Depression

“Why are you crying? Dry your tears and do something about it. This is just a phase, it will pass.”

“Be strong! You are not even trying. Never forget, happiness is a choice.”

“You just need to pick up your life now. So many people could do it, why can’t you?”

“What’s with the drama? You don’t even have anything to be depressed about!”

Among the many myths around depression, the ones that perhaps are most common are that it’s a flaw of the character, a lack of choice, a lack of ‘not trying enough’, and a sign of weakness. As a society, we find it difficult to see depression as an illness, and we often expect people around us to get over it, like the seasonal flu. Misguided expectations like these only perpetuate the stigma and deepen the pain of depression.

Depression goes beyond than just experiencing sadness; it is an illness that can shatter people’s emotional, mental, and physical health. The persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest can have a pervasive effect on all the other life domains. Our social front, the work front and even our inner, private lives get characterised by hopelessness and helplessness. It impacts all aspects of everyday life like a change in the regular eating and sleeping habits, and even erodes the small ways in which we take take care of ourselves..

It can be difficult to recognise because there is no one size in which it comes. It can manifest differently for different people, making it hard to identify. People going through depression may describe it as a gradual and escalating process of ‘things not being quite right’ over some time, while others vividly remember the events that triggered their illness. There are many gradients of depression — mild, moderate, and severe; and it is experienced differently by certain groups like young adults, new mothers and fathers, and the elderly. But the bottomline is that it is a serious condition that requires treatment.

Manav’s story may help you in understanding this disorder in a better way. Manav had joined his first job in a new city. This was perhaps the biggest transition for him as he had not lived outside his home ever. Suddenly, he was in a place he did not know, surrounded by people who did not know him. He struggled with concentrating on his work, and ideas would float past him without understanding until minutes after the fact. His eating and sleeping habits deteriorated and he started being very self-critical, often blaming himself for not being perfect. But the worst feeling was perhaps the disconnect he felt, both from his family and friends. His condition worsened over time and he was slowly unable to deal with life’s simple tasks.

Manav’s depression was a lonely process, making him even more vulnerable. Maybe this experience of vulnerability could have been different if he knew that he was not alone, that depression affects one in five people across the globe. Maybe it would have been different for him if there was someone to help him out, to tell him that there was a way out from this. He could have benefited from seeking help and accessing the many different approaches of treatment that connect with the individual in a meaningful way so that they can overcome their problems.

 

Resources
What is depression?| Helen M. Farrell
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-IR48Mb3W0
Postpartum Depression In India is Real – I have experienced it, have you?| Anjana Bhartia http://www.storified.me/postpartum-depression-real-experience/
5 Things to Do (And Not Do) to Support Someone with Depression | Wiley Reading
http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/03/supporting-people-with-depression/

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Stay with the person until help arrives.

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