Key things to understand about Depression!

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The recent death of Chester Bennington got me thinking – that how many of us truly understand what ‘Depression’ is? How does it feel? There is a huge difference between being ‘Sad’ and being ‘Depressed’. We use the term ‘Depression’ so loosely every time something uneventful happens in our life. Sadness most often has a reason – but sometimes ‘Depression’ – doesn’t! It might be so frustrating and confusing to not be able to pinpoint a reason. If you don’t know the issue how can you fix it? Depression is a dull, gloomy, grey feeling which hangs over your head no matter how much you try to shake it off. Every time someone commits suicide especially a Celebrity, the topic of depression becomes a global issue. I am glad that it creates awareness – we absolutely need that! Although, each one of us should take more responsibility in our everyday lives.

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I experienced Depression just once in my life, where I received some unpleasant news about my mother’s health. If someone gave me a million bucks to describe how I was feeling, my words couldn’t do justice to it. It’s a strange feeling – a feeling of being standstill, drowning in a hole where the sounds around you are muffled, everything else is a blur. The worst feeling in the world is waking up in the morning and feeling like there is absolutely nothing to look forward to. You feel absolutely NOTHING. The best food feels tasteless, the funniest moments don’t make you laugh, you are out with your friends but you are just physically present and mentally your mind is in a fog. Some days you feel good and think that “Phew! I am out of this dark place!” but then the feeling of nothingness and hopelessness creeps in slowly and drags you down. It doesn’t announce its arrival. There are no evident physical symptoms but a slow, listless, dull, grey and empty feeling. You try to cry but even tears refuse to corporate and provide you any relief. Can you imagine a life with no hope?

How does Depression occur?

Depression occurs due to a chemical imbalance in your brain. It’s a legitimate mental illness, not just an emotion. Depression leads to many other illnesses. It is a like a big web being cast on your life, in which you get more and more entangled if you don’t reach out for timely help. It leads to other illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illnesses and the list goes on. Depression masks itself differently in every person. One person may feel and deal with it differently from another. Your psychological built, genetics, your support system, your life condition, hormones, health condition, gender – all these play an important role in how every person copes with it. 

Depression and Stigma around it!

First, you need to get rid of the stigma, shame or judgment you think you will face when you talk about depression openly. Do you feel ashamed to accept that you have a cold? No, Right? It needs to be treated like any other illness. It is also extremely important for family and friends to take responsibility, play close attention and be there for their loved ones if they appear to be depressed. Often people suffer from depression quietly because they feel that no one will understand them. Even if you don’t understand them or they don’t give you a solid reason or things don’t make sense – just be there. Make sure they reach out for professional help in time. It’s collaborative effort which will bring the best results. At any given point please do not commit suicide.

Being alive is the greatest gift of all. It breaks my heart when someone takes their own life – unaware of their own limitless potential not knowing they could achieve so much had they fought their battles with a little help and guidance and come out victorious. I know I don’t understand the way you feel when you take such a decision and probably no one does but know this – there is always a way – there is always hope – there is always an alternative – all you have to do is reach out. If your loved ones are in Depression – make sure you are there for them like a rock – come hail come storm!

I am not going to even pretend to understand what depression is. I am sure people face much more complex and heartbreaking issues due to depression – where it leads to a point that someone could take their own life and also devastate their loved ones due to such a sudden loss. I am just trying to do my bit to create awareness. No matter how many people stress on the same thing time and again – it is never said enough. Small steps taken at the right time are immensely crucial to save someone’s life.

Basic yet very crucial information often misunderstood by a lot of people!

Many people are not aware of the distinction between a Psychologist and a ‘Psychiatrist’. They often pull back because they fear taking medications and have many misconceptions about different treatment techniques. I have tried to explain it in simple terms below.

Psychologist‘ acquires a Ph.D. and PsyD Doctoral Degree. They provide counseling and behavioral therapy and are not permitted to prescribe any medications. They study the human mind and provide patients with an outlet to express themselves and better understand their thoughts and actions, break patterns with behavioral intervention. 

A ‘Psychiatrist’ is a medical doctor with an MD degree with intense medical training and can prescribe medications. They study the neurochemistry of the human mind in conjunction with behavioral, biological, genetic and psychological aspects. Psychiatrists are qualified, informed and well equipped to deal with complicated mental illnesses.

People often feel that if you seek help from a Mental Health Professional – the society judges you. There is so much judgment and prejudice attached when someone is seeking professional help for mental wellness. Labels are given such as ‘retard’, ‘mad’, ‘mentally unstable’ and many more. One should not care about these labels as they are given by people who are ill-informed and cannot possibly be in your shoes ever.

You are a fighter!

Seek help for ‘Mental Wellness’ and not ‘Mental Illness’ – just like we go to any Doctor to get better for other health issues

You are brave if you recognize the need for help. Be a fighter if you value and want to do more in life. You are not weak and it is not your fault. Please speak up – that’s the first biggest step to recovery. Communicate with your loved ones, they are all there for you! You are not alone!

Chin up,
Keep Smiling,

Love,
Anu

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