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I'm depressed should I move?

By January 7, 2010 - 1:57pm
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I recently started seeing a psychotherapist, how confirmed my suspicions, I'm depressed and more then likely have been for almost a year. I had a big move planned for Feb 15. From WA to Illinois, now I'm not so sure this is a good idea. For one I'll lose my health benefits and for two I don't want to fall into a deeper depression. Any suggestions?

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Cyndi Lu,

As someone who has (a) dealt with depression and (b) moved a lot (was in one place for 18 years, then moved 6 times in 9 years), I want to echo everything Alison said. She was right on all counts.

A huge part of it -- huge -- is how this move came about and how you have felt about it. Does it bring things you are looking forward to? What is the main reason for the move?

Of all the things Alison wrote about, I want to suggest that your support system may be the most important. And support system means a lot of things. Of course the first two are family and friends, but support system also means:
-- doctors, dentists, veterinarians and other professionals (like your therapist)
-- familiarity with your surroundings
-- routines (work routines, neighborhood routines, exercise routines)
-- resources (libraries, grocery stores, pharmacies)
-- fun stuff (your favorite bookstore, coffee shop, restaurant, bike trail)

All those things change when you move. If you are moving for a good reason, and it makes you happy, then exploring and discovering a new place can be fun. But if you are not that happy about moving, losing all the familiar things can make the new place seem alien and difficult.

So I guess what I'm saying is this.
-- Do you think your depression is partially linked to where you live now? Would moving help you get out of it? or:
-- Do you think that leaving where you are now would make you more depressed?

Only you can know these things. I hope you're talking with your psychotherapist about them. It sounds like you're having some big doubts, which is normal whenever we're undertaking something big. But you have to figure out where those doubts are coming from to figure out if the move is good or bad for you.

Know this, though: A depression will TRY to paralyze you. That is its job. That's what it does. It wants you to see the negative in things and not the positive. This is why you have to be careful here. You can't trust your gut like normal, because your depression will change your gut. You have to really depend on knowing yourself inside and knowing what would be best for YOU, the person you ARE without the depression.

Will you come back and tell us more?

January 8, 2010 - 9:30am

Cyndi Lu,
I'm so sorry you are depressed, but am glad to hear that you are talking with a psychotherapist, and hopefully on your way to healing.

I'm sure you know that no one can tell you if it's a good idea to move or not; we do not know enough about either your current situation and/or the situation you may be moving to, to tell you if this is good idea or not.

A few things to consider, however, so YOU can decide if this is a good move for you or not:
1. Have you spoken with your psychotherapist about your possibility of moving? Does s/he have some professional references for you in your potential new place?
2. Is this a "happy" move, meaning, are you moving to something better? Are there more opportunities for you, in any/all aspects (financially, socially, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, etc?)
3. Are you well prepared, either way? What does your life look like if you stay, and what does it look like if you move? What are the pros/cons of both choices?

If you are wanting to move, but only concerned about the health care aspect, you may have some options. There is individual health care options available, as well as Medicaid or Cobra, and I can help you with any of these if you are interested.

The other aspect of moving, combined with your recent diagnosis of depression, is to make sure you have a good social support network in-place when you arrive. Are you moving to go to a specific job, be in a certain field, attend a specific school, or be near family? What do you see as potentially "lacking" upon your move, as far as what you will need to succeed (resources, professional help, doctors, social support network, transportation, financial stability, etc.).

I'm sure your psychotherapist would tell you that the act of relocating can be difficult, as with any change, but depending on the nature of your depression, any underlying causes or triggers, as well as your overall personality and temperament, relocating will not cause/make your depression worse in-and-of-itself. Some people may move and feel better; others may move and feel worse. It really depends on your current situation, and if you feel your new situation has the potential to be better, and if this is your choice to move...all factors to consider.

Let us know, and we can offer more guidance so that you can make the best informed decision!

January 7, 2010 - 2:10pm
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