“Being an expat is not easy…I just won my battle of depression after a decade of struggle…”
“I am an expat who has struggled with depression..”
“I have recently recovered from …”
These are a few of the posts I came across in face book recently.
These posts are from a few ‘dare devils’. Who have at last broken the silence, to let people know that depression among expats or people living between cultures, exists.
In the last 23 years of my stay in The Netherlands, I have observed many go into depression due to all sorts of setbacks in life between cultures. So the few who do dare, to open up, are not alone. Yet the fear of being judged makes it hard for you to admit that you are having serious problems in life between cultures. Which has in a way made this topic a taboo in its own.
Strength not weakness
I would like to congratulate the people who have opened up, because, I believe that, to be able to realize and admit that you are having serious problems, is a sign of your strength and not your weakness. There is no shame in this, in fact it is time to open up, recognize and help one another.
While reading the posts, I became more aware of my WHY (passion). My essence of my motivation as to, why I founded: Between 2 Cultures. The passion to help people, expats living and working between cultures to establish a happy and successful life. To ‘share what I know to help people grow’. These are my drives, my ‘Why?’
Re discovering the wheel
The fear of being judged could lead you ‘rediscovering the wheel’. In the sense that you then try to make something of your life between cultures. Bumping into setbacks, going into depression, crawling out of it and then somehow learning to manage or handle the setbacks.
Of course people are unique, and so there are some who have managed to make a success of their lives as expats and some have not and some are still struggling to do so. Whereas there are people who have maybe, ‘been there’ already and so have the experience to help others to avoid the situation and take a short cut to making a success of their lives abroad.
Whatever the reason that some cannot make it, there is some good news, it is possible to learn to handle the setbacks or find assistance to do so.
Why a Coach?
Maybe when you land up in a new country or culture you could consider a coach. Taking the help of a professional who’ has been there’ and can help you is, no extra luxury. A coach does not tell you what to do. A coach helps you reflect and empower yourself to see what you need and help you achieve it as well. A cross-cultural coach can help you, in a short period of time, to become self-reliant and ‘at home’ in new country with strange customs.
When to consider a coach
It is apparent to mention here that, every individual is unique, so there is no exact time to ask for help from a coach. But since ‘prevention is better than cure’ the right time could be before the trouble starts, as soon as you land in the new country or when you get small signals that point to the fact that you may not be able to manage on you own.
What is important to remember is, that a coach never tells you that you need coaching. So the responsibility of taking the first step is on you. This is so, because, you are the only one who can acknowledge to yourself, that you need help and take the step to ask for it. I strongly believe that, admitting and asking for help is not a weakness but a strength.
You are worth it
In fact, assistance will not be offered, if you do not ask. Sounds simple and requires courage. So, it may help you to know that you are investing in yourself because YOU ARE WORTH IT.