Anna Halberstadt, a New York-based psychiatrist who works exclusively with Russian immigrants disappointed by the United States, said, "You have to be able to hear in the Russian context what these people are saying. If a Soviet-born Russian person were to come to my office and not complain about anything, I'd have him hospitalized. If he complains about everything, I know he is fine. Only if he were to show signs of extreme paranoia or excruciating pain would I think he might be getting depressed. It's our cultural norm. 'How are you?' 'Not so good' is the standard answer for Russians. It's part of what confuses them about the U.S., this statement that seems ridiculous, really: 'Fine, thanks, and how are you?' And honestly it's difficult for me too, even now, to hear people say this. 'Fine, thank you.' Who's fine?"
Friday, June 4, 2010
Fine, Thanks: Russians and Depression
Andrew Soloman, in The Noonday Demon: At Atlas of Depression, writes: