Depression is defined as a state of bad mood or low spirits that causes a person to become almost completely inactive. Depression has many levels. It depends on the individual suffering from it. Sometimes, a preliminary stage in depression could spiral downwards into chronic depression. This is a state when a person continuously feels low, and does not feel like taking an interest in anything. He or she loses the will to work or have any kind of fun. Even the best and the most fun activities that generally make people enjoy life are shunned by such patients, and they lose an interest in life itself. Some of them get so wrapped up that they even end up committing suicide.
Causes of Depression
What causes depression? Sometimes, it could be hereditary. Depression could start in a person early, which later digresses into more severe levels. Depression could also be caused due to insecurity from physical problems, loneliness due to nature of work, death or loss of a loved one, and prolonged drug abuse. Depression is sometimes even triggered by peer pressure. This is most commonly seen among the youth. They feel the need to be in the limelight, and vie against each other to be the centre of attraction. They get into new relationships, and develop sexual feelings which they don’t completely understand.
Sometimes, a person may fall into depression because of an unsuccessful or a broken relationship. Depression could also be caused when a person expects too much out of himself or from another person, and does not achieve results even if he has pushed himself to his limits. Family also plays an important role here. For example, students who don’t score well in their exams may feel the pressure from their family, and constant comparisons with their peers get them in low moods. These people feel that they haven’t achieved anything in life, and have let everyone down. Thus, they fall into depression.
Symptoms and Effects
Depression has some definite tell tale symptoms. Constant irritation with everything, inability to take any interest or pleasure in anything, obsession over a particular event or incident, and constant self degrading thoughts are the biggest symptoms. These are often accompanied by insomnia, eating disorders, low sugar levels, low energy, and fatigue. This further leads to lack of performance academically or at work. Depressed people often withdraw from society, and become recluses.
The effects of depression are very dangerous. A depressed person will constantly keep obsessing over his own failures, and blame himself for everything that is wrong in his life. If not checked, they may even end up killing themselves. Thus, it is highly imperative that you be vigilant about your friends, and keep your eyes and ears open.
Depression can be cured by therapists and psychiatrists with the help of counseling and medical help. But an even better way of curing depression is by listening. You will notice that most of the people who are depressed often feel lonely. They need an empathic ear to listen to them, and to give them constant motivation. They need to be told constantly that they are important people, and that they too are loved and cared about. Talking helps a lot, more than anyone could ever think. When a person talks to an empathetic listener, and pours out his troubles, he feels much better and relieved. Group therapy also helps. Through this, the depressed person will realise that he is not alone, and that there are others who feel just like him. This gives him more confidence, and he can start moving out of his mental quicksand.
So if you feel depressed, or notice that someone else is, talk to them. Communication is the biggest cure in life. It can solve umpteen issues – the only problem is that people don’t realise the power of verbalising one’s thoughts. When someone is telling you their problems, listen patiently, and most importantly – don’t judge. It is this very fear of being judged that makes a person more depressed. Don’t belittle their problems, or laugh them off saying that he or she is crazy to obsess over simple issues. Remember – it is after all their problem, and it is big for them. Support and encouragement is a sure fire way of fighting this condition. There are many NGOs which offer free services over the telephone. Samaritans in Mumbai is one such organisation that offers empathy to people in depression and despair. You could use such services anytime you feel depressed, or recommend it to friends who are suffering from it. Help is just around the corner – we all need to just reach for it, and it will come to us.