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Forums / Multicultural experiences / No reason needed to be depressed.

Topic: No reason needed to be depressed.

14 posts, 0 answered
  1. Donte'
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    24 February 2018

    I’m sitting on a bench in the park and suddenly a big branch fell from a tree nearby. I looked to see if there was a possum or something but couldn’t find anything that could have caused this branch to break. It just happened.

    Everyone might experience feelings of sadness, unhappiness, worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness or sadness, at some time in their life which may be due to a specific event. However, when a depressed mood persists for more than several weeks and interferes with an individual’s ability to enjoy life and/or function properly professional help is recommended as it might be a sign of serious depression.

    Depression can alter a person’s thinking, behaviour and function. Just like the branch falling off the tree without any particular cause, depression doesn’t need trauma or horrible circumstances, loss or grief in order to manifest itself. Just like a headache can come up anytime with no particular reason and without meaning that you are responsible or did something wrong.

    However it is important to remember that depression is a treatable illness. The person with depression and their family must not feel responsible or see it as a sign of weakness, stigma and/or shame. Talk about depression and seek help and support.

    It is an illness that affects many people from all backgrounds, genders, age groups etc. The symptoms can vary in duration and intensity and in severe cases can prove quite disabling with potentially serious consequences unless professional help is sought. Some of the symptoms that can be experienced in varying degrees are sadness, anxiety, panic, anger, withdrawal from family and friends, guilt, shame, feelings of inadequacy, inability to perform simple every day tasks, inability to undertake family, work or social responsibilities.

    One of the most common form of low mood linked to social stressors and characterised by many physical health problems is a combination of depression and anxiety.

    If you have noticed that you or someone in your family seems pre occupied/worried/concerned or there’s a change in behaviour and/or outlook, it might be a good idea to visit the family doctor to discuss what the feelings and offer to make the appointment for them (if it’s for a loved one), if they seem despondent. Offer to go with them to the appointment as this support might prove very valuable. Maintain contact with the person so they feel supported and know there is someone they can talk to outside a medical professional.

    4 people found this helpful
  2. Quercus
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    Quercus avatar
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    24 February 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Hi Donte',

    Another important point. Thank you.

    This happens all the time on these forums... People who write I have no reason to feel depressed.

    The sad thing in my view is for every one post we see where someone writes that I worry there are probably 10 others who don't post because they feel guilty.

    Why?

    "I feel like my problems are nothing compared to others"

    "Nothing bad has happened to me I just feel low"

    "I should be able to make myself not feel like this"

    "Others need your time more than me... I feel selfish".

    Sound familiar?

    That's why your post is so vital Donte'. Mental illness needs no reason. It can just creep in.

    But the stigma is there. If there is no reason it can be hard to feel like you deserve help.

    Nat

    2 people found this helpful
  3. Donte'
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    25 February 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Thanks Nat,

    Very true indeed.

    Most people are worried about how others may perceive them, especially those in the immediate environment or the particular group or community they identify with.

    You see, there is strength in numbers. If we fit in, we enjoy the benefits a group provides, and have the understanding and support we all desire when times get tough.

    The word Stigma is a Greek one. It means a spot, a dirty spoil, something evident that stands out like a smudge on a white cloth. It is a problem. It spoils the rest. It stands out. It needs to be eliminated.

    So, when we talk about accepting and acknowledging our illness, that takes a lot of courage as we place the spotlight upon us and become vulnerable and open to everyone else’s judgement and criticism. This hurts. Particularly when it is your own loved ones or family or religious or ethnic community that points the finger at you. When suddenly you are characterized by your mental illness and you are not seen as who you truly are, or for your personality and skills but rather as a part of a group that is not welcomed as it’s problematic and hard to handle and gives a bad name to the rest.

    Those negative beliefs and behaviors create prejudices and rejection that leads to discrimination and marginalization.

    When three out of four people with mental health issues have experienced the damaging impact of this stigma within their own culturally and linguistically and religious communities, it is no wonder why people are still petrified to speak up and admit they need help.

    3 people found this helpful
  4. Quercus
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    Quercus avatar
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    25 February 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Far out this needs to be in BOLD... And on my fridge to re read every single day....

    when we talk about accepting and acknowledging our illness, that takes a lot of courage as we place the spotlight upon us

    and become vulnerable and open to everyone else’s judgement and criticism

    I think that you are at the heart of why stigma exists around mental illness Donte.

    We are afraid to be different. We want to be welcomed and included and liked.

    I'm learning that being open about my mental illness is not a bad thing.

    In my community those who have embraced me warts and all have been people who I enjoy being around and make me feel happier and better.

    Those who judge me. Want me to feel ashamed. Want me to conform or change.... Well generally they are toxic for me to be around.

    So I find it easier to just be me. If it isolates me from places and people who are toxic to me then so be it. There are others who embrace and welcome me.

    Is this different in your culture Donte? Have you felt isolated from your community because of your MI? Have people within your community surprised you by embracing you mental illness and all?

    2 people found this helpful
  5. Donte'
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    28 February 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hello Quercus,

    Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad that my post on stigma resonates with you. This is my understanding in a nutshell.

    In regards to your questions:

    I haven’t being a part of the Greek community in Australia as I do not find many similar interests, values, ideals to bind me together with my ethnic group. Additionally, as people from my ethnicity often cannot separate religion from ethnicity, and as I grew up in a different religion and as an adult have embraced atheism, this puts me apart from whatever community may exist between Greek people here. This separation from my ethnic and religious community took place decades prior to my mental health diagnosis so I don’t believe it has anything to do with it.

    They are a few people which have shown understanding and care especially in the midst of ‘coming out’ as gay and divorcing my wife of fifteen years to be with another man. My brother is one of these people. However, he also doesn’t identify with the Greek community in Melbourne. As I always say: ‘We are more than we are!’

    3 people found this helpful
  6. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
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    28 February 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Hello Donte

    Great thread. I have just come across it. There is so much truth in being afraid of isolation, of being shunned by those who were considered friends, of being treated as the idiot person and being weak.

    Such soul destroying attitudes force people to choose whether or not to get treatment or go it alone. We get so many posts on BB that talk about the shame they experience or the thought that others will be ashamed of them. It is also the reason why more women than men admit to being depressed. I think this is especially true in societies or ethnic groups which view father/husband as the family provider and become afraid if that security appears to be lost or reduced.

    And of course the other reason men do not seek help is the thought of what other males will think and say. Not being sexist here, but the male image of hunter is still alive and well. Women of course have been traditionally considered to have fewer personal resources which makes them more vulnerable to mental illness and that's OK because they are naturally weaker. Of course this is untrue but statistics can be so easily used to reflect this.

    "Coming out" as gay in any form has always had problems and consequences for any of these people. It has similar connotations as having a MI, probably lumping both perceptions together. If you are gay you must also have a MI by definition. This whole difference to mainstream society mores sets up tensions and barriers that are hard to get over. I think it sadly comes back to fear of difference. We seem more comfortable when everyone around is the same as us.

    I think we all want to be accepted as a person without any labels or warning stickers.

    Thanks for starting this thread.

    Mary

    2 people found this helpful
  7. Quercus
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    Quercus avatar
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    1 March 2018 in reply to White Rose

    Hi Donte and Mary (and anyone out there reading or wanting to join in),

    Far out Donte' admiting your sexuality must have been so difficult. I think you were very brave to do so.

    Mary I love the idea of warning stickers. Mine would say "mostly depressed except for in the company of frogs or in a garden" 😊. If we're going to be labelled and judged then why not have fun with it?

    Anyway I meandered off topic sorry. Reasons. Do you ever think maybe a lack of community and meaning or acceptance can be a reason for depression? Many people who write I have no reaon to feel depressed then go on to show they have no support. That is a reason in itself.

    ❤ Nat

    2 people found this helpful
  8. Donte'
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    1 March 2018 in reply to White Rose

    Thank you Mary,

    It’s true. The mythologies we perpetuate. The false beliefs. ‘Boys don’t cry’ or ‘Man up’ or ‘Boys will be boys’ etc.

    Let’s not forget also that until the 70s homosexuality was considered a mental health illness and stated as such in the Psychiatry bible! Also the de criminalization of homosexuality has only taken place the last few decades here in Australia, and until very very recently same-sex married was illegal. So, not only non-English speaking communities but also in our backyard the mess has been perpetuated forever thanks to religion mainly and moralistic conservatism. I’m glad that society is growing up, very gradually and extremely slowly but surely! X

    3 people found this helpful
  9. Donte'
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    1 March 2018 in reply to Quercus

    Hi Quercus,

    I think in my case the reason to be depressed has been my family and culture and religion! It's interesting how all these things that at a superficial level people think of as support mechanisms can often be the main reason of the development of issues, mental illness and hardship. Not all families are loving and caring. Not every culturally and linguistically diverse community is nurturing. Not every religious group is providing a warm sense of belonging and fuzzy fellowship. Expectations from family and community can crash you and deeply impact you. Anyway, the original thought of mine was that in this particular moment in time perhaps even if no issues or concerns or challenges or trauma is being presently experienced, one can still be depressed. It's all about chemical imbalances and proteins and inflammation of the brain, and I think that may be a good enough reason.

    3 people found this helpful
  10. Donte'
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    3 March 2018

    When people are diagnosed with an illness we don’t ask them why. More precisely we don’t try to find what they’ve done wrong to get this disease. There’s no blame attached or a sense of responsibility as to why they’re sick. Additionally, I haven’t heard anyone ever saying to an amputee ‘keep breathing, meditate and pray and think positively and your leg will grow back in no time!’ - Sounds really stupid and naive doesn’t it?

    So why do we do it then when someone has a mental illness? Why we try to find out what caused it? Why are we asking all these questions? Why do we even try to sugar coat it and often change the words we use? Why minimize the actuality and severity of an illness by trying to normalize it? When someone says to me ‘don’t worry mate, we are all depressed!’ Or when I hear people saying ‘it’s ok, you’ll get over it. It’s just a phase.’, I find it offensive. Even though there may be elements of truth in these statements the reality is we are not all the same and not everyone has a mental illness. Also, many will not ‘get over it!’ They will have to learn to live with it like the amputee will have to adjust to his missing leg.

    So why don’t we stop trying to give solutions, or make it better, and why don’t we just listen? Listen to the person who is suffering from a very real illness. MRI scans and other measurements of diagnosis provide ample evidence that mental illness is a physical illness affecting the brain and various other body parts. The mind is not independent of our physical existence, it is part of it. Whatever happens in our mind (chemical imbalances etc), is a physical thing that takes place and requires intervention just like the sugar levels affected by diabetes. Let’s start seeing the facts as they are, and stop making it worse by applying pseudoscience and pseudo spirituality and airy fairy New age pseudo knowledge to try and appear that we know and stop trying to explain, and find causes to blame, but rather, let’s start accepting and acknowledging that sometimes all these things are totally irrelevant and often do more harm than help. Just pay attention to the person. Whatever they’re describing is real to them and that’s good enough reason to listen.

    2 people found this helpful
  11. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
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    4 March 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Donte, wow that came from the heart. It's all true. We need people to listen to us with compassion and acceptance instead of judgement.

    I think people with depression and other MI need to actively engage with the healing process. Perhaps like your amputee who is the only that can exercise to get strong enough to become mobile. And to do that requires assistance from the experts.

    It's no help at all when we hear 'get over it', 'it's just a phase', as you said. We need acknowledgement of our illness not facile comments.

    Whatever they’re describing is real to them and that’s good enough reason to listen. Absolutely.

    Not entirely sure there is no need to find a cause. This happens in physical matters such as me being in a car accident and hurting my leg. The nature of the injury has stirred up previous surgery and it's reasonable to work out what came first and how to manage the situation. But yes, we do hear some rare beauties at times. When we can laugh at them is when we know we are getting better, even if not cured.

    Mary

    1 person found this helpful
  12. Sapphire*
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    4 March 2018 in reply to Donte'

    Im so glad I read this post. I am having a hard time lately. My hubby is constantly asking me "why are you depressed now?" "What are you deoressed for now?" "Is it... is it... ??? "

    I dont always have an answer. It honestly makes me feel ashamed. Like i dont have anything to be depressed about. Sometimes i dont. Sometimes im just hit with it. Sometimes i just lock myself in my room and cry for the whole day and i dont know why. Why should i even have to explain myself?

    Quercus. Some of those points you raised in your first post on this thread, they are all posted on my thread recently.

    I feel like that everyday. I tell people im "fine" because they believe i have nothing to be depressed about. Others have it worse than me. I feel ashamed because other people are fighting to live while my depression makes me want to die.

    I cant reach out to my family because MI doesnt exist. Not in this family anyway. If it does its all hushed up. Swept under the carpet.

    I cant tell my family because their physical illnesses are worse than my MI. Im selfish or attention seeking.

    Sorry for interrupting your conversation. Im probably way off base. No doubt wrong again.

    Sapphire.

    1 person found this helpful
  13. Donte'
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    5 March 2018 in reply to White Rose

    Yes Mary!

    We actively need to listen to the person. Not as a 'special needs group', but as a human being. A particular individual like no other on earth with universal needs. Once upon a time being left righted was considered an abnormality, being gay a mental illness etc. Luckily as we learn and scientific and medical progress sheds light over certain issues, the prejudices and stereotypes evaporate and are replaced by evidence-based knowledge.

    And yes, maybe exploring the causes could shed more light to help in the recovery process and the necessary interventions needed to support the individual by having a greater awareness of risk factors and patterns. X

  14. Donte'
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    5 March 2018 in reply to Sapphire*

    Hello Sapphire,

    Thank you for reading and responding to this thread. You don't interrupt the conversation. You actually enhance it by participating in it. And you are not wrong or off base. You are aloud to feel exactly what you feel. This is Your reality. And even if no one is able or willing to hear, acknowledge or understand it, is still Your reality and no less real. And no, you don't need to explain it to others.

    Sometimes our loved ones are trying to understand. Other times they can't cope with the awkwardness and the silence or change of mood. They expect us to be the way they know as it suits them and it's comfortable for them. They may even be indifferent to our agony and self-absorbed. Whatever the case, it is their responsibility to 'catch up'. I don't think it's fair to expect from us to educate them and make them understand. We are dealing with whatever we deal and that can be overwhelming enough. I wouldn't worry about the rest.

    We don't always need or have to have an answer. It's ok to not know. To not be able to explain. We are aloud. No one should make you feel ashamed. No matter how unintentional it may be. You don't need to have this additional burden on top of everything else.

    People can be very cruel. It is not their business to judge us and decide if we have legitimate reasons to be depressed or not. It's not always about them so they need to understand this and be quiet. Illness doesn't need a cause. A reason. Yes, others have it worse than us, but also others have it better. So what? That doesn't minimise at all the reality or the pain we experience.

    Please don't feel ashamed for your feelings. Own them and respect them and give them the necessary attention because they are telling you something about where you are at and what you need to do.

    Family is often the last place to find support as the expectations are placing a heavy weight upon our shoulders. You are aloud to be selfish. You are aloud to seek attention. You are aloud to scream out for help. Just do it to the right people - professionals who will not judge or criticise or talk behind your back and will listen attentively with confidentiality and in a safe environment, and support you to find ways to deal with your situation and develop strategies to build resilience and achieve positive outcomes to enhance your wellbeing and find some peace.

    Have you talked to your GP? Have you talked to a Counsellor online or on the phone? It may be a good start. X

    1 person found this helpful

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