If Deepika Padukone who had a lot at stake could come out in open, so can I. The best thing you can do is to not be judgmental but if you can’t help it then request you to keep your judgement to yourself. Your one remark can pull one down for a long time, can throw one away many steps behind that were painstakingly taken. Man, it takes lot of efforts. Imagine someone all broken and bandaged and carrying on with work and life, sometimes the bandages fall off.
It won’t be an exaggeration to say that at least 99% of the people don’t understand what dealing with depression is..but here are little ways one can help..
1. Understand depression is due to chemical imbalance in brain and not due to lack of positivity or willpower of the sufferer. Mine happened due to chronic pain.
2. If you don’t have anything positive to say to a person suffering from depression, or are about to say something negative, then please don’t speak only. Your words can take a person with mental illness to such an abyss that you cannot imagine.
3. Please don’t ask a D person to leave medication. Will you ask a person suffering from jaundice, kidney problem, typhoid, dengue to leave medication and instead go for a movie or ask him to show professionalism or dedication at work? ( This is a thought in general; I am lucky to have a wonderful set of colleagues)
4. Please don’t advise casual sex, marriage, masturbation and orgasm as the treatment. They can’t work.
5. Don’t say that you cannot be depressed because you were just laughing and are lively, jovial, positive person etc. Sometimes even terminally sick patients laugh, then why not others? And sometimes you laugh genuinely and sometimes you pretend. Also read about masked depression.
6. People with depression not even communicate 10% of what is going inside or how they are feeling. So please don’t add to their pressure or say something nasty to them.
7. Don’t call them weak or say they don’t have willpower. Understand they have lot of strength else they wouldn’t be carrying on and use much more energy to do just common tasks.
8. Please don’t say that they are playing victims or need to get out of their comfort zone. The truth is that depression is terrible, complex and tough to understand even for those who have it. No one enjoys it.
9. Don’t insist that the D person attends all your invites, but don’t give up on him at the same time.
10. They feel far worse for not delivering and get hit much much harder than a normal person every time they are not able to perform, so don’t call them a slacker please. They miss their efficient self, terribly.
11. Don’t play a doctor to them. Sorry, you are not qualified. Do them a favour and send them to a good psychiatrist instead.
12. Oh and please don’t say, look at the underprivileged instead, consider yourself lucky… It feels like shit and serves no use too.
13. Understand that depression causes physical symptoms too, much like any other illness. Their pain is real.
And no, we are not perpetually in Meena Kumari mode.
It is time to break the taboo around mental diseases, in any case 36% of the Indians are depressed as per reports and this percentage could be much higher, just that most of them are living in denial. Am sure 90% of people undergoing depression would feel that hardly anyone understands them or the illness. I have only met one person so far who totally understands it ( rather better than I do) and is guiding me to health.
Author: This post has been written by a patient of Sri Ganesh Psychiatrist Clinic.