Slip into depression

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  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

  • Suggested Resources

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    It's Not Your Fault (NACoA) (PDF | 12 KB)
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    After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department
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    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

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9 scientifically proven ways to get a loved one out of depression (And not slide into it yourself) / AdMe

Medicine has officially recognized depression as a disease, but we are still afraid to face it, attributing the state of loved ones to a change in weather, problems at work or in personal life. Meanwhile, doctors call the support of family and friends one of the most important factors for overcoming this ailment.

Bright Side has collected the most effective ways to help a person who is depressed.


Get to know the problem better

There are ample books and Internet resources that provide proven, cutting-edge information about the types of depression, its course, and symptoms. Careful study of the issue will help you better understand the behavior of a loved one and not take their negative attacks or tantrums personally.

2. Separate the disease from the person

Depression greatly changes a person's behavior - he is almost guaranteed to become withdrawn, emotional, whiny, suspicious. It is important to understand that this is a manifestation of the disease, and not permanent changes in character. This approach will avoid resentment and misunderstanding in your relationship, strengthen the connection and become an important factor in recovery.

3. Ask questions

Despite the fact that depression literally forces a person to be alone, you should leave it as little as possible. At the same time, you don’t need to try by any means to cheer up - questions on a topic that is relevant to him will work much better. They will not only show its importance and your concern, but also help to understand the roots of the disease.

Questions worth asking:

  • When did you first feel like this?
  • Are there things, words or topics that aggravate your condition (triggers)?
  • Do you have suicidal thoughts?
  • Is there anything that makes you feel better?

4. See a doctor together

We have already written about how to detect latent depression and how to distinguish the illness from the usual seasonal blues or stress. Depression is a disease that requires treatment from a specialist. It is often difficult for a person to overcome the psychological barrier and go for a consultation, sometimes apathy is so strong that even recovery does not become an incentive.

What to do? Go to an appointment together. This is not just a friendly gesture, but real help:

1) You know the behavior of a loved one much better than a doctor, you can distinguish manifestations of depression from ordinary outbursts of emotions - this will help in the formation of a clinical picture .

2) In the presence of a relative or good friend , it will be easier for the patient to trust the doctor and speak openly with him.

3) Only a healthy person who is interested in the outcome of treatment can to find a really cool specialist (sometimes for this you have to shovel more than a dozen forums and sites).

4) After listening to the doctor's recommendations, you will be able to control the therapeutic process without letting it take its course.

5. Turn on understanding to the maximum

Relatives of people with depression tend to devalue the feelings of patients, accuse them of being prone to drama and excessive emotions. Such behavior leads to the opposite effect - a person becomes isolated and continues to cook in his problem.

What to do:

1) Accept the fact that for the patient his experiences are absolutely real and justified.

2) Be careful and considerate , especially when discussing sensitive topics.

3) Do not avoid discussing problems do not brush them aside.

6. "No" to artificial fun

Assuming that going to a party or having fun downtown will help you cope with depression is a big mistake. Depression is not a blues that can be dispelled by vivid impressions.

What needs to be done:

1) Find out what activity really helps the patient feel better - only he knows about it.

2) Give up pressure on a loved one - if he does not want to go somewhere, do not insist .

3) Consider his condition : on "good" days, the chances of going for a walk are much higher, and sometimes it's not even worth trying.

According to psychotherapists, such activities as walking in nature, creativity, light sports activities, and caring for animals showed themselves best in the complex treatment of depression.

7. Take care of life

Ordinary household chores - cleaning, dealing with utilities, paying bills become an overwhelming burden when depressed. If your loved one is literally lying in a bed, try to fence him off for a while from his usual duties, shifting them to yourself - this is a very powerful support.

If you work and are not ready to be fully responsible for household issues, it makes sense to think about temporarily connecting an au pair.

8. Keep your identity

Staying most of the day next to a depressed person will knock anyone down - as a result, you can find yourself at the bottom next to the victim. To avoid burnout and emotional mixing with the patient, maintain your identity.

What to do:

1) Along with caring for a loved one , also take care of your own needs .

2) Go out more often , meet friends, please yourself pleasant things.

3) Get rid of guilt for your good mood (almost all relatives of people with depression are affected by it).

9. Remember that sooner or later the problem will go away

You can be treated for depression for years (someone is lucky), but this disease can be cured - with the support of loved ones, complex therapy, medications. However, some manage to get out of an unpleasant state in a month and return to normal life.

You must remember that a person who is depressed does not understand that his perception of the world changes under the influence of illness. It seems to him that everything is bad, everyone around is hostile, and so on - and he completely believes in it. It is from relatives and friends that the general psychological climate in the family, optimism and compliance with medical prescriptions depend.

Have you ever supported a person with depression? What techniques we have given do you consider the most effective?

Illustrated by Mariya Zavolokina specially for Bright Side

Bright Side/Psychology/9 scientifically proven ways to get a loved one out of depression (And not slide into it yourself)

How a personal crisis and not slide into depression: my experience Dream Woman

Personal A crisis is a signal that it is time to put things in order in life, to renew your goals and meanings. Sometimes this process can be very painful, and if it drags on, it threatens with real depression.

If, along with a change in orientations and meanings, apathy (when you don’t want anything at all), despondency, depressed mood, indifference to the world around you begin to visit you, these are signs of depression that can turn you from a cheerful person into a depressed person.

How to deal with depression? How to get out of depression?

These are the questions that I faced several times in my life when I felt that I was being pulled into this sticky state ... but every time I felt it approaching, I managed to pull myself out of this swamp like Baron Munchausen and prevent loss of several years of life and money for psychiatrists and psychotherapists.

The most important thing is to feel in time the moment when you feel bad, when nothing makes you happy, does not motivate you, when life loses colors and becomes gray - of course, it is better to try to stop this process so as not to slide into the abyss, from which it is very difficult to get out later .

In this article, I will share my personal experience of coping with the crisis and the methods that helped me to live through this difficult period with acceptance and not slide into depression.


In March, I fell into a personal crisis with a bang, as if under spring ice.

Spring fought with winter, sometimes overcoming the gray permafrost, sometimes giving it a chance for revenge... At the moments when it seemed that the battle was won and the spring sun was about to triumph and the green clusters of trees would flare up, winter returned, covered spring hopes with snow and burned cheeks like an ice blizzard…

The same struggle was going on inside me… 2 months of hard work on the project, beriberi in spring, lack of sunlight and retrograde Mercury plunged me into a long personal crisis. He then “covered, then let go - at first I tried to fight this state, but then I realized: it is pointless to resist - you have to live and immerse yourself in a state that already exists in fact.

Step one – Acceptance: stop trying to force yourself to pretend “normal life” and accept your condition as it is – honestly admit to yourself how you feel: name your emotions and accept them.

The beginning of my crisis was marked by a great desire for change - to break with everything old and get rid of what weighs and pulls back. Like snake skin, I got rid of everything superfluous that kept me in the past, hindered and hindered my development.

Step two - General cleaning in life: get rid of everything that you no longer love.

For a whole month I cleaned and freed space from things that I had stopped loving for a long time and which turned out to be “not mine”. I threw away many (otherwise they tend to somehow make their way back to the shelves). I took the books to the library next door.

It has become easier. But not much. I realized that decluttering only on the physical level is not enough.

Step three - Transformation of thinking and obsolete mode of existence: to understand what your actions and behavior led you to the state in which you now find yourself.

Further revision of thoughts began . I reread my diary for the last year. I saw my “pain points”, mental chewing gum and places where I slowed down. I was amazed that I spent the whole year fighting to fulfill my plans and looking for reasons “why I didn’t”. I became a hostage to rigid planning and a strict overseer of myself. And as a result - into a robot and a killer of his own creativity.

I clearly realized that an excessively high level of personal efficiency and productivity dampened inner desires and timid impulses of the Soul like “Maybe we can do it again?” or “Oh, how interesting!”. The pragmatic mind always answered the same thing: “No, what else is creativity?! It's a waste of time and completely inefficient use of it. How does this bring us closer to our goals? This is a deviation from the course - we have Zeeeli!

Needless to say, such an approach makes it impossible to enjoy simple things like friendships, hobbies, walks or simple cozy evenings at home without goals and objectives…

Next, the update began at the last - strategic level .

Step Four – Revise Values, Priorities, and Goals: identify the most important things, update your goals, objectives, and lifestyle in accordance with new values ​​and priorities.

During this period, I thought a lot about life, about its meaning, about values, about my goals and way of existence. I reached such inner depths that had not risen for a very long time - now everything was opened, painful and demanded new answers to the eternal questions about Destiny and Mission.

Like any depressed person, I was silent for days and went completely into the internal dialogue, then I tried to look for answers and clues outside, then again I returned to myself ...

At this time I realized that not all questions I can and should give a momentary and unambiguous answer - you can be searching all your life, but this does not cancel life itself and the need to do something.

At times I found some strange calm, but as a result I felt some kind of spiritual shift and an exit to new questions and horizons.

As a result, I clearly saw what my actions led to a personal crisis, what areas I ignore and why, I saw the roots of my beliefs “what is important and what is not important”. It is these attitudes (such as “this is the most important thing”) that make us act in a certain way, strain for some reason, “try our best to achieve something and neglect everything else - that“ it doesn’t matter, it will wait, there’s nowhere going away”…

The roots of these attitudes are somewhere in the past, in the instructions of people whose opinion we greatly valued, or in books that especially sunk into our souls. An interesting thing: as soon as you manage to find the roots of beliefs - phrases or quotes from books dropped by someone, you immediately begin to notice how they act and program your actions.

I wrote an article about spring cleaning in life “How to do a spring cleaning in life” it helps to “sort things out” and systematically clean up at all levels of life (physical, virtual, everyday, mental and strategic)

How I got out of depression: 8 ways that helped me cope with depression

And now I will share what helped me survive an identity crisis with minimal losses :

1) acceptance of one's condition and inner experiences.

Often we avoid “bad emotions and states”, block our own feelings and put on the mask “I'm fine”.

But sooner or later, the resource and strength for such a disguise ends - so you just need to allow yourself to live real feelings and emotions: “bad”, “sad”, “I don’t want anything”, “no strength”, etc.

I realized from my own experience that if “there is no strength”, it means that they really do not exist and it is pointless to force yourself, to squeeze strength out of yourself like the remnants of toothpaste from a tube.

During such periods one should stop putting pressure on oneself, observe one's desires and allow oneself to do what one wants. Even if “you don’t want anything” - you also need to allow yourself to do this. Postpone all plans and goals, relax and give yourself the opportunity to do nothing.

It would not be superfluous to inform your relatives and friends about what is happening to you. This removes unnecessary questions + makes it possible to get support and feel that you are not so alone and that there are people nearby who are ready to take care of you in difficult times.

2) getting rid of the smartphone and unnecessary information garbage.

It will soon be a year since I switched from a smartphone to a conventional push-button telephone. The refusal of round-the-clock access to the Internet and social networks sharpened the perception - I had to face my problems face to face.

When you are alone with your thoughts - without distracting social networks and other people's stories - you begin to hear yourself. Hanging on smartphones has become for many an escape from themselves, anesthesia from their own pain and a delay in solving “painful” problems.

Bad, unbearable, boring alone? I went to social networks - had fun, smiled, lived through other people's emotions, froze my own, got distracted - and took a “delay” for a while to solve those problems that need to be solved. But the problems do not go anywhere, but accumulate and paralyze a person. So there is a hang-up at one point, stagnation and regression - for a while or for a lifetime.

(I wrote about how I got rid of my smartphone and dependence on it here)

Another obvious advantage of giving up your smartphone, in addition to increased attention to yourself and your real problems, is also stopping the flow of incoming information, information overload and endless attacks of marketers trying to sell you something and impose a new need everywhere.

And the most obvious consequences of stopping “hanging out in a smartphone” are that awareness increases and frees up” a lot of free time ! It is during a period of personal time that this is very useful - an attentive attitude to one's internal requests and time to search for new answers.

3) friendly shoulder and support.

It's easier to get through hard times together. During a personal crisis, I almost completely dropped out of active social life. I just didn’t have the strength and energy to communicate with someone (for introverts like me, communication with people is always an effort)). I did not resist and lay down on the “personal bottom”. On this day, I was sometimes visited by my friend, who was not afraid to also confess her experiences and transformations and share her feelings with me. And through communication with a friend, I admitted to myself what was difficult to admit to myself.

During times of personal crisis, it is important not to withdraw completely into yourself, but to be able to tell about your experiences. Of course, you can speak openly and sincerely about deep things only with real like-minded people who share your values ​​and views and who can provide real support. When you realize that your experiences are understandable and close to someone else, it becomes easier. And if a friend still knows how to cheer up, calm down, support, then such communication in difficult times is akin to a warm blanket on a frosty morning or a torch in a dark cave))

A congenial person is a find, like a diamond in the sand. Appreciate your friends)

4) attention to the “voice of the Soul”.

During a period of personal crisis, the voice of the Soul became for me the main measure of everything. When making every decision, I asked my Soul and intuition - am I doing the right thing or not? And learned to hear the answers.

This concerned very ordinary and simple things. Let me give you one very down to earth example that demonstrates why you should listen to it. And it was like this: I went to the supermarket and decided to leave the backpack in the storage room (there were products bought in a nearby store). At the moment when I was already locking the camera, a vivid picture literally flashed before my eyes: I was returning, there was no backpack, it and all the documents inside were stolen. Including a passport - I rush around the city in an attempt to restore documents. It was like a vision or a memory of a dream seen at night - and lasted literally a few seconds. I decided to take a backpack with me, and just put food in the storage room. I go to the store, pay at the checkout, return after shopping to the left-luggage office - and there an elderly woman scandalizes: “Stolen! Stole! My bag was stolen!" It turned out that the thieves broke into the storage room next to mine and stole the bag. I was shocked, to be honest…

I didn't notice psychic abilities or “something like that” in myself before – but that's what my attempts to “turn on my intuition” were crowned with.

I was walking home with my shopping - with a whole backpack and a passport - and I promised myself that from now on I would always listen to my intuition and make it the main one in my decision making.

5) reading.

When your old values ​​and inner frameworks are shaken, you get the impression that you are in a vacuum and you feel disoriented. I really want to find new supports and a new belief system that will put everything on the shelves and allow you to restore the foundation of life.

Of course, I am not advocating to look for “spiritual mentors”, to accept someone else's harmonious systems of views and worldview as the truth, no matter how tempting it may seem. But during such periods it often turns out that you are tired of “boiling in your own juice”, and the mind is not able to give answers to the questions that have arisen. And then it is worth turning to someone else's experience.

Yes, and there are no ready-made answers in books - but you can get hints and tips in which direction to “think” and move on.

Here I will just share what I read during my internal searches. And I read a lot and even excitedly - especially when I got out of stagnation and looked for a new breath of air. Far from all books “went in” for me - I already allow myself to stop reading a book at the very beginning or just take a quick glance to the end if I see that it’s not “mine” at all. But still I will share the whole list with my notes in the margins:

    • Vadim Zeland's book “Reality Transurfing” allows you to look at the world more broadly, stop stressing, start dreaming big, realize where our energy is flowing and how to live in harmony with your Soul. This book has everything - both about setting goals and achieving them, and a lot of esotericism. Personally, I love Zeland, but I don’t make a cult out of transurfing, although I have repeatedly tested the effectiveness of its principles and often use many of its methods.
    • Igor Budnikov's blog - this surname is heard in this post for the second time for a reason. Having met the author through meditation, I began to read his blog with pleasure. There are a lot of right thoughts and fair arguments - about spirituality, lifestyle, money and online projects.
    • speaking about self-development and personal changes, one cannot fail to mention the project of Olesya Novikova (Vlasova) about self-development Re-Self. This is a site with really high quality articles on self-development. If you are on the path of personal change, this blog is not to be missed. Here you can find sharp questions to yourself and biting answers and examples from the life of the author. The project inspires, gives specific tools and practices for self-diagnosis and self-development - I recommend it.
    • the book “On the Limit” by E. Bertrand Larssen allowed me to see very clearly how advice from such books brings people “to the limit” – apathy and depression. Since I was already “at the limit” and even “beyond the limit”, I neglected the author’s advice on introducing the “hell week” for myself. The book caused a storm of indignation in me - but inspired me to create a new project and conduct an experiment on myself. I will tell about it in the next article))
    • Tips from the book 100 Ways to Change Your Life - about the same thing: how to force yourself to do what you don’t want to go even further from understanding your own “I”. Yes, maybe this approach really helps someone. But personally, I felt on myself all its failure and unviability (I will also talk about this in more detail in the same next article))
    • but the book “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse , on the contrary, helps to get closer to your inner “I” and gently hints that there is no truth in spiritual mentors, coaches and in books. Truth can only be learned from one's own experience - as a result of independent searches. The famous “All the answers are inside us” is shown in the story of a young man who went in search of. I liked the book very much, it calmed me down and gave many allegorical answers.

6) meditation.

For me, the topic of meditation is an unplowed field. Somehow I approached him several times, but I still could not understand why they talk so much about meditations and what is “so” about them.

Right now, during the period of personal transformations, I felt the need to try meditating again - apparently, my inner readiness and need for this has matured.

Since I couldn't deal with meditations on my own, I decided to turn to the help of knowledgeable people. A friend recommended a meditation course for beginners by Igor Budnikov. It is designed for beginners who are just trying to get closer to the topic of meditation and try to practice - just for me, in general) I have already completed half of the course and am pleasantly surprised)) Meditations still succumbed to me))) I even get up for them an hour earlier in the morning - because during the day it is not always possible to be alone with yourself.

At the moment, meditation for me is a way to discover one more facet and one more dimension - in myself and in the world. I am still in the process of these discoveries - but halfway through I can say that meditation fills me incredibly, calms the mind, gives a feeling of calmness, balance, peace.

By the way, access to the course is free. But only for 14 days, during which you need to complete 12 meditations and take lessons. A good approach - motivates you to complete tasks at a pace and does not let you quit)

7) children.

Have you noticed that children do not get depressed?

Children, of course, can be capricious, demanding, and even behave unbearably, but they do not experience depression or apathy. They always want something - without thinking about higher goals and the meaning of being. On the other hand, they eagerly explore the world, enthusiastically master a bicycle, rejoice at a screwed-in light bulb, frolic with dogs in the park, selflessly enjoy the taste of cherry candies, run with all their might, splash in the shower to the music and sincerely believe in fairy tales . ..

And just such an approach helps a lot in moments on the brink of depression.

At the moment when I didn't want anything, my child took my hand and led me along. He took me to the park, we drank fresh juice and ate cheese sticks, got to know the dogs and threw sticks to them, ran races, drank fruit milk and cappuccino, played on the playground and walked until dark.

I realized how important it is sometimes to step off the pedestal of the “adult-leader” and turn into an “adult-friend”: not to impose my opinion and will on him, to give him freedom of choice and action and try to hear what the child says.

Having taken a deep breath of fresh air and immersed myself in the childish perception of the world, I felt my strength returning to me and the world taking on colors again.

Children are "quicks" and "motivators": they are never bored, they have a lot of ideas, and even more original questions) One has only to give them the freedom to express themselves and they will shower you with precious gifts)

And also children - it is a source of unconditional love, which is often lacking in adults. A child loves always sincerely and always 100% - without conditions and expectations of something in return.

If you don't have children of your own, take a walk with your godson, with a neighbor or with a friend's child. Parents will only be happy, and you will receive a huge charge of positive and a portion of an enthusiastic perception of the world.

8) appeal to memories and the best moments in life through photos.

During the general cleaning, I set out to organize the photos accumulated over the past 7 years. They were on different media, in different folders - only systematized by year. I created themed folders and scattered photos into groups - “family”, “for a blog”, “nature”, etc. Surprisingly, in this routine process, I managed to find great satisfaction!

First, I looked at the last years of my life through the lens. And I realized that everything is not so bad)) I saw a lot of happy smiles (of my own and my loved ones), joyful moments, exciting travels.

And with the help of my own photos, I remembered the beauty of the world in which I live)) I used to take a lot of pictures of nature and everything that surrounds me. When flipping through the pictures, I once again felt the moments of inspiration and delight that accompanied me in the process of shooting.

For several days in a row, I looked through hundreds of photos and chose the best ones. Now watching them is a cure for melancholy for me :)

We all know the technique of compiling a “Wish Map” when, with the help of beautiful photos, we create images of the desired future. I managed to accidentally discover another technique: it turns out that with the help of your photos, can mentally return to the best moments of your life, be inspired by them and put on the appropriate mood like clothes.

At that moment, when depression was already on the threshold, I leafed through photos of past years, thanked life for its priceless gifts and surprises. And the optimistic view of the world began to gradually return:)

8) Hiking, nature and contemplation.

Looking at inspiring photos at home on a computer screen is, of course, great. But even better is to go out into the streets and see these paintings in the real world.

Hiking is a recognized and effective way to counteract depression.

Firstly, during walking, almost all muscle groups work, blood runs faster through the vessels, oxygen saturates the tissues - the body comes to life and starts to move. Secondly, pictures come to life before our eyes: cars drive, people rush to do business, trees turn green, birds sing ... We understand that life goes on - everything is in a continuous flow, moving and developing.

Observing nature helps to realize that everything is cyclical: winter is followed by spring, after hibernation comes awakening, and “the darkest night is before dawn”. Everything passes, which means that sadness, apathy, and bad times will also pass.

Instead of conclusions

...Now I have managed to more or less return to my normal state and in many ways renew myself - my thoughts, views, values ​​have changed, and even new practices have appeared in my everyday life.

The symptoms of a personality crisis initially pleased me - I felt that the time for change was coming and I wanted them. Then I did not know yet that the renewal of life would take as long as 2 months and drag me into a crisis for an indefinite period ...

And now, to be honest, I can't say for sure that it is completely over. But I have already learned to live with open questions, my former ultimatum thinking has become more plastic - I have gained the ability to accept my "bad" state and emotions and understand that they are also necessary in the process of self-development as important signals of a new stage of development...

I wish you to go through all crises and depressions with dignity, to come out of them renewed, full of strength and energy for new achievements.


Sasha Leonova

UPD: Retrospective 3 years after this article was written. Such periods of crisis began to recur in my life with a certain frequency - 2 months of crisis (when I could not do anything, lay in a layer without strength and energy, no desires and hardly performed simple tasks to ensure life), then 4 months of recovery , then - again 2 months of crisis...

At some point I felt sorry that I was wasting so much time on these "crisis states", when I did not live a rich joyful life, but existed in gray identical everyday life... I continued every time ask yourself the same questions: “Sasha, what happened? What are the reasons for such a state of yours, repeating with such regular periodicity?”… It was very difficult to understand, but after a long reflection, I nevertheless admitted to myself that The reason for my frequent crises, reaching depression, is hidden dissatisfaction with my life.

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