What is Culture Shock?
Culture shock can be thought of as a psychological experience where you feel a mixture of strong emotions when suddenly encountering unfamiliar cultures.
Culture shock happens when immigrating to new countries, but it can also happen when changing any living situation. Many people in the Bay Area have come here from different parts of the country and are likely to experience some form of culture shock upon arriving here. That is, the cultural difference between the Bay Area and Detroit, for instance, can bring about just as intense feelings of culture shock as an international migration might.
Culture shock specifically refers to the negative emotional aspects of encountering novel cultures. There is often excitement and an appreciation for new cultures that is not encompassed in this definition. Culture shock specifically refers to when the differences between cultures is experienced as sudden, overwhelming, uncomfortable and has a component of morning.
If this sounds familiar you are probably experiencing culture shock.
Is it a problem?
Not necessarily. Culture shock can be short-lived and often not much more than a nuisance. However for some people, and in some situations culture shock can be a real problem. It can interfere with relationships, job performance, and psychological and emotional well-being.
Culture shock becomes a problem when it interferes with your relationships, job, or causes depression, anxiety, or other emotional problems.
When culture shock is enduring, this usually indicates that there is a larger problem that needs to be addressed. The culture shock may be bringing about issues that have been dormant or haven’t been fully addressed. Issues of loss, belonging, and identity often get stirred up when experiencing culture shock. These feelings can be very overwhelming and poorly understood by friends and family.
Indeed, they may lack the experience to relate with you. Thus feelings of loneliness are common.
If this is something you think you might be struggling with, please contact me. I specialize in helping people like you adapt to the feelings of loneliness, isolation, anxiety, and depression associated with culture shock.