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The deadly 'D': Psychiatrists, experts help decode depression

This is a discussion on The deadly 'D': Psychiatrists, experts help decode depression within the Health | Fitness forums, part of the :- Life Style -: category; The deadly 'D': Psychiatrists, experts help decode depression A couple of years ago, Jyoti Basu (name changed), lost a very ...

Old 08-25-2014
Pill The deadly 'D': Psychiatrists, experts help decode depression

The deadly 'D': Psychiatrists, experts help decode depression

A couple of years ago, Jyoti Basu (name changed), lost a very close friend. Since then, life has not been the same for her. She lost appetite and came down to 35 kg. She started sleeping at odd hours and would burst into tears for no apparent reason. She started to hate herself, suffered from blackouts, lashed out at people and had a tough time dealing with life in general. Falling ill had become a part and parcel of her life and at one time, she was even hospitalised. One of the doctors, concerned about her health, spoke to her mother and informed her that this was more than just a physical ailment and that she should take her to a psychiatrist. Shortly thereafter, Basu was diagnosed with clinical depression. She tells her story:

The diary of a woman battling depression

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People often confuse a phase of sadness with depression but for people who have suffered it, it’s impossible to confuse the two. I didn’t think I was sad. To me, my life wasn’t worth living. My family and a few friends played a very important role during this period. My mother and sister were supportive from the beginning but my father took time to come to terms with it. He would often say, ‘Why would someone need pills to behave normally?’ or ‘Why can’t you just snap out of it?’ He took some time but later, understood my situation.

As for friends, the phase made me realise who my true friends really were. A lot of them chose not to be involved and I respect their decision but those who chose to stay are like family now. Though your family always stands by you, sometimes it’s the people around you who make your situation worse. Once you are diagnosed with clinical depression, you are seen as a ‘faulty piece’. Their first instinct is to ask you to get over it or behave yourself. Those suffering from depression are often seen as badly behaved, moody and selfish. In India, you never go to a shrink unless you are crazy.

Small steps
Nonetheless, I consulted both a psychologist and a psychiatrist and was put on anti-depressants. People say that staying positive helps during depression but if only it was that easy. You can’t even think properly, forget being positive. Physical activity like taking a walk helped a lot. Surrounding yourself with your loved ones helps as well but only to a certain extent as you see how miserable they are because of you, and you tend to go back into your shell.
You know what helps? Small achievable tasks. When you are battling depression, everything seems impossible. Day-to-day activities such as getting up from bed, brushing your teeth, getting ready, going to work — everything is an unreachable goal. But those small achievable tasks can make a lot of difference to your mental state as you begin feeling worthwhile. Till date, I paint my nails once a week. It is my reset task. It’s small and means nothing to the rest of the world. But it’s one small but crucial step that helped.

Everyday tasks, like watering plants, can make a difference

On the road to recovery, you feel numbed by the medicines you pop. Numb, according to science, is better than unhappy. Initially, I had no faith in medicines. As a result, I would skip them, consume alcohol or cut myself to avoid feeling anything but numb. But slowly, the drugs began to help. I began to eat, step outdoors and face life. Recovering for me meant moving my focus from inside my head to outside. There’s no cure though, just treatment. I’ve had to go back to my medication every now and then. It’s a constant battle.

Depression is like an illness waiting to be treated by a doctor. It’s not ‘cool’ and makes you loathe yourself. We tend to swim in our sadness and it’s tough to get out of it because we’re not really sure whether we can breathe the air outside. So force yourself to take in some fresh air every day. A few minutes of forcing yourself to smile or perhaps half an hour of indulging in your favourite things — that helps.

People will leave you. Be glad. You have no idea how better off you are going to be without them. It’s not always going to be like this, I promise.
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