Cultural shock is a part of experience when you move abroad. Moving can be a stressful. You can never really prepare for the changes that you are going to face. Even if you are moving to a similar cultural background there will be some bumps along the road. If you are new to the language, this can only deepen the feelings of loneliness, isolation and stress.
People forced to move when their spouse is transferred to a foreign country, with no job and limited support, may have an especially hard time.
Sometimes cultural shock doesn’t hit us right away. We can be in a so called “honeymoon phase”. When person gets used to new environment and novelty become less exciting, the shock can check up with us.
Having problems living abroad
Being a human means that we will have rough times. We can develop or face serious troubles anytime in our life time, no matter where we live. If we happen to be in a foreign country, this can cause us even greater distress. Not having access to a therapist that is not only able to understand our language, but also our cultural background, can be discouraging. Online therapy helps in this cases. In my experience, it is a great option for people living abroad.
Panic attack feels like sudden attacks of terror which normally peaks within 10 minutes, but some symptoms may linger much longer. Attack can occur at stressful times or it isn’t connected to any particular situation. Many people have just one panic attack. In this case we can’t talk about panic disorder. Common symptoms: pounding heart, sweating, weakness, faintness, dizziness, flush or feel chilled, tingle or numb hands, nausea, chest pain, smothering sensations, sense of unreality, fear of another panic attack, fear of dying, fear of losing your mind.
Panic attacks can limited us, especially if we don’t seek treatment before it develops into agoraphobia. Good news is that panic disorder is one of the most treatable of all the anxiety types.
About one in three people with panic disorder develops agoraphobia. It is an outcome of repeated panic attacks. It happens when we avoid different situations because we have intense worry of attacks. We can define agoraphobia in two different ways. One is fear of going outside or to unfamiliar places. Other is fear that there is no escape. Early treatment of panic disorder can often prevent agoraphobia.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
GAD is diagnosed when a person worries excessively about a variety of everyday problems for at least 6 months (health, money, family, work issues). If person worry just about one thing, we can’t talk about GAD. Physical symptoms: fatigue, headaches, muscle tension or aches, difficulty swallowing, trembling, twitching, irritability, sweating, nausea, lightheadedness, frequent visits to the bathroom, feeling out of breath, hot flashes, difficulty concentrating, insomnia.
Intense fear of something that poses little or no actual threat (closed-in places, heights, escalators, tunnels, highway, water, flying, dogs, blood etc.). Even though people realize that fear is ungrounded, they can have panic attack or anxiety when facing or thinking of facing the situation.
Separation anxiety disorder (SAD)
SAD is normal life stage and occur with 7 months, reach its peak between 10 and 18 months and usually disappear when the child is 3 years old. Parents have trouble with bedtime and time of separation (clinging, crying, anxiety). If parents help his child deal with the anxiety constructively, child outgrowth this phase.
If anxiety is unresolved its’ continue to adulthood. Around 7% adults have it. In compared to medications counseling is usually considered the best treatment method.
To be diagnosed with SAD, one must have at least 3 following symptoms: experiencing great stress when you separate form home or love (trusted) one; worry to lose love (trusted) one or sth. bad will happen to them; don’t want to go from home because of the fear of separation; don’t want to be alone or without love (trusted) one; nightmares about separation; trouble sleeping when not being near love (trusted) one.
Social anxiety disorder= Social phobia
is a great fear in one or more social situations. They can worry for days or weeks before and after social situations. They are afraid of embarrass themselves, being watching or/and judge. As a result, they choose to isolate themselves from society. They often self-medicate with drugs, alcohol, food. More than 66% have other mental disorder (commonly depression or anxiety) Physical symptoms can occur: blushing, excess sweating, trembling, palpitations, nausea, panic attacks, diarrhea.
With a new baby in the house some worries are expected. Especially if it is our first born. But what if worries are persistent and with little base ground? Probably you already heart about postpartum depression, but what about postpartum anxiety? According to Germany University of Heidelberg, 11% of mothers developed postpartum anxiety, while 6% developed postpartum depression. Overall this affects 1 out of every 7 women. Unfortunately, postpartum anxiety and depression often occurs together. Read personal story about that HERE.
What are the symptoms that shouldn’t be overlooked?
If you had a baby within the last 12 months and are experiencing some of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks or longer you might have postpartum anxiety. Anxiety can also appear during the pregnancy.
• Having trouble quieting your mind. You are worrying all the time. You feel like something horrible will happen.
• You are unable to relax. You feel tense and on edge. You feel that you have to do something all the time.
• Disturbing thoughts which can vary from “harming your baby” to “not being a fit mother”.
• Physical symptoms like stomach cramps, headaches, shakiness, nausea, panic attacks.
• Disturbances of sleep and/or appetite.
• Feeling that something is off with you.
Seeking help is important
In the culture where motherhood is represented as something joyful it is hart to seek help when you are experiencing postpartum anxiety (or depression or obsessive compulsive disorder). Never the less, you are not alone.
It is very important to seek help sooner than later even with mild symptoms of postpartum anxiety. Left untreated, can interfere with your ability to bond with your child. Many moms find it helpful to talk to psychotherapist. It is important to have someone who acknowledge your panic, gives you support and strategies to deal with anxiety. Use of medication is also possible, even if you are nursing. This is determine on a case-by-case basis.
Could I predict it?
Knowledge about postpartum anxiety can help to catch the disorder in early stages which make treatment easier. If you have family member with (postpartum) anxiety or previous history of anxiety you have greater possibility to develop postpartum anxiety.
But that can happen to every mother, no matter the history. There might be a physiological explanations for mood disorders during and after birth. During that time our body goes through drastic hormonal changes. Which makes pregnancy a particularly vulnerable time for conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Read some personal stories and wisdom’s on following links here and here.
You are not alone! Encouraging video from other moms