Since I came to the United States, in January 2002, I have never been home. It has been 10 years since then. One week from today I will be travelling to Jordan. Lots of speculation has risen because I have not seen my parents all this time. I was told that I have a heart built from iron. That is, lifeless heart. I was reminded many times the effect of such thing on my parents as if I am a cruel person. When both Americans and Arabs hear that I haven’t been home for ten years the look on their faces is something I can no longer take. There is no sympathy but only dislike of my inhumane behavior.
In Jordan, people suspect that I like the life in the United States. Some believe I am married and waiting to get my green card to be able to travel to Jordan. Others, think I am working and also waiting for my paperwork.
There are many reasons that prevented me from visiting Jordan but none of the above is true. No one knows that I had depression and mine was not the six month long one. Some doctors call my depression Chronic or Major Depressive, Recurrent. I will talk about it later.
Depression is only one of many problems that prevented me from traveling. Unfortunately, for many people depression is like a paper cut. It may hurt a little bit but people will tell you to stop whining and get over it. Depression means nothing to others. Especially if these people are Arabs.
I have been among many very educated Arabs who brag how Muslims unlike people in Western Civilization can’t get depressed because they have faith. Depression is for losers, right?
A prominent American Medical Doctor said that some depressed patients would rather have any other type of illness (he mentioned cancer) because it is the only way people will sympathize with them. In Jordan, there are videos on YouTube showing the crowds shouting for the girl who wants to jump from a building to jump and in another video the students surrounding a female student dare her to kill herself with the knife she is holding. This is how much Jordanians understand depression and how much they care for depressed people. It is a subject I have always wanted to talk about in detail. Experiencing what depressed people go through makes me a fit to write everything about it and hopefully change the minds and hearts of people about how they feel about it. So, hopefully soon I can explain more about this under alarmed disease.
Anyway, the good news is that I am way better now. I regained control of my life. And for this reason I took two decisive decisions in 2012 after I hit rock bottom in 2011. The first one, was changing my academic advisor after seven years and the second one is visiting Jordan against all odds that I may never be able to come back and finish my PhD. There is no standard when it comes to issuing visas to students. It depends entirely on the mood and personality of the person you are interviewing. Some PhD students were denied entry to the United States for no reason even when all their paperwork is complete. But for some reason I am very optimistic. As much as I like to finish my PhD add to that the ten years I spent in the US I no longer tie my future to living in the USA and a PhD degree. If it didn’t happen then it is fine and if it happens then it is very good.
I have never been happier. I could have lived unhappy for more years to come or take a risk. I decided to take control of my life after three years of living aimlessly.
For my American readers, wait for very beautiful pictures from the land of the prophets; Jordan.