A person in severe depression has a world of his own, which is dark, bizarre, negative and harmful.
There is no light; no hope; no motivation at all in that place. The disastrous place is the truth for a depressed person, and there is no way to convince such a person that the earth is beautiful or life can be good.
Last Sunday, I was at a birthday party; my very good friend and colleague had invited us and some of her batch mates from college for a get together, to celebrate her special day.
We cut the cake, sang for her, and were having a gala time over some drinks, when I found a girl sitting quietly at one corner staring out of the window.
After some enquiry, I came to know, she is the birthday girl’s childhood mate, and she was there with her family. Her name was Sarita, and to my surprise, there was not a spec of smile on her face; I wondered why she was so sad, on her friend’s birthday, and what was she staring at! I went towards her to understand what was going on in her mind.
I tried talking to her; asked a couple of questions and answer was “……….”, that’s right, silence, she seemed not to listen. I touched her hand, and she startled with surprise; she felt irritated and said, “leave me alone, go away, else you will be doomed like me” ………….. “why do you think you are doomed”, I asked.
“Life has been tremendously unfair with me; you know when I was born, God had just ripped off my forehead with misfortunes; I am a fool, an idiot, a stupid; in fact, I am ominous, please go away from me, I cannot do good to myself, neither can I be of any good to others. I have no right to live, there is nothing to live for; you see the darkness outside, that is the only thing waiting for me”.
I wasn’t shocked or anything hearing all this; I inferred that she was in depression, and I understood what she was going through.
I have been in depression myself in my college days, and it just feels horrific, but I had turned on my will power to the maximum then, whatsoever the internal feelings were the same.
A person going through depressive phase has minimum self-esteem or confidence; it seems whatever wrong is happening around, is because of him/her.
Every depression has its own cause, especially if it is a failure in something, recovery is too tough. Family is generally confused with your behaviour, and they make your situation worse by interrogating you.
Sometimes, they are even irritated with you, hence they try to make your problem appear trivial, commenting sarcastically or cracking a joke on it, and you feel like you are just alone in this big bad world.
This girl was going through the same; she felt she was causing more pain to her family, by being around them; she was just an acquaintance, but I could relate to her somehow.
What can a person do, if he/she is in depression and feels this way? For people undergoing mild depression, there are several remedies which can be resorted to immediately-
1. Turn to a healthy lifestyle i.e. include more fresh nutrients to your diet like fruits, green vegetables, good carb like lentils, oats etc.
2. Free yourself from caffeine and alcoholic and carbonated beverages, which can be worse to your depression.
3. Exercise – This sounds weird, but sweating releases packed up negative energy from the brain; you tend to feel more motivated. Any form of exercise, like dance, yoga, running, aerobics can help. Even crying is a way to release lumps of emotions, and the body loses significant number of calories, as good as 1.3 calories/minute.
4. Music in any form should be ritually practised, if you are depressed.
5. Natural remedies like lavender oil, flax seed, sunflower seeds can help to some extent.
However, major depressive phases are difficult to control; you can practise self-counselling or rationalizing, but that doesn’t come so easily for everyone, hence psychotherapy is required; doctors can counsel you or imply psychotropic medications as required, but there is no point living with your depression; life is precious and it should be made worth living.
Share your thoughts with those who understand you and are concerned about you. Don’t consider friends and family as foes.
What the family and friends of a depressed should do?
Do not argue with the person who is in depression.
If you try to convince them that it is sunny outside, they will naturally not agree, and get even more rigid with their idea.
If you try to remind them of their happy phase, before depression, that is quite unreal to them now; for e.g. if a depressed person doesn’t feel any love for his/her spouse or children, you cannot make them feel the love by reminding them of their previous life before depression; in fact, that will trouble them further, the dilemma can actually affect them badly; they will be stubborn upon their dark reality, so do not try to convince them on the triviality of their problem; everybody believes that their problem is major and important, so try to be patient with your loved one, who is depressed; console them that you understand, be a good listener, so that they can share their thoughts with you. Do small actions which can create a spark of happiness for them; be by them, but do not question much, give them time.
However, it is the duty of near ones to assess the thoughts of a depressed person too; they can be dangerous sometimes, hence if you envision something like that, motivate him/her to take professional help.