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Fighting depression

Wednesday, 10 October 2012 - 9:48am IST Updated: Wednesday, 10 October 2012 - 9:51am IST | Agency: dna

On World Mental Health Day today, DNA explores the dark world of depression and how to cope with it.

In it’s 20th year, the World Federation for Mental Health is focusing on depression which is fast becoming a widespread illness that can affect people across age groups. Depression is not restricted to age, caste, or creed, but is a mental condition that can grip anyone especially in the fast-paced and high stress generating world we live in. Psychologist Seema Hingoranny says, “There is a difference between normal moods, feeling blue and depression. While most people experience occasional blues, they are able to move past it quickly, but in the case of a person suffering from depression, he/she is unable to snap out of it for days and often weeks at a time.”

Unlike how it is commonly understood, a depressed person will not always sit in a corner and be silent. Depression can manifest as agitated depression where a person loses his/her temper more often than is normal to them or even as hypochondriasis where physical symptoms of pain accompany a general low feeling. Rashna Bhat (name changed) says that there was a time when she felt excruciating physical pain, but could not find a reason why, “I was in so much pain, I didn’t know what to do. After many doctors visits I realised that work-life balance stresses and emotional turmoil were making me depressed, and thus causing the unusual aches and pains I was experiencing. Once I took the time to sort my life out, I was physically fit again.”

Seema explains, “The mind and body are connected through an intricate nervous system, the brain working as a controlled messenger for the body. When the brain can’t take the pressure anymore, it transfers the stress to the body as discomfort and pain, skin disorders like Psoriasis and in the long-term can lead to hypertension and other diseases.”

Recognisable symptoms for depression do exist, though sometimes they may not make sense to a lay person. However, if you do see signs that a loved one is suffering from depression, it is crucial to be supportive and urge him/her to find relief, emphasises Seema. “The biggest mistake you can make is to dismiss the condition because you can’t understand it, or label the person as it will make him/her feel even more dejected.”


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