Sad? Let's Talk...

"You say you're depressed - all I see is resilience. You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn't mean you're defective - It just means you're human "
- David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

This is a coherent and comprehensive narration of Mrs A with depression who walked into my room one sunny Monday morning . " Dr , I feel I am pushed into a corner of my existence and being pulled into a pit. I can't stop crying. Limbs are heavy and feel the pain deep in my body. I feel worthless and have trouble focusing . I don't feel happy about anything. I prefer to just lay in bed never to wake up. This crippling sadness and emptiness saps my self esteem and feel lost. My mind is accompanied by unnecessary thoughts. I have no desire to do anything. Simple chores become exhausting. I am burdened by this sadness that has engulfed me and made my life not worth living . I hate the way I feel . I want everything to be the way it used to be "

We all experience sadness which is a normal reaction to different times and passes with time. But depression interferes with daily life and normal functioning. It is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It is an illness that shatters people emotionally and physically. We expect people to get over it quickly which in turn perpetuates the pain of depression. It is one of the leading cause of disability worldwide.

  • Many factors play a role - genes, abnormal brain chemistry , stressful life events like separation , death of a loved one, relocation, financial instability , decline in health . Women who have recently given birth may struggle with post party depression in the days or weeks or months following childbirth.
  • Unfortunately the stigma surrounding depression inhibits people from seeking treatment as they may fear the consequences of disclosing the experience to employers, health care providers , family and friends.
  • Depression is highly treatable by a combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy and lifestyle changes.
  • Start talking about depression with your friend , family and doctors.
  • Care givers play a major role and their support is significant . Be there and be patient. With patience comes hope. Be a compassionate listener and encourage them to talk about his or her feelings. Have realistic expectations and encourage activity. In some depressed individual suicide is a danger. Some of the warning signs
    • Preoccupied with thoughts or talking about suicide.
    • Expressing feelings of hopelessness.
    • Getting affairs in order and saying goodbye
    • Seeking out pills or lethal objects.

Many feel uncomfortable bringing up the topic but talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a person's life. So speak up if concerned and offer to find a health care provider immediately .
As Shannon L Alder rightly said Never give up on someone with depression . When "I" is replaced by "We" , illness becomes wellness.

The theme of world health day April 7th 2017 is Depression : Lets talk. Let's change the culture of this topic and be ok to speak about mental health . To be healthy as a whole mental wellness plays a role . So let's talk depression.