Depression is a state of constant low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behaviour, feelings, and sense of well-being thereby causing a mental anguish. Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or “feeling of sinking in quick-sand”
Depression is a global health concern affecting people from all walks of life. Many a times, people are not even aware of depression setting in. As many as 1 in 5 people are affected by depression and anxiety. Globally, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from it.
Depression may lead to a severe impact on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest daily activities. In some cases, it may affect relationships with family and friends, make a person anti-social whereas, in some cases, depression may hinder the ability to earn a living. In extreme scenario, depression can lead to suicidal tendencies, which is now the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year old. More women are affected by depression than men.
According to the World Health Organization, India is one of the most depressed countries in the world with a whopping 36% of Indians likely to suffer from major depression at some point in their lives. It is still underspoken term and it is essential to address it.
The causes maybe many… Financial strain, unemployment or underemployment, death of a loved one, relationship Issues, family Issues, physical disability, loneliness and isolation, medical illness, alcohol /drug abuse, lack of social support, stress, family history of depression, childhood trauma or abuse.
Know the Symptoms
Symptoms can vary from person to person and can have a combination of any of the below mentioned.
- Low Energy
- Reduced / Loss of Appetite
- Insomnia or Excess Sleep
- Reduced Concentration
- Weight Loss / Gain
- Reckless Behaviour
- Mixed Feelings of Worthlessness, Guilt, Hopelessness
- Suicidal Thoughts
Ways to Overcome :
- Accept that you might have depression. It’s ok if you are depressed. Happens!
- Keep up with activities that you like doing to be occupied and distracted.
- Socialize and stay connected regularly with family and friends.
- Exercise regularly, even if it’s just a short walk.
- Stick to regular eating and sleeping habits.
- Reduce your intake of caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, sugar, and refined carbs. And increase mood-enhancing nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Avoid or restrict alcohol intake and refrain from using illicit drugs; they can worsen depression.
- If you feel suicidal, contact someone for help immediately.
Have a patient ear and help others –
With the increasing number of depression cases, know what you can do in case you come across someone you know with depression – and #let’s talk about ways of curbing #depression.
Look for symptoms – Look for minor symptoms in people around you – Eating fast / slow, absent-mindedness, avoiding eye contact, being aloof, avoiding people.
Listen to them – Sometimes they just want someone to hear them out. You have to be patient with them and respond with kindness and a positive body language.
Don’t criticize – They are at their emotional low. Do not counter their feelings especially in a criticizing or sarcastic way. They may feel even worse.
Don’t give unruly advice – If they are talking to you, then you may mean something to them. Be careful with what advice you give. They may take that seriously.
Be empathetic – Be kind and empathetic. Be positive with them and spend some quality time understanding them better. Don’t sympathize with them as sympathy will make them feel at square one.
Talk as a friend – At times, they just need a friendly talk or advice. If you are Mother / Father / Sibling or Teacher – talk as a friend so that they hear and understand you better.
Get professional help – You can help to some extent but cannot cure them. Support from a professional is their ultimate need.
Talking therapy – Talking with people you trust can be a first step towards recovery from depression.
Professional Support – Only a medical professional will be able to handle your situation either with a talk or medicine subscription.
Anti-depressant Medication – Many medications are available to overcome this issue. But it should be consumed only under medical guidance.
In India, depression is considered a stigma for the person and his family. This stigma surrounding depression is the biggest impediment to people seeking help.
Let’s face it! People with depression need help!
They have to be heard and spoken to.
Overcoming this stigma and shame associated with depression will lead to more people getting help.