Depression Has Many Facets, And It’s Time We Acknowledged That

Depression is a disorder that affects a person behind the scenes and eventually ends up swaying the individual. It can start from just an anxious thought and can also result in suicide. Up to 15% of people with affective disorders like depression, commit suicide. Depression is something that can affect a person in his/her everyday life.

anxiety disorder
Depression is something which is very hard to see with naked eyes, maybe the happiest person you can think of right now might be depressed too.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression is the second biggest cause of disability in the world. However, only 10% of them receive proper treatment. It is very important to be treated—as in case of no treatment and diagnosis, it is recorded that 40% of those who suffered from depression may again get depressed after a year.

Everyone in their lifetime for some point of time felt helpless and hopeless, sad, anxious, lost and broken, but it all matters how soon they are able to cope up with their mental thoughts. It could be very hard for an individual to face his/her problem, but mentally, it is more important to stay positive and strong. Still, if someone is not able to recover from ill thoughts and is feeling sad and anxious for two weeks straight, it is important not to ignore it and look for treatment or therapy.

Also, there is a difference between feeling depressed and being depressed. Everyone feels depressed at some point in life. If one does not score well in a class test, they might feel depressed, and that is completely normal. However, for some other 15 million, that’s not the case. Those who can’t get over depression themselves result in being clinically depressed. When people frequently curse themselves for doing something which they must not have done or think about past mistakes, it leads to hyper-intensive thoughts.

Symptoms Of Depression

  1. Sadness and feeling empty
  2. Daily headaches and loss of energy
  3. Frustration
  4. Loss of interest in studies and hobbies
  5. Absent-mindedness and slowed thinking
  6. Getting hyped
  7. Anxiety and hopelessness
  8. Change in sleep and eating behavior
  9. Inability to make decisions
  10. Feelings of worthlessness
  11. Frequent thoughts of suicide

Some Other Causes Of Depression In Teenagers

  1.  Sexual or physical abuse and bullying
  2.  If there is a mental illness in the family, children can be affected too
  3.  Some parts of brain underdeveloped, while other parts being overdeveloped
  4.  Poor school performance
  5.  Anxious about body image and body shaming

Depression is something which is very hard to see with naked eyes, maybe the happiest person you can think of right now might be depressed too.

This is where social media dives in. Most teenagers today are on social media, and they love to share their pictures and life moments on platforms like Instagram. This also has a negative impact. For example, a teenager, after seeing random pictures of his friends going out on vacations, may feel dismal. He may start cursing his life. Also, when he sees his mates hanging out with friends and dear ones, he may feel left out.

It is in this very moment that he starts to feel that no one loves him or cares for him. While he will continue scrolling his feed, he may find his long lost friends winning a random competition, which can affect his mindset and a feeling of worthlessness can crush his mind. He may forget at that time that on platforms like Instagram, one only post pics of their happy moments. The one who seems to be happy in the pictures uploaded on social media may seem to be joyful, but only that person is aware of his life’s problems, which he chooses not to share on his Instagram.

It is also important to note that if someone has won a competition, he must have put in hard work and also faced failures in the past, which he won’t show on Instagram. Similarly, when a teenager expects likes and comments on his post and fails to get them, he may not feel good about it. It could be concluded that apps like Instagram are only made to feel happy, and watch others feel happy, but things are turning out to be completely opposite. Smiling only for Instagram likes and faking your life is what’s turning out to be ugly.

It is also important to treat this disorder just like any other disorder and not feel ashamed if you have it; it’s alright. This disorder is just like other ones such as TB, high sugar levels, and so on. Try to seek therapy, and be open about it, let the problem be out. Talk about it with a family member, a friend or someone who cares for you.

Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Quit social media for a while. Also, try meditation. Every 1-2 hours, no matter what you are doing and how important it is, just take some deep breaths. It can help very much. Avoid the things that make you feel uneasy for a while; it is okay to say no. At this point in time, YOU matter the most. Try outdoor activities, instead of a solitude lifestyle. And at last, remember, things will change, and they will get better than ever!

The above article was first published on the author’s personal blog here.

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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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

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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