Rent? Fes? EMI? Love Life? Self-satisfaction? Emotional burden? Office work? And it keeps going on … The list of things that makes our life stressful and welcome depression is never-ending. Gone are the days when people use to sit and have an actual conversation. It is now WhatsApp conversation (minus the human emotions and add emoticons) or at max phone calls. You cannot judge the emotional battle one is going through once you speak over the phone because people have mastered the skill of masking their real emotions.
With the increasing stress in our life, at some point or the other, almost everyone goes through depression. Many needs medical assistance but because it is so taboo to talk about, it remains under the folds of “What would people say?”, ”is that even real?” or “why do you want to visit a doctor for this?”
This is one such topic that many shy away from discussing. Not because we don’t want to but because either we don’t know enough about it or we always have fear of being judged.
I am no expert but I know what depression feels like because I have touched the tip of an iceberg while going through post-partum depression. It was a weird, tough and indescribable phase.
“When I use to lie on a bed, it felt like as if the room was shrinking on me. Every morning felt low and hollow, with no dreams and no emotions. Tears use to flow without any reason and I felt as if life has no purpose. I had everything in my life from the support of my family to a newborn adorable baby girl. It is not that I wasn’t talking to people or smiling but as I said we have all mastered the skill of masking our real emotions. When I opened up to few close ones about how I felt, one very close to me dismissed the idea that there is anything called depression. She brushed it off saying it is all in your head. “
This post is just a heads up and a helping hand to anyone of you who might bring help to someone who actually is in dire need of it.
What Is Depression?
Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. It causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
(As per ASA, link: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression)
As per statistics, it affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life.
Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.
Here is what you can do to help someone:
The first and foremost thing you can do is accept depression as an illness that needs assistance, support, and love. Your support and encouragement can play an important role in their recovery. Be concerned of your loved one’s emotional well-being.
Talk to them and be available for them (physically and mentally)
Please avoid starting your conversations with “it is all in your head”, “what’s wrong with you?”, “you are just feeling sad it will go away”. This doesn’t help, if nothing else they will get into the shell and never speak of their heart. Instead be their support and tell them that you are available as and when they need. Depression is emotionally exhausting.
“It takes effort, patience, and compassion to love someone with depression. Don’t be impatient or judgmental.”
Professional help is important
It is difficult to differentiate between sadness, grieving, and depression. A person going through depression not necessarily look extremely sad to you because they have learned to live with that and hide it away from judgmental looks. Encourage the individual to get professional help for depression if he or she is resisting. Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Medication is important because brain chemistry may contribute to an individual’s depression and may factor into their treatment.
Small Gestures matters a lot
I understand not all of us are comfortable in talking and do not know how to convey our help to someone who needs it. Leaving a voicemail with supporting words, cooking their favorite meal, sending them a card are just a few ways to reach out to them. As per the author of living with Depression book-
“These gestures provide a loving connection [and] they’re also a beacon of light that helps guide your loved one when the darkness lifts.”
Knowledge is power and understanding.
Even if you have a doubt that your loved one might be going through depression then take things seriously. When someone you know is depressed, it’s understandable if you feel helpless. If you’ve never suffered from clinical depression, how are you going to know what to say and do, or how it feels? Know about depression and understand it. Depression is a real illness and help is available. Depression is an isolating disorder, which often sabotages relationships and this can make not knowing how to help all the more confusing.
Once you can understand depression’s symptoms, course, and consequences, you can better support your loved one.
“Remember that just by being there and asking how you can help can be an incredible gift.”
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