Depression? It’s not always “Just in your mind”!
The entire nation was shaken when a 23year old young man committed suicide after he checked into the Taj hotel in Mumbai at 3am on Monday. The young man had documented his suicide as a guide to committing suicide and had several suicide notes where he apologized and thanked his family and friends. He also mentioned the reason for taking this drastic step. The reason mentioned was, in fact, depression. Yes depression. Look at the word, read it and let it sink in. DEPRESSION. What is depression? Is it sadness? Is it wearing all black? is it crying easily? Is it feeling bad because of a break up or the fear of your parents because you scored less? The answer is NO. The word depression has its meaning deep rooted in the history of mental illnesses. It is a serious mental illness and majority of people suffer from major depressive disorders today for various reasons. However, even though there is a dangerously increasing amount of people who are being diagnosed with depression, the stigma behind it still remains strong. People who are unaware and ignorant believe that people with mental illnesses are weak, spineless and some even believe that the behaviour that they project is merely for attention. All these misconceptions are purely out of negligence and an unwillingness to be educated about the issue. What they do not understand Is that mental illnesses, just like physical illness are equally dangerous and need to be taken as seriously. If you ever encounter somebody who has cancer, or somebody who broke their bones, would say that they are seeking attention? Would ask them to snap out of it? Then why is it that we tend to overlook mental illnesses and give importance only to a physical illness? Some people might justify this by saying that physical illnesses are visible and mental illnesses like depression are not. However, this isn't true. You just need to be observant enough to notice a person's distress. People with depression may not necessarily come out in the open and reveal their disturbances, but there are subtle signs that, if observed carefully can help us understand that a person is suffering from depression.
There are a whole lot of symptoms that a person may possess such as lack of appetite, lack of sleep, isolation from the social world, suicidal thoughts ,methods of self harm ,substance abuse, irritation or anger, constant feeling of sadness, hopelessness ,etc .A person might experience an emptiness or numbing of emotions. In certain case people also develop physical ailments due to depression such as headaches, high or low blood pressures, tensed and stressed muscles, numbing of certain body parts, clenched jaws, etc. A person dealing with depression may experience difficulty in carrying out basic daily tasks and other day-to-day activities. All these signs show enough evidence of depression and is a reason why today people need to be aware of this for themselves as well as their loved ones.
As scary as mental illnesses may seem, they are not incurable. With proper medication and treatment, therapies and support from family and friends, a person may easily recover from it. Recovery from a mental illness can never be quick and there are always chances of relapses. Hence it is necessary that the person dealing with it is treated carefully and is strengthened enough to fight back relapses.
Recovery from any mental illness is a two way process. Any treatment requires willingness on the patients part to cooperate and help others in helping them. It is very difficult to help someone who doesn't want to be helped or doesn't want to recover. Hence dealing with depression is a long process that requires immense empathy, understanding, time and patience. Just a few efforts on our part, such as being observant and empathic, a shoulder to lean on, ears that listen and a heart that understands can go a long way in helping our loved ones. So arise, become aware and come together to conquer the battles against mental illnesses.
So do you have or know someone who suffers from depression? Let's talk.....
By Vedika Phansalkar Blissful Mind Therapy Centre