Depression is a highly stigmatized disorder in society today. Patients suffering with depression are often viewed as being weak, and are thus often made to feel they are ‘social lepers’. This leads sufferers to remain silent about their plight and refusal to get help, for fear of being stigmatized. Society views depression as something that is easy to snap out of, when it is a nightmare to go through every day. Lack of energy and loss of ambition are seen as being “lazy”, when it is not as controllable as people think it is. It is often used as a semi- slang term for having a bad day, when in fact it is a very serious life threatening disease. As a society we tend to pass off depression and mental health as not life threatening, and support physical health more readily and immediately. However, seeing equality between physical and mental health in all aspects of accepting, empathy, compassion, need for treatment and the overall well-being of an individual is intensely required to make a change in our society’s perception of mental health.
Social expectations and the ingrained fear of failure and a genetic vulnerability to neurochemical imbalance make depression a frightening idea for many suffers and the community. In cases where this affliction is not treated it may lead to a tendency of self-harm, seen as “freedom from the bondage of pain and suffering”- an irrational way of thinking.
To prevent Suicide it is important to educate ourselves about the various aspects of clinical depression. First, it is not a phase of “low mood” that can be wished away by thinking positively. Secondly, the disorder involves an imbalance in the brain chemistry for which medication is essential. Third, Depression is not caused due to personal weakness or lack of will power. Fourth, changes in lifestyle are necessary to bring about improvement. Fifth, during a depressive episode the sufferer has little or no control over his negative thoughts or feelings – these are symptoms of the illness and aspects of the sufferer’s true self. Sixth, if treated and regularly monitored the illness can be arrested and the individual can lead a functional, balanced life.
To work with this illness and it’s baffling, detrimental symptoms it is imperative to understand that sometimes it can take a while to find the right combination of medication and the right treatment. There are different medications and treatments available for successful encapsulation of symptoms. The sufferer and the respective families should not get discouraged if the symptoms come back, instead double the efforts to curb and control the symptoms with professional help.
“Suicide is a personal choice”; “People with suicidal tendency cannot be helped”; “People, who talk about killing themselves, do not actually do it” – all these statements need correction as they are misconceptions that we tend to have about Suicide and Depression. The idea is to be well informed about the illness and seek help at the right time.