Sunday, September 2, 2012

Reverse Culture Shock Sets In

I'm not *yet* moody....because we all know I could easily be lol. That's what culture shock does to you mostly. But I have been somewhat lethargic. I can't blame that all on culture shock yet.

My thyroid has taken the brunt of this reverse culture shock phenomenon. It's been really rough. I hate going through these transitions but they are unavoidable. I've been taking a lot of crash naps - yes, it's much different than a regular nap. A crash nap is where you shouldn't be that tired, you've not done anything to wear yourself out but yet for some reason your body just shuts down on you and you can't fight it no matter what you do. These really are the worst, they really disrupt your day.

Mine have been occurring around 4 PM each time they've happened. If I tried to describe it to a non-thyroid patient it would be like this: It's when your body goes to sleep without your mind realizing it. Mentally I'm wide awake. Physically I can't get off the couch. If I pull up the covers like I'm going to sleep I go into such a deep state of unconsciousness (okay fine, it's sleep) that I lose whole hours. I don't feel like I've slept at all. I don't wake up refreshed. Imagine it like a computer rebooting. The time is just gone.

Other days I have so much energy you would think I'm dousing myself in Monster Energy Drinks. Then on other body and mind are both dragging like I haven't eaten in weeks and I'm on energy conservation mode. These ups and downs can be quite annoying as I'm sure you can imagine.

Regardless of how I feel or what is going on with my thyroid I must still cook, do laundry, take care of my to-do list and clean up after myself. I would say I missed the maid we had in India but she didn't do any of that for me lol. So none of that has changed. I don't feel bad though. I prefer to do my own laundry and I'm just not happy when someone else does it.

No, laundry is not my favorite chore but anytime someone else does it they seem to screw up my clothes. My mom burns up everything by setting the dryer on high for everything. This setting doesn't work for all fabrics (and I purchase mostly fabrics that it doesn't work on). I personally prefer everything to be washed in cold water and dried on the lowest dryer setting. I have several items that can't be dried at all. I keep it all cataloged in my mind and thus, it's easier for me to do my own laundry. (I know what you're thinking....anal much? who me? ...okay fine u got me, YES! lol.)

I love cooking but when I go through these spells I'm worse than a teenager who's supposed to be cleaning their room. I just can't seem to get started on the task. Everything seems overwhelming and daunting. Yes, that includes making a sandwich. I had just as soon not do it. Then I reach for a granola bar or something just to keep from not eating because that would only make it worse.

Mentally I don't think I've had any noticeable culture shock. My stay with my parents has been better this time and I've been much better at dealing with the things going on in the house and family. My mental strength has been much stronger than I ever remember it being. If nothing else, India made me stronger in ways I was not strong before.

I guess that about sums up the reverse culture shock I'm going through right now. I have lots more to write about, I'm just not sure where to start with it all. Thanks for reading!


  1. How do we distinguish reverse culture shock from just going through phases?

    This is what I have been wondering for a long time.

    In the US I always went through phases, some days, weeks, etc, I'd be more energetic and 'on the ball' while other times, well, not so much. Would I have attributed this to reverse culture shock (as I had lived in India for two years some years ago) or just my own moodiness? :)

  2. This is a great question. I can't say I have a definitive answer however I'm sure this thyroid issue is from the physical shock and changes in my body. I had the same thing happen in India and it hadn't happened to me before that in about 15 years. What I'm experiencing are extreme swings, not just the typical ups and downs of normal life. It's very hard to describe but imagine if you had one of those down days and your parents thought they needed to rush you to the emergency room because of how drained you looked. That's happened to me twice in the last couple weeks and there was nothing wrong with me.

    I've also tried to notice my demeanor and attitude as well now that I know how culture shock can affect me. It's a learning experience and I don't know that we can ever be sure of some things, especially not the personality traits.