Every year, the World Health Day is celebrated on the 7th of April to mark the establishment of the World Health Organization (WHO), an organization that has taken innumerable efforts and measures to tackle different kinds of diseases and mental disorders that are taking a toll on innumerable lives throughout the world.
The theme for this year is depression – something that is becoming more and more common day-by-day. Yet, the victims are afraid to come clean about it and choose to suffer silently and even when they do disclose their secret to their trusted ones, it is all brushed under the carpet.
And so, “Let’s talk” about it at least today.
The question then arises – What is depression? The word ‘depression’ is often used very loosely. When one is sad, one tends to say, I am depressed. When one is disappointed with something, one may say “it is so depressing.” However, that is not what depression is. That is mere sadness.
Sadness is a normal human emotion. We’ve all experienced it and we all will experience it again sometime in life. Sadness is usually triggered by a difficult, hurtful, challenging, or disappointing event, experience, or situation. In other words, we tend to feel sad about something. This also means that when that something changes, when our emotional hurt fades, when we’ve adjusted or gotten over the loss or disappointment, our sadness ends.
On the contrary, depression is an abnormal emotional state, a mental illness that affects the thinking, emotions, perceptions, and behaviors in pervasive and chronic ways. When one is depressed one will feel sad about everything. Depression does not necessarily require a difficult event or situation, a loss, or a change of circumstance as a trigger. In fact, it often occurs in the absence of any such triggers.
Depression affects all aspects of one’s life, making everything less enjoyable, less interesting, less important, less lovable, and less worthwhile. Depression brings down the energy, motivation, and ability to experience joy, pleasure, excitement, anticipation, satisfaction, connection, and meaning. The person will be more impatient, quicker to anger and get frustrated, quicker to break down, and it takes longer to bounce back from everything.
Signs of Depression:
To be diagnosed with depression, people need to have at least 5 of the following symptoms, for a continual duration of at least two weeks. Be advised: The severity of these symptoms must also be considered, so please use these only as a guideline and see a mental health professional for a conclusive diagnosis.
- A depressed or irritable mood most of the time.
- A loss or decrease of pleasure or interest in most activities, including ones that had been interesting or pleasurable previously.
- Significant changes in weight or appetite.
- Disturbances in falling asleep or sleeping too much.
- Feeling slowed down in your movements or restless most days.
- Feeling tired, sluggish, and having low energy most days.
- Having feelings of worthless or excessive guilt most days.
- Experiencing problems with thinking, focus, concentration, creativity and the ability to make decisions most days.
- Having thoughts of dying or suicide.
If you think you or a loved one might be depressed, it is important to visit a trained mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment.
Please remember that depression is common, can affect anyone but it can be treated. Talk about it – talking can heal!
– Compiled by IEC