“Hey, how are you?” is a question we ask multiple times every day. But how many of us harness, a genuine intention of knowing how the other person is really doing, to this question? One might be shattering down on the inside, but keeping up with the socially accepted norm, wears that fake smile insinuating a state of absolute wellbeing round the clock. The highly competitive world revolving around us often takes toll on our health – physical and mental. Unfortunately mental health, no matter how grave, never gets half the attention we display while tending to any kind of physical ailment, even a zit for that matter.
Most sufferers of mental ailment, disregard its significance in their overall wellbeing; those who do recognize its vitality are threatened by society’s perception– lest they get labelled as lunatics. The struggle is excruciating here as the mind is in a constant war with endless rigidities tearing itself apart, but on the exterior level one is coerced into wearing a smile in the name of acceptable behavior. When someone close to our heart catches the simplest form of physical ailment – say cold, we do everything within our power to relieve them of their discomfort, but we do not extend the same warmth when we find someone battling depression. A person batting depression, in most societies, is thought of as one with lack in willpower and emotionally uncontrolled. People surrounding him fears a potential danger and frequently tag him as antisocial. Like any other medical condition, one needs to understand, depression is a disease, it is not a behavioral choice. The personal struggle in depression alone is tiring beyond one’s competence; fighting people’s perception parallelly only adds to the situation’s unbearability.
Before igniting a callous gossip about someone’s laziness, we should educate ourselves – depression is not a fitment stemming out of one’s imagination. Chemical imbalances in the sufferer’s brain that lead to flawed mood regulations often grow as depression – this kind of medical condition hardly within any patient’s control. Holding a negative attitude against those caught in depression and looking at them as weak and wallowing individuals would do no good, but gradually shatter the self-esteem of the one already amidst swirling internal emotional turbulences. If we choose to stigmatize depression, we are keeping someone around us from opening up about their problems, in most cases this ‘someone’ is the one we care very dearly about.
Depression can hit anyone, regardless of social or economic background, as opposed to the popular myth that only losers are effects by it. One can only dream of achieving the kind of success the reigning queen of Bollywood, Deepika Padukone has carved out for herself. But even the zenith of success did her little help in evading the state of acute mental ill-being. A star in every sense of the term, Deepika deserves to be applauded for voicing out an issue most of us choose to shovel under the rug. By being vocal about her condition publicly, she has illustrated how anyone can be affected by depression and has thrown light on the massivity of consequence rising from it.
Lack of awareness and acceptance, with our registered prejudices can make life of the sufferer worse by the hour; driving him to the edge, and compelling to settle on the extreme. Over 50 percent of those who take their lives, decide on it following a grueling combat with depression, while others look for respite in alcohol and drugs, eventually getting entangled in another inescapable trap.
Depression is engulfing the youth and senior citizens alike in today’s demanding life. Only when we rid ourselves from our irrational notions and break our mental barriers, will we be able pull closer those standing on the verge of plummeting. He can be a neighbor, a colleague, a friend, or your spouse – even your child for that matter. No one is immune to depression. Next time you ask someone, “Hey, how are you?” encourage them to tell you how they actually are versus a response “socially acceptable.”