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Why You Absolutely, Unashamedly Should Talk About Your Depression

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It starts with not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. Another pointless day of your pointless existence, you think to yourself. Yet you get out of bed anyway and go about your daily routine to the best of your capabilities. But something’s off, and you can’t for the love of god figure out what it is. All you know is that you’d much rather be curled up in bed at that moment, even if there’s no explanation as to why you’d want to do so.

Gradually, it starts reflecting in your daily routine as well. Suddenly, you’ve lost your appetite for all kinds of food entirely. Or maybe you’ve started eating much more than you normally did. Your motivation to do basic chores has dwindled away; and so has the desire to maintain your social life. Maybe you can’t sleep at all, your own thoughts keeping you awake through the night. Or perhaps you’ve started sleeping too much, to the point where sleep is your best friend, and waking up has become your nightmare. You no longer feel happy; it’s as if you’re incapable of being happy, no matter what you do – But everyone else’s life seems perfect, and you constantly compare yourself to them, desperately trying to figure out where you went wrong.

And then finally, it consumes you. It takes over your life, creeping up on you every day, every minute, every second. You feel lost, tired and hopeless. You’ve pushed everyone away, but you also feel forgotten. You spend hours staring at the ceiling, just laying there in silence. Perhaps you cry yourself to sleep every day, for no specific reason. And perhaps, you’ve thought about ending your life, making the pain go away once and for all.

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and at its worst, it can also lead to suicide. A WHO report titled ‘Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders — Global Health Estimates’ says that as of 2015, over five crore Indians suffer from depression, and over two-thirds of global suicides occurred in low and middle-income countries such as India in that year. Then what is it that holds us back from talking about our mental disorders? Why is it that despite such alarmingly high statistics, mental disorders are often taken lightly in our country, and seeking therapy elicits social stigma still?

In March 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat’, urged the people of India to start talking about depression and other mental health issues more openly, saying that “We [in India] are afraid to talk about it [depression] openly,” and was quoted saying, “Suppression of depression is not good. Expression is always good. If depressed, share your feelings with others, it will make you feel better.” But it isn’t as easy at it seems, is it?

Sure, depression has become a living room topic. People talk about it, and almost everyone has an opinion about it. While some are sympathetic, empathetic even, there are many who don’t know about it but are compassionate and make an effort to try and understand it. But there are also many who simply don’t understand it, and don’t even try to.

Too many times, people who don’t understand the reality of depression see people battling it as weak, lazy, cowardly or fake as if someone would choose such a lifestyle willingly. The really insensitive ones will tell you that you’re just ‘being lazy’ and that you just need to ‘get over it’, and might throw in a ‘you’re too sensitive’ or a ‘stop overthinking’ occasionally. But here’s the thing: no one enjoys living life laying in bed, stuck in a constant loop of self-doubt, unable to find the motivation to get out of it and go to the kitchen to get something to eat, or even do something as basic as going to the bathroom to take a shower.

So yes, talking about your depression might be difficult. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Depression (or any other mental illness you might be suffering from) is indeed a very serious condition, and ignoring it certainly won’t make it go away. If you had a broken arm, would ignoring it make it go away? Just like you need someone to fix your body after a fracture, you also need someone to fix your mental state once it’s been plagued by depression, and it can be treated, either by therapy or by medication, depending on the severity of the case.

Your mental well-being is as important as your physical well-being, so if you think you’re exhibiting symptoms of depression, please don’t hesitate to reach out to someone. It could be anyone you trust will understand what you’re going through, and not deem your feelings invalid. If you think no one in your close proximity can comprehend your mental state, try going to a therapist instead. And if the idea of going to a therapist scares you, try reaching out to someone whom you know has gone through what you’re going through, even if it’s online, or through a support group. But please, reach out. Once you do, you’ll feel so much better, I promise. And don’t give up. Do your best, even if that’s just brushing your teeth or finishing an overdue assignment. Getting better is all about taking baby steps, and if you make continuous efforts towards getting better, you’ll be okay sooner than you know it.

You must be to comment.
  1. Karthika S Nair

    Well written article. Thank you so much for this piece.
    You are right, more than the disease, it is the stigma that affects a person.

    Keep writing 🙂

    1. Kriti Anand

      Thank you so much for your kind words. <3

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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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