beaming into my curtainless room. Didi wasn't there to make dal bhat at 9am or dal bhat at 7pm. There were no more team meetings and our ideas and planned projects weren't going to happen. I felt very drained and a huge sense of guilt overwhelmed me, as I was home and safe, and because that's what I wanted.
VSO offered all Nepal teams a chance to attend a presentation and counselling session with Interhealth. They discussed post traumatic stress disorder and ways in which we can deal with the after effects of the earthquake. I'm really not into therapy sessions and I felt that this session was needed moreso for the Nepalese, but this actually helped me and explained things I have been experiencing since being back e.g. trouble sleeping, feelings of guilt, apathy and trouble concentrating. My decision making has been completely out the window.
Even though the session helped me, in a way I felt like I was being selfish as my problems weren't on the same level. I felt that my feelings were pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme of things as our counterparts and the people of Nepal had suffered a hell of a lot more. I think a big part of the recovery and the rehabilitation of the country should focus on people's mental health. They are still experiencing the trauma of more earthquakes and numerous aftershocks, as well as having their homes destroyed.
However, having said all that, my mental health is important too. I don't think I began to feel entirely happy again until our return volunteer weekend (RVW) with VSO. I think it helped me in a lot of ways. We were able to talk about our emotions and what was happening to the Nepal teams. This weekend genuinely put a smile back on my face as I got to see my team and they showed their affection in the form of constant ridicule... thanks guys... haha, and it helped to remind me of all the good we can still do at home.
This brings me onto a fantastic fundraising opportunity that a few of us will be doing in July. When I climbed Snowdon in January, I felt not only a personal sense of achievement, but it felt exhilarating doing it for charity. The motivation was with me continuously as I was climbing up the mountain, so naturally, I wanted to do it again. At the RVW, Cally, Hamish and I were set with coming up with a challenge that would raise awareness for our Action at Home. I proposed to the others that I wanted to climb Snowdon but didn't know what angle to go with. Hamish came up with the healthcare approach, as many Nepalese have to walk the distance and elevation (if not more) of Snowdon to get access to healthcare. Cally aptly named it our Hike for Healthcare, and voila... we have our event!
Follow the link to the Facebook Event, and please do join us if you'd like. We will be setting up a Just Giving page once we get the details together. There will also be a hike going on in London (hopefully).
I could say a lot more about Nepal and I'm happy to answer any questions or tell you more, but I'd like to try and keep my posts as positive as I can. My blog was started to talk about my adventures, and that's what I'll continue to do.
Nepal will always be a big part of my life and it helped develop me as a person. For that, I will always be thankful. It is not goodbye Nepal. It is see you later!
Alice x

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