This is it! You’ve finally received your student visa and ready to embark on a new journey of your life towards seeking independence and establishing your own identity in another country. But there is one thing that is holding you back….what if I can’t make it? What if my depression will make things worse? This article will help you go through in dealing with your depression while continuing your studies abroad.
Plan And Prepare
The first thing that you should do is to assess everything if you are ready to undertake this change. This is a life-changing situation and whatever decision you will make will certainly affect your future. Should you wish to continue? It is best to seek advice from your mental health provider. Take for example the case of Tom.
When I learned that my application to Rome Business School was accepted, I immediately consulted my doctor and discussed with him my concerns about my depression while being abroad.
Tom, has been diagnosed with depression and has been taking medications and attending therapies to manage it. He decided to pursue a Masters degree abroad not only to gain novel experience but also as a chance to handle and manage his depression.
He consulted this with his psychologist who agreed with his plan. Together, they discussed several areas in relation to dealing with possibilities that he might get depressed. His psychologist offered information on medical networks where he can consult for urgent situations.
He was also provided with enough medications to last for 3 months and a prescription with international equivalents in case they have a different brand name in Rome. Tom was also instructed to be on guard on what are his triggers for depression to set in and was given directions on what to do in case such events will happen. All of these were laid out to Tom and he now feels ready and capable to continue with his plan.
Upon Arrival And Arranging Your Stay
Setting up your own apartment or student residence can be quite tasking especially in a new setting. Familiarizing yourself with the place, your neighborhood, your school, the people and many things can be exhausting and can lead to frustration or anxiety. This can be a trigger factor for depression to set in.
Take time and allow yourself to learn each day. Don’t rush things. Enjoy being a tourist and visit famous places. This will take away your mind from the chaos.
Inform your student abroad advisor or coordinator regarding about your mental state. They know the primary resources and services that you can ask for help.
In school, look for their mental health support or visit any health and wellness center where they can help you with your depression.
The succeeding months will leave you homesick and be missing everybody back home terribly. Again, this can lead to an exacerbation of depression and can even contribute to the reason for discontinuing your studies.
Krystine Batcho, PhD, said, “The more different from home the new location is, the greater the likelihood of missing home.”
It is understandable to feel this way, and we have the compounded the solutions to combat this problem:
Always keep in touch. It’s just very convenient to communicate nowadays. Skype call, Face time, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and many other social media apps are available to keep abreast with everyone anywhere in the world. The internet and digital technology have made this easier for us. That’s why it’s like you’ve never left in the first place.
Attend social functions and activities if you are invited. Aside from making new connections, you will also have the chance to discover new thing and learn a new culture. “Having solid friendships is important for both our physical health and emotional well-being,” said Irene S. Levine, PhD.
Surround yourself with inspiration. Motivational quotes hanging on your walls reminding you of success and fulfillment after you are finished with your task. They will surely put you on the right track. Read books about your favorite person. Their trials, hardships and how they overcome those can be your source of inspiration.
Journal your way to finishing this chapter in your life. Why not? You may even start writing a bestseller. Hence, write a chronological report describing all your experience while studying abroad. “Through your writing you’ll discover that your journal is an all-accepting, nonjudgmental friend,” wrote Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP.
Lastly, incorporate a healthy lifestyle. Don’t forget to include exercise in your schedule. Try a new sport or outdoor activity. Parties are forms of socializing but be very careful when drinking or being offered with alcohol.