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Elkin Luis, School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra

Light bulbs in the dark

Thu, 03 Oct 2019 09:32:00 +0000 Published in Las Provincias, Diario de Navarra, El Correo, Diario Vasco, Diario Montañés, La Verdad, Ideal,, Diario Sur, La Rioja, El Norte de Castilla and El Comercio.

Today we commemorate the European Day of Depression, a recognition of a mental health problem that has effects at the individual level with repercussions in all areas of the person, and that ultimately written request becomes a public health problem.

On this day I would like to remind that there is no single picture of depression, not only because its cause may be different, but because each person experiences it with an equally different configuration of symptoms and particularities. This is important because, when asking for financial aid, professionals will intervene in one way or another.

Today we will remember the symptoms and some causes that have an impact on the mental health of people with depression, however, and precisely today, I want to bring up some ideas about positive side effects that underlie in people who have gone through or are in depressive processes. And for this I will focus on sadness, which continued over time, is one of the characteristics that indicate that a person is suffering from depression.

Let's stop for a second: sadness, nowadays, is considered as something negative; we avoid it, we don't want to be sad and we don't want our loved ones to be sad. And we don't want this feeling to continue over time.

A bad experience has negative effects, yes, but don't we learn from it? Let's imagine a dark room, a person sitting squatting, trying to prevent the cold from controlling his body. Above him, a beam of light that prevents him from seeing anything around him. This is the image of a person immersed in his -deep- sadness, in his thoughts that -often- reaffirm fears and insecurities, and that the person is unable to control.

Although it may seem the opposite, it can probably be considered that this person is at an optimal moment, because he is at a time in his life when he needs to stop and go deeper into himself, making use of a fundamental process for decision making, his analytical-introspective capacity. Knowing oneself, understanding where those fears come from and... recognizing that there are people around him/her that he/she can count on in this painful path can be resources that facilitate long term improvement plans staff deadline .

The moment this person recognizes that he/she has a support network (family, friends who support him/her), that room will start to light up little by little.

Today we live in a society that is more sensitive to positive emotions, because they are perceived as an improvement in growth staff, etc. Sadness, understood as a particular status , allows to analyze oneself and to establish lines of improvement - growth staff- that the subject puts on internship, being already aware of his weaknesses. In this way, and after an acute and painful process, the person knows him/herself better, and has resources and support networks with which to face future experiences (similar to those that led to depression) from which to emerge successful. I am not arguing that experiencing depression is good, what I am arguing is that human nature in difficult situations, is sample great, and allows us to see that great survivor that we always carry inside.

On the other hand, when the person who is suffering finds support in his or her environment, a bidirectionality is generated between them. If a mother knows that her daughter is not emotionally well, she will be "on alert", watching to warn her that it is time to ask for financial aid; that is, to generate self-care behaviors. It is precisely this state of alertness that allows the mother to ask herself: "And if I were in that situation status, what would I do?

Finally, when we have accompanied our loved one in their pain and we see what strategies they have used to improve; we learn consciously or unconsciously from that pedagogical value. This idea makes me question that if the motivation of self-care of the other fosters a motivation to take care of me, to listen to me and to know me, I can identify and prevent "future risk situations". In this way, and as I have pointed out before, in the end, one takes care of the other. And if this idea of bi-directionality is taken to a larger scale, hopefully, tomorrow we could be talking about "Mutual Care Society Day".