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Blog / The modern-age disease from the perspective of an expert / Depression – how it occurs and how it is treated
01/04/2019
The modern-age disease from the perspective of an expert
Depression – how it occurs and how it is treated
Aleksandar Dimitrijević Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalyst, International Psychoanalytic University Berlin
Photo credits: Andjelko Vasiljevic
Depression – how it occurs and how it is treated
There are two inevitable indicators pointing out that there is something wrong with the mental health. The first one indicates that the normal rhythm of sleep is disturbed: you cannot fall asleep, you wake up every now and then, you cannot wake up, the dream is not refreshing enough, you do not dream or nightmares are unstoppable... If another sign occurs, such as concentration problems, it's almost certain that something should be undertaken as soon as possible.

It is important to bear in mind that depression is not a reaction, and is not caused by tragedies and traumas, but it rather starts without a cause. If a depression of any ’depth’ and ’intensity’ develops, most people suffer because of two essential experiences. The first is a complete loss of self-esteem, belief in one's own competencies, feeling of personal worth, possibility of contributing to the family or society, hope that anyone cares about me (’if someone does, he/she is wilfully blind’) or shall ever care about me. It is impossible for a person who feels so worthless to enjoy anything or find motivation for anything, so he/she can easily stop taking care about him/herself, and thus increase the problems. The other essential experience for depression is loneliness, isolation: the community rejects me because of fear; my family members do not understand me and think that I exaggerate or they do not even trust me, and I myself cannot control my mind and block intensive feelings. It is quite possible that sorrow, crying, and even suicidal attempts often come out of what we often perceive as recognizable depressive behaviour.

It is extremely important for anyone who perceives such feelings within him/herself, to keep a flame of motivation in any possible way: not to stop moving every day, even unwilfully, going out in nature, doing sports, having a healthy diet, and avoiding cigarettes, alcohol and narcotics - preserve the vitality of the body; preserve and cherish all sources of social support - friendships (especially with people who have had similar experience), family, love, sex; choose pleasurable activities - helping others, pet care, commitment to religion, art, hobbies, cooking, plants...

It may happen that everything stated above is not enough and that we must seek professional help. It is important here to admit such a thing to oneself as soon as possible, despite the possible condemnation and labelling by the community. Sometimes medicines, antidepressants are of great and quick help, even life-saving in certain situations. However, the brain is a magnificent mystery, and we currently know too little about it in order for medicines to be sufficient or always effective. Therefore, conversations with a psychotherapist may be helpful. Sometimes a person who thinks can see your despair ’from the inside’ is helpful for overcoming the loneliness and lack of sympathy, which solves a good part of the problem. The method should not be idealized by any means, so the combination of medicines, psychotherapy, sports, getting together with people, hobbies, etc., is probably the best professional approach to depression.

Those who have requested and found our professional help still have a basic task that can be easily summarized: talk, talk, talk! Try not to watch TV and limit the use of the phone and social networks, so that you can sincerely explore your mind with the help of your friends. And, if you want to do something important for the future, teach children the skill of describing feelings and show them by your example how worth it is to openly acknowledge pain.
AUTHOR
Aleksandar Dimitrijević
Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalyst, International Psychoanalytic University Berlin
Photo credits: Andjelko Vasiljevic