Telugu News Anchor Radhika Kills Herself; Another Life Lost To Depression

Posted: April 4, 2018

“Due to depression I am killing myself. Nobody else is the reason. My brain is enemy,” Radhika wrote in her suicide note. Understanding depression is essential so we can be more supportive to people in its clutches.

V Radhika Reddy, aged thirty six, committed suicide on Sunday, 1 April 2018. She was a popular news anchor for the Telugu news channel V6. As per news sources, she returned from her work, went to the fifth floor of her building and jumped. She leaves behind a fourteen year old son with autism. Radhika was separated from her husband since the last three years and officially got divorced six months back. She lived with her parents and had been diagnosed with clinical depression. She was under medication but was not consistent with the treatment. At work, given the fact she had a mentally challenged son she was often supported by her co-workers but nothing could save her. In the end, she decided to die.

So, yet another victim of the mental demon named depression. We all have our own blues and periods when we feel low which includes grieving at the death of a family member, sulking during a financial crisis or bad grades during exams but there is a vast difference between being depressive and the other lows of life. Radhika was right in her suicide note. Sometimes the worst place one can be in, is the brain. Our own head.

Understanding depression

Also known as Major Depressive Disorder, it has become common in recent times. It’s impact affects how one feels, the way one thinks and also how a person acts. It also leaves a feeling of constant sadness and lack of interest in regular activities. It leads to multiple emotional and physical ailments and decreases a person’s potential to function at work and also at home. Understanding depression is essential if we are to offer better support than we do today.

The warning signs: As per the American psychiatric organization this mental ailment affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime. The warning signs includes:

  • Suicidal thoughts and ultimatum
  • Writing poems, letters and a lot more concerning death
  • Change in personality. A once jovial person can suddenly turn glum and this is a red flag
  • Profuse sense of guilt, shame or rejection
  • Loss of sleep and appetite. Or vice versa, binge eating, directing all your thoughts towards eating and also oversleeping.
  • Substantial gain/loss of weight.

There can also be hidden symptoms of depression that are not as easily identifiable.

Factors leading to depression 

Depression can affect anyone. Listing below just some of the factors leading to depression:

  • A chemical imbalance in the brain, where serotonin or the happy hormone which refuses to produce/cooperate.
  • Genetics, that is depression which runs in a family.
  • People with low self esteem. Here is where parenting comes in to the picture. A happy childhood leads to a growth of self confidence whereas a troubled childhood or constantly witnessing fights among family members can trigger an overwhelming feeling of stress and transform the child into a pessimistic adult.

Types of depression: There are several forms of depression, including:

  • Major Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Post partum Depression
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Psychotic Depression

And a lot more which can be read here.

Treating depression

The good news is that depression can be treated but one has to be consistent with the drugs and counseling sessions; both psychiatric treatment and counseling can help the person overcome the mental challenges. The treatment can include:

  • Medication – where the person is prescribed anti-depressants which are neither tranquilizers nor habit forming drugs. Many drugs start their effect within a week’s time and the full benefits can be seen in a few months. If there is still a feeling of hopelessness and grief the person should immediately get in touch with the medico for alteration of drugs.
  • Counseling or psychotherapy – where the victim can talk it over with a professional therapist. It is also known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CPT) where the therapist can help recognize the distorted thinking and unusual habits. But a note of warning – in case of acute depression CPT alone is not going to help; a person needs to take medication and use CPT as additional treatment.
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) – This is used for the major depressive cases where medications and CPT has failed. It is an electric shock therapy and the person has to undergo the same twice or thrice a week. It should be conducted under supervision of a team of medical professionals.
  • Self help – There should be support from the family members. Talk to the depressed person; help him/her release the demons. Exercise, meditate, eat and get proper sleep.

In the past I have written several articles on this illness called depression here at Women’s Web. I have written on Dolores O’ Riordan, Nafisa Joseph, Silk Smitha and now, this young woman in her mid thirties. She had so much, yet she felt that she had nothing. She had a son with autism who has yet not come in terms of his mother’s death. She dreamt of a home with her husband and it never happened. Yes, these are stresses but life offer challenges to all of us. How we perceive stress varies from one individual to another. Some may be jobless yet are happy; some may be waiting impatiently to be a parent yet cannot but still are happy, some may be single and looking for a loving, caring person but yet are happy.

I know it is tough to battle depression but it is not impossible. Radhika leaves behind a motherless son who had only his mother in the whole wide world. The father had already abandoned him and now, he has lost his mother.

Suicide awareness should be raised. To the one soul who is reading my essay, just know – this is not the end of the world. Let relationships go for a toss but take it as a challenge thrown by the almighty and fight your battles so hard that even death gets scared of you. I cite my example; I was a young woman of thirty two when I chose to walk out of my marriage. I lost my mother and have an ailing father and a little daughter. I too had sleepless nights, I too dealt with grief but I bowed in front of the Almighty who gave me strength.

There may be a thousand cases like me and Radhika, please do not kill yourself. Your life is precious and you have just one life so take up the challenge thrown by our creator and have faith that you are not the only one dealing with grief in this whole wide world.

If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, here are some of the helplines available in India. Please call. 

Aasra, Mumbai: 022-27546669

Sneha, Chennai: 044-2464 0050

Lifeline, Kolkata: 033-2474 4704

Sahai, Bangalore: 080 – 25497777

Image via Unsplash

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Rimli Bhattacharya is a First class gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of

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