Thursday, November 30, 2023

HEALTH : Check off some depressing facts!

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Although sadness and depression may share some emotional characteristics, they are distinct states with differing durations and effects. In view of depression awareness month, The Pioneer’s SHIKHA DUGGAL converses with mental health experts to let our readers in on some facts about depression and more.
To increase understanding about depression even more, we are doing this health talk so that The Pioneer can decrease stereotypes in lieu of depression awareness month.
A counselling lead shows us the way. Vijaya Dhulipudi from Praan Mental Wellness opens up, “It is important to identify and eliminate the stressors and work on altering the lifestyle factors causing low energy. It is important to declutter your thoughts, maintain a work-life balance, and take regular breaks to unwind. Additionally, consider finding positive ways to distract yourself, cultivate hobbies, and explore new interests that resonate with each individual. In modern times, online addiction is also a significant concern, so reducing screen time can be beneficial. Above all, prioritising a healthy lifestyle is essential.”
Although sadness and depression may share some emotional characteristics, they are distinct states with differing durations and effects. Sadness is a temporary emotional response to a specific event or circumstance, such as a loss or disappointment. It naturally fades over time as individuals process and adapt to their feelings. In contrast, depression is a clinical mental health disorder characterised by persistent feelings of despair and hopelessness and a loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable. Unlike sadness, depression can endure for weeks, months, or even years, significantly impairing daily functioning and necessitating professional intervention such as counselling or medication.
“The gravity of depression as a public health issue emphasises the importance of acting quickly to manage it. According to the World Health Organisation, depression stands as a leading cause of disability on a global scale, affecting millions of individuals! Its repercussions extend beyond personal suffering, encompassing societal costs such as reduced work productivity, increased healthcare expenses, and a heightened risk of comorbid health disorders. Perhaps most alarming is the strong association between depression and suicide, with a significant number of annual suicides attributed to underlying mental health disorders,” added the mental health expert.
Adolescence and early adulthood are times of taking on responsibilities and frequently rebelling against them. Young adults establish their independence and face the consequences of their actions. Students preparing for exams often feel under pressure. The pressure may result in feelings of anxiety or nervousness, and this exam stress can interfere with the individual’s daily life. While a certain amount of stress may be beneficial, too much exam stress can cause individuals to perform poorly on tests, which means a lot to adolescents. Teens and young adults reporting mental distress, depression, and suicidal thoughts and actions have risen significantly over the past decade.
A 26-year-old client has been married for ten months; both husband and wife are working in MNCs. The client is working from home. She came to therapy with the dilemma of whether to continue her marriage or pursue legal separation. The client initiated the session by expressing her struggles with fear, sadness, confusion, sleep disturbances, a loss of interest in daily activities, social withdrawal, low self-confidence, and frequent episodes of crying. During the session, she discussed the issues she has been facing in her marriage since they tied the knot. She indicated that her husband fails to understand her emotional needs, does not spend any time or money on her, and prioritises his parents above all else. It’s worth noting that the client is emotionally attached to her single parent, her mother. The client had suffered from depressive episodes during her formative years.
High expectations from the family were also a source of stress! Furthermore, the client revealed that her mother and sister are pressuring her to separate from her husband, adding to her emotional turmoil. She expressed her concerns about the uncertainty of her future and described feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and persistent worries about what lies ahead. Notably, she disclosed that she had attempted suicide by hanging herself from a ceiling fan but survived.
Dr. Guatami Nagabhairava, a senior neuropsychiatrist at Kamineni Hospitals, helped us educate more on how depression can impact people. The doctor said, “When you experience a sudden bout of low energy, it’s essential to address it promptly. It could be due to lack of sleep, dehydration, poor nutrition, or even stress. Start by taking deep breaths to calm your mind, and if possible, take a short power nap or a walk in fresh air to invigorate yourself. Hydrate and have a small, balanced snack to boost your energy levels.
Engaging in light physical activity like stretching or yoga can also help. Sometimes, low energy can be a signal from your body that you need rest, so listen to your body and prioritise self-care. The modern world places immense pressure on young people, including academic expectations, career uncertainties, and the constant use of social media, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and isolation. Economic instability can also contribute to depression. Moreover, the stigma surrounding mental health in many cultures can discourage young adults from seeking help, exacerbating their condition.”
In a world where physical health often takes the spotlight, Shaheen Bhatt is one of the pioneers who thinks it’s crucial to remember that mental health is just as important. Her emotional well-being shaped her thoughts, feelings, actions, and how she navigated life’s challenges. “I never planned on talking about my mental health issues, but I was lying on the bed trying to look for a picture to post on social media. I realised that I have been searching for only happy pictures completely opposite to what I was actually feeling to share with the world, which made me comprehend that I want to talk about how I am actually feeling! The reason I felt this way is because no one ever chooses to talk about it.
We are constantly wearing this mask and pretending to be someone else. As a child, I felt like the only way to prove myself was by being intelligent and hardworking. Every time I felt short of that, it felt really bad; it felt horrible. I felt really lucky for the fact that I have such supportive parents who have always told me to just do my best and that any outcome that comes is okay with them; not only this, they have never pressured me to be a top-ranking student,” she shared in a panel discussion for the same root cause!
Other reasons causing the surge in depression are:
Globalisation: Young adults are aware of their surroundings and what is happening around the world because of social media.
Under the influence: keeping up with celebrities, influencers, and brands through social media.
Stand out: focused more on being able to express their individuality.
After experiences: Young adults put more value on experiences that bring meaning to their lives.
High expectation: Because of an increase in choices, they expect more and better things from life.
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