Each day you walk the streets, watching millions of people go by their business. You wonder how their lives could be like. You wonder if they ever felt lonely like you do. You wonder if they are always as purposeful as they look. You walk into a café bustling with people. You take a seat in the corner of the café, hoping to hide away from people because you don’t want to be caught in your space of solitude. You quietly sip away your latte’ observing the busy world, wondering why the world looks like a lonely place to you wondering why you don’t feel busy or motivated enough to do something, or anything, just like the people seem to be around you. Is it just you feeling like that?
Some days you want to cry out for no reason at all, some days you want to do nothing but stare at the empty space. Some days you feel like the world doesn’t care about you and you want to believe that you don’t care about that feeling either. Some days are plainly painful to live. You could also be suffering nights that seem long and empty trying everything you can to fall asleep. You have no clue how food excites people, you eat just enough so that you could get through.
What you don’t know is that there are millions of people out there who feel just like you. Who are battling with depression of varying degrees and forms. They think they have no one to reach out to, and they think that there is no one who could understand.
Let’s understand how depression affects people.
- A young child or a teenager could be astonishingly quite in school, may lack the zeal to make friends or play, his grades could be taking a downfall every exam. This youngster could be dealing with parental issues, bullying issues, sexual exploitation or harassment issues etc.
- A young lad or an adult may lack the zeal to live and have fun like the rest of his friends/colleagues, S/He may over work, or exhibit a lack of motivation to excel at work or anything in life. They may also feel bouts of insomnia, restlessness, loss of appetite or exhibit eating disorders, feel lonely and show suicidal tendencies, inflict self-harm or engage in harmful activities. The reasons could be aplenty and unique but the most common triggers of such behaviours could be the threat of loss or actual loss of a significant relationship; physical or mental traumas; loss of a personal asset or something valuable etc. A person could look happily married or blissfully in a relationship, but that’s only in the eyes of the world. Only he knows about the lack of companionship, incompatibility or loneliness that he suffers. A person may look fine after a break-up, only he knows about the pain he is still suffers.
- A mom who should look doting and happy during her pregnancy or post the birth of her child, is suffering post-partum or prenatal depression. She exhibits behaviours that range from crankiness, unhappiness, over worrying about the baby or being self-critical etc. Nobody told her that it is normal to feel the loss of identity or feel anguished at the role transitioning, she is not aware that it could be gestational diabetes creating a havoc on her hormones and emotions.
- A person could be suffering mid-life crisis, a job-loss crisis, a financial crunch or parents could be suffering the empty nest syndrome. The elderly could be suffering loneliness, because he has no one to tell that he feels for the losses of the people he once knew or loved.
Everyone, from various age groups could be dealing with unique traumas, that are sometimes not visible to the others. I wish there was a remedy that would be the magic solution for all, But what you could begin with are some of the following self-help pointers:
- Not everything can be achieved by self-help, sometimes you need to reach out to people who could help.
- Stop being so hard on yourself. Stop being self-critical, self-harming, self-admonishing.
- Accept and understand depression. There could be various reasons that cause depression. Once you or your therapist has a fair understanding of those reasons, this could be a crucial step to recovery.
- Reach out to people who you trust, who care about you and who would help you heal. It could be your parent, friend, mentor or a therapist. Help people close to you to understand you, and help you battle depression.
- Only you have the power within you to change and heal, everyone else are facilitators. Help yourself.
Sherene Aftab is a Counselling Therapist and a Visiting Lecturer for colleges. Her expertise in counselling lies in areas of Personality Enhancement, Career Coach and Relationship Counselling. She dabbles between counselling, lecturing and writing for various publications. You can reach her on www.lifeskillsmadeeasy.net or [email protected]