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Why is it that we seek to avoid therapy for depression and want to hide it instead? Is avoiding the stigma worth your life?
Today’s stress induced life has given rise to many lifestyle diseases. However, the killer of them all is depression. If not detected and treated at the right time, it can lead to other mental illness or in extreme cases even suicide.
In recent times, the media has covered suicides of many well-known celebrities. However these are only the tip of the iceberg. If statistics are to be believed, there are 3 suicides in the city of Mumbai alone everyday.
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These suicides affect the families left behind the most. They are forever haunted with the question, “Could we have done something differently?”
I have personally encountered several cases of depression among my near and dear ones.
The most baffling one was the story of my maid. Her husband committed suicide without any cause that she was aware of. She was in shock for more than a year, as she never suspected that something was wrong.
Post hearing his symptoms, I realised that he was a manic depressive. What she thought was an introverted nature, was actually his uncommunicative stance. At times, he would fly into uncontrollable rage. Most of all, he avoided going out – so much so that he lost his job. She never guessed how deep his anger was.
A relative of mine was also facing issues with her husband. He was undergoing massive stress due to his job. He refused to talk to her as he did not want to burden her with his problems, but they were becoming too much for him to handle alone, and it started showing up as physical symptoms of headache and backache. He also became absent minded and ended up hurting himself in an accident.
That was a wake-up call for them. They took professional help and now he has started his journey on the road to recovery.
The sad truth is that professional help or therapy is something which is looked down upon. If someone goes for counselling, it is thought that the person is suffering from insanity. Due to the stigma attached to it, a lot of people shy away from getting help. This causes the stress level to go up to dangerous levels.
Depression is a real disease, as real as cancer. Just like you cannot leave that disease to fester and grow, similarly you cannot ignore this disease either.
The only solution is to fight and win over it. If you realise that you need help, then half the battle is won. The other half is to ignore others’ views and get help. After all, it is not they who are going to suffer but you.
If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, here are some of the helplines available in India. Please call. Therapy for depression is also available now in most mid-sized and larger Indian cities.
Aasra, Mumbai: 022-27546669
Sneha, Chennai: 044-2464 0050
Lifeline, Kolkata: 033-2474 4704
Sahai, Bangalore: 080 – 25497777
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Depression is a horrible disease which debilitates a person completely during an attack. It affects those who have put up a great fight against the hardships of life. These stresses affect the chemicals in the brain and hence they need to be supplied through medications. Society can never understand what these patients go through. Depression patients are unable to have a normal social life as they withdraw completely. But their own friends see them as arrogant and even insensitive for not keeping in touch. This puts further pressure on the patient because they start losing friends.
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