In Beijing, we have a growing concern for women’s health in particular on depression and anxiety. To address that, Beijing Women’s Network hosted the “Healthy Living Series: Depression and Anxiety for Modern Beijing Women” community talk at Bookworm joined by Beijing Mindfulness Center, CandleX and professional counselor Ms Iris Ran Liu.
It was Wednesday evening, September 14th, and the skies were covered in an all too familiar gray blanket that is infamous in Beijing. However tonight it was not the pollution creating the haze, these were clouds. The day was cool and a lovely breeze wafted through the streets.
From the windows of the Bookworm in Sanlitun, it was the kind of weather that made you think of autumn. Then, without warning the skies burst open and a downpour soaked the streets and washed the city clean. It was fitting as inside the Bookworm another downpour was occurring.
Beijing Women’s Network came equipped with the tools to blow the dam on people’s fear and pain when it comes to talking about depression. And, like the storm outside, a cleansing was taking place within the four walls of the Bookworm.
Qin Xiaojie (founder of CandleX), Iris Ran Liu (Mental Health Counselor at Agape Counseling Center) , and Dalida Turkovic(founder of Beijing Mindfulness Center) were on hand to talk about the challenges of dealing with suffering from depression, helping others who are suffering from the debilitating illness, and to provide support and a safe environment for tackling the problem in a way that is not really seen in China.
There were questions from the audience as well as some courageous admissions of those suffering from depression; they expressed a sense of being lost in a storm and in need of a lighthouse to head toward.
The discussion covered depression from a number of angles, including one that is all too common to inhabitants of Beijing; the environment. Several people in the audience expressed the fact that China (and Beijing specifically) had a huge problem with an availability to places that are full of green, natural, unspoiled life and how this lack of refuge in nature can contribute greatly to depression.
As always, the option of possible solutions offered covered a myriad of things such as doing yoga (which CandleX conducts a rooftop session of weekly), eating healthy foods to give our bodies the proper fuel and energy, providing an open ear to those that are in need of not just being heard but really listened to and other methods. It was stressed several times, and it must always be remembered, that every person is different and no one solution exists for how to battle the pervasive foe that is depression. This is because depression never looks the same for each person. It is chameleon like in its attacks and comes at each person in a different way.
CandleX rooftop yoga on Sundays
By the time the evening ended, the rain had stopped and the air outside was refreshing and full of potential. The inside once again mirrored the outside. There were more smiles exiting than entering, connections were made, new ports in the storm were marked on people’s maps and hope had been injected into the room.
It’s important to remember that with depression, you are not alone, you can survive and you can emerge victorious. It’s a sinister villain that relies on our solitude, our shame and our fear. Without these sources of fuel, depression has a much more difficult time surviving. If you don’t suffer from depression, you almost certainly know someone who does, even if you don’t know it. Take some time to really listen to your friends and family and those around you. Hear them and see them.
And if you do suffer from depression, please seek help. You can also learn more about depression by visiting our “Classroom” column, as well as reading other people’s story from our “My Story with Depression” column, where Beijing international community share their experiences. Moreover, you can come to our bi-weekly peer support group for people with depression, severe anxiety and mania.