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  • depression

    this is a very personal question,but has anyone experience depression

    before going abroad?

    Was it
    worse for you when you got to Japan, assuming you were employed? Or did the move put things in perspetive for you?

    i have low grade depression,but have the opportunity to make this huge life change and teach abroad.

    I know this isn't a therapy board.

    But any advice from those who have done it much appreciated.

  • #2
    Re: depression

    It will either make you or break you..... keep a positive attitude and remember that Japan or the west(america/australia) are not right , they are just different( ways of doing and thinking) Gambatte (good luck)


    • #3
      Re: depression

      I think going to Japan is a good start, if you want to make changes in your life. Kind of like a fresh start. Go there with a positive outlook and things will soon start falling into place for you. Life's what you make it. But you have to be very self aware and know what your weak-spots and triggers are and try to avoid them. I wanted to get away from it all about a year ago, and I went to Japan and it was the best choice i've ever made in my life.I felt really happy there, and can't wait to get back. Everything's new and exciting and there's so much waiting to be discovered. But I would suggest being in at least a semi-sane mental state before you get there, because you will experience some sort of psychois while your there. It's not easy, but getting yourself through the hard times will make you feel heaps good about yourself in the end when you look back on it, it's a real sense of achievement. Things may not be how you expected them to be, but you've just gotta roll with it and make the best of the situation.Gambatte ne!


      • #4
        Re: depression

        Well Tyler, before coming out to Japan I suffered from social anxiety/general anxiety and as a result of my problem, I probably also suffered from slight depression without knowing it. I could work and I had friends, and most people thought I was a fun guy, so that kept me sane in the states.

        But, now I am working on 2 years here in Japan, and I plan to be going back to the states. Like Ultra said, it will either make you or break you. For me it broke me. Since I have been here in Japan, I have also developed major depression and my social/general anxiety has developed into agorophobia.

        Now, this isn't the case for everyone. But when I look around at my fellow gaijin, it looks like they all are stressed out and about ready to break themselves. I remember one night while walking through the subway station with my wife and her friend, we saw this one foreigner. He was screaming and kicking things around, in a drunken rage. He was probably just nuts, but I am sure the stress levels of being in Tokyo totally got to him. But on the other hand, some foreigners love it here and never go back.

        What I suggest, is that you defintly come here with an open mind. It would be VERY helpful if you spoke the language. Because, there are just so many different rules that are going to be changed when you get here. For example, back where I grew up, if someone just looks at you the wrong way or vice versa, you are asking for a fight. But here, you can expect to be stared at, treated differently (in both good and bad ways), and maybe even laughed at or criticized by an old drunk sales man. But also, someone Japanese are really super nice, and especially if you speak just a little Japanese, they really appreciate that.

        But also, if you would like to get a girl, this is the place to be. I see butt ugly foreigners, bald with more than a few tires around the wasteline, walking around with beautiful girls.

        What I suggest is, is that before you come out, is that you make sure you know of a place that can help you with your depression, and as long as you can talk to someone, you should be fine. And if you feel like its getting too much, just go back and don't waste any more of your time.

        I hope that helps.


        • #5
          Re: depression

          Hi Tyler

          Its not a personal question once you post it on an internet forum.
          There is an interesting debate in the Careers forum/Education teacher/ I have a mental illness controlled by medication. Section By Josh

          A few conflicting ideas but a few realities have been pushes into the lime light.
          Go check it out!


          • #6
            Re: depression

            thanks, everyone, for your responses.

            I read Josh's thread. While i don't claim to be bipolar as he does, interestly, I am getting more positive advice on coming than he is.

            Depression (even low grade) is certainly one side of the bipolar coin. i think that the word bipolar elicits more stereotypes of disfunctionality than just depression alone, and is often misunderstood (like it is in Josh's thread, with schizophrenia).

            thanks again. your inspiring words are helpful. i believe some deep soul searching will lead me to my answer.


            • #7
              Re: depression

              I was excited before I left Canada and when I arrived a little shocked. After about a week I was seriously homesick and depressed. I wanted nothing more but to return home.

              I consulted all my friends and they told me if I didn't give it a chance I would regret it the rest of my life. I gave it two weeks and now I can't stay out of the country even though I've had excellent jobs in California and Toronto in the interim.

              Japan will shake you, rock you, impress you, irritate you and even depress you from the start, but the ride is exhilarating and the rewards for staying are whatever you want to make of them.

              Good luck and jump right in there.


              • #8
                Re: depression

                Hey Tyler,
                Good question, I had the same thoughts before coming to Japan. I also have depression, and am currently taking medication. One of the tendicies of depression is for people to isolate themselve from others, which is not good. In Japan you can be isolated from others whether you want to be or not. So I think it is important that you put a lot of thought into where you want to live in Japan. I live in the country side of the Chiba prefecture, and it can be very lonely out here. There are only a couple of Gajin who live here, and most of the towns people won't or can't speak
                English. People are friendly, but conservative. I can't get a date, and I'm a decent looking guy. I have still made the best of things, but after a year I'm moving to A bigger city. My point is, it may be better for you to find a job in an area that can offer some social opportunities. Good Luck!


                • #9
                  Re: depression

                  Dear Tyler,

                  I too recommend living in the Tokyo/Yokohama area (at least at first) for the many social opportunities and support services in English available. Osaka and Kyoto may also have such opportunities, but I am not familiar with them.

                  Please take a look at the following website: This site is for Tokyo English Life Line, which is a volunteer support service for foreigners. They have professional counselors with whom you can speak over the phone or face-to-face. Most of their services are done on a volunteer basis. I would send them an email and ask them the same question you posted on this site.

                  Good luck!


                  • #10
                    Re: depression

                    my advice is this
                    every day take time out for yourself
                    wheteher this is having a bath
                    painting a picture
                    cleaning the floor
                    doing something physical always alleviates stress and depression
                    i have suffered with depression for many years and im only 26 !
                    but by living by the councel to take time out for oneself really works
                    have a mini stone garden that you can look after
                    or even a goldfish
                    something you are responsible for will definately help
                    and doing things for others everyday will take focus off your self and elp to create a happy medium


                    • #11
                      Re: depression

                      You are not alone when you said you are depressed. I`ve been here in Japan for quite
                      sometime but still I feel depress once in a while. Main reason, my job. What I do, hit
                      Roppongi, specially during Friday night or Saturday night. Definitely it will help you lessen your depression. Just like what Robin said, go to a place that can offer you a good social
                      opportunity. Live your life to the fullest......... faithyk wrote:

                      > my advice is this
                      > every day take time out for yourself
                      > wheteher this is having a bath
                      > painting a picture
                      > cleaning the floor
                      > doing something physical always alleviates stress and
                      > depression
                      > i have suffered with depression for many years and im only 26 !
                      > but by living by the councel to take time out for oneself
                      > really works
                      > have a mini stone garden that you can look after
                      > or even a goldfish
                      > something you are responsible for will definately help
                      > and doing things for others everyday will take focus off your
                      > self and elp to create a happy medium
                      > odaijini


                      • #12
                        Re: depression

                        I cant believe how many replies there are to this post. After Ive done Japan and left, now I finally realize I wasnt alone....but it felt like that a lot of times. I have an anxiety disorder now, and I think it was partly a result of living in 3 different countries in a year, and being in Japan alone at age 18, working and in such a different environment. I had a hard time before I left...I was excited and really wanted to go, but it was a big change and I was a little depressed, and very anxious for the first 3-4 months I was there...but after that it was all very good...I mean, I still had my days, but I loved Japan so much. It was the hardest thing I ever did, but I wouldnt change a second of it for the experiences I had. Coming back home I went through the whole thing again, and am still suffering from anxiety. I miss Japan a lot...I dont know why Im still not completely over it and longing for after a year. Maybe Im meant to go back?
                        My advice is to realize it will be tough...very tough, but not everyone can do it, so realize that you are brave and that it will be good somedays, bad others, and give it a chance. No matter what anyone says, dont go home till you KNOW in your heart its right. If you feel its a good thing to go, chances are it give it time, and you will learn a lot if nothing else.


                        • #13
                          Re: depression

                          Lots of good advice but I think its pretty easy for anyone to develop depression especially in a rural area with limited facilities, people to speak too etc

                          I can only recommend the following :

                          GET a hobby..this is so important..maybe a martial art ..something that requires focus and takes your thinking off the negative if only for a small time

                          Exercise....running can make people more stressed but swimming, cycling is really good..lots of fresh air will make you feel better

                          Diet...make sure its healthy, take supplements

                          Write letters aghome some money each month to purchase a book in your language...something useful...novels also (reading is the same as the hobby for the mind and learning is always good)

                          If you drink or smoke..this is the time to quit...that **** will only make you feel worse

                          Make sure you have plenty of plants where you live and maybe a fish tank...something to look after.

                          Meditate...this may sound like mystic bull____ but its not and its easy and will do wonders for the and study about it on the internet

                          Dont read too many of these websites too often...many negative posts etc will only make you feel worse.

                          Basically for any condition nature is a natural healer...get outside, sit next to rivers, water...look at the mountains if you dont want to climb them...drink plenty of water every day

                          Plan trips that utilise the above...dont waste holidays sat in a dim room feeling sorry for yourself

                          To a lot of people this advice may appear anal...but it works, whereever you are or will be :-)

                          Post Edited (12-01-03 19:44)


                          • #14
                            Re: depression

                            Similar boat here. I'm taking medication for a generalized anxiety disorder and am hoping the move to Japan will be good for me, shake me up in a positive way. I welcome the challenge.

                            Anyway, if you're thinking about medication when you're in Japan, you can get mailorder prescriptions. If you're taking meds now, talk to your doctor befor you go.

                            Good luck!


                            • #15
                              Re: depression

                              That's very interesting, I suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and am on medication for depression, and I am planning to go to Japan in the next couple of months. I've always had the impression that if you declare that you have a mental illness, then you are not very welcome in Japan (or to make a generalisation, Asia), and when I applied for JET, that was one of the questions. Maybe I am just generalising too much.

                              However, I think that following your dream will help with your depression. My dream has been to go to Japan ever since I was there when I was 16, and after studying Japanese language and culture at university. I'm going to follow my dream, yet be very careful at the same time, because being in a foreign country with an illness is a tough thing. I lived in Taiwan for a year like that, but didn't realise it, therefore wasn't careful. Now I'm aware. As faithyk and pricey imply, take time out for yourself to make you really appreciate who you are and that you are on this planet to live, not cry.