Depression is not a “state of mind”. It is a sickness. And like every sickness, it is curable if we seek help on time. How often is depression a topic to talk about in your family evenings? How often are we willing to share our vulnerabilities with a counselor or loved ones? One can analyze for themselves.
Search for #depression tags on your Instagram and you’ll find millions of people, genuine living beings dealing with depression and asking for help. In our own Facebook poll, we asked people if they had ever been in a depression. 88% of them voted with a Yes!. That makes 4 out of 5 people you know, had or is struggling with depression.
What causes Depression?
Depression can arise due to a number of reasons. Sometimes, unlike sadness, it can be without an apparent reason too. A teacher’s harsh punishment, bullying at school or workplaces, disruptive and aggressive parents or bosses, an abusive relationship, the death of a loved one and many more. Depression builds up on you. It’s not a one day process. Rather it’s the continuous thought process that you have had with yourself. “I am not enough”, “This is not going to work, ever”, “What if I get bullied”, “No one has ever loved me”, “Why do I need to face them?”. This and many more things the voices in your head tell you leads you into depression.
In some ways, depression can seem like being surrounded by a fence, a fence so high that it seems impossible to ever be able to climb up and crawl out of it. Or a really deep, dark well. It can make you a victim of your fears. Some people describe it as a grey cloud that rises and sets itself upon them, looming over them day by day. It drains the joy out of life itself. Although millions worldwide suffer from depression, no two people have exactly the same experience. They are vividly varied, just like our own personalities.
Singing the blues and waiting on the silver lining to show up doesn’t usually work. Life already has its everyday tolls. And if you happen to be depressed, it has a way of knocking you off your feet and dragging you out. Guilt, anxiety, and insecurities have been found to be common traits of a depressed person, other are, feeling uneasy in social circles and wanting to stay put. These are the initial traits shown by a depressed person. If it’s not dealt with sooner, it can lead to more severe abuse of substances and even self-harm.
If you are dealing with any of these issues or someone you know is, help is not far from you. Talk to that person in an open environment. Make it known to them that it is okay and natural to fall into depression. Giving them your opinion does not help, rather give them a listening ear. Make them feel wanted in that conversation. Get to know them and their story. Most of the time being able to share your story itself can be a healing experience, so let them share it with you.
You are not alone
It is a silent killer that plagued about 322 million individuals worldwide in 2015. Out of the 322 million, 57 million live here in India. The burden of depression is overwhelming. It is only when we start a conversation about it that we realize how surprisingly prevalent it is. It spans across all the phases of human life. In Early childhood where strange encounters lead fears and apprehensions to take root, where what a child tries to communicate is politely rendered insignificant or trivial by the parent. In adolescence, where loose skin folds or a short stature call for embarrassment and bullying. Young minds that are still growing often weather these mental storms alone. Such tremendous challenges eventually knock some of them down.
Science says that having been depressed increases one’s susceptibility to a reoccurrence. Unpleasant experiences in early life do translate as scars into adolescence and adulthood defining one’s psychological makeup. There’s always an answer to why a person is, the way he/she is. Looking for the right answer involves a keener look into their past. A short-tempered person may not necessarily be someone who takes pleasure in hurting people emotionally. His temperament may be reflective of adverse childhood experiences and maltreatment that made him aggressive in his adult life. All people are equally susceptible to Depression. A new mother can be immensely downtrodden following the birth of her newborn and so can be a man struggling to put food on the table for his family. It happens irrespective of age, social status, and gender. It can affect anyone.
WHO identifies depression globally, as the top cause of illness and disability among young and middle-aged populations. A number of biological, social and cultural factors predispose individuals to depression. We hope for you to embark on a journey with Sowers to explore these factors and how they interplay in affecting mental health.
If you are reading this and also suffering from depression, we’d like to lend you a helping hand to enable you to stand up again. We are continuously reaching out to people of any age group and making ourselves available to listen to them via phone calls. We understand that confidentiality is not to be taken lightly and we reassure you, that your confidentiality is of utmost importance to us. If you’d like to talk to Sowers about your situation, we welcome you with arms open wide. We are here to listen to your story and provide any help that we can. Drop a message on our contact us page with your phone number or email address and we’ll get back to you.
Let’s talk about depression as much as we can at our schools, universities, working places, temples, churches, and mosques. Let us pledge not to watch them die.