Can Moving Cause Depression?
Picking up and moving yourself and your family can be a trigger for depression, mood swings and anxiety. Think about it, you have uprooted your life, said goodbye to all of your friends and everything that may be familiar to you and in some cases left all the family you have behind. Starting over can be bring out many emotions. If you are have relocated and are fighting the depression battle, there are some things you can do that may help alleviate the pain.
Reasons for Depression
Culture shock. Moving may leave you feeling alienated. A new language, culture, or lifestyle can be difficult to adjust to and cause homesickness. If you are longing for familiar surroundings and favorite places back home, you may begin to feel depressed.
Isolation. If you move to a new place alone, it may take some time before you make friends. Your days may feel lonely, you may eat lunch by yourself at work, and feel as if you have no one to talk to during your daily routine. Feeling ostracized or as if you don’t fit in with anyone in your new city is a major trigger for depression.
Missing loved ones. Did you leave many friends and family members behind when you moved? Not seeing the familiar faces of loved ones often can be difficult to accept. The loss of frequent interaction and closeness with your loved ones after a move can almost feel like grieving.
Following a spouse. Was this move due to a spouse’s job transfer or military orders? If you had to relocate to support your husband or wife and had no personal motivation to start a new life, you may feel resentful. Giving up your job, friends, and home for someone else’s benefit may make you feel as if you were forced to compromise your individuality.
Symptoms of depression – If you think you or a loved one may be depressed following your move, look for these common signs and symptoms.
Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
Short-term memory loss
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
Feelings of hopelessness
Restlessness and anxiety
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
Overeating or appetite loss
Persistent headaches, cramps, digestive problems or other nagging pain
Persistent sadness or “empty” feelings
Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
Ways To Cope – While dealing with depression is different for everyone, here are a few common ways to help you cope.
Making new friends. It may be difficult to make new friends immediately after a move, but having close pals or even acquaintances can greatly reduce the stress and sadness associated with a move. Friends make great support systems, and will eliminate the loneliness and isolation you feel after relocating long distance. Be friendly to your co-workers, start conversations with strangers at the coffee shop or grocery store, or join a book club or cooking class to meet others with similar interests.
Talking to loved ones. They may be miles away, but your loved ones back home can ease your unpleasant feelings with supportive and encouraging words. One of the best ways to ease depression is to talk it out with someone you trust-call the best listener you know for a nonjudgmental ear to listen to you. One thing our family does is proactively STAY CONNECTED with family and friends.
Thinking positive. You should never underestimate the power of positive thought. Sulking in your new apartment and dwelling on everything you hate about your new city will only make things worse. Try making a list of new goals for yourself to focus on and consider ways to take advantage of this fresh start in your life. What opportunities does your new region offer to you that your hometown did not? What can you gain from this experience? Consider this next step an adventure, and plan to experience as much as you can every single day.
Exercise. Physical activity is a great cure for the blues. Working out causes a rush of endorphins, which boost your mood and leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Join a gym, vow to walk more and drive less, or join a local sports team (this will only make you feel like you are part of the community!).
Finding new interests. Keeping busy and focusing your energy on hobbies or projects will help you combat feelings of sadness. Explore new avenues and consider what your new locale has to offer. Beautiful scenery? Take up hiking, boating, or fishing. Check out some shows at nearby venues. Gaining an interest in your community and participating in regional pastimes will help you feel connected to your new home.
Seeking professional help. If your feelings of sadness and hopelessness will not abate, you may want to consider seeking assistance from a professional. Talk therapy or counseling may be required to determine the root of your depression and discuss the best method to treat it. If you are considering harming yourself or having suicidal thoughts, you should contact a mental health professional right away.