Dear YEU family,
Firstly, I would like to congratulate all with starting spring. Days become longer, sun more often welcomes us with the first morning and stays till the last, when darkness ‘lands’ – you start to recognise, - it’s almost April. The traditional etymology for April comes from the verb aperire, "to open", in allusion to its being the season when trees and flowers begin to "open", which is supported by comparison with the modern Greek use of άνοιξη (ánixi) (opening) for spring.
“To open” – is one of the biggest issues met in people suffering from mental illness, especially depression. The 7thof April is known, as a ‘World Health Day’, initiated in 1948 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and key focus in 2017 is for the campaign ‘Let’s talk’. Another very well-known action to raise awareness regarding depression is known as a ‘Black dog’ with a very famous video presentation called ‘I had a black dog, his name was depression’.
When describing depression, WHO suggests that “depression can happen to anybody. It causes mental anguish and affects people’s ability to carry out everyday tasks”. The majority of people, tend to believe, that depression is more of a state of mind and the one suffering from it only needs to ‘pull himself in his hands’ and the problem/problems will resolve. The tragic part of it is, that this type of understanding is WRONG, very WRONG. We also tend to believe, that people, close to us, are ‘immune’, that this can happen to anybody, but not to me, not to my family, friends, colleagues… And we are WRONG again.
Writer Andrew Solomon, a former suffered of depression, in his TED Talk illustrates the devastating sensation in few very self-explanatory phrases: “The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment.”; “…One of the things that often gets lost in discussions of depression is that you know it's ridiculous. You know it's ridiculous while you're experiencing it. You know that most people manage to listen to their messages and eat lunch and organize themselves to take a shower and go out the front door and that it's not a big deal, and yet you are nonetheless in its grip and you are unable to figure out any way around it. And so I began to feel myself doing less and thinking less and feeling less. It was a kind of nullity”.
For major information please visit WHO:http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2017/en/
Or google ‘depression black dog’.
Why it’s important? The statistics are sad: Over 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression. In Lithuania, few weeks ago, a new book was presented without the title. It’s a book, where people, who suffered loss of a close one, that has committed suicide, stories. It has no title, because, as the author suggests, there are no words, to describe pain…
Why I am talking about this? Not only because it’s April, not only because 7thof April is the ‘World Health Day’ and this year depression is a key priority. It’s also because I’ve lost two close people because of the black dog. It’s because if we are not going to make steps towards making it smaller, nobody is going to do anything in our place.
I invite us all, to make a small step forward, - to start being aware. Let’s spend 10 minutes of our day to get to know better, what depression is, because maybe…. MAYBE our knowledge, one day, can help someone to start fighting the black dog ‘friendship’, that unwillingly happened or even help to save life of someone. Only awareness, support, knowledge, ‘giving a damn’ and understanding can help in the battle with black dog.
I wish to all of us a warm, productive and refreshing spring!
#yeuworld <3 #LetsTalk
Ieva Rasita Aleksandraviciute,
YEU Governing Board member