What is depression? What cultural elements in our Iranian way of living lead to depression?
Definition of depression:
Any unhappy thought, feeling, emotion, or memory of events due to the loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, traumatic events, and grief/sorrow, or for no reason at all, that lasts for more than two weeks.
The feeling of being down, not willing to interact with others, not having any hope or solution for problems, not feeling loved, unable to make one’s own choices, or not having the resources to change some horrible injustice, all in all are causing depression for Iranian people and Iranian culture. There are some specific cultural variables and they may change from person to person, community to community.
Now, let’s talk about 27 years of such feelings! Let’s explore centuries of feeling oppressed, suffocated, and collectively depressed! Let’s talk about all the emotional, physical, and psychological pain brought about by immigration and adjustment issues! Some of these are:
Physical disturbances: The loss of appetite, lack of sleep, chronic pain, and health concerns, fatigue, and embodied pain.
Emotional suffering: The feeling of not belonging, isolation, loss of family bonds, sadness, fear, anger, shame, guilt, too many emotions leading to tears and devastation.
Social devastation: an inability to succeed in the tasks of life because of mental health problems that are being hidden and kept secret, loss of concentration in work, school, peer relations, and family relations. Social suffering also includes avoiding others, neglecting responsibilities, lacking the power to change horrible life circumstances many times leading to violent family life, physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse.
Psychological disturbances: underlying personality issues may
Impact/increase/decrease the feeling of depression
Our culturally most horrible mistakes in dealing with depressed person are:
Family involvement in one’s decision making or having no possibility to make one’s own decisions at all.
Collective family structures with no respect for personal space and no validation of personal contributions.
· Family could be fearful, feeling unsafe because the depressed person acts strongly,
· family may lack understanding for the sings and symptoms, family may neglect in supporting the person,
· family may reject the person as he/ she does not participate in the regular family relations,
· family may give too much advise to the person of what he/she should do,
· family may not letting the person rest and find proper help,
· family may without knowing stigmatize the depressed person, telling him/her that: “it is bad in our culture and if others know about this, the family’s reputation is damaged, so the person has to put his acts together and act normal.”
And the list goes on…
More to come in the future…
April 29, 2007