How to Deal With Depression & Rejection after the Events of 9/11
How to Deal With Depression & Rejection after the Events of 9/11
For example, the infamous events of September 11, at the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon and Pennsylvania, have created such a deleterious effect on the
Lives of so many people: The survivors who were at ground zero and the rest of civilized society, near and far, who were directly affected, may be experiencing a state of transient depression.
It is a known fact that some victims of the hideous act perpetrated on America on September 11 are now suffering from recurring memories of those incredible events, including sleepless nights, anxiety and post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Other visible signs of depression include sadness, feeling down in the dump, discouragement: the future looks hopeless!
Self-criticism and blaming yourself for everything ― Indecisiveness: having trouble making up your mind about things. Irritability and frustration, feeling resentful and angry most of the time:
Loss of motivation: feeling overwhelmed and having to push yourself hard to do things your appetite may change, causing you to overreact, and, not to eat properly.
In light of recent events, you may be the guardian of your 15-year-old niece; she’s a sophomore on the junior- varsity volleyball team. At the beginning of the season, she showed such adroit athletic ability that her coach considered moving her up the varsity team.
Recently, however, the coach has grown alarmed because her interest and enthusiasm for the sport has waned. She frequently misses practice and shows up late for games. The coach also notices she has lost some weight and is irritable. He asks if something is troubling her. She says yes. “I feel very lonely. My parents died on September 11, in one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. They were always there for me whenever I had a problem.”
In addition to the results of recent events, let us consider, for example, your-eight-year-old nephew, who is always on the verge of tears, especially during the school day.
Although he is normally a motivated student, his schoolwork is now suffering. Even at his young age, he understands the social stigma attached to boys who cry, so he does his best to conceal his tears. His teacher notices him quietly crying one morning and asks what is wrong. “My parents have died, and I’m very sad,” he says.
Although these two young people are of different genders and ages, both exhibit signs of depression. The popular belief that youths have a jovial, carefree childhood is not always the case.
Researchers indicate that, like adults, children experience depression in varying degrees. According to Dr. Michael Sorter, a psychiatrist at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, approximately five percent of adolescents experience depression. “We’re talking about a large number of kids,” he notes.
Much of this depression, unfortunately, is unrecognized and therefore untreated. Like depressed adults, however, children need loving support from others to overcome feelings of depression.
Cause and Effect of Depression
Other factors that can cause depression in a child or adults include:
• Moving to a new neighborhood
• Separation or divorce
• Remarriage and adjustment to a blended family
• Death of a family member, friend or even a pet
• Starting in a different school
Recognize the symptoms of depression: “Even the best parents can miss the signs of depression in children because they are distracted and preoccupied with their careers, marriages or daily parenting tasks. To avoid missing important clues, train yourself to recognize the following symptoms of depression listed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).”
• A persistent sad, empty or anxious mode
• Loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities
• Decreased energy or fatigue
• Sleep disturbance such as insomnia, early waking or Oversleeping
• Difficulty concentrating or remembering
• Feeling of pessimism
• Chronic aches and pains that do not respond to treatment
In his book, Stephen Myerson, M.D., offers this advice; “Pretending there is not a problem is not an effective response since the problem is likely to remain. Equally, it is important to avoid reacting negatively to a depressed individual.
“The first step must be to encourage the person to describe their situation. The most effective way of doing so is through patient and sympathetic listening that allows painful sentiments to express. Make it clear that you are available and willing to help.”
Encourage physical activity
Various studies demonstrate that regular exercise, produce above-normal levels of beta-endorphin, the body’s natural hormone that increases pain tolerance and generally improves a person’s mood. Enroll the child in team sports or at least suggest the child engage in some form of daily exercise, whether it is bicycling, jogging, swimming or walking. If the child is young, offer to join them in a daily exercise routine.
In addition to the benefits of physical activity, the time together provides an excellent opportunity to discuss and explore feelings: [A personal note] Most paramount of all recommendations is the introduction to spiritual counseling.
Although depressed children often withdraw from family and friends, do whatever possible to encourage them to maintain contact with others: Friendships not only fill lonely hours but also prevent a depressed child from feeling completely alone and different. Friendship also generates healthy feelings of love and acceptance and offer crucial support to a person in emotional crisis.
People in emotional crisis
A recent study of 3,600 teens by the University of Minnesota Medical School revealed that young people seriously troubled by depression are much more likely to turn to their friends before they talk to an adult. Of other teens involved in the study, more than a third felt depressed, and 5.5 percent had attempted suicide in the past six months. Out of 54 possible coping-choices, talking with Mother was 31st, talking to Dad 48th and talking with a teacher, guidance counselor, clergy member or professional all tied for the last place. The lesson learned from this study for caring adults: encourage a depressed child to spend time with their friends and suggest they invite companions to the house on weekends or after school.
Recommended ways of releasing feelings
New York psychiatrist Helen De Rossi advises young people to “Cry pound pillows and complain to friends who can take it.; this is a safe way to permit feelings of anger to the surface. Anger is a very important part of depression, and unless these angry feelings are released, it is difficult to overcome depression.”
Another effective way for young people to alleviate depression is by keeping a journal that expresses feelings! Write about what you do and how you feel about all of this, Dr. De Rosis urges young people. “Ask yourself what impossible expectations you were trying to meet when you began to feel depressed. If an answer does not occur to you right away, do not worry. You may think of it a few days later.”
Stimulate positive thinking
Youngsters with a tendency to become depressed think negatively, notes Douglass H. Powell, Ed. D., in his book. “They are obsessed about what’s wrong with their lives, overestimate their flaws and underestimate their positive attributes, believe they can’t do anything about them and think that everyone is as focused on their imperfection as they are.” Dr. Powell advises caring adults to help youths identify the positives taking place in their lives on almost a daily basis, such as a good grade on a report card, a pleasant conversation with a friend, a compliment given by a teacher, the completion of a difficult task, etc.
Finally, parents should not compound youth depression by feeling guilty. Rather than blame yourself, praise yourself for recognizing it and for taking steps to correct your child’s depression.
Victor M. Parachin is a National Funeral Directors Association grief counselor and minister in Tulsa, OK.
The solution to the problem is not to let this brief period of depression consume you. In reality, do not deny your feelings of grief during this period of bereavement and reflection. If spiritual and professional help is not readily available to you while you are in a quandary? Encourage yourself by saying: This too will pass. Be thankful for the opportunity of being alive.
Think of those who never made it out of those towering infernos alive, despite the magnanimous acts of altruism by New York’s firefighters, police officers and good Samaritans who gave their lives to save others, answered the call of duty with Alacrity by cheerfully rushing into those burning buildings, not thinking of the danger they faced.
No one put a gun to their heads and forced them into those burning buildings. Each of those firefighters and police officers knew the risk. They did not flinch and running away from danger, they gave their lives with Alacrity, trying to save others; this is a classic example of true altruism.
With that said, the following statement illustrates the difference between finite love, and infinite love: “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
That is truly the ultimate love, unequal, unraveled, unmatched, a perfect example of true love that we should seek, as those heroic firefighters and police officers demonstrated. When you and I experience periods of depression in our lives, let us consider the act of perfect love; periods of transient depression can’t defeat you.