CHRONICLE OF A SOPHROLOGIST: “AS AN EXPAT WIFE, I’VE LOST MY IDENTITY”
Such is the moving testimony of Martine X, who followed her family across the globe and now feels lost and isolated.
“Not long after we arrived, I went full throttle to rebuild a cosy nest, find a good school for my kids, and support my husband in his new challenge. And one morning, when all my family had left for work or school, I found myself feeling empty and alone in a country where I don’t know the language, culture or anybody at all. I often got invited to go for coffee, invitations I turned down even though I could have met many other women, just because I was afraid of not making real friends, scared that I would feel estranged and isolated. It’s the first time I’ve ever felt so fragile, it was a whirlwind of emotions with a physical state of anxiety. I gave up my carrier, my place in society, and I feel I’ve lost all value”
Dear Martine, it’s true that expatriation can be very destabilising. The lack of motivation and loss of self-esteem is inevitable and actually necessary in order to successfully bounce back. So what you should do:
Start by admitting that nothing is going to be perfect straight away, be patient with yourself, then… Seek help, talk about your struggles and worries. Have the courage to speak about painful subjects and you’ll find that you’re not alone.
Launch yourself into a long tem project; don’t limit yourself by considering how long you’ll be here for, as to not give yourself time or geographical boundaries. If you don’t have any ideas, stay open and curious and you’ll see the opportunities will come to you. Be audacious, it’s always behind our fears that we make most powerful discoveries!
True strength is built from within, so keep a journal and write down your new discoveries, what makes you laugh, your new sources of joy.
Bare in mind you’re not alone and the best way to realize it is by opening up to others, sharing your joy as well as your doubts. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain