“I’ve always considered myself to be a strong person, so overcoming depression shouldn’t have been a big deal to me. However, when I actually went through it, I miraculously transformed into the helpless shell of the person I once used to be. I noticed a sudden decline in my appetite, and I would feel these pangs of nausea every time I tried to eat. Getting out of bed seemed like a Herculean task. I was too exhausted to perform even the most mundane of everyday activities. I didn’t want to talk to anyone, or see them. People terrified me to a point where I would feel waves of panic gush over me every time someone came near. My dark, dingy room was where I found solace, and getting out of it seemed impossible. I wasn’t myself. I wanted to change, but I didn’t know how. My world was completely devoid of hope for months.”
Depression has a myriad of emotions attached to it, it isn’t merely a feeling but a serious mental illness that has been trivialized over the years. It’s appallingly common to find people claiming to be depressed for a couple of days, but they don’t realize that depression isn’t that easy to get over.
Overcoming it is a challenging journey that only the bravest have embarked upon. Being depressed comes with feelings of worthlessness, despair, suicidal thoughts and a multitude of other negative emotions that result in anti-social behaviour, psychotic tendencies and a complete halt to living a normal life.
Sue Baker, director of the ‘Time to Change’ programme that was set up to change negative attitudes towards mental illness, says nine out of 10 people with mental illness say they have experienced stigma and discrimination. “Yet, paradoxically, ‘coming out’ can be the best thing for someone with a mental illness. It can have a powerful influence,” says Baker. “If you don’t disclose, then the people who might have been able to help you aren’t going to be able to.”
“The moment my mom noticed symptoms of depression, she figured that clinical therapy would be the best option. I was unsure about it, but I reluctantly agreed. The psychiatrist asked me a couple of questions to pinpoint the reason behind my sudden mood changes. He told me that I was a rare sufferer of endogenous depression. This basically meant that there was no particular trigger to my depression. It had something to do with sudden hormonal changes. He prescribed an antidepressant and another pill that would help increase my appetite. The medication helped, but the support that I got from my parents and friends was invaluable.”
Antidepressants are just one of the various ways to treat depression. Psychotherapy is another common method where talk therapy is used to help depressed patients improve coping skills by expressing themselves. For severe cases, clinical treatments can be used, where neurons are stimulated to relieve depressive symptoms.
Depression has always had negative connotations. This is because no one understands how completely normal it is to fall prey to it. If society would become more accepting towards depressed patients, we could get rid of the stigma that has been perpetually attached to mental disorders. This would enable people suffering from depression to be more verbal about their condition and receive the required help and support without the fear of being judged.
As C.S Lewis once said, “Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and harder to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden”.
Depression is not something that you need to feel ashamed about. The struggle that you go through will make you a stronger, more resilient person. Even when all hope is lost, listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don’t believe it yourself. Exercise because it’s good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Depression has and always will be curable. All you need to do is take that extra step.
-Written by Nikita Ann Varghese for MTTN
PS. this article is the third in the series of articles for the week we have earmarked as Mental Health Awareness Week.
Press here for the second article on Panic Disorder.
Press here for the first article on Social Anxiety.
Click here to read an anonymous Guest article about someone’s first hand experience with depression.