Medically reviewed by Dr. Riaz Ali Shah.
Clinical Depression is more than just crying over a soapy breakup movie, feeling sad because of a bad grade or having your heart broken. It is a common mood disorder that needs proper medical treatment. Depression causes severe symptoms that affect your feelings, thinking, and also becomes a hindrance between you performing your daily activities.
Depressed people have heard ‘Khush hona seekho’ or ‘Achi cheezain socho’ throughout their life but following this isn’t as simple as it sounds. It is not a sign of a person’s character weakness and you definitely cannot ‘come out of’ depression within a few hours or days. We need to realize that this is not just a phase that will pass; it is a real illness where people need help to get better.
Symptoms and signs pointing towards the taboo illness, ‘depression’
There are a number of symptoms that might be knocking the door of a depressed soul. These symptoms are not limited to the ones mentioned below. Therefore, if you know of someone with depression then ask them to open up the door to their heart and talk to you about it (if they are willing to). Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Feeling that burst of anger and lashing out
- You might not do the things you liked doing earlier on (Anhedonia)
- Irritated at doing things others tell you to
- Lack of concentration
- A feeling of excess weight on your body that stops you from doing things
- Weight gain because of depressive binging
- Weight loss because of not eating
- Sleeping throughout the day
- Negative thoughts popping in your head
- Exhaustion without even lifting a finger
- Suicidal thoughts
Much more real than a mythical figure!
Depression is roaring in your country, your city and among your loved ones making it a high time to recognize it as an actual illness. In an article by Dawn, it said that ‘Around 35.7% of citizens of Karachi are affected with mental illness, while 43% people in Quetta and 53.4% in Lahore are also affected’.
Moreover, depressive symptoms are also misunderstood: it’s not like your head will protrude or your eyes will pop out because of depression. Most symptoms of depression are mostly mental, therefore making it harder for people to understand or consider as serious. If you have the energy, then try to educate the uninformed lot. Ask them why they don’t believe in it and know that you are a dartboard now where all ignorant questions will land. There is also a lot of research on depression now, so if they don’t believe you then show them actual materials that might make them believe in this ‘very-real’ illness called depression.
‘We are listening’- a step towards treatment
Dealing with a depressed person might be more difficult than solving math’s (because you wouldn’t know the feeling of depression), but remember you have to be empathetic. You don’t have to fix the person or shake the illness out of them. All you need to do is listen and be there for them. Below are some of the things you should and shouldn’t say to them.
The approved checklist- things you should say
-“I have noticed a few changes in you and I am wondering how you have been doing”
-“I wanted to check in on you because you seem pretty upset and down”
-“Have you considered getting help for this?”
-“Let me know if there is any way I can help you out”
-“You are not fighting this alone”
-“You and your struggles are important to me”
-“I am listening and you can talk to me about yourself”
Hazardous sayings you should keep away from
(WARNING: DO NOT SAY THESE THINGS OUT LOUD OR AT ALL)
-“It’s all in your head”
-“Depression is a myth”
-“Look at the bright side and be happy”
-“Nothing can be done of you”
-“Just try to snap out of it”
-“How long is your depression going to stick around?”
You cannot make it go away but you can definitely help!
Yes, the person does need proper help in the form of psychotherapy, antidepressant medications, or some somatic therapy. But, you can help by uplifting your depressed friend/loved one’s spirit by telling them that they matter. You can also help by educating others regarding clinical depression. Ask your friend to confide in you or make them join a support group where they will be willing to talk to others., Drive them to work, shopping, watch movies that they like, and most importantly be there for them.
You obviously cannot make it go away but you can be one of the factors in helping them come out of their depressed shell!
Guest Post Credit: Asma Qadri