I Can’t Get Motivated to Get My Green Card

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From the U.S. I’m 20. I recently got married to a US citizen, I am not a citizen, I have been dealing with what seems to me is depression due to feelings of emptiness, loneliness, despair, sleeping and eating problems. My depressive symptoms are not new, but seem to be worsening. I am under a lot of pressure to get a US drivers licence, and get my green card so I am able to work, but have absolutely no motivation to do so. I so badly want to progress in life and do these things but am struggling to find the willpower to even get out of bed in the morning.

My husband is not very supportive, and expects me to pull myself out of this but will make remarks such as “I don’t know if I want kids anymore because you are so lazy.” He makes me feel worthless and unattractive with his attitude towards me and I feel like all the hard work I put in to motivating myself gets torn down by his harsh and cold ways. I don’t know how to fix this and I’m losing my will to do anything. I have no support due to my friends and family all being halfway across the world and my husband saying I am being childish or looking for attention. I need some advice on what to do. Thank you.

A: It seems to me that you and your husband are trying to solve the wrong problems. You want to stop being depressed. He wants you to stop being lazy. I don’t think those are your problems. Instead, I think you are having difficulty with adjusting to all that is so new to you.

You didn’t say why you married so young and out of your culture. Whatever the reason, adjusting to a new country, new language, and new culture is never easy. Often there is grieving for what is familiar – even if there is joy in the new situation.

There are huge cultural differences between the country you left and where you settled in the U.S. I hope you and your husband are giving you support for how homesick you may be and how much you miss your family and friends. This is normal and important. If you only push the feelings of loss away instead of dealing with them, the adjustment period will last far longer than it needs to.

Please tell your husband for me that you don’t need to be scolded. You need him to be compassionate about your losses and to support you in becoming part of your new life. However wonderful he may be, your relationship with him is not enough to fill the gap left by leaving family and women friends.

The antidote for the loneliness is to start making connections. Getting your license and green card can be the way to find people you like and to start participating in life again. Work is more than a paycheck. It also often expands our friendship circle and makes it possible to do more things. Please look to see if there are places in your city where people of your nationality gather. Some conversation in your own language will be comforting, and people who have been in the States for awhile may be able to give you some good advice about how to be more comfortable there.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 22 Mar 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). I Can’t Get Motivated to Get My Green Card. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/03/22/i-cant-get-motivated-to-get-my-green-card/