What do you do? Where do you get help from? Is ‘getting help’ even on your radar? Getting help is for wimps isn’t it? You can do this all alone right? Look, everyone else is doing ok….
I looked up the phrase ‘being strong and getting help’ in Google Search. Apparently the two don’t sit well together in western culture. We have to be strong, we have keep going, ‘never give up’ said Winston Churchill (and thank goodness at the time).
Well, do you know what? That’s all very well and good and, ahem, very MALE (sorry guys – but the health stats speak for themselves), but does ‘being strong’ really work if you are under constant pressure and stress as expats are when moving to and negotiating new lives overseas. Life is busy, frantic and pressured and our minds are constantly aroused by never-ending stimulation and demands. It’s exhausting.
It’s either ‘be strong’ or get help, which kind of infers that getting help doesn’t have a lot to do with being strong. I disagree. Strongly.
I keep seeing on so many Expat websites, blogs, chat rooms and alike that huge numbers of expats are depressed. This cuts me to the core. I’m no therapist but I do know that depression can affect anyone, and that catching things early by learning to recognise the signs of depression is useful. Expatwomen.com say this:
“Depression is often the result of the overly busy and stressful lives people lead these days, not giving themselves enough rest time and not spending enough time with their families. It can be hard work and stressful to say goodbye to friends and family at your previous posting, find and set up a home in your new location, help transition your family, learn your new environment, meet new people and try to establish your life in a new home. Sometimes expats are so busy convincing everyone around them and those at home (and often themselves) just how wonderful expat life is, that they start to deny that living abroad can also bring feelings of unhappiness. Guilt over feeling “down” when living “the privileged life”, only exacerbates the problem.
One more reason that expatriates may be susceptible to depression could be the lack of structure in their new lives. This is especially true when they have just relocated, although it can creep up at any time, particularly if a major change has occurred (such as becoming a new parent, divorce, unemployment or the loss of a loved one). A daily “routine” can sometimes provide the safety and security that many expats crave. “
If you think you may be showing the signs of depression, or any other mental illness I would urge you to visit http://www.mind.org.uk/ and start accessing help.
If you are not depressed but want more from your life abroad, more structure, more joy and more fulfilment whilst overseas, click here:
The Expat 360Life Programme is a coaching and mentoring programme for expatriates and I’m running a free Jumpstart Webinar on Tuesday 29 April at 20.00hrs BST. Register for free here: http://www.expat360life.com. Join others in similar situations who want to stop counting the days and start making the days count.
Have a wonderful Easter weekend everyone.