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How do I manage being bipolar while living and working (ESL/TEFL) abroad?

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  • LIAMS_Tambourine
    10 February, 2018 at 20:23
    • Total posts: 1

    I’ve done the whole long term backpacking circuit I traveled 7 months throughout Europe earlier in this decade. I was about to go to Australia, I had the working class Visa and everything, but Then… I had a really bad manic episode. Sadly realized that I was bipolar. Life hit me in the face and I thought I’d never be able to travel again.

    For the rest of my life I’m going to have to be medicated and even with stable medications, my daily life can be a roller coaster ride of emotion. It makes me wonder if I’ll ever be able achieve my goal of teaching abroad. I mean I could get medication care packages dropped off every several months via UPS, DHL, FedEx etc. I would be able to see my shrink and therapist via Skype. I might be able to get help from embassies. The only drawback would be that I couldn’t get new meds if they needed to be adjusted or tweaked.

    My query is this, how do I manage being bipolar while living and working (ESL/TEFL) abroad. I want to go to Thailand or Japan and teach English. I know for TEFL in South Korea for example, if you have any mental illness, it’s hard to get hired. What are some countries where they view mental illness as a sickness rather than a disease?

    The struggle I real lol. But if anybody who is bipolar or know someone who is that has been able to manage living or traveling abroad successfully let me know, I’d greatly appreciate it.
    ~One Love, Liam!

    17 April, 2018 at 6:43
    • Total posts: 8

    Speaking the language and knowing people there may help

    Wow Liam, that took a lot of courage to post. Thank you for sharing!

    May I ask you a few questions?
    1. Do you have any language learning of your own under your belt? (You said you were into Thailand or Japan – but can you speak their language? Understand it?) I ask this because the pressures of moving into a completely new country and COMPLETELY new language will put yourself under a lot of pressure. For me, when I moved to Mexico City, I didn’t speak a word of Spanish. Guess what happened: for the very first time in my life, I fell under horrible depression. I felt so alone! I couldn’t speak to very many people, and well..it just felt like I had fallen into a black hole for a while.

    If you’re already working to manage your own feelings – adding to the challenge what I explained above may prove to be an unwise move?? I’m not wanting to judge in any way…I”m just trying to say that you’ll find yourself under a lot of stress/loneliness that likely won’t help your current challenges. Make sense?

    2. Any sense of what triggers your episodes?
    3. Final question: how are you at building and keeping friendships? I work with a few bipolar folks, and one thing we work hard to do is help them build and keep friendships. Their biggest, at least the ones I’m working with, temptation is to pull away from everyone…..then they hate being all alone, and fall into depression. Do you know anyone in any of the locations you are interested in? That could be a big help.

    Hope this was helpful….

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    15 May, 2018 at 18:24
    • Total posts: 1

    Try Saudi Arabia or another Gulf state

    Hi Liam

    I just read your post and would suggest you try Saudi Arabia or another Gulf state.
    I am not aware of there being any test for mental health issues, and have lived here on and off for 10 years.

    It’s a very strict country for a westerner, but gradually opening up as you may have seen on the news.

    If you haven’t found a job yet in TEFL and need some more advice, please feel free to contact me and I can send you an email.

    Good luck!

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