A very prevalent disorder in today’s day and age, depression usually follows a feeling of dark despair and emptiness. Nisha JamVwal talks about the signs of depression and how to combat it.
I am at a stunning beach resort and today something quite incredible and unexpected occurred at breakfast. The seemingly happy and delightful chef treating me to all the delicacies of the famous hotel opened up about her life very candidly and artlessly I found her telling me about a dark phase not two months ago where she faced severe depression that threatened her relationships, career and life. “How exactly do you define depression?” I queried her.”It’s a claustrophobic dark sense of impending doom where you nearly feel like you are alone locked in a room with difficulty in your breathing. It’s a terrible phase I went through and regular day to day functioning was a struggle. I almost found it difficult to conduct my relationships rationally at work and home.”
Did I find the chef weak, or a lesser person for her admissions and candid chat? Quite the contrary. I thought her brave and open-hearted post our conversation with the courage to face her malaise head-on and even discuss it openly. Her lack of self-blame and shame was endearing.
The societal stigma The astounding public admission by fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee recently about his depression was a coincidence and was still fresh in my mind. He has publicly admitted being dealing with depression for years- since he was 16. He tried to take his own life three times, has been an overachiever and an idealist and says that he found no succour from the selfish city life which is not fit for an idealist, he shared. He feels that our education system and our parents do not equip us with survival training for relationships and surviving disappointments in love, relationships and life. Here at this verdant resort, the chef vehemently agreed when I shared Sabyasachi’s admissions with her.
My pet peeve is how society still looks at depression as a stigma. It is so important to recognise that depression wrecks relationships and working life and that it is absolutely not shameful to share periods of downswing and sadness and to seek support. I believe it is most important to get professional help to cope with struggles, relationship setbacks or even disappointments. To look out for signs that this could be a long term problem is important too.
Deal with depression Everyone goes through the blues and finds life overwhelming occasionally. The important thing to do is to see if coping and getting through your day is causing you anxiety and despair and if a feeling of emptiness is becoming a pattern. To realise that it is not only a malaise in our lives but very traumatic for our spouse, parents or siblings to live with us in a depressive phase helps us to get out and seek help. And while meditation, exercise and good nutrition are excellent routes to help recovery, professional help is a must or like Sabyasachi or the Chef shared with me, you could unknowingly take your own life. It could be a chemical imbalance in the body resulting in extreme reactions to minor upheavals and you could lose some valuable work and alienate friends and colleagues.
Look out for symptoms of depression and address it immediately. A loss of appetite, feeling overwhelmed or apathetic with just going through the day, fear of people, uncalled for aggression or a sense of recurring restlessness, a hopeless helpless feeling often accompanied with exhaustion, the inability to enjoy activities or people who you enjoyed some time ago, that general sense of impending doom- these are all signs to look out for that will take over your life and not allow you to enjoy relationships and need to be addressed immediately.