As much as I hate to admit this, my experience of living abroad was not always sunshine and rainbows. Living so independently in an unfamiliar country forced me to directly confront many of my issues. I don’t mind admitting that, yes, I do suffer from depression. I’ve come to realize that almost everyone does at some point in their life. However, suffering from depression while living abroad can prove to be an even more trying situation. You may not know who to turn to or what steps you can take. If you feel like this may apply to you, here are my recommendations on how to deal with depression while living abroad:
1. Open up to your friends
When you aren’t living in your home country, it may be hard to find someone that you feel comfortable opening up to. However, I promise that once you do, you’ll feel 100 times better just knowing that you told someone. When I chose to share my situation with a friend in Chile, it turned out that she had also been struggling with something similar. In the end, we were able to become a support system for one another. Realizing that you are not the only person who goes through this and that you are not alone is key.
2. Find an activity that makes you feel content
I use the word “content” instead of “happy” here because when I was depressed, I truly didn’t feel that anything made me happy. Nonetheless, I found a few things that helped me to feel content. One of these activities was attending a language exchange where I could practice my Spanish and meet fellow expats. Another was taking a bubble bath at the end of the day and listening to an audiobook. This may sound like something minimal, but it made a massive difference in my day.
3. If you need to cry, cry
This may be because I’m a huge crier, but I’m a firm believer that if you feel sad, crying it out will help at least a little bit. At my lowest point, I probably cried three times a day. Each time, I think I felt slightly better.
4. Investigate your options for in-country care
Although going to talk to a psychologist may seem intimidating, it may be the best option. I put off going for a long time because I thought I could fix my problems on my own. Long story short, I was wrong. Everyone struggles with something, and it’s a psychologist’s job to help you root out your problem and take steps towards feeling better. If you get to the point where you strongly believe you are suffering from clinical depression, please take the step to make an appointment with a psychologist. They can help you decide if you may need also to begin prescription medication.
If you’re looking for how to deal with depression from being far away from family during the holidays, make sure to check out my friend Olga’s post on the Top 5 Ways to Fight the Holiday Blues When You Are Away from Home.
Do you have any recommendations on how to deal with depression while living abroad?