We are a society in which suffering is still a silent companion. We take pills to numb the pain of life, do something about our high cholesterol and the low level of motivation we have while being asked, "What is your motivation doing today?" As if depression were just a cold or an infection that could be treated with antibiotics.
The doctors complain that they have their hands full. Every day, they would find dozens of people with clear signs of depression or anxiety. It seems that society is a pupil that expands upon entering a gloomy room where the darkness immediately besieges us.
"The birds of sadness can fly over our head, but they can not settle on our head." Chinese proverb
Suffering is felt both in our bodies and in our minds: the back, the bones, the heart and the stomach hurt us, and we feel a pressure on our chest. Our sheets are a warm sanctuary, but they resemble the tentacles of an octopus, inviting us to linger there, far from the world, from light, conversation, and the noise of life.
The World Health Organization predicted that the disease would become the major health problem of the Western world's population within 20 years, and to counter this, we would not only need measures, tools or well-trained experts. It requires above all awareness and sensitivity.
We must not forget that none of us is immune to one day suffering from a mental disorder. We can not play down suffering. Understanding this has a positive effect on our society, we will be better able to deal with mental suffering and, above all, we can prevent illnesses such as depression.
Depression: the silent companion and personal failure
Angela is 49 years old and a nurse. Two days ago, she was diagnosed as being anxious-depressive. Before she made her appointment with the Specialist, she already noticed the shadow of this depression, perhaps because she recognized the symptoms she was experiencing as her mother went through these dreadful phases, leaving her without motivation and isolation in her room. It was a time that shaped her childhood.
Now she's the one who's sick, and though she's told to get her sick, Angela does not want that. She is afraid of the comments of her work colleagues, doctors and nurses who judge her illness. And she is ashamed, because for her depression is a personal failure, an inherited weakness.
Her mind is haunted by recurring, gnawing memories of her mother. To a woman who has never gone to the doctor and spent a large part of her life in a nerve-wracking emotional ups-and-downs.
But Angela went to see a psychiatrist and she convinces herself that he's doing well because the psychotropic drugs should help her. Because depression is just another disease that needs to be treated, such as high blood pressure, increased cholesterol or hypothyroidism. Unfortunately, our protagonist is mistaken, because tablets help against the pain of life, but they alone can not eliminate it. Depression, like many other mental disorders, must be treated on three sides: psychotherapy, a life plan, and social support.
No motivation, great suffering and infinite ignorance
We are used to hearing that suffering is part of life and that sometimes a painful experience can help us grow stronger and grow personally. However, one fact escapes us, namely, that there is another kind of suffering that suddenly comes into our lives, without warning, like a fresh wind that robs us of our motivation, zest for life and energy.
"Building a wall to build one's own suffering means running the risk of it gnawing us from the inside out."
Existential suffering is the great virus that is spreading in today's human beings. You can neither see it nor touch it, and yet it wreaks havoc. One day a diagnosis will name this damage, it will put another stamp on us, and many health experts will focus too much on scientific models. They forget that every depressed patient is unique, has individual clinical features, has his own story, and that sometimes the same strategy is not useful to everyone.
In addition, when we try to combat depression, we encounter another problem. In many places, there are still no diagnostic and therapeutic guidelines. All this shows us that mental health problems are not sufficiently recognized, even though one thing is proven: 1 in 6 people suffer from depression at least once in their lives.
At the same time, this sometimes inappropriate approach to health care adds to the aforementioned social stigma. There is some interesting data that was published in an article in Psychology Today magazine that undoubtedly makes us think about our thoughts.
If people were told that depression has neurobiological causes, they are more tolerant of the topic. The visits to psychologists or psychiatrists would even pile up, because people would no longer have to assume that it was a supposed weakness on their part, a sign of lack of courage, because they let themselves be seduced by the pain and suffering.
As we have seen, ignorance is still very large and certain diseases are still seen today as synonymous with craziness, weaknesses or deficiencies that need to be hidden. The time has come to deal differently with these pains that can not be plastered or sutured, for which not every 6 hours a drip is needed to deal with and understand them. We must no longer devalue suffering and have to learn to understand it, as active participants and above all as close persons.