Depression abroad

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August789
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/18/2011 8:56 AM (GMT -6)   
I have struggled with depression and anxiety off and on for more than 10 years. For the last 2 years I had been feeling pretty good, I was off all medications and working hard to lose weight. I had a fiancee who loved me and was working at getting a Masters degree in a field I love. We were both excited about life ahead of us and I felt like I always had something to look forward to. But after graduation this spring, things have headed south. Unfortunately, my husband is foreign and came to the United States on a government-sponsored scholarship. The visa associated with the scholarship required him to return to his home country for two years before he could change his visa status (either through a job or a spousal visa). Even though we knew about the residency stipulation, we always believed that once we were married we could petition a waiver of the requirement and continue on with our lives in the USA, especially since I am a US citizen. We lawyered up and applied for a waiver but were denied.

He had three standing job offers in the US, but it didn't matter. After being denied the waiver he had to come back. So a few months ago we returned to his country. He is from a European country on the Mediterranean and everyone I know thinks it's shameful that I am disappointed about being forced to live here. To them it sounds like a vacation--exotic and full of every stereotype they know about Europe. But for us, it isn't a a vacation. Unemployment here is more than 20%. Literally there are no jobs to apply for in my field and basic retail jobs have hundreds of applicants. Both of us are searching for work, so far without any success. Now it looks like I took out 40k in student loans to do a masters degree I won't use. Without a steady source of income, it's hard to feel like you are on vacation. To make matters worse, I feel very disconnected from my friends and family in the US. Here I don't know anyone other than my husband's family and his few male friends. Even with a wonderful husband, there's only so much time we can spend together before I need to connect with other people.

I have come to quickly recognize my depressive symptoms and try to combat them before I got too far down, but here I'm just not sure if I can get myself out of this. I have a decent handle on the language, but my social anxiety has really escalated recently. I sleep 11 hours a day and love the night when I feel like everything is more relaxed. I stay in my pajamas as long as possible and leave the house only if my husband makes me. I cry all the time and can't even get excited about going to the beach. I feel guilty about feeling so terrible in such a beautiful place. I know it's not my husband's fault, but I have started to feel resentful towards him about being here. I also feel bad he has to see me like this. Both of us feel like no one here or in the US quite gets how we feel, but it's of little comfort. I have gained a pound every week in the last 6 weeks, despite moderate exercise. It's just very cyclical and I feel like I'm slipping again, or already have. I wouldn't even know where to begin to find a doctor here, everything works so different than in the USA.

Anyway, I'm sad and new to the forum. Hope you'll say hi.

Lanie G
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 6368
   Posted 8/18/2011 9:30 AM (GMT -6)   
August, I'm not a moderator in the forum but I read your post and have some questions or suggestions.  Was your husband on an F-1 or J-1 visa when you got married?  Did you apply for his green card after you got married?  (I'm presuming you got married in the States.)  about living where you're living now:  if his country has socialized health care, you should be able to have some free appointments and get into some therapy and possible medication if you need it.   Could you teach EFL there, either privately or for a school?  I would think there is a demand for native English-language speakers and even with high unemployment you might be able to teach some classes.  Check the papers for tutors needed.  I'm so sorry about your situation but I'm glad you have contact via the Internet.  Sometimes a consistent program of exercise helps the mind.  Walking for 30 minutes a day may help.
Lanie

diabetes moderator
diabetes type 2 controlled so far by diet and exercise
very low carb way of eating

getting by
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 42612
   Posted 8/18/2011 9:41 AM (GMT -6)   
I just wanted to welcome you to the forum and say I am so sorry about your situation. I truly hope that things work out for you.

Keep posting, as it does help.

Hugs, Karen
Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia


fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression, allergies

August789
New Member


Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 8/18/2011 9:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lanie,

Thanks for your response. He was on an F-1 when we married, but came to the US on a J-1 originally (the two year requirement was deferred until he finished the F-1). Basically until he completes the requirement, he isn't able to change to an immigrant visa. I have been told by immigration officials that I could apply for his green card at any time, but if the requirement had not been fulfilled when the status was to be changed, he would be denied. So we have moved and I will apply for the green card from outside the country--but US law states I can't apply for his greencard from outside the country until I have been living here for 6 months. The system is incredibly broken.

I will try to teach English private lessons once the school year begins in September. As for therapy, it is socialized health care, the problem is how long it's taking to process my own legal paperwork here.

Thanks for your suggestions :)

Lanie G
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 6368
   Posted 8/18/2011 10:05 AM (GMT -6)   
Normally, if you apply for a green card (or any change of status) while in the States, the person can stay here while his case is 'pending'.  Of course, that's water under the bridge at this point.  I am not familiar with the fact that he had to fulfill the J-1 requirement of two years back home; that's new, I think.  When INS changed to Homeland Security, there were many changes to some visa stipulations.  Here is some information from their website in case you don't have it on your Favorites list.  :) 
 
 
 Anyway, yeah, the best bet for you is to get into EFL while you're there.  There are always people with money willing to pay for that.  And make sure you have a working permit before you approach businesses.  Many businesses will pay for their employees (or their spouses) to take English classes and you could charge less than the established classes in the city.
 
If you can get a hold of a copy of the International Herald Tribune (is that the name?  I forget...), you might be able to get more leads.  Best of luck. 
Lanie

diabetes moderator
diabetes type 2 controlled so far by diet and exercise
very low carb way of eating
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