Depression is overrated. Depression is simply fancied to garner attention. These people have every luxury in life hence they pretend to be sad.
The pick-ups we see above are some of the most common remarks made to people dealing with depression. Surprisingly, many of us would not disagree with those. I mean, sure, when the blood parameters and imaging reports are perfect, what can be wrong with the person?
The symptoms of depressions can be spotted even before diagnostic tests. They are evident enough, however only to them who choose to observe. Despite continual awareness campaigns, ads, messages that depression is a severe mental illness and the pain felt by the patient is debilitating, society still takes it as a stigma.
But the funniest part is those who claim that they want to support those who are depressed do not do that in the right way. Here, being a patient of severe clinical depression, I would share some experiences that I am sure many of those who are suffering could relate to.
When I say, “I am really clueless that with such major chronic ailments”, “where am I heading”, “I feel terrible, I have lost hope and happiness and I just feel like crying”, “I do not want this life anymore”, the answers I receive are like “You should be meditating enough to let these thoughts go away.”
“Why do you not watch videos of motivational speakers. You will feel better.”
“Do try alternate medicines. Even cancer patients get well. Your illness is not as grave as that.” (In this case, they do not even know that I have a serious autoimmune disease)
“You are overthinking. Just try to distract yourself with things you like”.
All I expect from my close people is to lend me an ear of empathy. A little patience to listen to me. Just random chit chat to make me feel that even I am desirable. But instead, what I get simply intensifies my grief.
To all those, including me, I would like to say that it may not be easy to deal with patients with depression but it is not that difficult, at least to begin with.
Do we ever ask a patient with jaundice to watch videos on cooking good food for the liver? No! Because our priority is to get the patient treated first and then offer advice.
Motivational videos do motivate and people get a lot of benefits. But that does not heal the state of depression. When somebody is just surviving and not living, how will a video help and even if it does, this is not the kind of love, care and support a patient would be expecting from kith and kin. Family and friends are there for a reason and videos or meditation can never replace them.
Now coming to the most important point. My friend has issues with the throat. I can suggest home remedies but also at the same time, I would ask them to see an ENT specialist. I may suggest a name or I may even take them along with us. So why do we refrain to do this in case of depression? How’s it that we don’t suggest meeting a mental health expert?
This era of covid has exponentially elevated mental health crisis. Nobody is at peace. Everyone is going through pain but depression existed even before covid. This is real and this is painful.
We may not be capable of doing a lot but few words can make changes.
“I may not feel your pain but I understand what you must be going through.”– Empathy that makes patients feel they are not alone.
” I am so proud of you for the way you have managed yourself so well while going through all these.” – Appreciate them to make them feel capable.
“Your work and friend circle miss you so much. Please get better for all of us.” Desire can make them feel that people still need them.
“Leave all these video and Yoga stuff. They are boring, Tell me something fun we can do. Your ideas have always been great”. Giving them importance
“You mean a lot. Please let’s meet a therapist so that you start feeling better. I shall be with you always”.– This means a lot to them.
These statements above are not merely preaching because every patient is unique. These are the words that have made me feel better and when I said these to somebody, they feel somewhat better too.
Medicines and treatment are inevitable but nutritious food adds value to that. In the same way, therapy is inevitable for depression but strong support adds value that.