Yesterday I quietly celebrated the anniversary of my arrival in Germany. It seems like just yesterday, but to think that I´ve survived my first year and first winter here, and that within one year I learned to speak the language and passed the necessary tests for my permanent visa, I feel empowered.
But the first year, no matter how quick it felt, wasn´t free of struggles and difficulties (why I became insecure). In fact, for the first time ever in my entire life, I felt so isolated and depressed. It was hard for me to admit in myself that I was suffering, but the many nonsense fights I and my husband had because of me being too irritable and sensitive, and my feeling of sadness without any reason, were enough to prove that indeed, I was depressed and isolated.
Why I was Depressed
I lived in a big and busy city for six years before moving to Germany and while I loved the quiet small city of my husband´s place, I felt sad listening to its deafening silence. Also, I did not have any friends to chat with like when you do girls´night out or just hang out and share gossips. I missed the girl friends I left in Asia.
The depression and terrible isolation actually hit four months after I arrived. It was during the beginning of winter when the sun barely shined, everything was dark, gloomy and cold.
To top it, I was having a hard time transitioning to a new career. I could not find a teaching job here in our city because of the country´s different educational system which does not honor my qualifications and we don´t have international schools nearby. I looked up to online entrepreneurship for a new career and yet, despite my overwhelming enthusiasm in the beginning, the very difficult, snob and competitive niche that I chose to venture attributed to my depression.
How My Husband Helped Me Beat Depression
It wasn´t easy for my husband to handle my sadness. He was initially impatient towards my sensitivity but when he saw that my unhappiness was getting worst, he dove for my rescue.
1. Served as my listener
I needed a close girl friend to express what I felt and my struggles. But because I had nobody, my husband offered his own ears. He listened to my complains and frustrations without being critical or trying to solve my problems. He gave me hugs when I needed and made me feel that he understood what I felt.
2. Encouraged me to continue what I do and reminded me how much I loved doing it
In the beginning of my full-time fashion blogging career, I was hit with discouragement for how many times that I wanted to quit. But not being able to teach in the public schools here in our city, I only had McDonald fast food available for a job or I´d become a cleaning lady. Unable to speak their language, I was one hundred percent not going to be hired, anyway. I and my husband knew that there´s no way I´d take any of these jobs. It would be too much for my ego to handle. Being too competitive in the academic field with eight years experience and ending as a cleaning lady or a fast food worker would utterly shatter me.
My husband always reminded me that I need not work but being financially independent for quite so long, generating my own income is just a need.
He also knew how much I love writing and fashion. Whenever I almost raise my hands to quit, he´s just there encouraging me to continue what I do, reminding me how much I loved doing it, and making me appreciate the little accomplishments I achieved everyday. And I´m so glad that he did for fast forward one year later, I´m really happy with how far I´ve come online.
3. Urged me to go out and find friends
I always postponed going to school to learn German because I had no interest and I wanted to focus my time on my websites. But my husband kept urging me to start learning the language and to go to school so I could make friends. I agreed to take the pre-evaluation test in one language school to measure my level of German with an agreement that I would start the course after winter.
The pre-test identified my language level as 4 out of 6. The school secretary convinced my husband to make me start module 4 right away (skipping the first three modules/three hundred hours) of which he agreed. I was forced to join the class immediately the next day. Although I was terribly unhappy commuting to school in winter and looking like a fool in a room packed with foreigners who could already speak German, it didn´t take long for me to make friends.
4. Provided distractions and entertainment
The good thing of working from home is I don´t have a boss but the hardest part of it is isolation. In order to lessen my isolation, my husband enrolled me to his fitness gym so we could go together to exercise. Doing zumba and yoga helped me feel better. Often after he came home from work he brought me to the city for a stroll or meal. In winter, when the snow is thick, we simply snuggled on our sofa.
What my husband did for me might seem simple but it helped me a lot to recover from depression. A loving, supportive and understanding spouse can serve as a rock to lean on whenever you feel down. And marriage is about that.