"I AM DEPRESSED AND ISOLATED IN FRANCE - SHOULD I GO BACK?"

Therapist A is a counsellor with a psychodynamic approach with experience of working with adults and young people .
You donít say whether you have suffered from depression before or whether this state of mind seems to have been triggered by your current difficult situation. Undoubtedly it has been hard for you to move to a different country, leaving an established life behind that kept you busy and rooted, even if it had its difficulties. You are not alone in this.

However, I think what you say raises a lot of questions about your real reasons for coming to France to join your partner. You need to think about them and try to be honest with yourself. Did you come to France because you envisaged a fulfilling future for yourself or because your partner persuaded you? Is it his dream you are living and not yours? Could it have seemed tempting because you could escape a difficult situation at work? Do you really want to be with your partner come what may or is it a fair-weather relationship? Are you frightened of being on your own?

It sounds as if, in France, you have an empty, aimless and rather lonely existence away from family and friends and the workplace where you had status and purpose. It seems that you donít really share your partnerís dream, life in France renovating a property in an isolated place. It would seem that, if you move to the town, he would have to give up quite a lot of what he has come to France for. I think you need to try to have a proper discussion with him, agreeing before hand to listen to each other. You both need space to put your thoughts and feelings forward without retaliation from the other. At present it would seem that you both feel threatened by the other.

If you were to go back to England, maybe you fear the judgement of your family and friends or colleagues. They might well be more understanding than you expect and perhaps pleased to have you back.

The most important question is what kind of a life do you want for you? Perhaps you need to spend some time thinking about the future, how you want your life to be. Is it to be found here in France? I wonder if finding a professional therapist to talk to might help.

They could help you talk the situation through and perhaps come to some decision. Once you have decided what to do then you need to work out ways of sticking with your decision, even if there are difficult times.
Therapist B is a Relate-trained counsellor with experience of working with relationship issues and is an experienced couples counsellor
THERAPIST B IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE SO THIS RESPONSE IS FROM A PERSON-CENTRED COUNSELLOR WITH EXPERIENCE OF WORKING WITH CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

Two things come across very strongly to me from your dilemma. The first is that you seem to be under a lot of pressure from your workplace, your partner and from the expectations of your friends and family, but mostly from yourself. The second thing to come across is that you are seeing the solutions as black-and-white i.e. you have to either go back to the job you left a year ago or you have to leave it, you have to decide whether you want a life in France and stay or you have to leave and go back to the UK. Either way, I can't hear your voice in there anywhere, I can only hear fear that you might make the wrong decision and fail other people's expectations and perhaps lose something precious if you choose wrongly.

Maybe it's time you stepped away from all the pressure and gave yourself some serious head-space. What's the worst that can happen if you don't go back to the job in England? What's the worst that can happen if you give yourself time-out from your partner? It sounds as though you may be someone who has always had pressure to do what others want, to keep people happy and to be a "good girl". Maybe you started along this road because you thought it was what you wanted and now that it hasn't worked out so well, you can't remember what the original feeling was. That is often a clue that you hadn't listened to yourself properly back then, only to what you thought you wanted?

Perhaps you could be more assertive with work and with your partner as they are more likely to respect you if you say what you want. Tell them that you want to have some thinking time before you can give answers to life-changing decisions and that they will know the answers as soon as you have had time to make your decisions.

We are often afraid to say what we want in case other people disapprove or won't like us as much. You say you aren't often depressed but are depressed here - my hunch would be that you are feeling depressed because you are trapped. Only by giving yourself space so that your voice is the only one talking will you be able to hear what you are really saying and what you really want.

Therapist C is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist with experience of working with relationship and many other issues.
You state that you came to France to join your partner but further on you say that you had become sick of your job. I wonder if there were other issues that were causing you to want to leave England and that you may not have addressed.

I am struck by your saying that you could make the decision but then your partner changes. I am not sure what you mean by that but it sounds as if you may be relying on him with regard to your decision as to whether to stay or return to England. You also say that he is being careless with your life. This could almost sound as though he is responsible for your life.

I wonder if you have difficulties making decisions and what making decisions means for you. What is it about facing everyone that is difficult? Do you feel that you have to answer to them for your actions?