I am sitting in church a week before Easter and a woman introduces herself. Her name is Naomi and she’s a psychologist. I’m so glad we met each other today because it’s World Health Day and the theme for this year is depression. I wanted to pen down a little something for my readers to help remove the stigma against mental illness.
A friend of mine, Steve, had gone through a period of unexplained hopelessness a short while ago. He was able to overcome it, but during the time, he felt unworthy for reasons he could not understand. He didn’t sleep much or leave his house for days at once.
Naomi thought it was a great idea for me to discuss depression as through my blog I could reach a large number of people. The latest estimates of WHO state that more than 300 million people are living with depression.
But, it is not here to stay and you can redeem yourself from its clutches. Easter is around the corner and it is all about emerging into the light. Choosing to live in place of merely existing.
We chose to walk under the open sky where a sweet breeze brought with it fresh fragrance of flowers and fruits, bringing in the news of Spring. As we walked on the neatly trimmed grass around the church, the aroma of wet earth hinted the arrival of April Showers.
Her words fell on my ears as a remedy which would detangle the knots in our minds and we would once again fall in love with life.
“The foremost way to combat depressive episode is to be able to talk freely about it.” She said. Talking doesn’t always mean believing in the story your mind chooses to tell you. It simply means freeing yourself from the story that is dragging you down.
So this Easter let’s RISE to our inner strengths.
Shying away from reality is not beneficial. Recognizing reality will enable us to move on and improve our lives. In situations where reality is overwhelming, break it up into a smaller parts to begin the process of acceptance.
People going through depression, tend to be harder on themselves than they would be on others in a similar circumstance. And that is a big problem. It is important for you to treat yourself like you would a good friend, to safeguard against negative feelings of shame, self-criticism etc. When you are aware of “I am” you can connect with the world in a much better way.
Speak and reach out
The most important thing would be to speak up about whatever it is you are going through. You are not alone. It could change your life. Many times, it may not be obvious physically, that a person dear to you is suffering from depression.If you suspect so, be open about it, and reach out to them. Show empathy. Don’t be dissuaded to discuss the problem. Reach out.
A person going through depression may feel that the problem in front of them cannot be resolved. This is not the case. You just need to hang on. Know that we are not meant to stagnate and we evolve. Give tomorrow a chance. This too shall pass.
Depression is far from just a feeling of sadness. It effects a person’s mental, physical and emotional state as you experience loss of appetite, continuous feelings of loneliness and hopelessness, insomnia, no desire to get out of bed.
There is a need to bring about a change in society. The stigma against mental illness can only be removed if more and more people discuss it. Society needs to give people the courage and platform to be open about their feelings and help them overcome it, without feeling judged.