Depression – Let’s Talk About It
In India people still feel that mental illness is a taboo and don’t want to talk about it. The mere mention of a psychologist or a psychiatrist or mental illness is enough to draw back a person from the doctor. Depression is being counted as a serious illness and tends to be under diagnosed in many cases. It can be triggered by an illness or loss of a dear one or a divorce or a strained relationship or job - anything. What we really need to understand is that depression is not a mark of weakness and can be cured with effective treatment, thereby, enabling a person to lead an emotionally healthy life.
Robin Williams made us all laugh with his movies and had the ability to capture the audience with his emotions. With his skills he could bring a person from laughter to tears. With characters like Genie, Mrs. Doubtfire and Peter Pan he connected naturally with people. He wore his heart on his sleeves and watching him always felt that we could also do crazy stuff like him. But who knew he was battling depression. He lost the battle in the end. One can never believe that a happy go lucky person (at least that is what he portrayed through his characters) could be affected by depression.
Here are some things everyone should know about depression:
- It is not a sign of weakness but just an illness and impacts millions across the world. As per estimates, 350 million people globally suffer from depression.
- If a person commits suicide then they are not selfish and this usually happens due to depression. Don’t blame the person, they were sick and battling the illness and just succumbed to it.
- It cannot be cured and it has to be treated through medication, counseling, exercise and even hospitalization if required.
- Taking help and medication does not mean that a person has given up it is just a sign that a person wants to get better.
- Mental illness can affect adults and children equally. It tends to impact the development of children and should not be ignored.
- Agreed that mental illness and depression has a stigma attached to it and people don’t want to talk about their condition but there is absolutely nothing wrong with the person who has the disease.
- Depression exists in many forms like bipolar disorder, anxiety, fear and apprehensions … there is no harm in going for a medical checkup.
- Depression hurts not just mentally but also physically. It sucks out all the energy and makes it difficult to do day to day chores leading to aches and pains along with stress, sleeplessness and loss in appetite.
- Asking for help to cope up with depression is not a sign of weakness but a sign to a healthy mind
- In case someone feels depressed, don’t tell them that something is wrong with them.
Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone has also battled depression. Initially, she thought that she had stress and tried to distract herself and took to more work. In 2014 when she was being appreciated for her work, that was the time depression hit her. One morning she woke up feeling different with emptiness in her stomach. That moment led to her downfall as well. She brushed it aside thinking it to be stress and did not tell anyone about it but she broke down often and found it difficult to concentrate. As time flew the illness got worse and she finally confided in her mother who without any hesitations took her to a psychologist friend. She also went in for a second opinion when she was prescribed medication. Deepika has stated that, “There were days when I would feel okay, but at times, within a day, there was a roller-coaster of feelings. Finally, I accepted my condition. The counseling helped, but only to an extent. Then, I took medication, and today I am much better.” A death of her friend due to depression and her own battle against the illness has enabled Deepika to talk about mental illness awareness.
Recently, Pratyusha Banerjee, the actress from popular TV serial Balika Vadhu committed suicide. She hailed from a small town with dreams to make it big. Her career was at the mercy of the producers, a constant trail of paparazzi and a large audience particularly her fans. All this is enough to hound a girl and turn it into a nightmare for her. Lack of good roles and an abusive relation with her boyfriend literally pushed her into depression.
Depression is not uncommon these days. The problem lies in the way we deal with it. The person right next to you could be suffering from depression at this very moment. As a society, we should watch out for the signs and step in if we even doubt for a minute that someone may be suffering from this widely common ailment.
By Shubhra Rastogi