So are you thinking what is this D-word? No, it’s not profanity!
Take a guess? Hint: It’s the most commonly used word these days when talking about someone’s not-so-good mood. Yes! It’s the dreaded yet silently adored (going by the belief in many that a known devil is better than an unknown angel) D-word – Depression.
These days everywhere you look, you spot people talking about things not going right or how they feel stressed and “depressed”.
The D-word has hit the society in the worst way ever – right from adults to kids being impacted by it at different intensities.
So before we understand what depression is, let’s clarify at the outset what it isn’t. Depression is not feeling sad or feeling depressed momentarily. Unknowingly, we stereotypically portray depression as sadness with the extensive usage of the D-word.
So what is Depression? Depression is not being unhappy; it is not anger or fear. Depression is not loneliness – it is none of these individually and yet it is all of these and much more. Depression is being numb. It is nothingness. It is exhausting. It takes away all motivation and leaves a feeling of hopelessness. There is lack of energy – it’s more like a void where nothing grows or changes, where time does not exist, where there is nothing and no one. Of course, it is difficult for the person trying to cope with it as well as for the people around them.
Sometimes depression is chronic and evident but a lot of times one isn’t aware of it and sometimes one is even able to camouflauge it in the garb of routine & forced positivity – this last type, by the way, is the worst as sometimes we lose them to suicide – just like that – no warning, no sign.
The deeper the roots of depression, the more time it takes for a person to heal. It keeps a person in the loop of ‘being low’ and makes them self-damaging. The symptoms could range from crying all day to being unable to get up from the bed to work, bathe, or even eat.
Then there are the happy and high functioning depressed people who have the smiling depression. A high functioning depressed person appears energetic, carefree and cheery on the outside, most of the times and people close to them never get to know that on the inside they are being sucked into a black hole. Strangely, they would go out of their way to keep others happy, masking their own sadness.
When alone, they cry, contemplate suicide and feel exhausted from all the pretending. Why do they pretend? Well, it’s funny that each time we ask someone, “How are you?”, we are looking at “I am fine, thank you” as the response because if someone starts sharing how they really are, we are quick to tell them not to sulk or look at the bright side. Sharing and sulking are two different things. The fear of being judged is deeply engrained in our beings and hence it seems like a better proposition to endure the depression in silence than to voice it out.
Contrary to what most people feel, you can’t lose depression simply by ‘looking at the bright side’. You may be able to camouflage your feelings to save others from getting bothered (or to save yourself from the guilt of it all) but this is plain masking and not coping or healing.
“Snap out if it!”
“Why are you depressed? You have everything in the world going for you! You have friends, you are young, beautiful, healthy, rich, you have people who love you.”
“How can you be depressed?”
“Go Take a walk, call a friend, just get up and move!”
These are just some of the many things we tend to say to that depressed friend/family memberhoping it would all become okay. But that’s the thing – it doesn’t get okay! People suffering from depression can’t “cheer up” and that adds up to more frustration.
With every depressed person (and even those suffering from anxiety or other mental health issues) there is a constant ‘need’ to be themselves or be how they were earlier or be how their friends and family would like them to be. This chase to “be that person” is precisely why most people, despite all the efforts and therapy, are unable to snap out of it.
Today I am not going to tell you what can help you or your friend with depression. I am going to invite you to be into this space of awareness and let it seep in. What would it take for you to accept self as is? Accept self and others (with or without depression) without asking for a change.
This is the first step in healing. You can’t change something if you resist it as the resistance keeps the energy flowing in that same direction that you wish to alter. Haven’t you fought enough already? Let’s change the dynamics and accept it, to release it.
Choose compassion. Choose the wholeness of being instead of viewing self as someone who needs ‘fixing’.
I invite you to let this seep in. Write back to me so we can take the leap of faith together. Until then, just breathe! You are doing fine.
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