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UPDATED: June 16, 2014 NO. 25 JUNE 19, 2014
Lonely Struggle
Modern life brings a new perspective on dealing with depression
By Yuan Yuan

RELAX AND FOCUS: A patient with depression receives treatment in a psychological health center in Fuzhou City, Fujian Prvonce, on May 11 (CFP)

"Many people think of it as a psychological disease, but this is not accurate," Cui noted. "It results from the lack of a certain chemicals in the brain, which are responsible for people's emotions."

The chemicals that Cui mentioned are the neurotransmitters dopamine, seratonin and norepinephrine. Deficiencies in any one of these can cause a neurotransmitter imbalance that causes adverse effects on a person's mood as a result.

Neurotransmitters are a group of chemicals used by the brain so that different regions can communicate with each other. When certain neurotransmitters are in short supply or otherwise behaving abnormally, this may lead to a number of mood disorders, including clinical depression.

"There is still no consensus about the cause of depression," said Ye Bin, a psychologist from East China Normal University in Shanghai. "Although physical changes might be the causes for some patients, this is not the case for everyone."

According to Ye, abuse, stress, grief caused by the loss of something or someone, a bad diet and diseases can all cause depression.


Wang Yami worked in Shanghai in 2006 where she made and delivered presentations to potential investors. "I felt like I'd been bragging all day, and it really affected my mood," Wang said. "I asked myself why would I do this?"

Wang eventually left her job and stayed at home. "Every day I lay on my sofa and thought about the past. I regretted everything and cried all day long," Wang recalled. The bad mood caused her to lose a lot of weight and affected her appetite.

When Wang told her friends that she might have depression, nobody took it seriously. "They thought it was because I had too much spare time and I just wanted to wallow in self-pity and call it depression," Wang said.

Unfortunately for Wang, things continued to get worse and she saw her temper deteriorate. She used to be a rational and patient person, but after coming down with depression, she fought with everybody around her over tiny issues. She even got involved in accidents when driving due to inability to focus, something that had never happened to her before the breakdown.

When Wang found herself unable to even take a shower or take care of herself properly, she was sure it was a disease and not just a bad mood.

"I sat up in bed, and put my feet on the floor and then I felt too afraid to move and wanted to lie back in bed, but I saw my feet were still on the floor and I started crying when I realized I couldn't even get out of bed," Wang said.

Wang went online to check the symptoms of depression—not being able to sleep, a loss of appetite, an inability to be interested in or enjoy anything, a perpetual bad mood—but none of these can fully express the reality of suffering from depression.

"You have to experience it yourself to realize how horrible the feeling is," Wang said. "Even winning the lottery wouldn't have made me feel better."

In early 2013, Wang began to plan for her suicide and collected all the drugs that she could get. "Thinking about death made me feel peaceful and I thought it was the best decision," said Wang, who shared her thoughts with her friend Li Minxi. Li told Wang that the desire to commit suicide was not really her idea, it was the depression making the decision for her.

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