On Face­book, a #Face­OfDe­pres­sion flash­mob has begun — the Face of Depres­sion, where peo­ple share their sad and painful expe­ri­ence of meet­ing her. Painful, because depres­sion itself is like a quag­mire, it drags you deep­er and deep­er every day.


Our expert, pro­fes­sion­al psy­chol­o­gist Ele­na Shpun­dra will tell about the #Face­OfDe­pres­sion flash mob and per­son­al expe­ri­ence. And also about how to rec­og­nize depres­sion and why the banal phras­es “Smile, hold on, every­thing will pass” will nev­er help.

Out­side the win­dow is autumn. Not for every­one, this is the time for har­vest­ing, a warm blan­ket in an embrace with a cat and unhur­ried con­ver­sa­tions with friends over mulled wine. Autumn is a tra­di­tion­al time of exac­er­ba­tion of depres­sion.

It all starts seem­ing­ly trite, with “I’m tired” or “I have no strength.” Well, who among us does not get tired in this fran­tic rhythm of life?

How­ev­er, the usu­al fatigue goes away as soon as you allow your­self to rest — a day, two, a week, even a month. It all depends on the load that caused the fatigue.

Fatigue as a sign of depres­sion does not go away with rest. On the con­trary, every new day you are blown away like a bal­loon, “elas­tic­i­ty” — a vital resource — is less and less.

Now you can’t go to a meet­ing with a friend, a children’s par­ty doesn’t please you, but it seems like anoth­er fac­tor that takes away strength, but they don’t exist any­way, crawl­ing out of bed in the morn­ing seems an impos­si­ble task, your appetite dis­ap­pears and even per­form your dai­ly care rou­tine it becomes more and more dif­fi­cult.

Against this back­ground, “psy­cho­so­mat­ics” can still devel­op — migraines, pres­sure surges, espe­cial­ly for those who do not under­stand what is hap­pen­ing to him, but strong­ly blames him­self for lying and doing noth­ing. The body begins to throw him “excus­es” of pas­siv­i­ty.

Why do depressions occur?

There is no sin­gle answer. I think at some point a per­son can­not with­stand the bur­den of life cir­cum­stances.

flash mob depression

It can be some big trou­bles and loss­es. Or just a peri­od of small fail­ures, but it lasts a long time and there are so many small fail­ures that they merge into one big trou­ble. When real­i­ty fright­ens (does­n’t suit) so much that you want to run away from it, close your­self in some small world where it can’t reach.

There is also a monoamine the­o­ry, accord­ing to which the devel­op­ment of depres­sion is asso­ci­at­ed with a defi­cien­cy of dopamine, sero­tonin, nor­ep­i­neph­rine.

Defi­cien­cy of “hor­mones of hap­pi­ness” is typ­i­cal for res­i­dents of coun­tries with a damp, low-sun and rainy cli­mate.

Only the facts

  • For exam­ple, depres­sion in Swe­den is the num­ber one rea­son for sick leave.
  • In the Nether­lands, an employ­ee diag­nosed with depres­sion is enti­tled to one year’s paid leave.
  • At the same time, in the Unit­ed States, where the cli­mate is very dif­fer­ent, more than 26% of women and 12% of men suf­fer from depres­sion. So the cli­mat­ic fac­tor, although it affects the state of the body, every­thing is not deci­sive.

Depres­sion comes in vary­ing degrees of sever­i­ty, so many man­age to hide it quite suc­cess­ful­ly, even from them­selves.

#FaceOfDepression: a flash mob that exposes the face of trouble

In this flash mob, peo­ple share how they man­aged to main­tain the belief in oth­ers that every­thing is “ok” with them — for exam­ple, go to work and build a career, only at home they fell down and burst into tears for no rea­son, but what is hap­pen­ing at home, only we and the cat, if there is one, know.


Some­one post­ed their smil­ing pho­tos on social net­works and com­mu­ni­cat­ed with oth­ers “as usu­al”, but at home the hus­band and chil­dren could not under­stand why the moth­er com­plete­ly stopped cook­ing and clean­ing and always tries to avoid com­mu­ni­cat­ing with them.


Oh, this is the pow­er of per­sua­sion “keep your brand”, “save face”, “so that peo­ple do not think bad things.”

Personal experience: how I faced depression

There are depres­sions, severe, clin­i­cal, when hos­pi­tal­iza­tion is indis­pens­able.

My mom had one just like that. But at that time the word “depres­sion” was not even in use, and hos­pi­tal­iza­tion in the PND meant the stig­ma of “crazy”.

A painful divorce from my father, the col­lapse of the Union, attempts to find one­self in busi­ness, lat­er the betray­al of a busi­ness part­ner — all these trou­bles formed a big snow­ball that lit­er­al­ly crushed my moth­er.

I was a stu­dent, we lived in the same apart­ment, each new day became worse than the pre­vi­ous one, but nei­ther she nor I under­stood what was hap­pen­ing!

depression photo

At first, my moth­er stopped doing some­thing around the house. A neat and tidy woman in the past, she sud­den­ly didn’t care that the fur­ni­ture was cov­ered with dust, and there was a moun­tain of dirty dish­es in the sink.

Clean­ing passed into my hands, but lat­er she refused to even leave her room for me to clean it. Refus­ing to cook, nar­row­ing social con­tacts, soon my moth­er stopped tak­ing off her night­gown.

“Lat­er”, “tomor­row, yes, I will get up tomor­row, I promise you”, “I feel bad, I need to lie down” — these words were repeat­ed to her from day to day, but noth­ing changed.

So she lay for sev­er­al years. It was only the need to move to her grand­fa­ther, her father, who was decrepit and required super­vi­sion, that made her get up. Mom moved and even start­ed cook­ing for her grand­fa­ther, but she nev­er got out of depres­sion. She did not want to take care of her­self, clean­li­ness, she took ani­mals and was hap­py to com­mu­ni­cate only with them.

I used to be very angry with my moth­er. I thought she did­n’t try, did­n’t want to, did­n’t make any effort on her­self. Now I under­stand that my moth­er sim­ply could not.

depression signs

But then I did­n’t want to go home. There was a com­plete mis­un­der­stand­ing in my head how to live and what to do. But I was afraid that if I didn’t do any­thing, I would lie down next to my moth­er and togeth­er we would die. There­fore, I ran through inter­views with such speed and with such ener­gy that a job was found. I think it was this moth­er’s depres­sion that gave me tremen­dous resilience and the will to move for­ward.

I feel like I have to live for her too. And enjoy for it. Times did not work out togeth­er.

But back to the flash mob and depres­sion. As a psy­chol­o­gist, I can’t help but notice that few peo­ple write about seek­ing pro­fes­sion­al help or tak­ing anti­de­pres­sants.

This is despite the fact that the expe­ri­ence of liv­ing in depres­sion has 3, 5, 8 or more years. Some kind of aura of “shame­ful ill­ness” per­sists around depres­sion — go to a psy­chother­a­pist, psy­chi­a­trist, go to a neu­ro­sis clin­ic, take anti­de­pres­sants — many con­tin­ue to think that this is like sign­ing that you are a psy­cho.

depression symptoms

If some­one finds out — shame, shame, so it’s bet­ter to “han­dle it myself.”

You won’t make it. Even with “minor” depres­sion. You will dri­ve deep­er, you will learn to endure more, but it is bet­ter to pre­tend. But you won’t make it.

Seek help from pro­fes­sion­als. At least for the sake of your loved ones who live depres­sion with you every day. So that they do not want to lie down and die next to their moth­er, since I am in my 20+.

Share this infor­ma­tion on social net­works — per­haps for some­one it will be vital!


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