Sasha(name changed) is just like any another twenty something Indian, eager to conquer the world. She works for her dream company, has the coolest boyfriend and a nice place to live in. Yet she is unhappy. One day, she wakes up to find that she no longer wants to get up from bed and do anything. She finds herself crying for no reason. She shuts outs everybody from her life and feels utterly miserable and helpless that she just wants the earth to open up and swallow her whole. Why? What’s wrong with her? She has a perfect life, what’s the reason for this mess? Sadly, she can’t fathom it.
Welcome to the intriguing world of depression.
Having a perfect world doesn’t mean that things don’t get complex. You might love your job and work hard but without your knowledge, your mind gets frustrated and refuses to accept the burden you give it. You may be happy with your ambience but sometimes your mind wants even more that you cannot describe. You may be happy in your relationship, but still some part of you is not contented. The changes are very trivial in the beginning but they aggregate to the threshold beyond which you can’t take anymore. Beyond that point, you start panicking and feel completely relentless.
So, what do I do when I feel like this? Is there any way to come out of it? Sure there is.
The first step is the most difficult step but you can’t bypass it-Acceptance. Accept that you are facing a problem. Believe that it is okay to face an issue and not be perfect always. Self-denial is the most dangerous tool toward one’s destruction. Overcome the shame and embarrassment. Convince yourself that it is a minor hiccup that needs to be treated and tell yourself that your life is not lost. Have faith in yourself and own up to it.
Even if the person has not come out of denial, it is the sheer responsibility of the family and friends to notice the difference in the person. It won’t be fatal to come out of our Cell-phone world once in a while and ensure that our kin is well and normal. Even if you notice a small change, ask the person if there is anything wrong. Make yourself reliable and be patient to listen to their problems. Never dismiss anything without analyzing it properly. If you find your daughter or sister crying silently in her room, go to her and ask her to explain. Don’t assume that she is crying because she got poor marks or had a tiff with her friends. Worse, don’t neglect it as a “period”ical behavior or assume that it is a part of your son’s adolescent transition phase. Assure him/her that everything is going to be alright. Make the person believe that you are there for her always. Most cases of depression don’t get reported because the victims more often feel lonely and afraid that their problems will be ridiculed. It is our duty to never let anyone feel so.
Once depression is found and accepted, what next? This is the next big step-consult a doctor or a psychiatrist. Just because a person visits a psychiatrist doesn’t mean that the person is mentally unstable or mad or a destitute. Then what do you say to the monthly psychiatric consulting sessions that major MNCs offer their employees? All of them only employ retarded people, do they?
Don’t worry that Babu uncle or Usha aunty will tell others about you visiting a doctor. Babu uncle, Usha aunty, Babita aunty and countless other aunties and uncles will find some or the other topics of gossip if not you. It is meaningless to risk your health because you have seen your neighbor giving you creepy looks. You are not living to satisfy him. It is indeed a pity that the world does not have rational thinking always. You can’t expect it too. That doesn’t mean you can’t follow your wishes. If they don’t understand you today, there will always come a day for it. So, the point is, never be afraid to consult a doctor. Consider this as a cut or a prick. It is going to be bandaged well. You are going to get good care and attention. The medicines are going to help you heal fast. It is okay to take some time off your schedule because you are hurt. And eventually after the cure, you may or may not be left with a scar, that is just going to signify how brave you are. No matter what, you will always be in safe hands.
Since this being a large scale disorder, we have to step up and let people of all age and strata know that people get depressed, it is not wrong to be depressed and you can go back to being un-depressed. Social media campaigns need to be stronger and bolder for the person to feel that millions across the world are praying that he or she gets better.
And finally to those ever gossiping aunties and uncles -Find something useful to do in your life. If you can read about Deepika Padukone’s struggle with depression on Facebook and still eye your depressed neighbor warily, you are the worst hypocrite ever. Get your head around the fact that what your neighbor undergoes today maybe the same that your son in USA may encounter someday. So show compassion. Still, if you are not ready to stop being judgemental, just don’t poke your face anywhere outside and shut yourself at home forever.