Feeling low is something we have all experienced. Days when we don’t want to get up from bed, sleep till eternity, not talk to anyone, don’t want to eat, and basically don’t want to do anything at all. And there are times when we can’t sleep at all or tend to overeat. It looks like the regular ups and downs that life brings along with it. That this phase, too, shall pass.
But there are times when the phase does not pass. Things start to get worse. Feelings of worthlessness and self-doubt seep in and don’t leave. The apathy that you experience starts keeping you away from day-to-day activities. There is inability to experience pleasure in normally enjoyable activities, hence affecting your personal, professional as well as social life. Viewing everything in negative light becomes a second nature and hopelessness sets in. Thoughts of hurting yourself flit through your mind. Crying spells for no apparent reason become an everyday event. You start becoming isolated and withdrawn.
You attempt to make some changes and try to take charge of your life, but the task seems daunting. And you give up even before you start, crawling back into the familiar dark hole.
If you experience all or at least three of the above said symptoms for more than three months, it is time to visit a doctor. You may be suffering from clinical depression.
It is important to understand that depression, if not treated, can take over your life. It is assumed that being sad or depressed is a normal part of life. That everyone experiences sadness and it is not a big deal. It is a big deal if this feeling of sadness persists and becomes your permanent “mood”
Seeing a doctor throws light on the situation. It helps you understand that it is a medical condition and requires treatment – either in the form of prescriptive drugs or psychotherapy or a combination of both. Depression is a mental disorder that requires timely intervention. It is essential to gauge the intensity of the same.
In India, unawareness about depression still exists. Depression, like other mental illness, can be a genetic condition as well as one induced due to various environmental factors around you. It can be brought about due to some other underlying medical condition like underactive thyroid or cancer. It can be side effects of certain medications or due to drug abuse. It can also be due to various stressful events in life. Coping mechanisms help in dealing with depression – like family, friends and self-motivated activities.
But sometimes medical intervention is required. Unfortunately, visiting a psychiatrist or a psychotherapist still has stigma attached to it. Justifying that only crazy people require psychiatric treatment is a myth that can prove costly.
Depression is still viewed as something as common and harmless like a cold or a cough. The attitude that it will go away on its own is still prevalent. But just like an untreated and prolonged cold or cough can lead to respiratory problems, undiagnosed and untreated depression can literally ruin your life as well as of your close ones. So, do not neglect clinical depression – you can be treated!First Published: Nov 24, 2011 at 10:50 AM