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"According to the latest estimates by WHO, 300+ million people are living with depression today, an 18%+ increase in the last decade. It is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds"
Our Respected Prime Minister, Narendra Modi addressed this serious issue in the 30th edition of his Mann ki Baat on 26th March 2017. On World Health Day on April 7, World Health Organization declared Depression: Let's Talk as the theme for mobilizing action for the year 2017.
Relief could be sought from the heavy burdens of grief and guilt; there is surely a way out of the long, dark tunnel of loneliness and pain that are held within a soul living with the agony of depression. Find out more about the causes, phases and solutions and how you can contribute to mental wellbeing in a gentler world.
Causing mental anguish, depression can impact people’s ability to carry out even the simplest of everyday tasks. Untreated, it can prevent them from working and participating at work, in family and in community life that could have a devastating impact for those involved. I have interacted closely with young and old, who've suffered from depression for years together, some for even longer than a decade. In extreme situations, precious people have regressed under mental turmoil, torn by the internal tug of war of having to choose between life and suicide. Like quick sand, the harder one tries, the more one gets sucked into its painful core. With the help of positive engagement and the intense reminder to them of their own worth, the desire to live and love life for their own sake has been rekindled – most have bounced back with vitality and passion for their goals and purpose and begun a second life. But to be in a position to encourage and positively influence one to gradually crawl out of the condition, it is essential to understand the underlying root causes and the phase of depression that s/he is undergoing.
Underlying Root Causes of Depression
· Change of Environment/ Not getting proper attention and love: At the birth of a sibling, post childbirth for mothers (affects 1 in 6 women), on retirement or during unemployment, some find the change of atmosphere too sudden and drastic to digest, they also feel they aren't getting enough attention so much so that even events considered 'good' such as one's graduation, starting of a new job or marriage, in this way, may trigger depression.
· Mental Pressure: Unable to fulfill the expectations, achieve the standards or benchmarks created by family, friends or society causes one to feel lesser than the rest. Filled with shame and guilt, not being able to face the situation, one is sucked into depression.
· Low Self-Worth/ Inferiority Complex/ Fear of the Unknown: Perpetually feeling conscious of one's actions, behaviour, appearance or performance leads to depression. Younger children/ teens/ young adults may lose interest in play or life, adults take the risks that they would not normally take.
· Death of a loved one/ Relationship breakup/ Divorce: Loss of a person with whom there is a strong attachment creates a void that is difficult to fill, causing depression
· Physical illness / degenerating health: Feeling helpless, dependent on others and socially isolated worsens the current physical condition creating a complex mental condition of health-related depression.
· Addiction of alcohol/ drugs: Unable to face the current challenges of life, substances taken to escape reality worsens the mental state leading to depression.
· The experience of war, violence, trauma, abuse, discrimination or social injustice: The harsh memories of such painful incidents, imprinted on the soul, repeated over and over in the mind, causes depression.
Remember, Everyone is different and often a combination of factors contribute to developing depression. You may not always clearly identify the root cause nor change difficult circumstances, the most important thing is to recognise the signs and symptoms and seek solutions and support
Phases - Symptoms and Solutions
~ Phase 1 – 0 to 3 months: Unhappiness, reduced concentration, irritability, anxiety, restlessness, anger, frustration. Can be overcome through pep talk and through a re-focus on the new opportunities in life that would fulfill one’s own hidden and unknown dreams
~ Phase 2 – 3 to 6 months: Persistent sadness, loss of energy, sleeping more or less, change of appetite, Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed. Can be overcome through strong positive reinforcement of the goodness of life and light dosage of anti-depressants
~ Phase 3 - Beyond 6 months: Inability to carry out daily activities accompanied with feelings of hopelessness and self-harm/ suicidal thoughts. Requires urgent and strong doses of anti-depressants, and rigorous/ intense counseling for an immediate realization of the preciousness of the gift of life and the endless avenues one could choose from, to master-craft their life, on their own terms.
The only way out of the deep valleys surrounded by doubt, judgment, fear and anger is through a firm, unwavering resolution to want to get out for one’s own sake. Requiring a constant push and serious conditioning, when one's own sincerity to break-free reaches tipping point, one is re-born from the darkest corners of despair into a whole new identity with a fresh positive approach to life.
“I had two lives. The second began when I realized I had only one” - Buddha
Simple DO’s & DONT’s for anyone living with depression
· Allow and accept yourself to feel the way you do. Reorient your expectations that you may not be able to do all the things you once did.
· Talk to a friend, family member or someone you trust, who’s advice you value and appreciate
· Exercise regularly, practice yoga – it releases hormones that make you feel better, naturally.
· Eat at regular intervals and get enough sleep
· Avoid alcohol and drugs – they give a high, followed by an ugly crash, making you feel worse
· Seek professional help, If none of these help or if you get thoughts of self-harm/ suicide, . Do not take anti-depressants without the right prescriptions
· Remember, no matter what the type, cause or which phase you are in, the condition is treatable! With the right guidance, you can be on the path to recovery in no time. Be courageous and connect.
"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen." - Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
What can you do to Help those in need?
~ Learn more about it, create awareness and talk about it openly - without judgement
~ Connect those wanting to be heard with those willing to listen / professional help
In order to give mental health issues the priority it deserves, through awareness, talks and engagement, in my own personal way, I seek to address this subtle, neglected and often misunderstood issue, by allowing people living with depression to be heard. If you know of anyone suffering and wanting to talk, please connect on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sure way out for today's misguided youth: Alignment with the Real Identity
Depression is self-caused when one is veiled from one’s Real Identity. Dated back to thousands of years ago, the Knowledge of the Real-Self, is not as well understood by our current generation despite several efforts by various institutions and organizations. Today’s youth, lost, seeking instant gratification, unknowingly succumb to the temptations of consumerism and constant upgrades (sadly, even in relationships) and easily fall prey to peer pressure due to a massive deficit of confidence and patience.
"A turbulent, wavering and naïve mind, obsessed and influenced by the world invites all sorts of bitter sweet situations due to its sheer unwillingness to accept life as is. And yet, no matter how low one falls or no matter which rung of the ladder one is standing on at any point, each one of us has an equal and alike opportunity to uplift and transform our life because even the darkest of dark nights is always followed by sunshine of the day - we ought to gather all our energies and choose to consciously wake up from the slumber, to the new dawn, to realise the Real-Self." - From the Preface, Lost & Found in Ranthambore.
#LetsTalk #MentalHealth #Depression #MannkiBaat #Modi