Depression – breaking the stigma and providing help

Dear all of you who faithfully follow my blog,

After numerous inquiries on this topic, I have finally decided to give advicees for people who suffer from depression or have their loved ones to whom this disease disrupts everyday life. It is known, first of all, that there is a big taboo when it comes to visiting a psychologist or psychiatrist and people who suffer from mental illness. An extreme enthusiasm, intellectual efforts and passion for the profession as well as love towards humans are atempting to commence changes for the better and will gradually destigmatize people who suffer from mental illness. Since the inquiries on the topic of depression have prevailed, we open the “season” with this very current but unfortunately silenced topic when it comes to interpersonal relationships and trust itself.

In the recent period, psychiatric clinics and appointments with psychologists have been ovebooked, the needs are huge, the number of educated professionals is optimal, but insufficient to accept new patients in need. This problem is not specific for Europe, it has unfortunately become almost global.

In order not to write too much about general facts related to depression, I will pay attention exclusively to the early signs of the problem itself and to useful instructions for further coping.

When do we notice that a person with depression is no longer as they used to be? The person finds it difficult to confide in us, it is difficult to define the background situation that was the trigger of depression, lack of insight into the disease while in the early stages (“It’s nothing, just my transient mood, it will be better in a few days”), resignation, gradually loss of social contacts, loss of self-confidence, distorted perception of one’s appearance, reduced concern for one’s own health, decreased motivation (“You know sometimes it’s too hard for me to get out of bed and get dressed”), feeling depressed (caution with more intense “morning depression”), problems with falling asleep, in some cases long sleeping, deviations in concentration, reduced possibility of rational thinking.

All the above listed symptoms can be the cause of hormonal imbalances, chronic pain syndromes, fibromyalgia, neurological diseases, many other mental illnesses that have elements of depression in the symptomatology.

How do we discern these elements to help our loved ones gradually break out of the vicious circle?

Explain to the person that the current condition is not a manifestation of his / her personal weakness!

Assessing the stress factors by an individual such as:

  • family problems dissatisfaction at work in the form of underpayment and lack of promotion
  • insufficient time for recreation (mental or physical)
  • traumatic events that have taken place in the past
  • non-existent support from family
  • accumulation of stress caused by a lack of trust

What to do when there is resistance to seeking professional psychological help?

  • guaranteeing absolute discretion
  • consultation with a family doctor and / or priest
  • explaining an individual that professional psychological help is not designed to give a diagnose of mental ilness, but to help in developing coping mechanisms and daily structure
  • encourage the person to timely alleviate the situation with the explanation that the accumulation of negative events and emotions further complicate the course of therapy and the outcome of the health condition

In what direction to work on the destigmatization of people with mental illness?

  • praise to the person who gathered the courage to share his / her difficult situation with you
  • gratitude for the trust shown, because it is a great honor and privilege when a person reveals to you the “dark corner” of his / her soul
  • the person who listens, sympathizes and encourages let these previous two rules be “Conditio sine qua non”
  • approach with an open mind, directly, without any prejudice about anyone’s beliefs
  • take very seriously what the person is telling you, do not attemmpt to devalue what one is telling you.
  • Remember: Everyone’s problem is the biggest problem – it is a very individually experienced situation!
  • great patience, gradualness and gentleness towards a person will never harm his / her reintegration into the society.

Finally, be grateful to person for sharing the experience with you so that you can learn something new and expand your own life horizons!

May peace, light and harmony accompany you!



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