Depression And Its Multiple Causes: Work, Grief And Family

Depression And Its Causes

Depression can happen at any point in life. It often appears without any logical reason, plunges us into a world of disturbing strangeness. We no longer feel ourselves. It reveals itself to us insidiously with its train of symptoms: black thoughts, loss of pleasure in our daily activities, no desire to get up in the morning, sleep disturbances, eating disorders and social isolation.

The relationships with relatives are also disturbed. We do not recognize ourselves.  What is really happening?  Depression unless, it is related to a specific event: loss of a loved one, accident, trauma is often related to the past.

Depression And Burnout

I would first like to talk about the difference between depression and burnout. Burnout is a specific mental health problem often misdiagnosed by specialists.

Burnout, unlike depression, is a mental disorder associated with a difficult and unsatisfactory working environment. It is important to talk about it here because, in Dubai, cases of burnout are not uncommon.

This is associated with long working hours, constant pressure to lose one’s job and finally having little time and room to find another one … Often, some executives are sent on a mission to Dubai, with the promise of a promotion and better living environment, whereas the reality on a daily basis can be really challenging.

Burnout can occur in impossible work situations, where the company does not allocate the resources necessary for the proper functioning of the mission, plunging the individual into a paradoxical injunction. Working with many nationalities, whether managers or colleagues, who do not have the same criteria at all regarding work standards, can also be quite challenging.

The individual facing these new challenges can gradually consume all his forces. It happens that one morning he is simply not able to get up to work. The anxiety invaded him and end up suddenly completely out of energy. He is literally consumed from the inside.

It is necessary to quickly take action with an efficient medical and psychological care. Taking medication is mandatory and few can afford to take an appropriate sick leave in connection with their condition. A psychotherapy must be added to the medical treatment, to work on the causes, roots of the problem to release anxiety and pressure. Burnout reaches out more easily, individuals with high expectations on themselves, highly result-oriented and who cannot stand any kind of failure.

Depression And Grief

Depression may be related to the loss of a loved one, trauma, something that in our live breaches our capacity to adapt. Everyone does not experience these events in the same way and this is related to everyone’s resources. These resources and the ability to cope with bereavement, trauma, are linked to the strength of our “deep self” and of course our past.

An individual who has grown up in a safe environment in his childhood and who has been able to acquire a solid foundation on which to rely, in conjunction with receptive and grounded parents will be more able to cope with traumatic events.

On the contrary, an individual who can not rely on his resources, in connection with a less secure experience, will be more threatened, confronted with traumatic events.

The mourning process can then leads to a breakdown and generate what is commonly called in psychoanalysis a melancholic depression.

It is an inability to mourn, the loss is unbearable for the individual and then threatens its own integrity. In fact, mourning is composed of several phases. At the beginning,  there is the phase of denial, in which the loss of the loved one can not be admitted.  After that, there is “the anger phase”why did this happen? Then come the phase of grieving, where people talk to their loved ones, following by the depression phase with an inherent feeling of sadness. Then comes the phase of acceptance where the individual can finally assimilate the loss and start getting better.

The melancholic individual is blocked in one of these phases.

This may also sometimes be related to conflicts with the deceased in the past, which leads to mourning tinged with ambivalent feelings, in a love-hate registry, but this is not always the case.

Family Depression: The Narcissistic Pact

A family with a difficult background can be unconsciously linked by what we commonly call the narcissistic pact in psychoanalysis.

This is a joint depression shared by the entire family group.  The child is then often the depository of depressive affects not elaborated by his parents, and which are related to their own history.

Indeed, a parent with a difficult past/childhood which hasn’t been metabolized by his psyche can then transmit these psychic contents in a totally unconscious way to his children.

Nobody talks about it, but we can feel that something is wrong: it’s the narcissistic pact.

This pact is resulting from the denial of depression, denial of the family’s past in order to protect the whole family from a depressive experience impossible to elaborate.

Parents who have lived through wars, having experienced difficult grief, a conflictual relationship with their own parents have a tendency do deny their emotional side. The child, being a small sponge, will feel this discomfort and become either the family’s nurse, or will be depressed or, on the contrary, will develop behavioral disorders linked to an internal malaise that can not be understood or elaborated.  Substantive work on the unconscious issues of the family group will then be required to undo this past and psychically release each member of the family group.

This article aims to highlight the multiple causes of depression, depression can be linked to multiple causes, present or past. It is also possible that an actual event may revive an old depression that has not healed properly. It creates a physiological disorder in the brain that is always related to an episode of life that can not fit into the psyche and comes back to the symptom by literally consuming the individual and his resources.

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