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We all feel down and low from time to time. The speed and pace of our lives makes us exhausted, both physically and emotionally. But what if it is not just a once in a blue moon thing? What if it is more than just exhaustion or PMS? How to know whether we are just low or depressed?

DEPRESSION. Let us address the elephant in the room. Ya literally. The big D is still the dreaded D.

Anything can trigger a depression like losing a loved one, losing job, financial losses, breaking of relationships etc. But when sadness continues for more than 2-3 weeks, it is time to take stock of the situation. Depression symptoms are not always as obvious as crying or overwhelming despair. It can be extreme agitation, anger or frustration. It can be as simple as not wanting to go out and meet people and rather being a couch potato for extended periods of time. When it starts affecting our normal lives, it is time to take medical help. If left untreated, symptoms of depression may last for months or even yea

What are the signs to look out for?

  1. Trouble sleeping
  2. Difficulty concentrating
  3. Feeling of loneliness
  4. Feeling of guilt and worthlessness
  5. Persistent “empty” feelings
  6. Low energy
  7. Loss of interest generally
  8. Over sensitivity
  9. Feeling like crying at the drop of a hat
  10. Trying to find pleasure in things like over shopping

I am sure you all must be thinking that either you or someone you know has definitely shown one or more of these symptoms some or the other time.

Why are so many people depressed?

Our society is evolving rapidly. We are more mobile today, rather we have become global citizens. The pressures of work, ambition and loneliness often leave us vulnerable. Nuclear families are on the rise, breaking families into fragments.

  1. Family ties are weaker.
  2. Due to the competitive environment, we live dulled and robotic lives.
  3. We seek pleasure in things.
  4. Our expectations are too high from ourselves.
  5. We are focused on materialistic goals like money and fame.
  6. We derive our identity from these external markers.
  7. Our attention spans are lower and life is faster.
  8. Our social lives are bleaker but social media lives are booming.
  9. The seemingly “perfect” lives of others give us a feeling of underachievement and inadequacy.
  10. We are not eating well, not sleeping enough.
  11. The chemicals from all the processed “grab-on-the-go” foods create havoc in our bodies

These are a few reasons. I am sure people of my age (late thirties and above) will agree with most of these things because we are the sandwich generation. We have done the crossover from that era to this. The younger generation, sadly have only seen these times. So the onus is up to us to contain this situation before it snowballs into a monster. We have to stay sane and help the younger generation too (like I said we are the sandwich generation). Let us all have real conversations with real people. Reach out and mingle with physical presence than virtual.

And the most important thing is that there is no shame in seeking medical help. I once heard an interview of a psychiatrist. He said, “ When someone has diabetes, we don’t tell that person to ask his pancreas to make more insulin, come on you can do it, try……then why should we say to a depressed person to try and be happy, you can do it, be brave, handle it, hota hai yaar….” Absolutely brilliant. This is so true. We have no shame in taking medicines for diabetes or cholesterol, then why for depression? I have heard people saying “I don’t want to put chemicals in my body” Then when we take antibiotics for a cold are we not “putting chemicals” in our body??

We need to just accept it as an ailment, treat it and get on with our lives. Life is beautiful and we all have every right to enjoy the lovely pleasures of life. Lend a ear, hold a hand, reach out and call out.