Back in the 14th century, an outcast was someone excluded from society for committing a crime or breaking the law. An outcast was someone like Robin Hood, he was celebrated. However, the definition underwent a drastic change by the time we got to the 21st century. Now an outcast is a depressed person, lurking in the dark shadows all alone while struggling to portray a bright side.
The stigma attached to depression is so intense that people remain in constant denial of experiencing it despite knowing deep down that everything’s not roses. People who suffer from depression struggle to open up about it. Many people don’t even realise that they struggle through it. Psychiatrists are often called doctors for mad hatters. It’s tragic to imagine that a person has to cross many personal barriers of insecurities and fear before actually getting to even the doctor, owing to societal pressure.
Causes Leading To Depression
There are various forms of depression, ranging from mild and temporary to severe and chronic. Dr Era Dutta, a psychiatrist in Ballygunge, shared some of the causes of depression in one of her very insightful talks in 2018.
Life is a bumpety journey of ups and downs. Lows could be negative life experiences such as getting poor grades, moving on from breakups and so on. These issues can cause temporary depression. It is a mild phase of depression that almost everyone goes through in life. However, we should take care in these cases as well because left unattended to, they might progress to intenser depression.
Sometimes people become depressed because of life events outside their control. The sudden death of a loved one throws us off guard. Being unable to adjust to a new setting also causes discomfort.
The strongest form of depression is caused by failure and inability to meet the expectations one sets for himself/herself. In such cases, people are often extremely harsh with themselves and begin to collapse into a downward spiral of pain.
Black Dog Institute states that a person has a 40% risk of developing depression if his/her parents have suffered from the same, with the remaining 60% attributed to surroundings and conditioning. Certain cancers are also known to cause depressive illness, with the victim being unaware of suffering from depression. High blood pressure may also contribute to greater chances of being depressed.
Coping With Depression
Dr Era Dutta also often speaks about several ways of coping with depression in her informative talks. Here are a few helpful pointers from her:
Strong Support System
Sharing happiness multiplies happiness and sharing sorrow depletes sorrow. It is of utmost importance to have the courage to voice out our troubles to the people closest to us, be it family, friends or pets. Good news for all the poodle cuddlers out there! Pets have therapeutic effects and play a significant role in alleviating our mood.
It is also crucial to confide in your mother, best friend or anyone you trust. You should not hesitate to take the help of these patient listeners for the sake of your mental well-being.
Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but strength. Being unafraid to exhibit your misery, sob or cry shows a sense of security of your emotional capabilities and not fragility, as we’re brought up to believe. We need to stop being afraid of being judged for visiting a psychiatrist while going through trauma. A psychiatrist is a medically trained professional who not only listens but also breaks down your thought process to rid you of your destructive habits. They not only assign you medicine but check on you regularly to follow up how you respond to the treatment, if it’s working and whether a change is required.
Nothing is wrong with you if you want to shed 25 kilos but it’s detrimental to pressurise yourself to lose it all in a week. While deadlines are good and should be adhered to, we must make sure we set for ourselves goals that are achievable and keep us on our toes without putting ourselves and our mental health on the line.
It’s just as simple as it sounds cliched. Being thankful for the things in your life can actually turn your mood around. Every drop makes a difference so little things like these make way for sustaining long term happiness.
Why Should I Care?
World Health Organisation reports India as the most depressed nation in the world. One in every six Indians suffers from depression. Here we observe that the leading cause of death in Indians aged 15-24 years is not road accidents or tuberculosis. It is suicide. Isn’t it alarming that the country with the world’s largest youth population is losing some bright minds to depression? We are the world’s fastest growing economy. Imagine the treasure trove we can harness with positive, happy and productive citizens.
If educated and well-informed people in metropolises are battling depression, imagine the state of the poor, illiterate people in the villages going hungry for nights on end. Struggling to make ends meet, they are not even aware of this condition. With no means to get diagnosed or receive medical attention, they unfortunately spiral into a nadir that’s very difficult to rebound from.
You Can Help
If you wish to extend a helping hand to depressed people, you can take the first step by talking to someone in need of support. You can also visit NGO’s working to this effect or contribute a donation. Paripurnata Half-Way Home is a home that can utilise your donations to fund professional counsellors for its patients, aiding them in reuniting with their families.
Famous People Who Have Battled Depression Victoriously
It is both breathtaking and heartbreaking to have your personal life out in the open for everyone to admire or criticise. Celebrities’ stories and struggles not only make us realise they are human just like we are but also derive hope from their victory over their problems.
All that glitters is not gold. Amidst winning awards for her blockbuster performances, Deepika fought back tears. Physical and mental overload caused her great distress. However, she put her fame to good use by trying to detach the stigma associated with depression. Deepika shared her story to help other people fight depression and to encourage people to start voicing their woes instead of being locked up in the attic.
J K Rowling
After a failed marriage and extreme poverty, Rowling had sunken into clinical depression. Her daughter is what kept her going. She wrote ‘Harry Potter’ at night with her daughter tucked away in bed and is the first billionaire author in history. She has stated that she needs to keep writing for the sake of her mental health.
Bullied in school, raised by a disturbed mother and addicted to drugs, Eminem tried to commit suicide. His painful past found its way into his much celebrated lyrics and he is one of the best rappers in the music industry today.
If people at such zeniths also face depression, it’s high time to realise depression makes no exceptions, just like any other medical disorder. We need to detach the stigma associated with depression and talk about it out in the open. Success stories of depressed celebrities have given countless people a new outlook on life. They give us hope that with awareness and the right help, there’s always a way to lead a fulfilling life.
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I am a student at IIT Kharagpur. My greatest passion is writing. I am an avid reader. Novels give me the happiness that we experience perhaps only in childhood. My favourite places are the gym and the basketball court. I am a trained Bharatanatyam dancer as well and find elocution a lot of fun.