Are You Living Abroad and Feeling Depressed?

Moving to another country often sounds glamorous and exciting, but in reality, it can be quite challenging. Often the values, routines and etiquette of this country’s culture different than your own. It can be frustrating that you can’t make yourself understood on a simple trip to the store. Or maybe you’ve tried to learn the language, but feel intimidated when the locals don’t understand you or you don’t understand them. If your partner is the one going to work, the days may seem to stretch endlessly, without purpose or joy, leaving you wishing you’d never agreed to relocate. Or maybe you’re enjoying all the experiences and newness, yet feel an unrelenting homesickness. Do you wish you could embrace the food, the language and the traditions of this new place?

Are you struggling to adjust to a drastic change in lifestyle, especially if you are now living in a region stricken by poverty or political strife? Everything you once took for granted—clean drinking water, communication, safety—might now be a problem. Maybe you worry that your children are learning or seeing things you find objectionable. Or, perhaps you are struggling to reconcile cultural norms with your own beliefs.  Isolation can magnify the frustration and anger that may be swirling around in your head. 

This was supposed to be more fun! Why is it so hard? Wouldn’t it be nice to just be understood?

Relocation Depression Is Normal 

 Black Lab standing in middle of tree lined street in Europe.

Many of the decisions you made every day when living in the U.S. are suddenly taken away when you move to another country. For example, you may now have little say in your diet, your assigned staff and possibly even your furniture! Maybe this location wasn’t your first choice. No one likes to feel his or her freedom of choice has been taken away, and this loss of control can be devastating. 

The good news, however, is that a skilled therapist can assist you with feelings of depression after moving. A therapist who has lived abroad can understand the daily irritations and upsets you’re experiencing. With qualified counseling, you can regain the enthusiasm you once felt for this international lifestyle.

Depression Treatment Can Help You Rediscover Your Sense of Adventure & Joy

There’s a reason you chose to be where you are today. Possibly you’re in this country to help others, or to support your spouse in his/her career. Maybe you were looking forward to an adventure, fueled by your love of travel. The reasons you chose to be here haven’t changed, they’ve just gotten lost under the day-to-day burdens of living in a foreign country. As your therapist, I can help you create the experiences you’d hoped to have, drawing on the larger values that led you to the decision to live abroad.

 woodland road with fallen leaves

In my depression treatment sessions with expats, I use a real world, action-oriented approach, which means collaborating with you to strategize how to best manage your relocation. I can help you balance the good days with the bad—the expectation with the reality. You can often turn a bad situation around with a single small change in perspective and behavior; in fact, even the tiniest adjustments can result in big shifts. I’d like to help you incorporate some of these changes, as they apply to your unique situation.

In the past 15 years, I’ve lived in seven countries, on three continents. I get how challenging moving to another country can be.  Sometimes your day is complete chaos, other times it’s tedious. I remember wishing it could just be easier. But I also know that living abroad can be exhilarating, and that you can transform your short- and long-term experience for the better.

Depression treatment for expats sounds perfect for me, but…

I don’t want “mental health therapy” listed on my medical records.

 Bulb against winter sunset backdrop

No one needs to know that you’re in therapy. Our telehealth sessions are 100 percent confidential and are not routed through your insurance carrier. Hence, there’s no possibility that your job security might be affected. And since I’m not part of your specific expat community, there’s no chance you’ll run into your therapist at a party.

I’m just on temporary assignment here, and I don’t want to jump from therapist to therapist.

Because my office is virtual, I can be with you at this location and the next. Having the same therapist means there’s no need to begin your therapeutic process anew. Consistency is a comfort in a lifestyle defined by constant change, and I can help you keep building on your progress, no matter where you are.

It will be hard to connect with a therapist due to the time change.

I offer non-traditional hours and make every effort to be available at a time that’s convenient for you. If the ideal time isn’t available, please reach out to me via email or phone. We’ll find a time slot that works for you. 

Don’t just endure…Enjoy!

Don’t let relocation depression taint what could be a memorable experience. Talking with a therapist who has been in your shoes can help you make the small changes that would allow you to fully enjoy this time. I understand what you’re going through and I’m here to help.