‘Suddenly one day I couldn’t get up from the bed…’

It strikes with no apparent warning; No fault of the individual, despite what the world may think. This isn’t about past life regression either. Nor is the individual possessed by a wayward spirit.

This is about a malaise that we are coming to terms with. Mental illness sees many manifestations with depression probably being the most known of all. Unexplained anxiety, bipolar behaviour, mania, obsessive compulsive disorders, schizophrenia and kleptomania are fairly common in today’s world. We shy from discussing mental illness. We brand the individual insane, lazy, attention grabbers and indifferent, without realising the unexplained and uncontrollable trauma the patient goes through.

For us at Pune365, the human being is of paramount importance and we will do our bit to reach out to every individual who needs a friend to cope with life. We know there is hope and there is a cure be it depression, bipolar disorder, mania or anything else…

When it comes to mental health, there are various treatments available depending on the person affected and the condition at hand. For example, some people choose to seek out therapy sessions and, alternatively, people who struggle with stress and anxiety sometimes turn to several natural methods such as using cannabis.

If you would like to learn more about using cannabis as a treatment for your mental health condition, before you order weed online you might want to do some research into how the health boosting properties of marijuana could have an impact on your well being.

Ultimately, our team spoke to a cross-section of people in Pune including experts as well as people who have successfully battled depression to justify our belief that there is always light at the end of the seemingly never ending tunnel..

Smita Deo, Chef

smita-deoRight on Day One I knew something was wrong with me. Suddenly, one day I couldn’t get out of bed. I knew something was wrong but couldn’t figure out what. Being a chef I could not enter my kitchen; I would panic at the door. I’m a very jovial and active person and being in such a state where I felt like ending my life meant that something was drastically wrong. So, the first week I was given medication to reduce my anxiety, but it didn’t help. Finally, after a torturous month I went to a psychiatrist.
Many people thought it’s an attention seeking problem or an attention deficit. Imagine, my biggest issue was to make people believe that I was going through depression. People would tell me, “Oh it’s just a bad phase. Keep yourself busy it will be fine.”

Family and friends play an important role when one is going through depression. The most important thing is you need to be patient with the person, just hear them out. They may seem repetitive or irritating but you need to just lend them an ear, they are helpless and dying to be heard. I have lost a number of dear friends while I was going through depression as they thought I was irritating. Also, it is essential for the spouse also to provide support by accompanying them to counselling so that they know how to make the situation better for themselves as well as the depressed person.

Vaishnavi Suresh, Student

vaishnavi-sureshWhen it all started, I just thought that I was going through a bad phase. I kept doubting that there was something wrong with my mental health. A friend of mine who studies psychology told me that I was showing clear signs of depression and urged me to seek help. I ignored the advice and turned to self-harm and that’s when I realised that I needed help.

My parents were very supportive but at the same time, it was difficult for them because they were in a different city and they kept calling my friends to check up on me. They never took it lightly and they gave me importance. They respected my decisions.

I won’t say there’s a stigma but there is a misunderstanding amongst people. Many people think that depression is something that you bring upon yourself. Some friends thought that my behaviour was because I was over reacting to bad things.

I’m trying to be very vocal about this now so that people can understand. It is very important for people to be kind to those going through depression because it is very difficult for them to articulate what’s going on.

We spoke to experts based in the city speaking about any emerging trends or whether there are common factors that lead to depression or other mental illnesses. Also, on how essential it is for organisations such as educational institutes to have a designated counsellor in order to detect depression early on.

Dr Sunita Ramam, Psychiatrist

dr-sunita-ramamIt is difficult to predict a trend. I will not be able to comment on that. Generally, people don’t seek help till they face consequences of the delay. More than the age group factor, it is about how much people delay their visit to a therapist only after they see the changes in their work and relationships. The situation, compared to 20 years before, is much better as there is more awareness. But, people still don’t address these problems immediately. They feel that they can handle it themselves.

Dr Manish Bajpayee, Psychiatrist

manish-bajpayeeIn most cases, I see that relationships are the primary causes. The age group is between 25 to 30 years, the time when you just finish studying or just begin with a new job. Today, people are more aware and society is more accepting. The stress is much more but it’s a myth that urbanisation is causing more stress on people. The stigma of visiting a psychiatrist is still very persistent. I have noticed this among young women especially. This happens because these women are considered of a ‘marriageable age’ and hence visiting a psychiatrist may create a ‘bad impression’ amongst people in society. Other than that, people are often shunned for taking medication for anxiety and depression.

I do agree that depression is the one of the few mental illnesses that is highlighted in mainstream media. But, there are other illnesses like schizophrenia, which is highly genetic, bipolar disorder, drug and alcohol addiction which is increasing amongst adolescents and young adults. Anxiety disorders and social phobias are now acknowledged. Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD is very common. ‘Depression’ is a way of communicating that you have a mental illness. It could be an earlier manifestation of another problem. Depression may be a part of the illness but not the root cause of it.

Dr Triveni Mathur, Deputy Director, Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication

triveni-mathurWe do have a counsellor in the institute. In an educational set-up, it is mandatory to have a counsellor where a student can go. As an academician, I feel that the faculty gets to know what’s going on with the student because of the proximity of the faculty-student relationship. Parents of the student must be taken into confidence or if there are problems between the student and his or her parents then it must be treated with utmost sensitivity. These students are in their late teens and on the brink of adulthood. They are very vulnerable as they are seeking their identity. The matter should be kept confidential as it is a matter of the student’s emotions. There are times when students directly approach the counsellor but that is only when certain damage has been done. We have to be empathetic. “Depression is not a disease and we can’t dismiss a student’s emotions. There has to be a good mix of sensibility and practicality” echoed Triveni.

Depression among other mental illnesses is completely curable and there are several remedial options available. Awareness programmes, counselling workshops (www.hopedoctors.com is one such forum online ) are all doing their bit, however the most critical need remains care, compassion and faith.

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