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“You May Be Depressed And Not Know It”. 6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Depression

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By Saurabh Gandhi:

“It’s hard to answer the question, ‘What’s wrong?’ when nothing’s right.”

It’s statuses like these that get the maximum likes on Facebook. Sad songs not only reach the top positions in music charts but also stay there longer. All of this is fine but how do we find that fine line between sadness and depression? Let’s try and decode some little known facts about depression:


# 1. Depression can happen to anyone, at any time.
Whether one is “weak” or strong, it knows no bounds. “Depression and mental illness happen to weak, crazy people.”

This is common thinking. You have cancer and no one will judge you. But you say you are getting professional help for depression or some mental illness, and all of a sudden there’s a stigma attached to you. This is not it. According to the account of a person who recovered from depression in the Health magazine, “If you associate with people who think your illness is taboo, you will too.” This is known as self-stigma. Patients (we even fail to call them that) often think that their illness is a sign of character weakness or incompetence.

Consider this: “I am now the most miserable man living.” Do you know who said that? It was Abraham Lincoln. Not exactly someone who fits the “weak” tag.

#2. Depression is not gender-biased.
Surveys around the world have shown that more women than men are diagnosed with depression. Also, suicide attempts by women are more than men. This leads to a common misconception that depression is only for women.

But the same surveys also show that men have a higher rate of successful suicide attempts than women. The fact is that not many men report depression. Not surprising, considering that we use expressions like, “Men don’t cry”.

#3 Depression will not go away on its own.
It is common to hear people saying, “Just go back to work and you will be fine.” Moving the attention away from depression is not the solution. In fact ignoring the symptoms of depression will only increase the risk in the long-run.

What can be helpful (apart from anti-depressants which are necessary in certain cases) is a combination of exercise, healthy diet and enough sleep. But then, even I feel that this ‘trinity’ is difficult to practice when one is dejected. But it need not be hard core exercise. Even a regular walk with a friend in silence can lift you up. The word regular is important here, as getting into a routine is the biggest anti-dote to depression.

#4. You may be depressed and not know it!
Now this one’s scary. Most of us confuse depression with sadness. Sadness surely is a part of depression but not the only one. Other symptoms of depression include lack of interest or enthusiasm in normal activities, reduced or excessive sleep, feelings of hopelessness.

Depression is not merely a mental thing. It also has physical ramifications. It can lead to increased pains, decreased appetite leading to loss of weight. It can also affect the immune system.

Let’s end on a positive note.

#5 . Taking on a responsibility helps to a great extent.
This one’s from personal experience. Often, there are times when we don’t know what to do with our lives. What should be our next step? Are we any good? These questions capture our mental and physical energies to a large extent.

At times like these, if someone really close to you asks you to do something for him/her, which only you can do; it really gives you a break from all the negative energy. Trust certainly acts as a good motivator. When people trust you for something, there cannot be anything negative that can get into your mind.

“The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.” ~Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

#6 — Depression can help you!
I know it sounds crazy. How can depression help you? Obviously, like all diseases, prevention is better than cure and no one should ideally get depressed, but what happens once a person goes through depression? It has been seen that people who successfully overcome depression become much more positive in their outlook, become more sensitive to the feelings of others around them, think more and are less judgmental.

P.S — Considering that I mentioned Lincoln earlier, it is only fair to share how he coped with depression. According to an article in The Atlantic, “He told jokes and stories at odd times–he needed the laughs, he said, for his survival.”

You must be to comment.
  1. Loshini Divya

    I think for those who are depressed, the best way for them would be to join some yoga and prayanama classes. Keep a clean room – a cluttered room leads to a cluttered mind. Play some soft light music and dance to it. Light some heavenly cycle pure’s woods incense, dress up in front of the mirror, act like a rockstar, sing to yourself, fulfill your dreams, make new friends no matter what age or status they are of- and just love yourself. Tell yourself that you are the best 🙂 Coz you are 🙂

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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