We are living in one of the worst times the world has ever experienced, and the reason is nothing but our own-selves. We have made life so difficult and strenuous that living life often feels like a struggle or a race to win. Under these times many mental conditions have been introduced to Man Kind, specially Pakistanis, and the most common but lethal is Depression. Studies shows that 33.62% of the Pakistani population suffers from depression or generalized anxiety disorders. This is almost 1/3rd of the totality of our nation. The percentage of depression amongst females stands at 45.5% whereas 27% of the males also fall victim to it. One may think that the prevalence of depression must have made us into a literate nation regarding mental health. The truth is the exact opposite and might be surprising. Pakistan was ranked as one of the countries with the lowest number of the psychiatric hospital.
What on earth is mental health?
Mental health is the sole responsible party for all that goes on in the top-most compartment of your body- the brain. The way an individual handles stress, their state of emotional and psychological well-being defines their mental health. Ever been through some days where you want to rip the person apart just because they initiated a conversation? Or when all you want to do is rest in a dark room for the next couple of days? Or when you feel like that you want a break from life altogether? That’s your mental health talking.
What is depression and how do I know I have it?
Depression is a mood disorder which ultimately affects how an individual acts, feels including changes in your thought process. A depressed person will face a change in the way they perceive their surroundings which may have an impact on their mood or behavior.
Then the question arose that what are the symptoms and warning signs one should look for, regarding depression. Here is the list.
- Detachment from the surroundings.
- Lack of interest in the things one used to love
- Excess or lack of sleep
- Feeling low or no energy at all
- Feeling unwanted or defeated
- Difficulty in concentrating or focusing on things.
- Sudden changes in appetite – eating too much or very less
- Negative and suicidal thoughts
A lack of decision-making ability.
Its a belief that depression is merely an emotion of feeling sad and this perception often makes this issue appears unnecessary or non serious but this perception is utterly wrong. Depression is not only a feeling of sadness but rather a dark shadow of hopelessness, sadness, and negativity that looms over an individual for a very long period of time making everything and everyone seem non-interesting and worthy of engagement.
A constant feeling like this not only harms the person emotionally but gives birth to a number of complexities. Depression can become the root cause of various diseases like diabetes, cancer, and high blood pressure.
Knowing this provides an answer to why more than 45% of Pakistanis are suffering from high blood pressure, doesn’t it?
Depression, when left untreated, can lead to chronic physical diseases. But what is more alarming is the fact that although depression, directly, is not related to any addictions. But the void one goes through in this phase often leads to the person resorting to alcoholism or drug abuse or anything else in an attempt to make him feel better.
Moreover, In extreme and very rare cases, depression also leads to thoughts that the individual is unworthy of living his life and leads to suicidal thoughts which, if left unattended, ultimately leads the person in taking his own life. The most recent example of this is Sushant Singh Rajput, who was a television actor cum movie star who left many distraught and shocked with the news of his suicide. But is it really surprising? The actor was undergoing the treatment for his depression and had stopped taking his medicines just a few days before he decided that he was better off dead than living.
Then why is it that our society has taken the saying ‘ignorance is bliss’ to another level by avoiding the topic of mental health to the extent where 10% percent of the people, when asked, denied the existence of depression?
Yes! Mental disability and depression are often used interchangeably when THEY SHOULD NOT. People perceive that a person shall become and should be classified as psychopath or lunatic if he visits a psychiatrist. Another misconception that exists in our society is a thinking that depression is something that religious people cannot go through. People often tell depressed people that all they need to do it go to the mosque and pray to God and this would make you better and will fade away all the anxiety or depression. AND I AGREE. But do you just pray to God to heal you when you get a heart attack? Or you rush to the emergency AND then pray to God to make it better?
Men, in our society, also feel like they cannot admit to any mental health issues because it will make them less of a man. This is because of this stereotyped image of a man that the sub-continent and the rest of the world have created. They feel abnormal to admit to these issues. Hence, our society has made this topic a taboo and their flawed perception has led us to become one lowest literate nation with mental health awareness.
The only hope that our nation is left with is the efforts of well-aware individuals, who can help several people by spreading awareness to the ground level
Youngsters can provide their elders with the required facts and knowledge that enable them to break free of these stereotypes and perceptions of depression and other mental health issues. Furthermore, awareness programs should be held on a macro level to ensure that the required knowledge is being passed and understood by the masses.
They says “Depression is living in a body that fights to survive, with a mind that tries to die”
Depression is real and serious like anything. It is the main cause behind 99% of suicides and if a thing is so strong that can convince people in taking their own life, it should be consider as a threat. just look around you and try to look for the ones showing symptoms of depression. Talk to them, make them feel wanted, make them speak to you and listen to them as long as they want to. It might sounds like some ordinary things but trust me they can make all the difference in someone’s life.