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Blog / / Are you depressed? Keep the flame of motivation in you by all means possible
26/04/2021
Are you depressed? Keep the flame of motivation in you by all means possible
Aleksandar Dimitrijević clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst at the International Psychoanalysis University in Berlin
Are you depressed? Keep the flame of motivation in you by all means possible
Disturbed sleep rhythm and problems with concentration are the first, almost certain, signs of depression, which is inevitably accompanied by loss of self-esteem and loneliness, social isolation. It is important to know that depression often begins without an obvious reason and announcement. You can get help and it is available to most people, but the most important thing is that changes, when we recognize them in ourselves or our loved ones, are not ignored and that we are not ashamed of them.

There are two certain indicators that something bad is happening to our mental health. The first is disturbed usual sleeping rhythm: you cannot sleep, you wake up every hour, it is hard to wake up, sleep does not get stronger, you do not dream or nightmares do not stop… The body uses all this to show to us that some internal earthquake is about to happen.

Another sign is problem with concentration, capacity that suffers first and recovers last: you can't learn, you constantly think about one subject only, you look at the same page for half an hour… When the mind is agitated, it means that the problem is more serious and it is almost certain that something needs to be done as soon as possible.

If depression develops, of any "depth" and "intensity", it is accompanied by several key experiences.

The first is a complete loss of self-esteem, faith in one's own abilities, feelings of inferiority, inability to contribute to family or society, loss of hope that anyone cares about him ("if someone is, he is blind") or that he will ever care.

It is, of course, impossible for a person who feels worthless to enjoy anything or to find motivation for anything, so he/she can easily stop taking care of himself/herself and thus intensify his/her problems.

Another key experience for depression is loneliness, often accompanied by social isolation: the community is rejecting me because of fear that they will feel the same as I do, my loved ones do not understand me, they think I am overreacting or even do not believe me that I truly suffer, and I cannot control my mind and stop too intense feelings.

The third thing that we often equate with depression - sadness, pessimism, crying, a feeling of hopelessness, loss of the ability to enjoy anything, to feel any pleasure. Even self-harm or suicide attempt is possible in the most severe forms of suffering.

Depression, it is important to keep in mind, is not necessarily a reaction to a certain event, tragedy or personal loss, but can begin for no apparent reason.

It is natural and expected that a death of a loved one will hurt, but we speak about depression only when the preoccupation with the person who is no longer there and the inability to enjoy anything do not subside for at least a year.

The most important is not to ignore depression and not to be ashamed of our weakness

If depression starts, and we notice these changes in ourselves and our loved ones, it is most important not to hide them and not to be ashamed of them. Help exists and it is available to most of the people.

We can do a lot for ourselves. It is extremely important that anyone who notices such feelings preserve in himself/herself a flame of motivation in any possible way: not to stop moving, even by force, every day, to go to nature, play sports, eat healthy and avoid cigarettes, alcohol and drugs - to preserve the vitality of the organism. Also, he/she should pick the activities that bring him/her pleasure – helping others, caring for pets, commitment to religion, art, hobbies, cooking, plants…

Sources of social support are equally important. Perhaps the most precious are friendships, especially with people who have had a similar experience, with whom we can talk openly about our inner life, listen to others, help and accept help. That’s why we cannot end up discovering that in the moment of crisis we do not have any true friend from whom we can ask something since we ourselves did not offer help to others.

Of course, a stable supportive family or spouse, love, sexuality, as well as involvement in larger groups - self-help groups, singing in a choir, team sports, humanitarian work are of great importance…

When to ask for a professional help

It may happen that none of the above is sufficient and that we have to ask for a professional help. It is important in this case to admit it to oneself as soon as possible, despite the possible condemnation and stigmatization of the environment, or even being ashamed of oneself.

Hesitation and delay waste precious time and the problem has not flared up yet and it is possible to solve it. Sometimes medicines, antidepressants, are of great and quick help, sometimes they save lives.

Brain is, however, a magnificent mystery and at the moment we know too little about it in order for the medicines to be efficient or always effective. That’s why sessions with a psychotherapist may be needed.

Sometimes a person who can imagine your despair, who can ’perceive it from inside’, helps you overcome loneliness and being misunderstood, helps you learn how to connect with others more deeply and in a more motivating way, which solves a good deal of a problem. This method shouldn’t’ be idealized either, so the combination of medicines, psychotherapy, sports, socializing, hobbies (and so on) is the best professional approach to depression.

The basic task for those who have asked for and found professional help is still easy to summarize: talk, talk, talk! Try not to watch TV and limit the use of phones and social networks, so that you can honestly explore your mind with the help of friends.

And if you want to do something important for the future, teach your children the skill of describing feelings and show them by example how valuable it is to openly acknowledge pain.
AUTHOR
Aleksandar Dimitrijević
clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst at the International Psychoanalysis University in Berlin