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What to Say And What Not to Say

I study at the university at the faculty of psychology and I'm a fourth-year student. Our teacher of psychology - Marina Petrovna - is very good at the subject. Her lectures and seminars are always very interesting and educational. During the seminars, Marina Petrovna creates different situations connected with human moods and characters, and we act like real actors trying to find the way out. She watches what we do in this or that case and at the end of the seminar she points out correct actions and our mistakes.

Last year we had Psychology as the main subject. Certainly, it was a very difficult discipline and most of us got many problems with marks. Marina Petrovna did her best as usually. At the beginning of one seminar, she took me out of the class so that nobody could hear us. She asked me to play a role of a girl in deep depression. My character wanted nobody to listen and to see; the life seemed to have no sence for her and there was no future, no friends, no love, no hope - just deep depression.

By that time, I had already read a lot about such cases and persons' feelings at such moments, so I got into my part rather quickly and in ten minutes I entered the lecture hall with "depressed" expression on my face. I sat in the middle of the hall and the teacher told all other students: "This person is in deep depression and your task is to get her out of it. Do and say anything you consider to be helpful". And the play began.

Most of my fellow students came up to me and said that my bad mood would pass soon, that there was nothing to worry about, all my dull thoughts were just nonsense and it only seemed to me that everything was so bad. Many of them tried to get me out for a walk, to the beach, to persuade me to take some time off, to buy me something tasty... to cut it short they wanted to make me do what I liked. Nevertheless, at that moment it sounded stupid and funny, so I told them all to get lost.

Then the last girl came up to me. She was the best at psychology in our group and always got high marks. It was interesting for everyone, including me, to hear what she would say in such a situation. She sat down nearby, took my hand in her hands and began like this:

"I know what you are feeling now is terrible. You want nobody to listen to, the life seems useless as if there is no future for you, you are sure nobody understands or loves you. But I understand you, I know what you're feeling now. Not long ago I felt the same..." And she told me a story about the period in her life when she quarreled with all her friends, parents and even her boyfriend. Then, one morning she woke up and suddenly felt so lonely and unhappy that she wanted to die!

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She was describing me her state, mood so patiently, so realistically that I believed her faithfully. I was listening to her attentively and finally felt so sorry for her, that it seemed to me she was the unhappiest person in the world and my problems were just nothing compared to hers! I didn't even notice how I forgot about my "deep depression"!

Certainly, at the end of the seminar the teacher said that this girl was the only one who acted right. When I asked her how she got out of that depression, she smiled: "There was no depression. I just wanted to help you and made it up". "What an actor!" I thought.

It's very important to know what you may tell depressed people and what you shouldn't. Therefore, I think you should remember this story as a variant of helping people in such situations... if you are a good actor, of course!

Olga, 22

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