NOT EVERY SADNESS IS DEPRESSION (DR GORICA DJOKIC)
As a 21st century way of life, stress is increasingly leaving numerous consequences behind – ranging from annual consumption of several million of various sedatives to many health complaints, broken families, unattended children, hopeless parents… There are many of those whose behaviour cannot be understood by others, although it is often the case that they themselves cannot give an explanation for it. Not every behavioural disorder is at the same time a psychiatric illness; a neurologist and assistant director of the Clinic for psychiatric illnesses “Dr Laza Lazarevic”, Dr Gorica Djokic, says that it is often the other way around in practice –disordered behaviour is in fact a consequence of a personality disorder, while a very small percentage of those with behaviour disorder are at the same time psychiatric patients.
-The largest number is of those with behaviour disorder which is not a consequence of psychiatric illness but personality disorder– Dr Gorica Djokic says for BGOnline. – It is a pattern, inherited or developed during early period of development, and all that later happens is a consequence of building over that, of improving or “deteriorating” oneself.
Everyone can change
The kind of environment and a family in which a person grows up and develops is very important, and Dr Djokic reveals a witty phrase circling among her colleagues, excellently describing such a serious problem: “It is never just one person in a household suffering from behaviour disorder.”
– A child does not spring up like a mushroom and it has to assume the behaviour patterns from someone already in early period of development. What a child has seen at the time later develops in some direction. The biggest problem occurs when a family supports child’s aggressive behaviour and does not maintain healthy communication. Over time, such child’s behaviour starts to disturb them, while usually and until then they blame it on someone else.
In order to leave this vicious circle of various states of mind, it is necessary for a person to identify having a problem, and Dr Djokic says that most people notice it only after it already crosses the critical limit.
– One should never give up on anyone. There are those who once were serial killers, but in working on themselves recognised the reasons why they used to do certain things and transformed over time in different people. I believe that everyone has a chance to change and become better.
Some call people under stress walking the streets ‘time bombs’. Dr Djokic says that they do not come to “Laza”.
-Our functionality of the stress centre changes under the influence of the stress accumulated daily. Over time, body also loses its battle under such amount of stress, hence many stress-induced disorders emerge, above all the general decline of the immune system. Nobody gets a cluster of chronic illnesses because of good life. Sometimes, we overestimate the importance of external factors in good health, from nutrition as people’s top priority, movement activities, lifestyle, disregarding our brain and what it goes through. A sentence that “It all comes from the head” is not funny at all.
People themselves can sense their oversensitivity to stress -Dr Djokic notes, adding that the stress always draws to the surface what had already existed inside. How can someone get psychiatric illness? Who is likely to get them and how to know when to turn to a doctor?
– We should respect people suffering from psychiatric illnesses as well as any other person who is ill. As you can get hypertension, so you can get an acute psychotic reaction. No one is protected from it and it anyone can develop certain psychiatric illness. It is true that the genetic factor has some part in it, but anyone can be depressed, acutely psychotic or anxious. When I put the story related to science aside – and I have been seriously pursuing science for the past two decades – I have a feeling that the best among us can develop a psychiatric illness. After 18 years of my work in “Laza”, our patients have been the good and high-quality members of society. They are mostly good people with health problems, and maybe one of the causes is their not coping with life situations in the best way possible. They were not good for themselves, but were good for others.
Family as help and hindrance
Many people tend to say that they are depressed, but a question arises whether people at all know what depression is.
– They refer to everything by using term depression, even schizophrenia, while confusing sadness with depression. Depression is a serious condition involving increased sad mood and heightened emotions. Not every sadness is depression. Moreover, grieving does not have anything to do with depression; instead, it is a normal process which should be allowed to pass. Schizophrenia is an illness characterised by inadequate perception of reality and is equally dangerous as untreated diabetes. People are inclined to discriminate, but their attitude changes as soon as they meet someone and talk to them.
The process of work on oneself which is very important for every person’s mental health is courageous and long.
-Persons engaged in working on themselves are hard to be affected by bad energy and others’ opinion of them as less worthy. This work deserves respect –Dr Djokic explains.
New drugs, as well as support of family and community, have led to those affected by psychiatric illnesses not standing out in a negative way in the society and thus not having to be excluded from the society.
– Family can be of great help to them, but sadly – perhaps even more so – a family can also set them back. Hence, there are families in which the healthiest member is undergoing treatment, while others do not want to help, but obstruct the healthy member altogether. As doctors, we are there to strengthen the link and help them understand their surrounding and themselves.
How to make the first step and persuade someone to seek treatment is a question that was bothering the families of those who have a problem. Dr Djokic reminds of the Law on the Protection of Persons with Mental Disorders adopted in 2013 and its very precise provisions.
– The Law states that treatment is voluntary, with the exception of two cases: if a person endangers their own life or life of others. Then a compulsory treatment is required. If family members are close, if emotional patterns prevail among them, as well as understanding and ways to talk about it, the path is not hard. In “Laza Lazarevic” clinic, a phone line is open every day from 2 to 3 pm for people without the referral letter and a health insurance card to visit the doctor on duty and ask any questions they may have. Even those who would never come for examination visit on Thursdays to consult, and it means a lot to them. Afterwards, many people are grateful realising that such consultations are nothing to be afraid of.
Love must hurt
Natural medicinal supplements such as herbal-based tranquillisers or sleep aids cannot do harm, but Dr Djokic notes that one should not experiment with medication by any means and highlights that anxiolytics quickly induce addiction, and a large part of the population take them on their own decision, more often than anti-depressants.
– Our brain should be nurtured as if it were our own child. The only task of parents is to give love to the child and set boundaries. Certainly, love without boundaries is not good. I am deeply convinced that the heart’s choice is at the same time the choice of the brain’s subconscious part. Love can, and it must, hurt. Work on oneself is important in order to be able to love ourselves since this is a pre-condition to loving others. But, the work on itself hurts, as well as knowing oneself, one’s bad traits and the manner in which we would change… Small amount of pain nevertheless creates great pleasure, and everything that we will invest will bring us great benefits. When we get to know ourselves, we will realise what we need from another. When we know what we do not want, it will be easy for us to know what we do want. Then, there will be no excuses such as: “He is such-and-such, but I love him.” You love him because you noticed in him something that you have not acknowledged in yourself as such, and it attracted you to that person.
Maturity brings with it the answers to many questions, including the question of “what you do not want.” – Emotionally immature persons seek someone else to complete them, while the other ones seek to complete themselves. Unfortunately, many are not ready to work on themselves and expect from someone else to bring them happiness and love. It should be known that we bring happiness to ourselves. It is courageous to stand before oneself and say: “This is my problem, I have identified it as mine and I know why I attract certain people.” When we resolve this, we will attract a different population of people. Many wonder how it is possible to always attract a certain type of people. The answer is that they are attracted by your personality and when you work on it, the change occurs. Disharmony of body and soul leads to non-acceptance of oneself. There is not a single thing that cannot be worked on, but this can be done only by sufficiently courageous people.