Depression as a serious mental illness has been ignored since ages. But, do you know, depression if not treated, can also lead to death. Depression is the leading cause of bad mental health worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease. It affects the way we speak, how we feel, how we communicate or convey, how we respond to external stimuli, how we cope with the changing environment.
The World Health Organization asserted that women are more likely to suffer from depression than men. Depression can cause a person harm himself and at its worst, can lead to suicide. It is reported that depression is a major contributor to the suicides globally. Depression neither has a face nor an age. It can occur to anybody at any point of time. If a person physically appears to be healthy, doesn’t necessarily mean, he is mentally healthy too.
Doctors diagnose depression when one has the following symptoms for at least two or more weeks : A depressed mood especially in the morning hours, Loss of Appetite, Feeling of restlessness, Lack of energy, Lack of interest or having no pleasure in working, Feeling empty from inside, anxiety, Having suicidal thoughts etc. These are some common symptoms one is likely to experience. Although, it varies with the severity. Not everybody with depression will have the same symptoms. In some, the signs may be identifiable. While others may show no sign of depression but likely to suffer from the same. It varies from one individual to another.
Physical symptoms include back pain, digestive problems, sleep trouble and the like. The reason is that brain chemicals linked to depression, especially serotonin may influence mood in a way that leads to depression. It plays a vital role in both mood and pain.
Researchers suggest that depression doesn’t only spring from an imbalance in the level of brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, such as genetic imbalance, stressful life events, traumatic experience in the past and the like.
If a person is sad or succumbed with grief, it doesn’t necessarily mean, he or she has depression. Both grief and sadness may influence our mood, cause a feeling of emptiness but if the feeling stays for a prolonged period of time, then the person is likely to have depression.
STIGMA ASSOCIATED WITH MENTAL ILLNESS
Stigma is when a person with mental illness is alienated or isolated from the society. For people with mental illness, the social stigma and discrimination they experience, trigger a sense of fear in them. The fear of getting judged or humiliated may make their situation even worse. They may avoid reaching out to people. Mental illness is not a sign of weakness. It is natural and curable.
DEALING WITH THE STIGMA
- Seek help from a professional – Instead of avoiding people, we must seek help from a professional. Proper medication and treatment can help us recover at a faster pace.
- Do not hide your emotions – Communication is the key. It is very important to open up rather than bottling up the emotions.
- Do not fear – Say out loud. People will pass judgement because of lack of understanding. You have to believe yourself. You have to stand up for yourself.
Depression is associated with a plethora of emotions. It may involve a lot of negative emotions too. But, suicide is definitely not the only solution. Depression is curable. All you need is help. We ought to fight against the stigma associated with mental illness. It is very important to maintain peace. A peaceful mind battles the odds.
Sources – Manorama Year Book 2020