it’s not just a phase, nor is it going away.
The issue of depression has recently been brought to the world stage by WHO on the last World Health Day; setting the theme for this year as “Depression: Let’s talk“. While I’m beyond disappointed at the understanding of this illness in India, I’m afraid of the social stigma and taboo surrounding this. The reactions from society can range from rather stupid to further extremely depressing. Even though I personally do not wish to live long like this, I’m afraid that the current attitude is going to take many more lives far more worthier than mine. And if I had a death wish, that would be for proper education of this living-death disease all over India.
Depression is quite literally equal to a cancer growing in one’s mind (not the physical organ Brain, but the immaterial construct we denote as Mind). It may begin with a few emotions starting to suck an incredibly high amount of resources. Soon, they become unavoidable and soon very painful inside. Most try to ignore this like “It’s all happening in my head“; well of course it is, and that in no way means it’s not real. It may not be showing any obvious signs of common physical illness like a wound or a broken bone, but believe me, it works similarly, or might even be worse. The patient will be suffering similar to having an untreated fracture, or rather more like a piece of you is rotting inside, and the rot is slowly consuming you. You cannot just wish it away (Try this with cancer and tell me if it works). You cannot just pretend not having it (try pretending to not having a frigging fractured leg while having to run a marathon)
Neurotypicals are almost never able to understand what this feels like. Even though some may feel sympathetic, their inability to understand the core mechanics of depression (and other such mental disorders) makes them, not just some helpless bystanders, but rather fatally dangerous to be around a patient. It almost feel like a self chosen – forced ignorance. If you ever dare to come out with depression (ignoring the ridiculously stupid social stigma around mental disorders in India), those sympathetic “good guys” will try to motivate you with- “I/others have had it worse than you”, “What do you have to be depressed of?”, “Why can’t you just grow over it?” and the last but those of the best kinds are “You are subconsciously making this up to ignore your responsibilities”, “Do [this stuff] and [that stuff] and you wouldn’t feel depressed anymore” and the colossal crown which I had the rotting pleasure of hearing in person is “Don’t glorify laziness”.
Like, “NO SHIT!”. Do you have any microscopic stain idea of what this feels like? For the sake of articulation, let’s go through a few facts:
First of all, Depression is a very legitimate mental illness and is not a random idea that came up. It even has physical effects in our brain which include but not limited to severe decrease of neurotransmitters and even degradation of neural connections. It most certainly require the medical attention of a psychiatrist in order to be cured. And even still, similar to cancer, it can still reappear after a long time. This is an illness as real and fatal as cancer itself.
Now, Depression doesn’t depend upon the stress/struggle; Instead it depend on that unique individual’s ability to face that very specific flavor of challenge. Simply put, that means that some people may be able to live through a war but kill themselves at the death of a beloved pet, while some may always be passive-aggressive-arrogant, yet will have a complete breakdown at the sight blood in a street fight. It depends ENTIRELY upon that unique individual and that very specific struggle. So, understand that, you, not getting depressed in a worst situation does not mean another person can’t get depressed over something that might be very insignificant to you.
Don’t dare compare depression with being lazy. There would not be a single day in our lives where we don’t blame ourselves for this. The overwhelming pain that torture us is more than enough to immobilize us. This is why the common symptoms show up as Excessive tiredness, perpetual fatigue, etc. Comparing this with laziness is no different from screaming at a paralyzed person for not doing athletics in the next Olympics. (Yea, that’s exactly how stupid it sounds like).
Believe me, no one will ever wish to stay depressed if there was an option. That unbearable sense of worthlessness and loneliness leading the way for a monstrous void of feeling almost nothing but that ere feeling of pain, is not something one would ever wish upon themselves ever. So, no; it’s not a choice. It’s rather a curse which devour it’s victim very slowly, killing them inch by inch. And soon afterwards, our choice will collapse into a binary of “either keep on suffering” or “Kill myself and save all of my future selves from this horrible curse”. Yes, there is no longer a meaningful choice.
The choice of suicide, as stated above, is not a selfish one. And for the sake of those whom have attempted or survived, never accuse any suicidal person of selfishness. We’d rather wish the curse that is ourselves be removed from the shoulders of those who love us.
Every single moment of every single day, we are conscious; we are fighting against ourself to stay alive each day. Your ignorance, is literally going to kill us.
Note that, anyone can “feel depressed” or “feel impulsively suicidal” for a short time-frame due to a multitude of reasons. This is not the illness of Depression, but rather a momentary chemical imbalance in the brain and will move on soon after. The illness of Depression will not.
Finally, I do not expect anyone to be suddenly enlightened by a rant-like post somewhere on the Internet. But, in a world where more and more people are being diagnosed with depression of different magnitudes, especially an ever increasing number of students in India; You – Parent, Sibling, Family, Teacher, Friend – just trying to understand, love and care instead of ignorantly judging and making false assumptions, may draw the line between life and death for us.
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