Talking Depression Fri, 12/08/2006 – 03:18. Art & Living -“Depressed” is a fairly common word around this time of year. People are cramming in shopping, decorating and meeting family and dealing with the usual stress of work and life. Needless to say many are feeling weary and depressed. For many this feeling of anxiety and hopelessness will go off come Christmas morning, when they sit around the tree with family and open their gifts but some will stay in the fog weeks and months after the holidays are over. They are the ones suffering from clinical depression.
In the past, people viewed depression and other mental health issues as something of a “invented” disease or something of a personality problem. Now even after years of research have proven that mental health issues are real health concerns there is still social stigma and negativity attached to mental health issues. Due to this many people suffer quietly and never get the help they deserve.
Is depression really that serious? Everyone feels blue once in a while, right? These are questions I have been asked when I tried to get deep into my depression. For last ten years I have battled depression. In the beginning it was just sadness because of my dismal performance in school or the trouble I was having at home. That sadness then bloomed into a permanent state of gloom, where I felt hopeless and unworthy. School work, family life suffered and in 12th grade I was almost kicked out of school.
Depression was an alien concept for my family, like many others in then Nepal. So I continued living in the fog, hoping that time will cure everything. Well, it didn’t quite workout and here I am still fighting depression.
How prevalent is it? According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) “in any given 1-year period, 9.5 percent of the population, or about 20.9 million American adults, suffer from a depressive illness”. Not only in USA, but even in developing countries number of people suffering from depression is rising. Traditional family structures are slowly crumbling, stressful modern life and demands of career are taking a toll.
First step in dealing with depression is to recognize its symptoms. Persistent sadness or anxiety, feeling of guilt, worthlessness, decreased energy, insomnia, thoughts of suicide are some common signs of depression, according to the NIHM. If you or someone you know is showing these signs, then it is very important that you get help from a medical professional.
Of course, all of this is useless if the social stigma attached to depression and other mental health issues is still around. Raising awareness among people cannot be ignored if we are serious about tackling depression.
Submitted by Bhumika Ghimire