Depression is almost never taken that seriously by Indians. People think it’s just sadness or mood swings and sometimes the ‘uncles and aunties’ (you know who I’m talking about) call it “acting”. Depression is neither a mood nor is it a feeling or someone “asking for attention”.
Depression is a serious mental disorder that should never be taken lightly. DEPRESSION IS REAL.
There are people suffering from it all over India and the globe. People’s relationships, careers, health and everything else that makes life worth living is snatched away by this illness. Depression is certainly no joke.
If you are feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness that has been continuing for a really long time, you are long overdue for a mental health check-up.
But before you pick up the phone to call up your nearest PsychOWLogist, let’s go over what exactly depression is.
Table of contents:
- What depression is
- Depression vs sadness
- Why depression occurs (causes of depression)
- What depression feels like (symptoms of depression)
- Can depression be cured and how?
What depression is
Depression is often defined as a mental condition where patients feel intensely sad, helpless, unmotivated, guilty, frustrated and irritable. They feel like this for extended periods of time like weeks, months and sometimes even years.
Depression is also the most common mental health problem in India according to research. For something that is affecting so many lives, it is definitely not given the attention it needs.
At the same time, it is important to differentiate between depression, general sadness and mood swings. They all are very different from one another and cannot be used interchangeably.
Depression vs sadness
We all experience sadness in our everyday lives. Whether it is watching Nairobi die in Money Heist, fighting with a friend or even realising that the restaurant ran out of paranthas; something always goes wrong and makes us sad.
The main differences in this normal sadness everyone feels and depression are intensity and duration.
Depression occurs when general sadness multiplies tenfold. You feel a grief so intense that the pain is almost physical. It is absolutely incomparable to sadness.
Another thing that creates a major difference is the duration of your sadness. Feeling sad for a few hours or days is not a sign of full-fledged depression. In fact, you are only officially diagnosed with depression if you have been feeling intense sadness for six months.
So you cannot say “Man, I am so depressed” when you arrive at your favourite restaurant and it’s closed. You are disappointed and a little sad, yes. But not depressed. That would be a whole another ball game.
On a more serious note, if symptoms of depression (see below for more information) persist for more than a month, you should consider going to a psychologist. You could even take a psychometric assessment to determine whether or not you need clinical help. And no, I am not talking about those silly ‘which McDonald’s burger are you?’ quizzes online.
I am talking about psychometric assessments which are evaluated by an actual therapist and completely individualised results which will help in diagnosing any potential mental health problems. Sadly, these assessments cost a lot of money; money that you might want to use for something else.
The good news is that PsychOWLogist offers these psychometric tests online for an unheard of price. We want to make sure that you take care of your mental health without burning a hole in your pocket. Some tests that we have available are:
If you really don’t want to pay 1500 rupees to talk to a psychologist for an hour, you can just pay as low as INR 29 to get a psychometric assessment done. Besides, if you do ever feel like talking to someone, PsychOWLogists charge a very reasonable per hour rate, as part of our mission to enable everyone to access affordable mental health care from home!
Why depression occurs (causes of depression)
Depression, like many other mental health issues, has very subjective causes and symptoms. What affects you can be vastly different from what makes someone else sad. Similarly, your reaction to the same event can be worlds apart. People may not understand why you are taking moving to another city so hard while your twin sister is happily looking forward to making new friends.
But that is the beauty of being human– every single person is so unique, as are their problems. Therefore, there are a million reasons why you feel sad all the time or depressed. However, I can give you a list of the most common causes of depression:
- Personal reasons: You could have undergone a certain personal event (loss of a loved one, a costly mistake or severe illness). Sometimes personality traits like being a perfectionist, pessimism, having low self-esteem or being too critical can cause depression too.
- Biological reasons: Did you know depression runs in the family? This doesn’t mean that if a family member is suffering/ suffered from depression that you have to too. Another thing that can cause depression is abnormal brain chemicals. This can be aggravated by alcohol or drug abuse.
- Environmental reasons: This is related to everything around you and the impact it has on you. For example, if your family life isn’t ideal, your marriage isn’t fulfilling or you are getting bullied at work/school, you are more likely to be depressed.
What depression feels like (symptoms of depression)
While every person experiences depression in a different manner, there are some common issues faced by all patients:
- You feel intensely sad for more than a few weeks continuously: This one is a no brainer. If you are having a persistent cough for more than a few weeks, wouldn’t you go see a doctor? The same theory applies here.
- Your sleeping or eating patterns have changed drastically: If your daily schedule has become irregular, that is an immediate red flag. Eating too much, eating too little, sleeping too much or sleeping too little are all signs that you are going through something (that might be depression).
- You feel low on energy all the time: Pretty self-explanatory– coping with depression doesn’t leave you with a whole lot of energy.
- You stop doing activities that you used to care about: Things that once used to make you happy don’t do that anymore. People don’t suddenly stop doing things that they love for no reason. The reason is usually depression or something similar.
- You feel guilty and start hating yourself: You criticise every mistake you have made and break down your own self-esteem. You keep over analyzing what you could have done better so that you wouldn’t be in the situation that you are in now.
- You have problems concentrating on anything: This leads to an obvious decrease in productivity which can impact your performance in school, college or work. Depression has the potential to ruin your career, and make you blame yourself very harshly for it.
Can depression be cured and how?
To give you the shortest possible answer to this question– yes, depression can be cured. There are, however, certain problems, procedures and conditions to curing it like any other disease.
Think of depression as cancer. The sooner you find out that you have a tumour, the easier it will be to cure the disease. This is why you should constantly monitor your mental health the same way you monitor your physical health.
If you have a sore throat, you make an appointment with your doctor. If you have feeling sad and not been feeling like eating much for a week or so, you make an appointment with your psychologist. This goes without saying. Never think that your mental health is any less important than your physical health.
There are some strategies you can use to cope with depression by yourself. Think of these as your mental health first aid kit:
- Physical exercise– get that serotonin coursing through your veins
- Going out in the sun– boosts your happy hormones!
- Hanging out with your friends– isolation feeds depression
- Talking about it with a trusted person– pent up sadness only festers and rots inside
However, when dealing with full-fledged depression, a first aid kit is not enough. You need a medical professional AKA a psychologist/ psychiatrist.
I understand that therapy may require a lot of money that you may not have right now. But don’t worry, we have you covered!
PsychOWLogist has made it its mission to help people with mental issues by giving them access to affordable health care. Our PsychOWLogists are trained, certified and experienced as well as super-friendly and understanding. You can have a look at our team here.
We give safe online counselling to anyone who needs it. We have an entire article detailing exactly how you can access online therapy.
Right now, we are also giving out a free 15 minute consult with a certified PsychOWLogist. Hope this helps you with anything you are going through right now. Remember, you are never alone!