Why do we forget that there exists a flip-side to contentment? An ironic feeling that fills up the soul with emptiness. A stubborn parasitic emotion that won’t let live in peace. A happiness repellent.
It is saddening that a strong and skilled Bollywood star – Sushant Singh Rajput, who was earlier said to be suffering from depression, had to go to sleep to wake us up. It is even more saddening that some of us have already gone back to tossing and turning. The hapless incident certainly got us thinking but what we need is a significant sustainable change in our perception of the concept of depression.
We are progressing at a rapid pace with respect to almost every aspect of life but when it comes to mental progress, we lag far behind. We lag to the extent that we are unable to readily accept this very truth. It is utterly disappointing that scores of us consider depression as an abnormality till date but it is exactly where the rest of us can make use of our awareness and spread the word. Going by the principles- Realize, Normalize and Empathize, we can bring a difference in the thought process of both, the depressed and the person who looks down upon the depressed. Let us try and understand the three terms in depth.
We often prioritize physical fitness over mental health. It’s time we realize that we have been doing it wrong all along. Catering to mental health is equally important. It is dispiriting that our schools educate us about corals and constellations but not about something as crucial as mental health. Let’s overcome the loophole by educating ourselves and those within our reach. On the same lines, we need to realize the significance of timely self-introspection. We shouldn’t let negativity take shelter inside us. As and when it finds a way, we must acknowledge its presence, talk to someone and cut it off from its very roots.
On a scale of 1 to 10, try rating the level of comfort you feel when it comes to talking about depression out in open. There’s something fishy about every topic that doesn’t get a perfect 10. For some reason, depression is considered as a sensitive topic till date. This notorious title forced upon depression needs to be ripped off and the focus needs to be shifted elsewhere. Let’s normalize the state of depression. Let’s also normalize the need for therapy or psychiatric help that might follow. Together, let us make it a culture to be all ears when someone reaches out to us with their woes.
Sympathizing is the wrong approach. Factually stating, Sympathy and Empathy aren’t synonyms. While the former is about expressing sorrow and pity towards others, the latter calls for an effort aimed at putting oneself in someone else’s shoes and understanding their pain. We ought to know this difference and pick empathy. Looking at the depressed as ‘culprits’ is the biggest mistake that most of us make. Whatever it might be, we should understand that they did not call it upon themselves. Instead, they are the ‘victims’ subconsciously longing for empathy and consolation. All they need is a friend to walk beside them and what even is humanity if we fail to lend them a hand in the event of trough. Imagine that the people who succumbed to depression could be breathing today if they didn’t have the fear of being called psychotic and if they had someone to vent their feelings to. A small effort on our part can save lives.
The three ‘ize(s)’ apart, let us not forget to Exercise, socialize, improvise and of course, sanitize in an effort to revitalize our otherwise not-so-happening quarantine lives.
Remember! Depression is a deadly parasite. If it ever knocks at your door, do not be a good host to it. Because having something feed on you is way worse than having someone feed on your supplies.