I know that feeling of being down in the dumps. I know that feeling of being a zombie in The Walking Dead, I know that feeling of being numb, I know that feeling of being unable to connect with myself. It’s an indescribable feeling, hard to put a word to it.
There are times when each one of us has felt a sudden bout of low energy and low productivity. At that time life doesn’t seem to hold any meaning. The distinction between sadness and depression is a crucial one. Duration and the intensity of what you feel play an important role.
Sometimes, the excruciating emotional pain is worse than a broken elbow and you try hard to recall when was the last time, you laughed a hearty laugh and maybe in your recent past you have completely forgotten how it feels to be happy from within. During the sad spells, there is uncontrollable weeping, there is a feeling of self-doubt, a self-attribution that is entirely resistant to alteration. Just as bizarrely as these episodes occur, they exit. They are replaced by the normal course of life, work and relationships.
At times, your self-criticism gradually spreads to all aspects of life and personal history and that is when moments of darkness stretch into hours, become weeks, and sometimes hours and weeks become months and years. Constantly living in a downward spiral, pulling you into a vortex of sadness, fatigue and apathy. You not only feel detached, lonely and unmotivated but depressive thoughts would manipulate you into believing that you aren’t good enough and ending your life isn’t just best for you but for everyone around you.
The overpowering feeling takes the wheel and steers you away from everything and everyone you love. It drags you little by little, every day in that dark dungeon and you start believing that this is where you belong.
Contrary to popular belief, depression need not just come from trauma, abuse, grief, a toxic environment or a dysfunctional family. Sometimes, it will spring out of nowhere and hit you with a sledgehammer. Being depressed leads to falling behind, falling behind leads to more depression and you continuously struggle to get out of the rut.
How big is depression and why does it need immediate attention?
According to the World Health Organization, depression affects over 300 million people globally, and it is predicted to be the leading cause of disability by 2030. Recent studies indicate that depression prevalence rates among young people in India range from 31% to 57%, and they are rising.
Additionally, according to UNICEF, one in seven young people in India between the ages of 15 and 24 has constant depression or lack of interest in activities. Depression never discriminates. It doesn’t see which social strata you belong to, your age group or your credentials.
Going by the figures everyone is susceptible to depression.
How can you help?
Symptoms of depression are intangible, it’s tough to recognise who might look fine but is actually struggling. When we are feeling down, we try to remedy it with some kind of grand external solution. From shopping to clubbing and pubbing everything helps – momentarily.
Most of the factors that have been proven to cause depression and anxiety are not in biology. They are factors in the way we live. There are deep underlying psychological needs. The psychological need to feel secure loved and heard.
For someone dealing with a low mood, asking for help can feel insurmountable. It’s important for each one of us to keep a tab on our mood. A prolonged unhappy mood needs to be fixed. If you see your loved one feeling low, extend your listening ear. The coping mechanism can be something as simple as this;
1) When you are feeling down, do not deal with it alone. Call your friends or family. Talk it out. Let it be out of your system
2) A little exercise counters depression. 20 minutes a day, five days a week is considered extremely good for your mental health
3) Listening to music is a quick mood booster
4) Say No to Social media validations
5) Choose your people and your environment carefully
6)Consciously avoid negative “self-talk”
7) Learn to Say “No” more often
8) It’s absolutely Okay to be not liked by everyone
9) Don’t get stuck in the disease to please
10) Exposure to nature and sunlight is a natural antidepressant
We are all on the same table. Struggling. Managing. Living life. October is considered to be the mental health awareness month. I urge all the readers to share their stories, as we share the unedited version and expose our dark side. Let’s reinforce the need to see a therapist if need be and give hope not just to ourselves but to many others who are struggling with depression. The more we talk about mental health, the more we break the invisible barriers.
Views expressed by the author are their own.
Suggested reading: The Vital Role Of Accessibility In Safeguarding Mental Well-Being