Six Months in Abu Dhabi: SNAFU

I’m 6 months into my stay here in Abu Dhabi, so you know what that means? I had a major fucking meltdown recently. Actually, I have had several meltdowns lately. Yep, just another SNAFU in this life of mine where major meltdowns happen on a fairly regular basis.

I went from having a case of the “Fuckits”

to a place where I’ve been constantly sobbing and hyperventilating


to a place of seriously dark thoughts.

Sidenote: Where are the memes and gifs of black women battling depression? A look at the first pages of an internet image search on this topic would have you believing that we don’t have mental health issues. Don’t be fooled. I’m here to tell you that we do, because depression is a sonofabitch and an equal opportunity motherfucker for all.  *sigh*

I have occasionally received short Facebook messages or comments that essentially say things like,

“You’re so brave/strong for moving all the way out there.”


“I admire/am proud of you for following your dreams.”

I’m grateful for these messages as they help me to see myself the way others see me. But what do I do when I’m not feeling particularly brave or strong? What about those times when I’m not strong enough to face the world and opt instead to close the blackout curtains in my bedroom and lie in bed crying and sleeping for a week?

I also get messages that ask,

“How’s life in the desert?


“What’s it like over there?”

These are also great as they allow me to focus on the positive aspects of my life in the UAE. But how do I respond when a few things aren’t going so well for me despite the positives? Is this a genuine opportunity to have an honest dialogue? Are people willing to take the time to really listen to my answers? Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a big deal if my answer could always be a resounding, “Yes. I’m doing just fine. All is well.” But the truth is..? Lately? I’m not OK. I haven’t been OK for a while. I. Can’t. Deal!

Recently, I reached out to someone to express my general feeling of “I can’t deal” and they answered with “You can and you will.” Ummm… Thanks? While it’s great that they have so much faith in me, my faith in me is still pretty shaky. Furthermore, their response was focused on the end result. What’s missing for me are the intermediary steps. How do I get from “I can’t deal” to a place where I’m successfully coping with the shit that’s cluttering my mental space?

In an effort to get to the how and pull myself out of my current slump, I have decided to focus my energy on doing a bit of self-reflection and writing about the what and why.

So what exactly is going on with me? Truth time. I’m struggling to maintain a connection between the new life I’m building now and the life I have left behind. I’m miserable and melancholy. I have been trying for 6 months to remain connected to my new world here in the UAE and my old worlds back in the USA and Korea. I have been living existing in 2 different time zones – and when Mr. Glitter was stationed in Korea it was up to 3. This is absolutely no bueno and it’s certainly no way to live.

Here’s what I’ve noticed: I’ve been here before. Uh oh…. I was absolutely miserable around month 5 in Korea and meltdowns became the norm until I went to Bali and decided to stop pretending that everything was OK when it wasn’t. I then had another major meltdown around month 11 and decided to leave Korea shortly after that. And here I am in month 6 of living in the UAE and I’m back at it again. What gives? Could this be a normal part of my expatriation process? But what about the slump I fell into when I went back home to the USA for 6 months? That could be repatriation blues. Possibly. What about the many times I hit rock bottom in grad school? Hmmm. Methinks there’s something deeper going on. The slumps and meltdowns have been happening frequently and are crippling. SNAFU it is!

Well… Houston, we have a big fucking problem! The situation may be normal, but it’s certainly NOT ok.

Step 1: Admit that you have a problem. Check! What’s next?

Stay tuned for my next post where I’ll addresses the why and how


11 thoughts on “Six Months in Abu Dhabi: SNAFU

    • Yep. We’re on the same page.The short answer to your question is they exist and navigating them has been frustrating so far.

      Side note: I’m a few steps ahead in real time as this post is part of a reflective series that I have already written and scheduled to be released in parts.

  1. Hey cousin,
    I am not sure if you want to talk to me or not, but I am willing to listen.
    They conversation will stay between you and me and no one else.
    There are definitely something deeper going o, something that you are running from and have not admitted (out loud) to yourself. can write a few books about it.
    Been there, done that and I certainly know all to well how to make things looks like they are just awesome when it felt like my world was crumbling around me.
    inbox me on facebook if you want to talk or just want me to listen.
    Love you

    • Dear Anonymous Cousin,

      Thank you for the support. You’re right. There’s definitely something that lies beneath. Something I haven’t yet admitted aloud – well not completely. Still sorting that out.

      PS. I have no firm idea which one of you this is since you didn’t leave a name. I have a guess though… 😉 Shoot me a message so I don’t go blabbing to the wrong cuz.

  2. Okay I really was not paying attention to my post….many grammatical errors and there is not a delete/edit post button.

    Sorry about that.

  3. I wish I had an answer for you. I’m glad you’re seeking mental health services and realize there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. I do know this, if that issue isn’t addressed, you’ll go through this no matter where you are. I’m going through a similar rotation and I’m right here in the home I’ve had for 6 years. Probing beneath the service is unpleasant but necessary.

    Love and hugs to you!

    • “…if that issue isn’t addressed, you’ll go through this no matter where you are.”

      Say that again! Oddly enough, I actually like where I am – physically. That’s what clued me in that something was wrong. This is certainly dispositional and it’s time I face it. Uncomfortable and unpleasant, but necessary all the same. Sorry to hear you’re going through something similar. Love and hugs right back at you.

  4. Thank you for being so honest! I’m studying abroad and people think there is no way you can get depressed! It happened to me during my 5 month. Only lasted a month but I admitted something wasn’t right and talked about it

    • You’re welcome. I’m sure people mean well, but we both know better. Depression cares not where you are or what amazing life-changing things you’re doing. Admitting is difficult. I hope you and I both are able to come out better on the other side of it.

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