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Question
Posted by: Morgan | 2010-12-05

Depressed and lonely overseas

Sorry for this long story but it''s just some background for you to understand my problem. I have been diagnosed, on one occasion, with depression by one doctor and, on another occasion, with bipolar by a psychiatrist. Both gave me meds that did not work well. I also feel anxious around people and, therefore, have been uanble to keep a job for longer than 2 years. With my last job as a sales rep, I was so scared and anxious and overwhelmed and my then-boyfriend told me to leave and that he would take care of me and my daughter. Once we were married, however, it became my responsibility to pay the rent etc. He then lost his business and 2 months ago I asked him to leave because he was emotionally abusive. I could not find work in SA and left to work in Korea which is where I am now. But it has been a living nightmare. I miss my daughter and parents so much that I can''t function properly. I shake all the time and lose all feeling in the top half of my body at times. I can''t eat although I''ve forced myself to eat well for the sake of my family as they depend on me financially. I even exercise because that is what doctors always prescribe but I am slowly losing my mind and can''t go on anymore. Thoughts of death plague me but I wouldn''t kill myself because they need me and love me. My 10-year-old daughter can barely speak to me on the phone because she is so heartbroken and she has emailed me to request that I come home for christmas. The worst part is that I am so lonely here. I''ve tried to socialise with other foreigners and even with some Koreans and, though I try, I just don''t fit in. I feel like an outsider. Please tell me what I can do. I feel like I''m going to go crazy. I want to go home but how will I pay the bills with no job. I feel like I''m in a living nightmare and, though I''ve been depressed before, this is unlike anything I''ve ever experienced before. PLEASE HELP ME. I NEED HELP.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I am sceptical about some diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder as it arises in South Africa, though they may be helpful in some ways - where Medical Aids are so stupid as not to include Depression among disorders for which they will pay chronic medication benefits, while including Bipolar Disorder, many doctors will prefer to diagnose Bipolar, so you can get more meds paid for - but then too often include strictly bipolar meds which may be unnecessary and actually raise the cost to the wisdom-challenged medical aids.
Anyhow. Much can depend on WHERE ( ie in which country ) you are when the diagnosis is made, as there can be different interpretations.
And ypu don't seem to be describing anything like Bipolar disorder - it sounds much more like a social anxiety disorder, which can indeed res[pond to some meds also used to treat depression, but can also respond really well to Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ( CBT ) which enables you to learn to feel comfortable and enjoy interacting with others. But there does indeed sound like Depression as well as anxiety among your symptoms.
It may be especially difficult to handle such problems while living and working abroad.
Unfortunately, I don't know about the psychiatric services in Korea. Have you seen a psychiatrist there for re-assessment and a discussion of treatment options ?
Your condition should certainly be capable of significant improvement with proper treatment, but with medication and ( if this is available in Korea ) psychotherapy / counselling obviously with someone who speaks English.
And try to be realistic in your expectations. If you are not Korean, don't expect to feel like you completely fit in - you are a foreigner and a visitor, and that's fine. You ARE an outsider, but that's OK. You ca still form friends.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

3
Our users say:
Posted by: Morgan | 2010-12-08

Thank you for your reply. I am so scared and alone.

Reply to Morgan
Posted by: QQ | 2010-12-07

I amso sorry for you. I have a brilliant daughter overseas as well. She also cannot find a job in SA bacuase she has a white skin.

Pray girl and count your blessings

Reply to QQ
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-12-05

I am sceptical about some diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder as it arises in South Africa, though they may be helpful in some ways - where Medical Aids are so stupid as not to include Depression among disorders for which they will pay chronic medication benefits, while including Bipolar Disorder, many doctors will prefer to diagnose Bipolar, so you can get more meds paid for - but then too often include strictly bipolar meds which may be unnecessary and actually raise the cost to the wisdom-challenged medical aids.
Anyhow. Much can depend on WHERE ( ie in which country ) you are when the diagnosis is made, as there can be different interpretations.
And ypu don't seem to be describing anything like Bipolar disorder - it sounds much more like a social anxiety disorder, which can indeed res[pond to some meds also used to treat depression, but can also respond really well to Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ( CBT ) which enables you to learn to feel comfortable and enjoy interacting with others. But there does indeed sound like Depression as well as anxiety among your symptoms.
It may be especially difficult to handle such problems while living and working abroad.
Unfortunately, I don't know about the psychiatric services in Korea. Have you seen a psychiatrist there for re-assessment and a discussion of treatment options ?
Your condition should certainly be capable of significant improvement with proper treatment, but with medication and ( if this is available in Korea ) psychotherapy / counselling obviously with someone who speaks English.
And try to be realistic in your expectations. If you are not Korean, don't expect to feel like you completely fit in - you are a foreigner and a visitor, and that's fine. You ARE an outsider, but that's OK. You ca still form friends.

Reply to cybershrink

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