“It won’t be easy, finding hope, finding yourself again, but it will get better.” Offering words like these is often all it takes to comfort someone grappling with something as deeply troubling as depression. We often fail to not only register and recognise this condition in people but also dismiss it as trivial if someone does point it out to us.
On the occasion of World Health Day, Radio Active CR 90.4 MHz invited Ms. Reema from Banjara Academy for an in-depth interview on depression and its consequences. Banjara Academy provides support and counselling to people who are battling mental stress and other emotional upheavals.
The discussion’s primary aim was to make people aware of depression’s deep emotional, psychological and often physiological consequences and how understanding them is the first step towards helping someone with the condition. Depression is an extremely common and recognised brain disorder. There is no diagnostic tool as such to identify the disorder aside from symptoms that persist over a long period of time. These may include a lack of interest in doing and partaking in activities that earlier interested the individual, and a perpetual feeling of despair.
Depression can be reactive or endogenous. Reactive depression is a result of a particular occurrence in one’s life, like the death of a loved one, an unfortunate accident, etc., that leaves a person with a deep sense of loss and/or distress. Endogenous depression, on the other hand, is a result of illnesses of some kind, lack of vitamins, hormonal changes, etc.
Often, a depressive person’s lack of interest is misunderstood as laziness. The advice given to them ranges from “go out more often” to “stop thinking about what’s bothering you”. But it is extremely difficult for a person who is suffering from depression to snap out of it on their own.
In such situations, counsellors prove to be of great help. A person needs a comforting space to discuss things and seek clarity. A counsellor often is the first person that the person opens up to; the counsellor can refer the person to a psychiatrist as well, if need be. This is the healthiest way to recovery. Some people could resort to abusing substances in order to alleviate their mood, which is a huge cause of concern.
There are a lot of myths related to depression because of which it continues to be a taboo topic in our society. Many people still think of a depressed person as being possessed by evil spirits. Anti-depressants have the bad reputation of being addictive. Only greater awareness can cut through these misconceptions.
An issue that was picked up in the course of this discussion was depression among the disabled. Depression is not caused by disability but by people’s disrespectful views of disability. As members of a responsible community, we need to become more aware of the importance of mental health and we need to work on creating a supportive and enabling environment for people who are living with mental disorders and conditions.