What is depression? Isn’t it scary if someone with a mask is troubling you? Isn’t it daunting if someone attacks you and takes over your own space without your knowledge?
The moment when you start feeling that your own mind is not under your control and is ruled by someone else whose identity is not revealed to you is quite terrifying.
The moment when you feel you have lost a part of yourself and not able to regain it back, it’s quite horrifying. Isn’t it? Such is the case of depression. Depression is a stranger, who walks in without a knock at your door, slowly trying to take over your own space without your permission or knowledge, enjoying all the luxuries and leaving you completely hollow within.
How does depression look like?
Does depression has some kind of form? Does depression has a face? No, it doesn’t. But, its presence can be felt, its footsteps can be heard and an unknown voice would neither let you sleep nor let you stay awake.
The person is drawn to a creepy world and become a captive in her/his own body. It feels like being held into the clutches of a vampire; who sucks peace of mind, leaves you in a haphazard state of mind with a blurry vision, and cripples it to such an extent that one is not able to make a decision of one’s own life.
How does depression affect a person?
When the invisible depression invades your space, your day-to-day routine, your daily schedule, your workspace, your fun space, your entire mind just becomes a slave to depression. You lose the ability to see things clearly, not only around you but also within you. Though you want to regain yourself, you give up easily and frequently.
You cry without any reason, console yourself, laugh, and then cry again without any reason. There are days when it’s simply difficult to deal with your daily chores. You want to get up and move on, but tired enough to pull yourself. How hard you try, you seem to fail in this game. You feel pathetic, ignored, dumb, and sometimes simply nothing.
A vacuum builds within you, which makes you feel suffocated in your own body. Your thoughts become so random that you won’t be able to connect the dots. If it’s not cured timely, a suicidal tendency can also build up. It’s not like you are sad all the time.
During the phase of depression, most of the time one can’t face anyone with their sullen eyes and there are also such times when one can happily move around. So, a depressed person becomes a riddle for the people surrounding her/him. Everyone comes and makes their own attempt to solve it.
How does a depressed person look like?
A depressed person as such looks normal, like a normal human being. It varies from person to person depending on how she/he manages to handle it. The intensity can be different but we are not here to judge anyone. The pain can be felt by the bearer only and no one else.
But, the people around the person, close family members, relatives or neighbors, friends can get those vibes that something is wrong and it’s their responsibility to take the necessary action at the right time.
What are the factors that lead to depression?
The reasons can be multiple; sometimes known, sometimes unknown. It could be from the person’s past, it could be future expectations or the present situations that the concerned person is dealing with. It could be the accumulation of many things that one is carrying along with her/him on this journey of life.
Or, sometimes it could be nothing or in simpler terms, it’s not decodable. But whatever is the reason, it’s the person’s and her/his loved ones’ duty to not give up under any circumstances. The depressed person may not be able to decipher what’s going in her/his life. Because if the mind is functioning properly, one can deal with the physical pain and take the apt action but when the mind itself is not functioning properly, how can one understand what’s wrong with her/him? So, pay deliberate attention to mental health as it is equally important as physical health.
What is the role of society or what are the necessary steps that one can take?
1. Never judge. Passing a judgment will do more harm than good.
2. Never make a comparison. Comparing a depressed person with someone healthy would degrade her/his health.
3. Be there and provide a pair of listening ears and a shoulder to lean on. That’s all one craves for!
4. Don’t start educating the depressed about moral values/responsibilities. Even she/he is well aware of it. It’s just that the person is mentally ill.
5. Don’t start pouring in advices or random lectures. Give space to breathe.
6. Do take some genuine care and show some love. It works wonders!
7. Do spend some quality time with them. That’s the best thing one can do for their near and dear ones.
8. Try to divert their attention and encourage them to take up something of their interest. It helps.
9. Never make them feel responsible for others’ misery. They themselves are having a good fight with themselves own self.
10. Be approachable. Other petty things can wait but not a person’s life.
Mental illness is just like any other physical ailment. Please don’t attach any social stigma to it. The only thing is that it deserves more attention and no one is willingly depressed ever as it is not a choice. Everyone wants to lead a quality life. So, our only role as a society is to understand the person’s pain, how that person is struggling within to get back to normal, and just be supportive and be present, be available to the person who is undergoing such a trauma.
Let’s be there for each other and build a healthy atmosphere around us.
Sending a ray of light and hope,
Rashmi Jain is a poet, blogger, and podcaster. Founder of Soch aur Saaj, she believes in the power of words and uses her pen to raise her voice on the topics that need sensitivity.