The lonely fight against depression

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The Moroccan-Dutch author Naima El Bezaz, known for the novel Vinex Women, has recently passed away at the age of 46. She chose not to continue her life.

Her death has occupied me for days. I reread all of her interviews online and realize how brave she was. She mentioned everything, especially her prejudices about the Dutch. In a 2011 broadcast by Pauw en Witteman, the writer explained in a calm and clear way why it was so important for her to be able to express herself in a rebellious way.

I recognize myself in her. In addition, her suicide concerns me. She seemed to be suffering from severe depression.

One is circulating photo on the internet with all super happy faces. The text below reads: “This is what depression looks like.” You cannot always tell if someone is depressed. Scouring the internet I arrive at a depression test on the site Mentaalbeter.nl. I answer the questions, for example whether I have specific core symptoms, such as a difference in appetite and weight, or sleep or concentration problems.

I don’t like one of the questions: Have you ever felt worthless? That word has such a negative connotation and an additional value judgment. It implies that you are of no use in society. The results show that I do not need to make an appointment with the doctor.

Not now anyway. Because on the site of the Trimbos Institute I read that as many as one in five adults will ever have to deal with a depression in his or her life. Nevertheless, naming this is still a taboo. Mark Rutte once said at a congress that naming depression is just as important as naming a broken leg.

Especially because this is often accompanied by the thought of suicide. People can call the special number 0800-0113 if they have (acute) suicidal complaints and want to be helped.

But what if talking no longer helps? Naima El Bezaz left behind a husband and two daughters, yet she decided to take her life. Leaving them with great grief and trauma. How severe must your depression and suffering from it be to see no other way out? Suffering from recurring depression is a lifelong struggle with yourself. Not only the taboo on this, but also that on suicide must be broken. These two often go hand in hand.

Can someone who really doesn’t like it anymore still be able to help? Isn’t that decision their own? Isn’t suicide your choice as to whether or not to live? Like an abortion or euthanasia?

I think about who could be deeply unhappy around me. At first sight I wouldn’t know anyone, but that doesn’t say anything at all, that one photo taught me. That question in that online depression test still bothers me. “Have you ever felt worthless?”

Couldn’t it have been better: ‘Do you ever feel valuable? And for whom? ‘ Just like that well-known cosmetics brand says in its commercials: “Because you are worth it.” Because you are worth living, have the right to live or die.



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