Depression, the word of the week for the netizens of India. Every second post that I look up online is about depression, how to deal with it, how to treat people with depression, how to help. Guidance, phone numbers, name of organizations everywhere but I have a question, I ask you, what do you think depression is? What have you learned from the internet? This question is the most important of all, because your perception of this complicated disease is important for those who suffer from it.
In the most facile terms, depression is sadness. This is unfortunately the most flawed statement that one can make about depression. Sadness is just an element of this convoluted phenomena that we call depression. A depressed person can sombre and yet laugh, it doesn’t mean his or her ordeal is over. Depression is a melancholy so deep that you might be with your family yet feel orphaned. There are days you don’t get out of bed because you just don’t have the energy to do so. It doesn’t mean a depressed person is lazy. Every decision is inflicted by self-doubt and crippled by a low self-esteem. The days are full of apprehensions and misgivings of what will I do because I am already a failure. There are nights where you cry yourself to sleep because the pain does not go away. That pain is something nobody understands because it has no physical manifestation but feels as if someone has cut off an arm. Its pain trapped inside with no way out. Have you seen those cuts on people, you must have because most people notice self-mutilation but never talk about it because obviously, it’s a taboo. Those scars happen because someone somewhere wants the pain to escape, to be relieved of something that person cannot express. You become emotionally vulnerable and extremely sensitive at times but there are also days when you are emotionally numb. Nervous breakdowns, panic attacks and anxiety come along with it most of the times. Your appetite changes, your body changes and you fret over each small thing. You sleep too less or too much and sometimes wake up each day at 3 am from a nightmare and think, why is this happening? Why can’t I just be normal for a day? The drugs that everyone keeps talking about, yes they help but some pills make you drowsy and some increase your appetite and it’s not an easy road. A lot of people skip medicine and trust me they don’t do it on purpose. This is how slowly and steadily people move towards the point of no return, because it becomes too much to bear. So yes, depression is not just plain old sadness.
The way people deal with depression in India goes two ways, either they ignore “it” or they expect you to take a bunch of pills for “it” to go away. Both ways lead to sure disasters. Every doctor that I have talked to says that the drugs are thirty percent of the cure, seventy percent depends on the individual. How is anyone expected to overcome depression when they are made feel like they are carrying the plague? Parents don’t want to talk about it because “log kya sochenge?” and rest of the world, well people have written hundreds of articles about it in past one week so I guess by this time we all already know where that road leads. Irrespective of so many people raising this issue I am sure there are still people who are unable to break their silence. Why? Because it’s hard. It’s hard to accept that you are an emotionally drained adult. It’s hard to trust people at that point and even harder to make them understand when you don’t understand what is happening to you.
To the world I all I have to say is that, be careful, somehow your words and opinion matter to a depressed person if you are someone important in their life. That person doesn’t need anything much from you, just for you to listen and tell them that they can make it. Depressed people often ignore or belittle their achievements, show them that they are capable by just reminding them of what they have done. Sometimes a hug is all they need. They are not clingy or in need of attention, they are just driving the four wheeler of their life with handbrakes on. They are not weak, they are stronger than many of you. They have achieved things in life and are where they are irrespective of the things that have held them back. If you can’t help them or don’t want to, it is fine but at least encourage them to seek help (professional and personal) and don’t tell them it’s a “phase”.Basically, if you cant help them please don’t make it worst for them.
To the people out there who face depression each day, you must seek medical help.We delay medical care in this disease due to various social and personal reasons when this disease could have been curbed in the beginning itself. Depression will not just go away and it’s totally normal to go to the doctor like you would for jaundice. It’s important for you to be comfortable with the doctor you want to see .So take your time and tell your doctor the truth. The pills might be bitter but they work. You might be skeptical about the success stories you see but they are true. In the end you have to pull yourself up and you will do it in time. I suffer from chronic depression. I never thought I would be alive to see the day when I would pursue post grad, but here I am and this is what I hold on to for getting through the next day. It’s a hard life, yes but in the end you will make it to the rainbow. Things get better slowly, they did for me and they will for you. IN THE END IT DOES GET BETTER AND ONE DAY YOU WILL GENUINELY BE HAPPY AGAIN.