“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.”
As tears streamed down her cheeks, she said in a barely audible rasp, “I wish to die!” It was a startling revelation as I have known her all my life to nurture a never-say-never spirit. As she poured her heart out to me, I realised that I am the first person she’s revealing her mental condition to, more so as she fears that ‘others’ will brand her as ‘pagal’ or mad.
The biggest problem today is that people are not talking about the crisis they are going through. They have deep moments of depression and they prefer to solve it themselves. At least, they have the general impression that they will be able to come to some sort of a solution on their own. Every morning seems to bring for them more worries, several other hurdles that they think are impossible for them to cross. They stay quiet and thus are under constant pressure of carrying this extra baggage. These could eventually lead to suicidal tendencies.
Having said this, it is very important that any person, young or old confide in someone they can rely on and speak to at some point of their lives, when they’re going through difficult times. It is noticed that persons with depression stop trusting anyone, whether it’s family or friends and this is a cause for concern. The person in a depressive mode gradually slips into a deep abyss and sometimes, it could be detrimental. And very often, their family fails to understand the conflict situation, making it further difficult for the person!
But why? Why are they scared to discuss about themselves and their behavioural changes with someone who could probably help them? Is it their apprehension that their closest friends and family don’t have time for them? Or do they think that it’s a sham to be depressed when the rest of the world is having such a whale of a party?
Party? Yes! And that’s where the problem starts! In recent times, every few seconds, social media showcases the lives of people around the world having a great time, wearing expensive clothes, going on holidays, buying homes somewhere in the Caribbeans, getting married to a Maharaja and what not! And all this time, the depressed person thinks he/she is a loser. “There’s nothing great in my life. I am so ordinary. I have no talents. I hate myself. I am such a loser.” Several persons with depression tend to think that they’re nonexistent, more so because they probably had dreams that they couldn’t achieve or hadn’t tried hard enough to get what it takes. And when they see other people achieving what they couldn’t, stress sets in!
Depression can start from a very early stage in life and then carry on to a much later age if not corrected immediately.
The competition in the past was not as high as it is today and people used to lead a comparatively healthy, happy, normal life by just following their hearts. However, in recent times, the competition is so high, especially amongst children that the effects are pretty debilitating.
This year’s World Health Day theme is Depression; Let’s Talk. And this could mean talking not just for a day but talking whenever possible!
According to Wikipedia, depression is the state of low mood and conversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behaviour, feelings and sense of well-being. People with a depressed mood can feel sad and sometimes hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, angry, ashamed or restless. They may lose interest in activities that were once pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details of making decisions, experience relationship difficulties and may contemplate, attempt or commit suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, aches, pains, digestive problems, or reduced energy may also be present.
The WHO says the number of people who are depressed have increased by more than 18% between 2006 and 2015 and this can be alarming if we are to take the consequences of depression seriously.
We all go through ups and downs in life. But when a person experiences lurking sadness, that’s a cause for concern; constantly feeling low is not necessarily the only sign of depression. A lot of depressed people may feel anxious, aggressive, or even apathetic, lifeless and empty. There could be several cognitive deficits associated with depression and if it remains untreated, over a period of time cognitive impairment can become a serious issue and add to an already anxiety-ridden person. Reasoning can be unreasonable when a person is facing severe depression. At such dire times, it is quite possible that they may develop negative emotions towards themselves. And this could be dangerous. The feeling of being worthless among all the ‘worthy’ friends could tilt the balance of a person to a very great extent. Persistent pessimism can be irksome but if looked at more closely, the person might be handling a much bigger problem and could probably be totally unaware about it. A person going through depression may suddenly lose appetite to eat anything healthy, skipping meals at times and often refusing to join the family during regular meals. Unexplainable aches in the back, head, muscle can be confusing for the depressed person, as they can occur without a reason. However, these are persistently common in depression and can add to the turmoil of the person.
Several times, I have noticed some friends and relatives feeling tired all of a sudden, without any physical stress. They would start complaining of wishing to ‘sleep for a long time’ and even a normal sedentary conversation would perpetually exhaust them. That could be one reason why they don’t feel ‘wanted’ even amongst friends ‘cause these change in behaviour could irritate anyone if they don’t try to get to the bottom of the story of a depressed person.
All these tell-tale signs could actually lead to a bigger story and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is very important to look out for these signs in a member of the family who might be behaving differently from the normal. Persons with bouts of depression needs to be handled carefully. It would devastate them if they are directly told about their condition. They need to be coaxed, cajoled, often humoured into diversion but never told that they’re going through depression! It will take time for them to open up and tell their story and anyone wishing to help them will have to practice patience!