We’re continuing on with our special, beautiful, touching Mandalas for Marinke posts in honor of Wink and in celebration of crochet mandalas. This beautiful contribution comes to us from Alice in France.
“I started to crochet at a difficult period of my life. It really helped me through it.”
And she adds,
“My best friend is a depressed person. People keep telling me not to hang out with him, that it is dangerous for me. Those people frighten me. I hope people will change their way of thinking.”
While self-care is certain important, there are definitely ways to be in relationship with people struggling with depression while still keeping your personal boundaries clear enough so that you don’t get mired in the depression as well. I hope that MandalasForMarinke is helping to reduce some of the stigma that still remains around people with depression.
Since Alice is from France, I thought I’d share some stuff today about depression in France. It’s interesting stuff, although I always “take it with a grain of salt” when reading about things online that I don’t have first hand experience with and I kept that in mind as I read about French depression.
Back in 2011, a US study reported that people in France were the most likely to be clinically depressed throughout the world. It was a comprehensive study of nearly 100,000 people across eighteen countries. The study was reported on widely across the headlines, although it was controversial and many were on the side of arguing that this couldn’t be accurately claimed based on the way that the study was conducted. Nevertheless, the impression has remained that French tends to be a depressed nation. Slightly prior to that study, another study showed that France had the highest rate of people on anti-depressants; shortly after this study, one survey found that 7 of 10 people believe France is mired in collective depression.
More recent research (2015) reported that the cause of so much depression in France is that people are being underworked. “Christian Bourion, professor of social economics at Nancy Metz ICN Business School, believes French workers are getting “destructured personalities” and suffering from psychological trauma as a result of boredom.” It’s a fascinating concept.
Depression treatment in France is reported to trend towards medication-based treatment. Based on what I know from speaking with people who have studied therapy in France, there tends to be a heavy emphasis on psychodynamic, Freudian therapies, as opposed to more of the client-centered therapies that tend to be common in the US. I remember when Aurore shared her experience with me for Crochet Saved My Life (where Wink also shared her story), she explained that she had to be sneaky to even find out what her diagnosis was.
Again, I’ve never been to France and haven’t been treated there and my personal experience with people who have is limited so I just share this as a starting point to discussion and sharing your own experiences with French depression and treatment. Ultimately, we are all human, having similar feelings, regardless of where we live.