Seeking help at an early stage is one of the important points

I am presently the head of the Center for Clinical Psychology inside the Academy Common of Meiji University’s Surugadai Campus. At the Center we provide support to all people with mental distress and/or those who seek counseling services. We have received more and more inquiries from business people who are in a depressive state and have lost motivation.

There are many factors that cause depression, and people who are serious and responsible show a greater tendency to experience depression. Such people think that “It is my fault,” or “It is my responsibility” when their work, etc. does not go well. They brood over the problem, and try to solve it by themselves. They think that they are responsible to do their own business by themselves, and that discussing their own problems with others or asking others for help would cause problems to others or be irresponsible. As a result, their problems may exceed their self-efforts to solve the problem or they may be depressed due to stress. If they finally cannot continue working and have to resign their work as a result of the above condition, it actually causes more problems both to the company and their family members.

In order to avoid such a situation, the best idea is to visit the psychiatry department of a hospital at an early stage. If you feel hesitant to visit the psychiatry department, you can go to another organization like our Center for counseling. The point is that you should seek help. You do not have to be ashamed of seeking help if you are distressed. Actually, struggling to solve the problem by yourself until you cannot bear it any more may lead to a serious result, causing more problems to the people around you, including your family members. You will suffer more pain and will need more time to be cured. It is worse if you do not seek help.

We call it, “Help Seeking,” and it means to ask for help when you are distressed. Please consider this as an ability. People who can seek help have a higher self-control ability.

Conduct Self-Checking to Protect Yourself

From the next paragraph, I will show you three points to check to know whether you are in a depressive state or not.

The first point is whether you have a sleep disorder or not. Sleep disorders have three types: Disturbance of sleep induction (cannot fall asleep smoothly after going to bed); arousal during sleep (wake up in the middle of the night); and early-morning awakening (wake up very early in the morning). In short, all of these conditions mean that you cannot receive proper rest. If you have made mistakes at work and also have a continuous sleep disorder, we seriously consider that you suffer depression, and not that it is merely a temporary depressive state.
The second point is whether you cannot help crying. If you cry without realizing it, and without any emotional reasons, and cannot stop it, it is likely that you have depression.

The third point is that you always have a bad stomach. It is said that approximately 80% of people who always take stomach medicine suffer hidden depression. In fact, an anti-depression ingredient is included in stomach medicine that alleviates the depressive state, it delays the diagnosis of depression in a patient. If you are one of those people who always take stomach medicine, you should go to the psychiatry department of a hospital or a psychology counselor.

I will show you one example. A business man who assumed much responsibility had a bad stomach for a long time and went to the department of internal medicine. The internist found no problems with his stomach and said that he was all right. However, one day, he could not stand up at an important meeting at his company and was sent to a hospital by ambulance. At that time, although he underwent a clinical examination, the doctor again found no problem with his stomach. He still did not know how to solve this problem and was again unable to stand up before an important meeting. He committed suicide in the evening on that day.

When you go to a hospital and ask a doctor to check your stomach, the doctor only examines your stomach. There are very few doctors who will advise you to visit the psychiatry department if no problem is found with your stomach. Under the current medical treatment system in Japan, it is necessary that everyone should have knowledge about mental health and protect yourself.

Treatment of New-Type Depression Starts with Small Steps

While people with a strong sense of responsibility tended to suffer traditional depression, we now find that many young people suffering depression think that if the business does not go well, it is not their fault, but that other people around them are responsible for it. Such patients believe that people around them do not understand them or have no motivation to do business or to make efforts. In such cases, while the patients lack energy during working hours, they are very active after hours when they are with likable friends. As a result, many people think that they are simply lazy. However, since it is not good for themselves or their company if they cannot continue working, they also need medical treatment.

One of the reasons for new-type depression is that current young people are surrounded by adults who understand or try to understand them during their process of growing since childhood. All the adults they have met, not only their parents, but also teachers from primary school to university have tried to understand them and always praised them. All the people around them were receptive and young people believed that all adults should understand them. As a result, they face reality for the first time when they enter the world of work and do not know how to respond to it.

In case of such new-type depression, the counselor starts to become someone who can understand them well, and can gradually counsel them to have a more realistic social viewpoint. The counselor then advises the patient to find one small thing he/she can do well, and to increase the things they can do one by one. It is called the Small Step Principle. People who can recover from a severe condition are those who are good at finding a small thing they can do. We help the patient become such a person.

Feel Free to Go to a Counselor!

In our age, it is expected that more and more people will suffer a mental disorder such as depression. Many people will have some problems in their life, even if they do not have a mental disease. In such a case, the most important thing is whether they can seek help in their environment. Establishing a society where everyone can seek help among each other is one of the objectives we have to achieve. A counselor is a member who helps people. Please feel free to use a counselor in the same way as you go to a family doctor.

■ We support all members of the general public who have mental distress and/or seek counseling services:
The Center for Clinical Psychology:  Tel: 03-3296-4169

*Professor Morotomi has conducted workshops that help with personal deep introspection and internal growth based on humanistic and transpersonal psychology. For more information, please visit the “Website of Yoshihiko Morotomi”.

Website of Yoshihiko Morotomi:

* The information contained herein is current as of October 2015.
* The contents of articles on M’s Opinion are based on the personal ideas and opinions of the author and do not indicate the official opinion of Meiji University.

Information noted in the articles and videos, such as positions and affiliations, are current at the time of production.