What is Relocation Depression?

Relocation depression manifests in different ways and could last even up to years after a move. Reading on in this article, you might discover why you are feeling so down after relocating, even though you were excited by the prospects of the new city and new experiences that come with it, where to find treatment, and how to overcome relocation depression.

A lot of relocation depression symptoms are caused by an underlying fear of the unknown and loss of the familiar. No matter where you call home, you have developed a familiarity with it that is unique to that place. You know how to get around, have mapped out your friends (and maybe also your “enemies”), have your favourite haunts, and have most likely found refuge places for when you are feeling down. When you leave this place for a new one, you may have to start all over from square one – and that can be absolutely terrifying and feel isolating which could led to

    • Hopelessness
    • Isolation
    • Fearfulness
    • Forgetfulness
    • Using alcohol and drug as a coping mechanism
    • Agitation
    • Aggression
    • Lack of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate


How should you overcome it?

  • Don’t Rush. Give your time to fall back in your routine. Anxiety is heightened when the move is rushed or forced. If you can, take your time to prepare beforehand. If you’re at the new location already and struggling, you can still take your time. Don’t rush to unpack, find new friends, or get a lot of things accomplished. Putting too much pressure on yourself is likely to only make your relocation depression worse. Also, if you notice the signs of relocation depression in yourself, don’t be in a hurry with getting yourself to feel better. Take some time off to enjoy and benefit from therapy. You are already partway there. It is very important to have a routine. For example, decide to call your parents every other day and at least one friend a week. This way you will always stay connected to your roots in some way. Go back to your old habits and sign up for that morning yoga classes or familiarize yourself with the new city’s bike routes so you can get back to riding your bike.
  • Get to know your community and city. Sometimes, the hardest part about relocating is knowing that you won’t be around the people you love anymore. Some of you might be bringing your family members with you, and some of you might be going it alone. In any case, once you arrive at your destination, you’ll be tasked with meeting new people and finding new friends. Joining local groups (even if they are on Facebook), joining some classes, attending festivals and events, or even volunteering at a local NGO can bring you closer to your new city and make you feel less alienated. This will also help you build new friendships. These friendships would then become more reasons to no longer feel sad and overwhelmed by the move.
  • Embrace Positivity. Keeping a positive attitude can be tough in any stressful situation. When you are dealing with depression or other mental illness, it can be ten times harder. You can start by writing in a gratitude journal in the mornings. This simple activity can keep you focused on the good and not the bad. Try these other positive thinking tricks as well.

These are just a few suggestions. If none of these options help or if you don’t feel like getting up to do even these, then don’t be ashamed to seek out professional help. Mental health is as important as physical health and it is important to get proper treatment to live a fulfilling, happy life in your new home. Individual counselling may help. If you would like to contact us for counselling, you can do so here:

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