Challenges in life can go beyond just being about physical and materialistic aspects, it can have psychological manifestation and depression is one of the most common issues that we are dealing with. It’s just that some seek help while others live in denial. I have known depression closely and have dealt with it. I learnt of my depression when I started feeling sad, low and sensed a lack of interest in anything that I would do. It only became worse over a period of time, that’s when I realised I needed help.

Depression today has become a virtual epidemic and most of it is actually situational. We are living in an intensely competitive culture where achievement and success are given immense importance as opposed to our pursuit of happiness and wellbeing. Some of the common symptoms of depression being sleeplessness, anxiety, not remembering something, getting too hungry or even absolute loss of appetite.

I had cut myself from having an intimate and loving relationship with others. My depression was symptomatic of feeling isolated and hence I typically isolated myself further from all relationships that might have nourished me. We keep running to make a life, getting immersed in work or things that keep us away from communication with our loved ones until such time that our life begins to lose its meaning and we don’t have time to know our loved ones or ourselves. Even I was trying to find a purpose in life and was getting restless because I wanted to be out of the shadows and find my footing. That quest made me impatient and anxious slowly I became a loner as nothing excited me and I didn’t realise how anxiety took over.

We must know that depression isn’t an enemy; it simply is a warning sign that we are not on the right path. Life can be difficult at times but it is the labelling of people as depressed that is a great injustice. I realised that if we see depression as a signal and realise that something is off, then we must use this depression to catalyse positive changes instead. We must at all costs refrain from reducing ourselves into ‘depressed people’ as what we feel as depression is typically a life struggle around and the earlier we push ourselves towards positive thinking or seeking psychological help to get out of it, the better it would be.

Unfortunately, in our society, people still consider talking about depression a taboo, while all around the world they have a counsellor in offices, in schools, in workplaces to help people cope with pressures. We need to accept a simple fact that just like we need medication to overcome different kind of illnesses, we need to treat our emotional illnesses too. I want to tell people that please don’t take depression symptoms lightly as it can lead to suicidal tendencies and it’s not fair to the people around us for we leave them crying forever. It is important to be surrounded by a support system of positive people and keep an open communication with the loved ones.  When I sensed that I was getting depressed, I consulted a psychiatrist.

The cause of my depression was mainly due to my frequent tryst with various illnesses ranging from tuberculosis meningitis and cancer, as well as loneliness due to my failed relationships with men. After I was almost recovering from TBM, I had lost the confidence to venture out of the house on my own. I would usually need a nurse or a chaperone constantly. A break up of an intense relationship also led me to be completely heartbroken and depressed whereby I was bedridden for almost 10 days. Post my divorce, I had become dependent on my Mom so every time she went out of town, I would be depressed. My brother’s brain surgery was another time when I underwent depression. My symptoms ranged from depressed mood to excessive eating, lack of sleep, disinterest in almost everything in life. I would get heat flushes and started sweating even in an A.C room. My hands would tremor and I would start crying for no reason and then keep getting more and more sad. However, I want to get out of this miserable feeling and went for my counselling sessions. I also pushed myself to go to the sets of ‘Kites’ and be at the shoot for hours together to divert my mind and keep occupied. This definitely helped me to gain my lost confidence back. So did the simultaneous medical treatment. I was treated mainly through the use of oral medications but there were days when my symptoms were severe and at that time I needed injections to calm me.

According to the World Health Organisation, depression is the most common in today’s time as we all suffer from it at some point or the other due to competitive lifestyle pressures. It is sad that even the best of people don’t seek help as we are preconditioned to feel that being depressed means that you are mentally not ok, that you are going insane and will be labelled as mental or crazy.

There are still occasions when I do get my bouts of anxiety, which is also a form of depression but I have had to accept that it is situational and have the will to get out of it. I still do go to see my psychiatrist once a month just like a health follow up routine and discuss if there are issues that make me anxious, so that the advise and medications can keep it in check. I still carry SOS anti-anxiety mouth dissolving tablets in a handbag. I still resort to medications at times and I am not shy or scared about it. Studies show that people who feel passionate about their work & friends and who love their families and partners, don’t become depressed as often as the population at large people. So maintain a sense of wonder and don’t let anything depress you. Challenges are aplenty in life but being able to face it will make us a winner.

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