Health is defined as, “a state of complete physical, MENTAL, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.”
Depression is a serious medical condition that affects the body, mind & behavior that often manifests by feelings of sadness, anger, hopelessness & pessimism.
According to WHO, more than 350 million people are suffering from depression worldwide, that’s more than the population of Russia & Bangladesh combined. It’s the leading cause of disability & close to 800,000 people commits suicide to get out of depression, and yet it’s still so hard to talk about it publicly. Why? It’s 2017, not 17th century. Even Gay marriages are legal in so many parts of the world, why is it a shame to talk about depression then?
We all suffer from mood swings, we all go through highs and lows in our lives but with some people, this ‘low’ period is prolonged to an extent where it affects how you feel, think & handle your day to day activities like your work, sleeping habits & eating.
It has been estimated that one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.
Depression is a mood order characterized by several symptoms like –
Sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, guilt, self-loathing just won’t go away. You can’t control your thoughts anymore. You are screaming inside but you’re smiling outside because you don’t want others to look at you the way you look at yourself. You lose interest in things that you used to love. You’re irritable, restless & tired all the time. There’s an emptiness that can’t be filled.
We all have been there at some point or other, maybe not to this degree but let’s just say, to a milder version of this.
Depression occurs due to chemical imbalance.
Amygdala, a part of the limbic system is responsible for emotions like anger, pleasure, sorrow, fear, and sexual arousal. It becomes hyperactive in depression & responds excessively to negative events. Amygdala is connected to the medial frontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, hippocampus & the insula – part of the brain which hones the physiological & behavioral response to emotional stimuli.
If you wanna read more about it, check this article out – http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-causes-depression
Mental illness changes your perceptions on things and if allowed it will make you feel so alone & vulnerable. It’s like living life on what if’s.
One of my friends was severely depressed. She kept on canceling plans for almost 2 months, I’m amazed she didn’t run out of excuses. One day we decided to surprise her. I don’t know if she was surprised, but we were definitely shocked. She had lost 10kg weight.
‘I want to eat, I’m hungry but I just don’t feel like it.’
‘Please leave me alone!’
‘I am fine!’
‘Maybe I deserve this!’
‘I’m not mad, I won’t go to a psychiatrist!’
‘It’s just a phase when things will be sorted, it will go away!’
NO, IT WON’T AND NO THERE IS NO ESCAPE FROM THIS PHASE TILL YOU’RE WILLING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. REASONS WILL CHANGE, SITUATION WON’T.
Looking at her was still okay, but I won’t forget her mom’s face. That feeling of helplessness.
She didn’t want to visit a psychiatrist but we pushed her & although she hated us for this but once the treatment began, she was thankful and we were happy. We can see the change in her.
She didn’t reach that stage in one day. It was a long process. Wouldn’t it have been better if she had just shared her feelings with us right at the start?
I was furious. I asked her – Why didn’t you reach out?
She said she did.
Her boyfriend said, ‘stop this drama.’
Stop this drama!’ – what the hell! If you can’t understand her, at least don’t add to her issues.
Her other friend said, ‘let’s go out, you’ll feel better!’
Of course, you will feel better when you’re out with your friends, but what happens when you come home and you’re all alone with those crazy thoughts?
Going out won’t help till you’re ready to face your situation instead of running away from it.
She said, ‘that time, it felt easier to push you guys away rather than facing the situation. I assumed you won’t understand. I’m sorry for doubting you & thanks for being there.”
The feeling that your loved ones won’t understand, along with the fear of social stigma, prevents people from seeking the treatment.
I’ve been depressed, not to an extent she was but yes I was there too. Aren’t we all are?
First we are worried about school grades, then about college admissions, then college grades, then job, then promotion, & also, add broken heart into the mix. See, reasons changed but situation didn’t.
Nothing is happening in our life the way we want it to be. Life is not fair & it won’t ever be. Stop asking yourself, ‘Why me?’
We all face challenges but when there’s no one to support you through it, you won’t even realise when normal sadness will change to clinical depression. Struggling at jobs or break ups, anything can lead to depression if you give up.
Accept it, embrace it, face it. Talk about it.
We think we will be okay once the situation change. WE START JUSTIFYING OUR STATE BECAUSE WE WON’T ACCEPT THAT WE NEED HELP. WHY? Because of – ‘what will people say?’ We live in a society and society thinks mental illness is equivalent to insanity. Will society label people like us?
This is the REASON I wanted to write this post. THERE’S NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF. Have pride in your strength and compassion in your struggles. Talk. Nearly 57 million Indians suffer from depression, YOU AREN’T ALONE.
Few words of encouragement & love can do wonders.
If not, there’s always Therapy & medicines. Try meditation. Try exercise. Running is my way of telling my brain to shut the fuck up. Read a book. Make a list of all those things and people you are grateful for. Close your eyes and try to remember your happiest memory. Listen to music. Go offline or talk about your issues online. Seek help.
Figure out your issues and try solving them, and if you can’t solve it, accept it. You won’t ever get everything in your life and it’s okay. Have faith in yourself and embrace your weakness just like you do with your strengths. Keep the negative people away from your life. Don’t indulge in drugs to ease your pain. Sharing and caring is the best solution, Suicide is not. It will just pass away your pain to your loved ones.
According to WHO, ‘Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and was the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds globally in 2015,’ 78% of global suicides occurred in low- and middle-income countries in 2015.’ DO YOU SEE A PATTERN HERE? Maybe it’s because of lack of awareness and seeking help is considered a social stigma. “The stigma surrounding mental illness, including depression, remains a barrier to people seeking help throughout the world,” according to WHO.
India accounted for the highest estimated number of suicides in the world in 2012, according to a WHO report published in 2014 which found that one person commits suicide every 40 seconds globally.
“Depression is also the leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.” – WHO.
Maybe it’s time to change the thinking? Spread awareness. Be kind to people, you never know what they are going through. Even a slight remark on social media can push them off the edge. Be careful what you say.
‘I want to tell my countrymen that depression is not incurable. The first mantra is the expression of depression instead of its suppression.’ – Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A Mental Healthcare Bill decriminalizing suicide attempt is passed by Parliament & this is just a baby step in accepting that they are not criminals, they just need help. We still have miles to go.
On the occasion of World health Day – 7 April 2017 ‘ WHO has launched a one-year global campaign on depression – LET’S TALK. http://www.who.int/campaigns/world-health-day/2017/en/
It’s time for a change. If my post can change even one orthodox opinion on depression, I’ll take it as an achievement.
To all of you beautiful people out there, if you’ve survived depression – kudos! To all those who are currently seeking help – proud of you. To all of you, who are currently facing such symptoms – please reach out & break this chain of solitude & stigma because you’re not alone. We are here for you.
Let’s talk. Share your experiences and suggestions with me. We are in this together.
For data –