Depression – A Cancer of the Mind; Needs Timely Intervention

My lazy Sunday afternoon was marred by the dreadful news of actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death. Initially, I wondered if it was actually a rumour spread by Twitter trolls. Then it started pouring in that he had hanged himself to death. I began to wonder what could have prompted a young, successful and financially-stable actor, who was the heart-throb of millions to take this extreme step. Then it came to light that he was suffering from depression for the past many months. The news shook me, and here is my two cents on why we need to take depression more seriously as a society.

Nobody chooses to be depressed. It just happens. I have always seen depression being taken lightly by people. It’s mostly seen as an excuse, or equated to laziness, escapism or immaturity. The most frequent reaction I’ve seen is, “I’ve been through worse in life, but still I’m staying strong, because I have no other option”. If anyone reading this has any notion that depression is an option, I wish to say, No, it isn’t. Nor is suicide a cowardly act, and I wish to explain.

Not all people are the same. It’s as simple as explaining the malleability and ductility of different metals. “The ability to be hammered thin or stretched without breaking” differs from person to person. Looking down at or pitying a fellow human being for breaking down or being depressed at what seems silly to you is a terrible thing to do. Just because you don’t understand what depression feels like, do not downplay it.

Depression doesn’t hit you hard all at once. It slowly seeps in through the crevices of your mind and with time you realise that you are no longer the same person anymore.  You struggle, you fight, you argue with yourself, you try living in denial, but the shadowy enemy still stays with you and finally, you give in to depression.

In a society like ours, which reprimands people for being depressed, equates bad mental health to poor upbringing, where getting help for mental health issues is still considered a taboo, only some manage to get proper help in time. Others suffer in silence, some not even aware that they are depressed. Finally, one day when they get exhausted of the fight going on within, they decide to end it, once and for all.

If you suspect anyone of suffering from depression, be it a friend, relative or colleague, don’t try to counsel them yourself or think that you can make them feel better. Kindly motivate them to seek expert help and convince them that they will be alright with the right treatment. Hanging out together with friends, going to cinemas, parties et al doesn’t help fight depression. All these can definitely help you get over a bad mood but certainly not depression. Contrary to popular belief, anti-depressants aren’t medications that affect your memory or make you drowsy. They just help you improve your general mood so that you reach a stage where you can help yourselves out of depression.

If you meet a friend or relative who has been diagnosed with cancer, you don’t ask them to relax at home saying the cancer will disappear on its own, do you? No, you get them treatment and keep holding their hand, supporting them in their fight against cancer. Depression can be equated to cancer of the mind and needs timely treatment. Supporting them or being available for them is definitely necessary, but, helping them get appropriate treatment, while being available for them, is more important.

A depressed person is like a ticking time bomb which may go off any moment. If someone tells you that they have not been feeling okay for a while, take them at face value and motivate them to get help. You may be saving a life.

Here is a compiled list of ten helplines from various cities that people in distress can reach out to:

1. Maithri, Kochi

Contact Info: 0484 2540530 or email [email protected]

2. Lifeline Foundation, Kolkata

Contact Info: +913324637401/7432 or email them on [email protected]

  1. Kashmir Lifeline, Srinagar

Contact Info: 18001807020

  1. Roshni, Hyderabad

Contact Info: +914066202000/2001 or email them on [email protected]

  1. Samaritans, Mumbai

Contact Info: +91226464 3267/65653267/6565 3247 or mail them on  [email protected]

  1. Saath, Ahmedabad

Contact Info: +91 79 26305544/26300222 or email [email protected]

  1. iCall, Mumbai

Contact Info: +912225521111 or email them on [email protected]

  1. Sneha, Chennai

Contact Info: +914424640050/60 or email them on [email protected]

  1. Sahai, Bengaluru

Contact Info: +918025497777

  1. You Matter by COOJ, Goa

Contact Info: 08322252525

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