Feeling down in the dumps

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Feeling sad is a global experience. Nevertheless, the intensity at which one might feel sadness could vary from one to another. Sadness can be pathological and might result in psychological disorders such as depression. A girl was recently reported to have committed suicide after jumping in front of a moving train, and the news was spread on social media in next to no time. Once again, the discussion on depression was tabled after the aforementioned incident, and, it is no secret how important it is to be vigilant of such psychological difficulties before they can become worse.

Money and popularity may not shield one from mental illnesses including depression. Public figures such as Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Eminem, Harrison Ford and Michel Phelps are said to have battled depression whilst popular stars like Robin Williams, Kurt Cobain and Divya Bharati took their own lives having suffered from depression. Such instances convince us that depression may attack anyone at any time. Life itself is challenging and ups and downs are a part of human life. Existential psychologists stress that loneliness, meaninglessness and death are inevitable ‘givens’ in life; and living is all about striving against them.

In identifying the causes that lead either to depression or suicide, separation or death of a loved one, financial crisis and failures in life seem to be prominent.  If you think carefully, none of us is free from such incidents in life. We as human beings are destined to face such incidents in life. Understanding the nature of life helps us overcome psychological difficulties including depression. People who are not able to deal with such incidents may be susceptible to depression.  Identifying persons suffering from depression is much needed in advance before their situation worsens. If the following symptoms or some of them are present for two weeks continuously, it could be assumed that the person must be suffering from depression:

  • – Depressed mood
  • – Isolation
  • – Loss of interest or pleasure
  • – Less concerned about health
  • – Deviating from day-to-day function
  • – Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • – Weight loss or weight gain
  • – Feeling of worthlessness
  • – Fatigue or loss of energy
  • – Psychomotor agitation

If a person shows such symptoms at least for two weeks, he/she is assumed to be suffering from depression. It is much needed to be vigilant about individuals who show such signs in advance.  They generally tend to deviate from their day-to-day routine. Nipping depression in the bud is therefore much needed. It is the nature of people to either fight or flight before challenging or distressful situations. This escape should not result in suicide since committing suicide may be the ultimate consequence of escaping.  People suffering from depression ought to undergo therapeutic interventions; depending on the severity of depression, some will have to take medication as well.

As noted above, suicide can be strongly linked to depression.  There is a notion in society that one who talks about suicide or threatens suicide is rarely the one who tries it. But, psychologists oppose this view and say that these people’s threats should not be underestimated.  Suicidal thoughts, suicidal threats and suicidal attempts could be generally manifested before the completion of suicide. Therefore, it is much needed to focus on yourself as well as the ones around you.

Suicidal thoughts may knock on one’s door; but, it is better to call for help by consulting a professional without opening the door. Some tend to commit suicide due to various reasons including failures, losses and separation. Life is endowed with such incidents; thus, what has to be done is to change one’s perception to accept the reality of life. For instance, many seem to be depressed due to failure at exams and there are instances where some tend to commit suicide.

In the meantime, some persons stand strong after failures. It is all about how you perceive the incidents in life. Incidents may be hard to stop, yet your perception can be changed. Life is the passage in between birth and death. Death will come to you one day, but you should not seek death before that. There is a mission to be completed during the period where you promenade along this passage. The mission needs to be completed despite obstacles. Talk to a professional or a friend if you are driven by suicidal thoughts. 

By Psychologist Dr. Ashoke Priyadarshana