-Table of Contents-
- What is Depression?
- Relevant Statistics
- Symptoms and Diagnosis
- Understanding and Supporting victims, and recovery | How to?
- The case of attention seeking | Ignore or to deal with?
- Real life teenage recoveries and inference (of the friends of the writer)
What is depression?
Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed etc. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.
Worldwide, over 300 million people suffer from depression. Being a cultivator of suicidal thoughts, over 800,000 people every year are subject to death by suicide, which is also the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds.
Furthermore, it is estimated that less than 10% of depressed people actually receive effective treatment and one of three reasons being social stigma and lack of seriousness for mental disorders.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Symptoms of depression are many, and can be seen in mixes that aren’t uniform.
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Depression is not a sign of weakness, and can happen to anyone.
~ World Health Organization
Depression can only be diagnosed if symptoms remain for around two weeks or more, otherwise it is mere sadness, Lypophrenia, or any other temporary (compared to depression) mood related factor.
A person must not go around crying about being depressed just because sadness hits them for a day or two. However, they must take caution to prevent depression in the near future and undertake activities to uplift them and vent out to someone.
Apart from societal-factors or events that inflict damage that lead to depression, it can also be biological.
Understanding and Supporting victims, and recovery | How to?
Depression can trigger in teenagers due to many reasons or events, whether or not these are events that teenagers should/shouldn’t be exposed to, undeniably, it does happen anyways.
Elaborating on the ‘Trigger Event’ mentioned in the cycle above, can be ‘n’ number of other numerous cycles that depict trigger events, a simple one being on the left, and a complicated and elaborate addiction cycle being below, which mostly develops in prolonged periods of depression, anxiety etc. Apart from cycles of sadness due to normal triggers, there are cycles caused due to triggers of inability to cope with depression and feel better, increased irritation and frustration against oneself for being depressed, for being how they are, further diminishing their self-esteem and dignity.
Being depressed, you must realize that whatever you are facing is temporary, it might be a phase longer than others, or a phase shorter than others, but it remains temporary. Another thing about depression is that, it lies to you. It keeps feeding you ill-thoughts that are half-truths, or completely false and exaggerated. While in reality, out of 10 events, 1-2 might’ve gone wrong. If you’re depressed, your mind is going to taint all 10 of them as depressing. While it is difficult to rationally think while being depressed, it can be noticed that many times when you actually ask yourself to rationally reason why a certain event or thought is toxic (while being depressed), you will find that you are unable to answer it, and your depression will then trick you into being frustrated and voila, there’s another problem now. Frustration over you being frustrated over an existing problem- or what you think is a problem.
Furthermore, certain events and details of the past appear normal and easy to ignore while not being depressed, however, when depression hits, it is likely that those events and details will suddenly turn into cons and fuel for further ill-thoughts, self-hate etc.
To people who are depressed, it is highly recommended that you talk to someone about what’s going on, be it anyone- family, friends, acquaintance or even a person on an online support group or social platform. Talking to them does not mean that you necessarily need to do it to seek advice, it’s totally fine if you just want to talk to someone to get something off your chest, or to be supported, reassured, and receive care. Don’t silent yourself, don’t suppress your needs, it’s absolutely okay for you to voice the do’s and dont’s to deal with you during your phase. In fact, that way, misunderstandings and possibilities of hurt would diminish.
Apart from this, make an effort to try and help yourself, no matter how hard, don’t give up. It’s again totally understandable if you get intense phases where you think you’ve given up, and don’t want to continue. It’s fine, don’t stress too much over it, accept that you feel like giving up, tell someone you feel that way, but do not actually harm yourself in a severe way that does make you give up.
(Recommended searches: Cognitive behavioral therapy, methods for Neurogenesis, etc.)
To people who are approached by victims, do not give up on them, if you feel you aren’t informed or trained enough to deal with such people, divert them to someone who is (not necessarily professionals). If you do not understand how to give advice, it’s okay- don’t. Just support them and give hope, don’t do/say anything that makes them hate themselves or intensify their insecurities. People don’t always need advice. Extending support and assistance, just being there, showing them they matter and that they’ll be alright too does wonders. They might shut you out, or want to isolate themselves, it’s fine, don’t insult or call them weak for it, give them some space and time if they need it, but check on them. Try ensuring they don’t use that space and time for harm.
The case of attention seeking | Ignore or to deal with?
It is noticed that people pretend to be depressed or publicly show out their depression which results in actual depression cases not being taken seriously, and many serious cases being doubted as ‘dramatic’ and ‘attention-seeking’ because they are prolonged and hard to deal with.
Depressed people face problems with being cared for and actually having people they can call as companions or friends. Such a case leads them to want to scream for help, or enrage at the society for being insensitive. Some control their urge to do this, while some don’t; and hence turn to social media platforms to express their feelings.
If you do come across people who do this, your first line of action must be to approach them and ask if they’re okay, try making them open to you and help them. If they refuse to open up, comfort them but do not force. (You do not necessarily HAVE to do this, it’s understandable if you choose to ignore, especially if you have a major social status exposed to many people as it would be time consuming in that case to cover EVERYONE).
We do not stand in a position to openly judge someone as an attention-seeker, especially in cases of depression. Either ways, whether a person is an attention seeker or not, must not be the center of concern in dealing with such people anyways.
If you refuse to help someone on the thought that they’re faking their illness. Two things can happen.
1. If they were faking it, it wouldn’t affect much but still hurt them to a small extent.
2. If they weren’t faking it, it would cause serious damage and further intensify their depression.
In case you do decide to help them and ignore your thought of whether or not they’re faking it, it’s a win-win situation, no one gets hurt.
However, the final discretion of what kind of victims (those that approach you or those that post about their feelings) you want to focus on is in your hand, one person alone is not obliged to take care of every kind of person.
In any case, people who do fake it and genuinely seek attention using ‘depression’ to do so. Ya’ll are really adding on to existing social stigma and problems that ultimately negatively affect those who are actually depressed.
Real life teenage recoveries and inference (of the friends of the writer)
Note: If you happen to recognize any of the people below, do NOT enter any name in the comments or make any mention. All names are censored and will not be revealed in any case.
Statement in first person addressed to the blog writer from the subject:
So it all began 10-15 days before our board exams, I was finding it hard to revise all that I learnt because of small issues but those I could control. My depression triggered due to financial issues and parental fights, and problems in paying my board fees. My mom asked her friends for help and somehow they managed to pay for the entrance ticket so I could write the exam. So I honestly thought I wasnt going to write my exams which obviously made me sad, and on top of that my dad had this “I dont care” attitude, he kept on saying “its not a problem he can do 10th again, i cant pay, go find someone to pay for you”. this affected me badly, I couldnt write the exams properly but somehow i managed to score marks.
Later, I didn’t get admission in my school to continue, and apparently that was due to inability to pay admission fees. My mom went to the head of senior school and she told my mom that my grades weren’t up to mark so I didn’t get a seat, Later on i got into Commerce, but i couldn’t continue as my fees were due. and my parents kept shouting and hitting me like it was my fault, I told them that if they didn’t fight all the time I would’ve performed better, but they weren’t ready to listen. My dad has temper issues and he takes out that temper on me and my mom. and my mom supports my dad always so basically I had no support. Couldn’t talk to anyone, everywhere I go they ask me why I’m not in school and all.
I was very depressed at this point, I didn’t speak to anyone, whether it was my parents or friends. I had a few close friends like ‘A’ and ‘B’ who helped me calm myself down because I would start crying off thoughts. Once my parents went out shopping and I was at home, the electricity got cut, once again, bills weren’t paid.
I was going to slit my wrist. A friend of mine who I just started to talk to at that time, ‘C’, stopped me from doing so. I explained her everything. and she told me how i can distract myself from cutting. through her I met ‘D’. and she was and is still supportive, any issues I go to her. She sent me one of your articles (vigilant mind content) where it was written on how one can avoid self harm through many ways like music, drawing.
I generally didn’t believe I could change myself, from your articles, I became my normal self, like not happy/not sad kind. A few days later my bestfriend, ‘E’ went through depression, same reason, his parents didn’t support him. I used to go behind him even though he used to cut himself almost everyday. and I managed to change him. because I knew what he went through. after he told me that he wasn’t as depressed as he was and I was the reason he became more happier, it just filled me with joy. and I stopped cutting, because I realized that there was no use and i’m only putting myself down, now i’m just here to help people that need it. my parents found out I was cutting, and they became more caring towards me. and that’s how i ended up here, depression-free, all thanks to you (everyone that helped and supported) guys.
Once, cutting used to give me joy. I used to do it all the time because I felt worthless, almost everyone used to say the same thing “just give it time, it will get better”. Back then when I accomplished something I wasn’t happy, like I didn’t feel satisfied, I was being sad because I couldn’t show other emotions, Everyone used to call me emo and it just became my personality. and after things got better I stopped cutting through many ways like drawing on my arm, and mostly art related like painting because i love art, also picked up on how to cook, doing it as a hobby. In ‘E’s case, he was my classmate, so whenever I had time, I used to go speak to him and make him feel better, he felt unwanted and I made him feel like he was wanted. Everyday he came with new scars and gave up on himself. I kept pushing him to become a better person, which eventually worked, and now hes happy too. I kept motivating him by telling him to see the positive side of things, spent time with him in class, and did everything I could to aid his recovery.
Apart from the above featured recovery story, there are many others I’ve seen while helping people and hearing them out. If there’s something that’s really helped people, it’s others being there for them. Even if they weren’t able to always extend advice, their help and support has always been good fuel for the engine of recovery.
Small acts of love and kindness have changed people’s thoughts, small positive triggers have brought hope to people, and when this kept on going, the person eventually exited the fold of depression, or at least improved significantly, or was kept away from suicide.
Aiding people and being there for them does sometimes appear difficult, it might look like there is no progress, and that the person is not recovering, which gives us the thought of calling them out for weakness, stubbornness, or any other negative trait, which actually makes them feel even worse, and they start hating themselves for being in that position which is not something we need to do.
Take the example of a farmer, when he sows seeds, he has to water them everyday, for weeks he does not see any progress because the growth is beneath the soil, but is there progress? Yes there is. Just that he can’t see it for a period of time, after which he will see it, but only if he does not give up in the period of no ‘visible’ progress.
The same way, being there for someone and not giving up follows the same logic. Even victims themselves often might feel they aren’t improving- but in reality, they are.
Hope this helped, and gave in-depth insight on depression and provided hope for recovery for any victims out there reading this. Feel free to vent out anonymously or with identity in the comments and do share your or someone you knows’ recovery story as well!