The depressed person and his environment

Not only the depressed person himself, but also his immediate environment (family, friends, colleagues, etc.) are often confronted with the consequences. This article aims to debunk two types of attitudes of loved ones that are very common because they seem self-evident to a logically thinking “normal” person.

The voluntarist attitude

People often think that “with a little good will, things will get better”. The depressed person is constantly told: “Cheer up, you’re letting yourself go” or “respond anyway instead of doing nothing”.

That is precisely the problem, the depressed person really feels tired. He capitulates to the difficulties and no longer wants to get a grip on life. In other words, they demand from him exactly what he can no longer handle.
What the “counselor” often does not suspect (more or less consciously) is that he himself is overcome by a kind of fear : he is afraid of becoming infected by his own depressive feelings and in extreme cases even by his own thoughts of suicide . Because of this fear, he is no longer open to complaints. He doesn’t want to hear them anymore, he plugs his ears, as it were… and that can go to complete denial of the depression and the pain of the depressed person: “but no, there’s nothing wrong with you, you dramatize, you play comedy “. In this way he shields himself from the complaints of the depressed person because they disturb him. Sometimes he tries to find solutions for and instead of the depressed person. However, these are ineffective because they are usually applied thoughtlessly and hastily.

To improve his condition, the depressed person must arouse the desire for change and to this end one must empathize with his situation.

The protective attitude

Another wrong attitude is to think that rest will solve all problems: “rest, if you are so tired! Go to sleep, it will do you good” or “take a vacation, you are exhausted”. However, the depressed person has already too much tendency to cut himself off from the world and live at a slower pace. This causes him to worry even more, which only increases his difficulties. Recommending rest is a “protective attitude” in which one can avoid the stimuli

of life , everyone needs. When this protective attitude becomes systematic, there is a danger that the depressed person will flee from his responsibilities and seek more and more support from his “protective” counselor or confidant, like a wagon hitched to a locomotive. In this way, the depressed person can bond with a person who is open to him or with an institution.

Severely depressed people often spontaneously ask to be admitted to hospital when they feel too confused. The hospital is then seen as a protector that “takes the burden.” The depressed person may also attach to substances that alter his mental state, making him less anxious or even euphoric. These can be medicines (sedatives, painkillers), alcohol, drugs or even a combination.

The longer that “protection” lasts, the greater the dependence, with the risk of it becoming chronic. And above all, the more difficult and painful it becomes to regain independence.