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Why do we still shy away from talking about a topic as serious as mental illness? Isn’t it time we finally opened up and spoke about it? Dealt with it?
When it comes to talking about any form of mental illness, in our country, it leads to the raised eyebrows, the ‘shush! shhh!” and the whispers.
Depression may have no face but it is real and it exists. The struggle to do even the most mundane tasks (getting out of bed and showering) becomes cumbersome for the individual.
Depression is not sadness, like it appears to a number of people. Neither is it synonymous with being lazy or laid back. Sadness could last for a while or for a day. But depression lasts a little longer– some times weeks, months and even years.
Depression is different on different people. It may be hard to believe that a person is struggling to get out of bed every morning, it’s not because they are lazy. On the contrary, it is because they are struggling with something that traps them inside their mind and they are still hustling everyday. These people are fighting their inner demons every single day.
Depression is not a choice we make, it is a daily deal we try to crack with ourselves to come out of. A person who posts amazing selfies on social media might be going through depression and anxiety. We are great at hiding our scars. And we wear masks in public, especially if we deal with a mental illness.
Mental illness is just like any other illness. But simply because it has the lowest level of acceptance and the highest of ignorance, people fear opening up about it. They fear being labeled ‘crazy, crack-pot’ or ‘ insane.’ But the feelings of disgust, emptiness and a sense of deep hollowness are beyond any form of definition.
A person having a panic attack or an anxiety attack may be someone you met a few hours ago and sounded happy to you. But within a few hours, the same person might appear jittery and anxious because of the panic attack.
It is a very crucial situation and it kills a person slowly. Mental health needs priority attention. It is high time we spoke about it. We have been hiding and suppressing how we feel and why we feel what we do. The feelings may not have a valid justification or an explanation. Some times, they are just feelings without any reason that affect us both internally and externally.
As a mental health awareness blogger, I urge people to open up and seek help, rather than yelling for it. If you find someone going through this, be there for them instead of giving them false hopes. I urge people to be active listeners and try and understand if the person needs medical help.
The signs and symptoms of depression vary from person to person. However, there are some common signs and symptoms that we can identify. We could probably identify a tragedy if we are less ignorant and a little more empathetic.
Here are ten signs that you can look out for in someone who might be facing mental health issues-
A person may not sound like their usual self if they are under depression. And before explaining it to someone else, they themselves might take time to process what is happening to them. This may lead to irritability and agitated behaviour.
An individual in depression would prefer staying alone because pretending to be normal or even happy all the time will make them feel sicker. They just want to take a moment and figure what is happening to them and why it is happening.
In such cases, meeting people makes them feel socially awkward.
Mental illness is not very different from any other illnesses. The only difference is that it directly relates to a neurological disorder.
The individual may not feel hungry at all or they might overeat while they are at their worst. This could lead to an eating disorder which might be a way of coping with their existing illness.
High levels of stress and mental disturbance could lead to changing sleep patterns. Disturbed sleep cycles affect the health in a number of ways. When you notice this happening, do talk to someone.
Nothing you do sparks joy. Everything seems pale and monotonous. You lose interest in doing what you once loved- painting, singing, cooking, nothing gives you happiness.
This could be temporary, due to the workload and that is normal. However, if the person seems to be losing interest in these activities, it could be a matter of concern.
You don’t feel like doing anything anymore, you are constantly tired and drained out. It seems as if you are dragging yourself to accomplish even the simplest of tasks and can’t seem to do anything wilfully.
These are a matter of concern and you may want to seek help.
You seem to constantly be angry or frustrated, everything gets on your nerves and you seem to explode for no reason. Some times you aren’t present in the moment and you over-react at the smallest of things. These are things of concern if they happen very often.
You seem to have lost your ability to concentrate, you forget things. And you’re unable to focus on one particular thing. Your mind seems blank constantly.
Nothing seems to interest you and even taking small decisions seem too difficult to you. This is a sure sign that you need to seek help.
Due to the mental and emotional fatigue, your body is drained of positive energy and that starts affecting your outer self. You feel dull, tired and even experience body aches, mild headaches or your head constantly feels heavy.
No matter what you do, you never feel fresh.
You may feel like wanting to go into complete isolation and shut yourself down from contacting anyone. And you will feel like no one understands what you’re going through and that people will leave. So you will avoid any kind of contact.
That is not the way to go. Try seeking help even when it feels like no one would understand you.
According to WHO, 330 million people around the world suffer from some kind of mental illness. It is also reported that one of every four people you meet is either stressed or depressed. Depression, if left untreated, can become a serious health condition.
Be there and be aware! You might help save a tragedy or your own self.
Much love and gratitude
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Dear Zindagi
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