Expat Depression

Depression Can Follow You Overseas

Moving to another country sounds glamorous and exciting. But, in reality, it can be quite challenging. Often the language, values, routines, and etiquette of the host country’s culture are significantly different than your own. You can prepare for the differences before getting to a new place, but there’s always something you didn’t plan for.

Irritation, frustration, and anger are not uncommon, particularly in the early days in a new country. The tidal wave of newness can be overwhelming. An almost universal frustration point is not being understood in a simple exchange you previously completed mindlessly. Things that shouldn’t be sucking up all your time are. This frustration can then spiral into self-criticism because we chose the expatriate lifestyle. How dare we complain? We tell ourselves we should know better. Then come the tears. Tears we can’t explain.

Common Causes of Expat Depression

  1. Culture Shock: Moving to a new country often involves adapting to a different culture, language, and social norms. The process of adjusting to these changes, known as culture shock, can be overwhelming and lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, and sadness.

  2. Social Isolation: Expats may struggle to establish a support network in a new country. The lack of a familiar social circle can lead to feelings of loneliness and a sense of not belonging.

  3. Language Barriers: Difficulty in communicating due to language barriers can be a significant source of stress and frustration, making it challenging to interact with locals or access essential services.

  4. Work-related Stress: Expats may encounter work-related challenges, such as adjusting to different work cultures, expectations, or facing discrimination. These factors can contribute to stress and job dissatisfaction.

  5. Lack of Familiarity: Being in an unfamiliar environment can lead to feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, as everyday tasks that were once routine may become challenging.

  6. Loss and Grief: Expats are continually somewhere in the grieving process. Leaving behind one’s home country, job, and/or support system can lead to feelings of loss and grief. Expats may miss important life events or feel disconnected from their roots.

  7. Cultural Differences in Mental Health Support: In some countries, there might be stigmatization around mental health issues, making it difficult for expats to seek help or support for depression.

  8. Financial Strain: Managing finances in a new country can be complex, and financial stressors can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression.

  9. Lack of Healthcare Access: Access to mental health services and resources may be limited in some countries, making it challenging for expats to receive appropriate support.

  10. Uncertain Future: Expats may experience uncertainty about their long-term plans, visa status, or future in the host country, leading to anxiety and feelings of instability.

Characteristics of Depression (Expat or Not):

Everyone experiences depression differently. However, there are a few common signs that are shared among expats. These symptoms include:

  • Persistent Sadness: Feeling an unrelenting sense of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness that lasts for an extended period.
  • Loss of Interest: Losing interest or pleasure in activities or hobbies that were once enjoyable.
  • Fatigue and Low Energy: Feeling constantly fatigued or lacking energy, even after getting enough rest.
  • Sleep Disturbances: Experiencing changes in sleep patterns, such as insomnia or oversleeping.
  • Appetite Changes: Significant changes in appetite, leading to weight loss or weight gain.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Struggling to focus, make decisions, or remember things.
  • Feelings of Guilt or Worthlessness: Experiencing persistent feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or self-criticism.
  • Social Withdrawal: Withdrawing from social activities and isolating oneself from friends and family.
  • Physical Aches and Pains: Experiencing unexplained physical symptoms, such as headaches or body aches.
  • Suicidal Thoughts: Feeling overwhelmed by despair and sometimes having thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Online Therapy for Depression Can Help You Return to Your Authentic Self

Are you an expat struggling with depression? Don’t lose hope! Our team of expert online therapists is here to provide you with compassionate and understanding care. We believe that you have the strength within you to overcome your challenges and live your best life. Our therapists will skillfully help you identify the root cause of your depression, set realistic goals, and provide unwavering support throughout your journey to healing. By working with us, you will gain the tools you need to foster a deeper, healthier relationship with yourself and rediscover your authentic self. The expat journey can be tough, but we believe that you are capable of overcoming any obstacle. Let us guide you as you grow, heal, and thrive in your new home.

Apricity Isn’t Just For Expat Depression

Apricity Expat Therapy is committed to providing expats with the highest quality online therapy and counseling services in locations where English-speaking mental healthcare is scarce.