Depression: A Luxury?
Written by
Umme Pritam
March 2019
Written by
Umme Pritam
March 2019

Have you ever seen a person staring blankly at the ceiling hours after hours? Or someone who’s just got lost in the middle of doing something? Someone who hasn’t taken shower for days or brushed their hair?

Someone who doesn’t even care about how many ice-cream boxes are right in front of them screaming to open it? Or who’s just finished three boxes of it?

Sunshine and sunset don’t matter to them? Nothing excites them anymore. No friend’s meetups, hangouts, inspiring quotes on the internet or from the people they love can cheer them up. You’ll call them several times; they may not pick it up for no reason. They’ll scream at you for no reason or they may just go in total silence. No, they are not particularly mad at you. They just don’t feel like picking up the phone or they think that it’s okay to scream at you or not to talk at all.

It’s difficult for them to leave the bed in the morning. Some of them sleep all day and some of them struggle to sleep. They wake up with a dizzy head and go to bed with the same dizziness. They even hate to see their own face in the mirror or in the facebook profile picture. Living becomes meaningless to them. Faith, hope start to leave them in the middle of nowhere, it’s like losing the grasp of the rope they were holding on tightly for a long time. But they’re still there- breathing, moving, talking, and sometimes smiling- stacked up human flesh and bones with a blank stare in their eyes, a void in their mind to fill it up.

They are depression stricken people. This is what depression looks like. It’s neither a choice nor a luxury to have. Like other illnesses, it doesn’t differentiate between rich and poor, men and women, adults and children. It’s a reality, a disorder, an illness to be treated.

Depression doesn’t take you out over the night. It takes time to grow on you.  Recent or past trauma, tumultuous family life, frustration from the workplace, or not having a job, heartbreaks any of it can be the root cause of slipping into depression; not only these but the seed of depression can also be found in one’s early childhood which may cause adult life’s depression. Watching parents fighting over issues, divorce between parents, over controlling a child, pressurizing them, scaring them, raising them in an unhealthy environment can leave a child with lifelong insecurity, trust issues, and low self-esteem. Depression doesn’t spare a child either. People may think childhood issues cause depression only in adult life, it’s not necessary all the time, it can start as early as at age five.  As an elementary school teacher, I’ve noticed the presence of depression in children of which their parents are unaware and reluctant to accept it.

The most frightening facts about depression are its invisibility and people’s lack of knowledge about it.

Depression is not as visible as other physical or mental illness like Schizophrenia, Dissociative identity disorder. You can live with a severely depressed person 24/7 and still be unaware of it.  You can see a person wearing nice clothes, earning thousands in a month, having a family but yet suffering from depression, you never know!

Not many people are familiar with the term “Depression”.  Some people ignore it by saying, “you’ll get over it”, “I don’t have time or luxury to be depressed”. And some people say, “This is just a new drama created by the new generation”. Neither it’s a breakup to get over, luxury to have nor it’s a trend started by the new generation. A person who has experienced depression in his/her life at least once and fought it over will do anything to keep it at bay to let it in again. It’s like stuck in an alley with dead end. This is a mental illness which can last for days, for weeks, for years and if not taken seriously and treated at an earlier stage, it can be as severe as to make a person to commit suicide.

According to the World Health Organization, 300 million people around the world is suffering from depression, it’s a huge amount and an alarming issue.

If you see the signs of depression in your friend, family member, relative or anyone you know, be kind to them. Not all of them can bear the expense to visit a counselor or psychiatrist, try to listen to whatever they are trying to say. Sometimes, they go silent; bear with them. If they scream at you, don’t scream back, leave the room, it’s nothing personal.

Dear parents, stop bullying your children, whether they are five or twenty-five. Your little bit of kinder words can lift them up more than any other person’s thousand words.

Dear couples, praising your other halves, giving them a little bit credit every now and then, doesn’t lower your value from any angle or supporting them by saying, “whatever it is, I’m here with you” can make them feel powerful in a way that no one else can do.

Dear children of the parents, if you are adult enough, and noticing symptoms of depression in your parents, inspire them to talk to a counselor. Tell them that there’s nothing shameful about taking care of mental health. It doesn’t label them as crazy or psychotic. Talk to them softly, listen to them with patience, motivate them, take care of them.

Dear sufferers, it’s not easy to fight with it. Stay away from negative people. Avoid any situation which may hurt your feelings. Don’t be afraid to cut off those who are not good for your mental health, there are 7.53 billion people out there, losing some harmful ones will not leave you alone in the world; you’ll definitely find some nice people. And yes, use all the help around you. Talk to a friend, cry your heart out to the close ones, try to open up about your sufferings, don’t be scared to show your vulnerability in front of them, let it all out. And if you can afford, start taking counseling.

And finally, dear world, accept the fact that Depression is real; as real as cancer. Don’t just laugh it off. It can take a person to an edge to commit suicide, the stress and anxiety which comes with it can turn a person a victim of several other physical disorders.

Our mind and body are intertwined. You simply can’t ignore one’s presence to another. It’s not too late to start talking more about mental illness, normalizing it; so that people can get to know the severity of it.

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