Are you feeling sad, irritable or hopeless? Who doesn’t once in a while? But if persistent then it’s a matter that needs some attention. Being a psychiatrist I have come across a number of cases of individuals suffering from depression, but do we really know what depression means and how it can be detected. This column does not only cater to addressing doubts or problems that a psychiatrist can solve but to create awareness on this common mental disorder that affects 350 million people worldwide.
Change is constant and in this fast-developing economy it does have its adverse effects, not necessarily benevolent. A sudden alteration in usual patterns such as a new job, marriage, change in environment can create stress. This stress is somewhat normal but the resilience power to deal with it differs for each individual and can make some more vulnerable, which triggers certain signs of depression. How often has getting low marks in a test made you upset? For a while, it does bring down your spirits, but just like the importance of those marks, the feelings are shortlived as well. In case low mood swings accompanied by irritability persists, these could be warning signs which should not be ignored. According to studies, some of the major signs of depression are fatigue, lack of interest in otherwise pleasurable activities, disturbed sleep, alcohol dependence, and if at least two out of these are insistent one should seek help.
But why should we seek help? We aren’t crazy or mad. Well, that’s the mentality garnered in Indian society but is now seeing positive ramifications. From personal experience, I have seen the amount of awareness related to depression increase resulting in people being more open about it and discussing it on important public forums. Visiting a shrink or a counselor is as normal as visiting your doctor for a health check-up, as they say, mental health is as important as physical health. In today’s time, we are not only facing societal pressure, but the youth also face academic pressures, peer pressure as well as professional pressure which can be dealt with in a healthy manner it’s just that we don’t know-how. According to statistics, the most common cause for depression amongst youngsters (18-30 years of age) in India is a broken love affair leading to a high number of cases in deliberate self-harm.
Alcohol dependence or smoking are easy getaways from this hard to accept mental issue, but can aggravate the effects of depression even further. These temporary solutions affect not only your ability to perform every day but take a toll on you physically, pushing you into the deeper pitfalls of depression. The disorder has a no age bar, a youngster to an elderly person could suffer from it but the simple solutions remain the same. Though women are seen to possess higher chances of falling victim to it.
The one thing missing in this equation of healthy recovery from depression is a common flaw seen in us fellow human beings. There are antidepressants available for those who are suffering or there are new holistic methods available, such as ketamine therapy but those suffering need our support too. Suffering in silence shouldn’t be the answer and those who are suffering need to know that they’re not alone. Freud has been a genius in unravelling the modest solution to depression- talk, listen and create trust. What we are witness to is the increase in Facebook relations than building on social ones, that’s where we make the error. We need to start being more empathic, start talking to people and observe them, if something seems amiss do not sweep it under the rug but create a space for the person to feel comfortable to confide in you or at least be honest with you. We all can’t become counsellors and no one is asking you to but certain qualities we inherently possess need to be put to use in this fast-paced, greedy world. People suffering from depression are apprehensive of trusting someone, therefore a non-judgmental approach and encouraging words makes a marked difference.
However hard the repercussions of depression may be, the path to recovery is even easier. With access to the internet and various discussions on depression one can easily avail of the signs and help themselves or others who suffer from it. Value the feeling of being actually related than virtually, speak to your friends or family, even a trusted college professor it only leads in constructive outcomes. This column can be your confidante as well, you can send in your questions or doubts and be assured to receive helpful answers from me.
Dr Manish Bajpayee is a consultant psychiatrist in Pune with over 20 years of extensive clinical experience in assessing and treating clients with a range of psychological problems and other mental health related issues. He is currently a consultant with Inamdar Hospital and Ruby Hall Clinic.
Latest posts by Dr Manish Bajpayee (see all)
- Dr, Is it safe to use Psychedelic Drugs to treat Depression? - March 2, 2017
- I have been Dumped in all my Relationships - February 15, 2017
- Dr Bajpayee: Can you really see your past life? - February 2, 2017