Yolanda * is one of many young adults who have been struggling with negative feelings for a long time. “The measures of the corona crisis weigh heavily on me. I always like to be with people and I cannot be alone well. I like to do a lot of social activities. That is not possible now. And I don’t know when it will end, that makes me feel better. it’s even more difficult. “
Father terminally ill
The situation does not get any easier for Yolanda when she is told in June that her father is terminally ill. “He has lymphoma and an immune disease, which cannot be treated. To fight the cancer, he received chemo, but it did not work. Now they are trying a new chemo, but there is a good chance that it will not work and that he will have it. does not make it. “
Because corona measures limit physical contact and Yolanda finds it difficult to find other distractions, her father’s illness leaves a deep impression. “The past few months have been very confronting and I could hardly express my emotions. It would help to be able to do something fun such as sports, going out or having a drink on a terrace. It is not possible. That frustrates me. And I have nowhere to get rid of that frustration. It’s a vicious cycle. “
Yolanda is from a family of four and her parents are divorced. If she wants to visit her father, it takes a lot of arranging – and visiting with her siblings at the same time is not an option. “Only two people are allowed to visit my father a day, so we always have to coordinate who goes when.”
Feeling of helplessness
Given the stage Yolanda’s father is in, they are exceptionally allowed to spend the occasional night with him. “But we have to put it out of our mind that we can be together as a complete family. That does not feel good. It is precisely in this situation that you want to be able to be together as a family. Drag each other through it together.”
The feeling of helplessness is great. According to Yolanda, many young people suffer from this. “You try in all sorts of ways to do something to see each other more by, for example, making regular video calls, but that is not nearly enough.”
For more than six months, Yolanda bottled up her feelings. She couldn’t talk about it well with friends, nor did she know who to talk to. “I was getting worse and worse and sometimes did not go out for two weeks. My back problems continued to increase. I knew that going for a walk would be good for me, but I couldn’t bring myself to it. I live alone, so there is also no one who can motivate me. “
Last month, Yolanda decided to change course and seek help. Through a friend she came into contact with a woman who was open to Yolanda’s story and who entered into a conversation with her. “Thanks to those conversations I realized how good it is to talk about my feelings. I always found that very difficult, but there is progress. It gives me a breath of fresh air and makes me feel better. I now go for a round regularly. walk and share my emotions with my friends too. That feels good. “
There is no question that young people could use a little help in this day and age. Aid workers see that too. One of the ways that young people can take is to knock on the Ask Simply platform.
Lilian Sonius is one of the therapists who joined this platform a few months ago, where she and other therapists offer free help to young people who are struggling with negative feelings during the corona crisis. “Sometimes just having a listening ear is enough for a positive effect,” says Sonius.
The fact that the problems are increasing so much now, in the corona time, is due to the great lack of structure, according to the therapist. “There is no school, no football training, no fixed moments where the young people can meet. Structure is important – especially for young people – to know where they stand. Otherwise they will become restless. That is now the case, almost already. a year.”
Young people want to be free. If that is not possible, complaints such as stress, burnouts and in worse cases even suicidal feelings can occur. “Fortunately, this does not go that far for everyone, but unfortunately it will come if the situation continues. It is therefore all the more important that the young people can share their problems in a safe environment. That is why we offer this platform. “
Anyone aged 16-25 can register on the platform with a request for help. Younger than 16 is also allowed, but then you need permission from your parents. You choose the therapist you want to speak to. Sonius: “We understand that you may not want help from someone you know, or someone who is from the same city as you. When filling in your details, you can enter a different name. It is useful that your telephone number is correct, otherwise we will not contact you. “
Sonius says that young people are often unaware of the fact that they have symptoms of depression. “We therapists listen to the stories of our clients and draw a conclusion from them. The young people show signs of depression, which we recognize. But they themselves would not easily say, ‘I feel depressed.’ Rather, they say something along these lines. from: “I lie in bed all day and I don’t feel like doing anything.” Or, “Why would I go to that class? Then I have a diploma, and then? They need clear goals. Now it seems hopeless for them.”
Depending on what someone wants to share his or her story, Sonius draws up a plan. “I start with an introduction to everyone. A conversation via Zoom, or by telephone, just what the applicant likes. Some colleagues also make walking appointments. During the first conversation I mainly listen to what is being told. What the situation is, what someone opposes. how they feel, et cetera. “
Sometimes just a conversation and a listening ear turns out to be enough. “Such a conversation can be very powerful. Get in touch with someone who hears your story, without judgment. Some young people try to talk to their parents, but they are often busy. We take all the time to listen. It’s nice. that I may be the one to whom they tell their story. “
Encourage to keep talking
Even after contact, Sonius finds it important to know how the young people are doing. “If I feel that it is necessary, I always send a message later to ask how things are going. I want to continue to encourage them to talk to someone. Someone you trust and with whom you are safe. If you cannot find the person in your immediate vicinity, register on our platform. We are happy to help you. “
* The name of Yolanda has been changed on request. Her real name is known to the editors.