Depression is something a lot of us take lightly. Mental health isn’t given as much importance in India as it should, and that needs to change. Recently, Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone opened up about her battle with depression, which was, in a way, incredibly strong on her part because we need more people to come out and talk about the severity of it.
So, here are a few things we all need to educate ourselves about, regarding depression.
1. It’s more than just ‘feeling blue’
A depressed person is constantly feeling worthless, hopeless, anxious, angry, and sad- even to the level of being suicidal. It’s a lot deeper than feeling blue. And it affects more than 100 million people worldwide.
2. It’s not just a state of mind; it can even show physically
Among other things, a depressed person can have body aches, headaches, high blood pressure, fatigue, and feeling of constant tiredness.
3. Watch out for simple symptoms
Depression is a big deal, but the symptoms can be seen in the simplest of things- lack of concentration, being extremely forgetful about things, irritability, wanting to eat either all the time or never, being overly negative all the time, and general loss of enthusiasm in activities.
4. People of any age can have it
A common misconception people have is that depression can hit someone at a later age in life. However, 1 out of 10 adolescents are likely to have a depressive disorder by the time they’re 18 years of age. Yes, depression among young adults is very prevalent.
5. The levels of depression can range from mild to severe, to clinical
There are different kinds of depression that hit people differently. Some people may have mild depression that normally would hit them after a sudden big change in their lives, like post-partum depression prevalent in new mothers, or for some, it could turn into major depression over a period of time. Understand the meaning of clinical depression here.
6. It is incredibly hard to live with depression
Something as simple as waking up every morning becomes difficult for a person suffering from depression. While some feel extremely vulnerable most of the time, some depressed souls feel numb-devoid of any emotion. And they can’t control it.
7. And no, it should not be considered a taboo
Because depression isn’t talked about in a nation like ours, it becomes really difficult for people to even consider that they might have a problem, let alone get help in order to get better. It’s about time we start changing our mindset and prejudices about mental health, and take action.
8. Even the happiest of people can have this painful problem
People may not seem depressed on the outside, but it’s the small things (point #3) that stand out as a difference between healthy people, and depressed people.
9. Telling depressed people things like ‘get over it’, ‘be happy’, ‘chill it’s a phase’ is not okay
In fact, there is nothing more saddening for a depressed person than to hear statements like these. Again, it’s not under their control that they feel how they feel, and they spend most of their time trying to understand why.
10. If you see signs of your loved ones’ behaviour change, you should consider depression to be one of the causes
It might get really difficult to understand if a teenager is only acting out because of the hormones, or out of depression. Being a teenager is really difficult as it is; there’s immense peer pressure that has the power to shape their views and opinions. Depression can make a teenager angry, overly rebellious, and have them throw tantrums. Not to mention their grades being affected, and their overall behaviour towards other people changing drastically.
11. Major depression can actually change the functioning of your brain
Yes, depression can have staggering effects on the brain, and make people function differently overall. This short video explains how.
12. Depressed people constantly feel like they shouldn’t take help
They keep telling themselves that they don’t need anyone’s help, mainly because they don’t want to be a burden on anyone. This stems from the fact that they feel worthless more often than not, and statements like these are very common among depressed people.
13. Even the smallest of setbacks in life can have a deep impact on a depressed person
It might be merely an exam in college in which they didn’t fair well, but a depressed person’s world can shatter over the smallest of things. Needless to say, criticism doesn’t go well with them either. Not because they’re bad sports, but because they’re already incredibly low on self-esteem, and this only serves as a trigger for them to feel that they really are useless.
14. And they will often feel like they’re the worst people in the world
They consider themselves bad people because they’re constantly wondering why they don’t have their life together. The cycle is a viscous one- they’ll feel bad about something, do something impulsive, regret it, and blame themselves all over again.
15. Some might even say they’re just being realistic about the world, but more often than not, that’s just the depression talking
Depressed people often talk very realistically, saying things like, “this is how the world is”, and “what is the point of living anyway when everything is made up?” They might think that it’s a personality they’ve developed after a bad incident (usually an incident that has triggered their depression), but it’s just the sickness talking. If you have a friend/loved one whose behaviour you have seen change drastically over time into someone like this, don’t hesitate to consider talking to them about it.
16. There are ways to fix depression, and to come out of it healthy
Depressed people need to be assured that their way of thinking is just because of the sickness. If they’ve already accepted the fact that they’re depressed, their family and friends need to show support, and let them know that you’ve got their back. It’s dicey if you know that the person is depressed and the patient doesn’t, they need to be handled with utmost care.
17. The key to helping someone get out of it is unadulterated support, and love
There are medical facilities available for mental illnesses, and this can be cured.
18. And finally, depression can make one feel isolated and lonely, which is a feeling far from reality
A depressed person may feel like they’re all alone in this world with no one who cares. But, it’s only the matter of a little external help till they realize that this is not true. There are millions of people out there who feel the same way, and all they need to know is that this will pass. It might be difficult in the beginning, but then, the path to recovery is never easy.
Demi Lovato, J.K. Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, and Eric Clapton are just a few of the many famous personalities who have suffered, and have eventually gotten out of depression, victorious.
If you’re suffering from depression and you’re reading this, the one thing you need to know is that getting better is a viable option, and you will get better. You will be yourself again.
Edit: There are many suicide prevention helplines available for people who need to talk and take help, two of which are-
AASRA– 91-22-27546669 (a 24*7 helpline)
Connecting– +91 9922001122 (from 2 pm to 8 pm), and 18002094353 (toll free)