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Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

Old Apr 17th 2016, 11:41 pm
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Unhappy Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

Having had a conversation about this with Sparkleydiva (really great to meet you BTW, wish I'd met you ages ago) last week, I thought I would raise it on here for discussion.

I have experienced both having lived here for 9+ years now and neither is pleasant. I've had waves of homesickness which are very distressing at the time but do tend to pass. But this lack of belonging feeling is far more detrimental to my health than the homesickness bouts.

There are days when I feel really lucky to live here with the beautiful scenery which surrounds me BUT it isn't enough for me. There's just something missing. It's like my life is on hold. I try to focus on the positives that living here have brought me and again, it isn't enough.

For me, England will always be home. I just fit in there, people 'get' me and I feel comfortable and safe. OH prefers to live here, which is why I'm still here .

I have been on anti-depressants for a long time now but they make little difference as the under-lying cause is being unhappy about living in New Zealand. I have had so many health problems since living here and I think many of them can be linked to stress, that or I'm just allergic to New Zealand! So it's time to start making changes.

I have decided to give it another year here and if I still feel the same then, then it's time to head back to Blighty. Firstly, I am going to have to get my career restarted, so it's back to the text books and see if the NZ midwifery council will accept me doing a RTP programme after 7 years out. The thought of working in midwifery here again fills me with dread but if it leads to me being able to renew my registration with the NMC then it will be worth it.

Anyone else going through the same thing? Any other thoughts?
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Old Apr 17th 2016, 11:57 pm
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

9 years seems like a pretty fair trial - I get itchy feet wherever I live eventually but that is just an urge for pastures new. If you are on long term anti depressants to cope (with NZ) I would rapidly move on.
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Old Apr 18th 2016, 12:11 am
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

Hey VS,

So sorry you feel like crap at the moment and I do hope that you have more of the lucky to live here moments in future.

My personal opinion is that if a person is feeling so terrible about living in a place or country to the point where anti-depressants are needed then a change has to be made. It is difficult when your partner likes living in a place and you don't but when it gets to the point where mental or physical health are at risk I think something needs to be done. If a person has moved and tried and it still isn't for them I think forcing happy thoughts and positivity probably will not help long-term. And it's not like you haven't tried VS, it's been 9 years, you've given it a good go! All the constant stress that you are under is, as you mention, taking its toll on your health. All the more reason to move on sooner rather than later.

I like life in NZ, as does my partner. However if my partner disliked it that much, if his mental health was suffering and he wanted to go back to the UK then I would go back with him despite not wanting to. As much as I like NZ my partner/relationship means more to me that any country.

I think you should have a good chat to your OH and put some plans in place to move back sooner rather than later (or at least a holiday back to UK?) I'm no expert but if you haven't felt settled for 9 years, I don't reckon giving it 1 more year is going to change that.

I hope it all works out for you VS, you seem like a nice person
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Old Apr 18th 2016, 1:02 am
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

I get where you are coming from on the health front, I have never been so ill in all my life than I have in the last 4 years. Starting off with the vertigo after being here 3mths and has just deteriorated from there. Stomach problems due to GP negligence is the main problem over the last 3 years and is a constant pain in the butt (and stomach). If I had these sort of problems in the UK I would be at the GP's at the drop of a hat but here its more of can we really afford to get this looked at at the moment.

I have overcome a large hurdle but realising realistically we haven't a hope in hell getting anywhere within the next 3 years, so am trying to put my energies in making the house and garden better for us. Trying to extend my social circle and helping others in making the move over or just lending an ear and giving out our experiences, good and bad.

I think like me and snap shot the lack of work, or work that doesn't depress/stress you is quite a factor for you. In the UK myself and OH had long term jobs having both been in the same companies for over 10 years and for me previous to that another 10year plus job. Here OH is on his second and looking to move on and I worked for the first 2 years being here only really enjoying the first year and putting up with the second year before saying "**** this" and walked.

No magic remedy, just better coping systems and lots of compromise seems to be the way forward.
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Old Apr 18th 2016, 3:31 am
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

I know when I first went to the UK (lived there for 24 years) it took 5 years to feel settled, but there was always that doubt at the back of my mind about whether I would stay. I understand that feeling of not belonging. It's also hard when you don't have that warm network of family around and you feel isolated.

I think you need to go back to the UK, perhaps without cutting all ties. That will help in one of two ways: Either, you will be happy as a result of returning home and feeling safe or, you will realise that the problem lies elsewhere. Either way, staying where you are is not good for your health.
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Old Apr 18th 2016, 4:35 am
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

Originally Posted by Vitalstatistix View Post

There's just something missing. It's like my life is on hold. I try to focus on the positives .... living here....again, it isn't enough.
I agree, I can relate to that. I don't feel lucky to be here, however, I do feel lucky that where we live is fairly pleasant in a limited sort of way.

We were pretty much desperate to get out of Christchurch in the end, (not least as we had just about run out of money) my husband's job offer threw us a lifeline. We could have just used it to 'right' ourselves then move on again from there, but, no I wanted to settle. Even if it was only for the time being. I thought about moving into a better rented house here whilst we decided what to do, but I had seen the house I wanted us to buy. So, that was that.


For me, England will always be home. I just fit in there, people 'get' me and I feel comfortable and safe. OH prefers to live here, which is why I'm still here .
I wholeheartedly agree with the first couple of sentences in the above statement/sentiment. I wouldn't say that my husband prefers to live here or Britain. However, he has said he's ready for a new/the next chapter.

I've been fairly lucky with my health, fortunately. Nothing major has happened since I've lived in New Zealand. Having a wisdom tooth extracted was about as exciting as it got. Well alright, I'll admit that I've stacked on the weight to an embarrassing level, but, that's for me to deal with. I don't believe in diet pills. So, I'd better keep trying with regard to my diet and exercise routine.

I genuinely sympathise with anyone who is on anti-depressants and has not yet come off them because of living here. I also sympathise that other things have gone on regarding their health too.

Anyone else going through the same thing? Any other thoughts?
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Old Apr 18th 2016, 4:52 am
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

Home is where the heart is. I wish you the best in finding the happiness you deserve.
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Old Apr 18th 2016, 5:02 am
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

Emigration just isn't for everybody. VS, you've given it a fair trial and you really should go back home a.s.a.p. and don't waste any more time. What I'm saying is: it's not New Zealand that's the problem for you, it's just being away from your home. I have known many people in my long life (77 next birthday) and serial expat-ship. Some of them have felt like you do, preferring their home communities to different countries or counties - or different States in Australia or the US. They feel infinitely more comfortable when they return home.

My wife and I have been lucky in that regard. We've been expats in England then Canada then Bahamas then a different part of Australia, then New Hebrides in the South Pacific now called Vanuatu, then a different part of England, and finally Cayman. We were in our late 30s when we came here with a very young son. He has drifted around too, since he grew up (now lives in Norway) so it may be something in the blood.

We never felt homesick for our respective parts of Australia, and our son has never felt homesick for this his home community. We love him to bits (he's an only child), I adored my mother, and my wife always enjoyed the company of her mother. We always kept in close touch. But... I guess each of us has had - and has now - an independent streak. Our grandchildren may feel more comfortable living their whole lives in Norway. Who can tell?
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Old Apr 18th 2016, 5:07 am
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

Originally Posted by MrsFychan View Post

I think like me and snap shot the lack of work, or work that doesn't depress/stress you is quite a factor for you.
Yes, that's right. I agree and I sympathise.

No magic remedy, just better coping systems and lots of compromise seems to be the way forward.
Yup learning to cope, either with something prescribed or self medicated or learning, 'mindfulness' i.e. live in the moment, let the future take care of itself is the way to go.
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Old Apr 18th 2016, 7:02 pm
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

Originally Posted by Vitalstatistix View Post
Having had a conversation about this with Sparkleydiva (really great to meet you BTW, wish I'd met you ages ago) last week, I thought I would raise it on here for discussion.

I have experienced both having lived here for 9+ years now and neither is pleasant. I've had waves of homesickness which are very distressing at the time but do tend to pass. But this lack of belonging feeling is far more detrimental to my health than the homesickness bouts.

There are days when I feel really lucky to live here with the beautiful scenery which surrounds me BUT it isn't enough for me. There's just something missing. It's like my life is on hold. I try to focus on the positives that living here have brought me and again, it isn't enough.

For me, England will always be home. I just fit in there, people 'get' me and I feel comfortable and safe. OH prefers to live here, which is why I'm still here .

I have been on anti-depressants for a long time now but they make little difference as the under-lying cause is being unhappy about living in New Zealand. I have had so many health problems since living here and I think many of them can be linked to stress, that or I'm just allergic to New Zealand! So it's time to start making changes.

I have decided to give it another year here and if I still feel the same then, then it's time to head back to Blighty. Firstly, I am going to have to get my career restarted, so it's back to the text books and see if the NZ midwifery council will accept me doing a RTP programme after 7 years out. The thought of working in midwifery here again fills me with dread but if it leads to me being able to renew my registration with the NMC then it will be worth it.

Anyone else going through the same thing? Any other thoughts?
Hi
I stayed in NZ for 6 years. It was a great adventure at the start, having no job, feeling retired and just the general realisation that if we didnt go back soon we would never afford to made me unhappy.
I stopped taking the kids to the doctors, and getting their eyes tested as two of them wore glasses and yet we were earning an ok wage.
We decided there was so much more of the world to visit and we would never manage that from there.
Three years in we told the children. Our daughter had just met her first boyfriend, she was just 16, she asked me to wait incase he was the one. So we waited for three more years. The boyfriend is a permanant fixture now, we left her as she started uni, shes just graduating today.
We had to leave, but part of my heart remains....but i dont regret it, im so happy to be back.
Follow your heart.
Goodluck
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Old Apr 18th 2016, 8:38 pm
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

Originally Posted by Vitalstatistix View Post
Having had a conversation about this with Sparkleydiva (really great to meet you BTW, wish I'd met you ages ago) last week, I thought I would raise it on here for discussion.

I have experienced both having lived here for 9+ years now and neither is pleasant. I've had waves of homesickness which are very distressing at the time but do tend to pass. But this lack of belonging feeling is far more detrimental to my health than the homesickness bouts.

There are days when I feel really lucky to live here with the beautiful scenery which surrounds me BUT it isn't enough for me. There's just something missing. It's like my life is on hold. I try to focus on the positives that living here have brought me and again, it isn't enough.

For me, England will always be home. I just fit in there, people 'get' me and I feel comfortable and safe. OH prefers to live here, which is why I'm still here .

I have been on anti-depressants for a long time now but they make little difference as the under-lying cause is being unhappy about living in New Zealand. I have had so many health problems since living here and I think many of them can be linked to stress, that or I'm just allergic to New Zealand! So it's time to start making changes.

I have decided to give it another year here and if I still feel the same then, then it's time to head back to Blighty. Firstly, I am going to have to get my career restarted, so it's back to the text books and see if the NZ midwifery council will accept me doing a RTP programme after 7 years out. The thought of working in midwifery here again fills me with dread but if it leads to me being able to renew my registration with the NMC then it will be worth it.

Anyone else going through the same thing? Any other thoughts?
It was good to meet you too.

Just as we talked about it, for me too, I just don't belong here. Morbidly as it may sound I don't want to die here and my body to remain here. I know for some that may be too much, but as I work with the dying everyday and see those who can't return to their home land even when they want to, it makes it a significant component of my future. There has been a lot of research done on how people feel when they are dying in a foreign country.

But apart from that, I think you really need to do what is right and the sooner the better. 9 years is a very long time to have life on hold, even for someone else. It is a pity there is no compromise on DH part, but as he has lived in a few countries from an early age, this may explain why he doesn't have the same feelings as you.

Not sure, but have you looked at doing RTP in the UK - as at least then you would be working in an environment you are more comfortable with? As I said last week one of my colleagues won't return to midwifery here because of the differences/lack of support etc., but is such a wonderful midwife, it is a shame.

Good luck, take care and keep us in the loop
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Old Apr 19th 2016, 1:02 am
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

Originally Posted by Vitalstatistix View Post
I have experienced both having lived here for 9+ years now and neither is pleasant. I've had waves of homesickness which are very distressing at the time but do tend to pass. But this lack of belonging feeling is far more detrimental to my health than the homesickness bouts.

<snip>
Anyone else going through the same thing? Any other thoughts?
Thanks for making me cry Vital. I almost never cry.

YES, this is what made us sell up our beautiful NZ home and move our kids back to the UK aged 15 and 9. I love NZ; it is a beautiful country and a wonderful safe little harbour in the world. But that can't make up (for me) for the cultural and family ties of "home" forever.

If I had my time again I would come to NZ for a 2/3 years as a life experience and it would remain somewhere I loved and thought about fondly, albeit from afar. Yes, the weather is better, it's easier to get ahead, you have more space, the place has a magical dimension that it's hard not to feel a sense of love and belonging to ... but it's not where my (our) roots and family are; it's not where we have a deep sense of belonging. It is very hard to be shut out from that and if you are in a position to return, having given it this long and knowing what you know, I urge you to make good fail-safe plans to return as soon as possible.
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Old Apr 19th 2016, 8:14 am
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

Im in a very similar position. Fiance will stay even if I feel I have to leave. If he would go with me I would go back in a flash. So hard to decide if its worth ending a relationship to go back to a country and family / friends that you love. I am also on anti depressants.
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Old Apr 19th 2016, 11:28 am
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

Originally Posted by Banana707 View Post
Im in a very similar position. Fiance will stay even if I feel I have to leave. If he would go with me I would go back in a flash. So hard to decide if its worth ending a relationship to go back to a country and family / friends that you love. I am also on anti depressants.
To turn this on its head: if he knows the depths of your distress and yet refuses to try a change, is he really worth what you are giving up?
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Old Apr 19th 2016, 12:43 pm
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Default Re: Homesickness v. A lack of belonging.

As someone who had parents that moved them round a lot I can identify with this. I felt homesick for our old house for about six months after making our move within the UK but then I developed a sense of belonging in our current place that I'd never had down south. The sense of belonging is a really powerful one and it held me in our current location for 20yrs, I'd never lived anywhere longer than 2-3yrs before that.
Over the last few years that sense of belonging has been lost, we're outsiders looking in again. That is a powerful driving force helping us consider jumping off the edge of the nest into the unknown. I know I will be homesick for our house for many, many years but the house can't make up for the isolation and other negative experiences we're undergoing.
If you've been somewhere for nine years and still have no sense of belonging you've done your fair bit. It's important for both partners to be happy and I'd hope that neither MrH nor I would insist on living somewhere that made the other deeply unhappy to the point of needing medication.
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