A quarter of young people aged 18 to 25 are gloomy and depressed because of the corona crisis. That appears from Numbers of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). So is Ivanka Groenenberg (23). Due to her autism and eating disorder in combination with corona, she ended up in depression.
At first glance, Groenenberg seems like a cheerful student. She is graduating from Pabo, plays the piano and is often with friends. Yet every day she battles depressive feelings and suicidal thoughts, which have increased due to the corona crisis.
“If there is one thing that has created outright chaos in my life, it is corona,” says Groenenberg. She has been struggling with an eating disorder for seven years and has been diagnosed with autism for six months. “My autism causes a lot of unrest, tension and overstimulation,” she explains. “The eating disorder has caused a lot of grief. Because of both in combination with corona I ended up in a depression. This manifests itself in periods of panic attacks, dissociation and self-mutilation.”
Not only was I depressed and lonely, because of the press conferences I completely lost structure every time
During the conversation with the editor, Groenenberg says that she has just been in self-isolation for a week because of corona. ,,I can finally get out, but that also entails a new structure. And so a big change. I find that difficult.” The press conferences were absolute hell for Groenenberg. “I was so triggered that the urge to self-mutilate increased to reduce the tension and stress,” she says. “Each time, changes followed that were not initiated quietly, such as the opening and closing of catering and shops, the varying periods of (self) isolation, the curfew and restrictions in the number of visitors. Not only was I depressed and lonely, but every time I completely lost structure.”
Abnormal and intense sadness
GZ psychologist Hester Schaart receives more registrations from young people who have fallen into depression than before corona. She now has a three-month waiting list. “Young people have a number of basic needs,” says the psychologist. ,,Think of: discovering who you are, forming friendships and relationships and belonging. Exactly the needs that they cannot meet in the corona time.”
Depression can manifest itself in listlessness, fatigue, a reversed sleep rhythm, concentration problems and not feeling like anything
That, in combination with winter time and our individualistic society, can create an abnormal and intense gloom. “If this lasts longer than two weeks, you speak of depression,” says Schaart. ,, This can manifest itself in listlessness, fatigue, a reversed sleep rhythm, concentration problems and not feeling like anything. Ultimately, it can even lead to self-harm and not wanting to live anymore.”
keep talking about it
Groenenberg is now doing a bit better. “I was discharged from the eating disorder clinic, I am starting to recognize my autism more and more and have been clean from self-harm for four months.” The student continues that her progress is accompanied by many treatments and tears. The announcement of the end of the lockdown has two sides for Groenenberg: ,,Now that hopefully there will be no more changes, that is certainly good news, on the other hand I am very excited to go out again. Lots of people together, lots of sounds. That can lead to overstimulation and negative feelings.”
The basic health insurance reimburses treatments provided by a psychologist, psychiatrist and other mental health care providers (GGZ). Read on independer more about the conditions.
Groenenberg thinks it is important to emphasize that she has had a lot of support from her loved ones. My parents have always been there for me, as have my friends. They took no role as a caregiver and never treated me differently. That is a very important tip!”
Schaart also gives a number of tips for clients and their loved ones: “Despite the shame, keep talking about it and seek support from the practice nurse of the GP or a psychologist. Try to stick to your structure. Go for a run or walk and put your drug use as self-medication or recreational use for the time being on hold† As an outsider, it is important that you show understanding, ask open questions and continue to do things together such as cooking, going for a walk or running an errand.”
Are you also dealing with depressive or suicidal thoughts? You can contact MIND for help with psychological problems via the site or by calling 0900-1450.
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