Depression seems to be the new fashionable item in town. Recently, a top actress shared her story on how she slipped into depression and then managed to come out of it. Obviously, this helped her stay on the front page of the lifestyle publications for a couple of weeks. However, if common people like you and me were to share our stories, I am sure no one’s going to publish them. Even if they are published, I don’t think anybody would find them interesting. But the fact is that depression is a real problem creeping into our society slowly but surely.
Another problem is that we need to be sure if we are just temporarily feeling down and depressed or have we actually slipped into a chronic depression. I am no psychiatrist or a trained doctor but will still take an attempt at defining. The feeling of being ‘down’ periodically can give us a good indication of what depression is. The feelings of – I am not going anywhere, no one loves me, I have no future, all paths are shut, I am a failure, everyone is out there to screw me, nothing can be done now and so on, are aroused sometimes in each one of us but we thankfully come out of these and life again seems to get back to normal. Sometimes, when we are temporarily down, we may have bitter quarrels and suicidal tendencies but it doesn’t last long. We are able to move on in life, our partners understand that it was a one-off event and forgive us for all the bad experience.
Problem starts when these ‘down’ feelings become more frequent. We are pushed to the boundary more and more often. The life experience turns into a nightmare for all around us and for ourselves. This is when people actually start getting worried. But still the worst is yet to come. If not controlled at this stage, the affected person may permanently slip into experiencing these symptoms. This is when some may think of taking medical help. Majority wait for things to get even worse. And worse they get. And that’s depression.
The typical modern treatments for depression just make your mind and nerves more and more numb. They rely on drugs which are actually DRUGS. Just the legal version and quantity. These are but temporary treatments and don’t attack the root cause of depression or one-off depressionary bouts. As the symptoms worsen, the dose increases. That is all modern medical science does. It provides instant relief using the brute force method. The brute force method doesn’t work with nature. The brute force works on suppressing nature from outside whereas nature believes in blossoming from inside.
In my view, the occasional bouts of ‘down’ feeling need to be taken seriously. The actual reason for these feelings (that later turn into full-fledged depression) is that one is losing touch with oneself. As a person grows, he or she is taught to derive recognition, fulfilment and happiness from outside sources. The person is made to think that a particular thing or another person is the source of peace and happiness that one is looking for. But whether you get the object of your desire or don’t, you are disappointed in both cases, though in different ways. I have seen many couples intensely in love. They revolt against the society to get married and start a sweet and happy family. Then all of a sudden you hear that they are separating and you wonder – why? They have decent jobs, a nice home to live in and sometimes an adorable child or two as well. What’s missing?
The problem is that each one of them gave too much importance to the other person to achieve peace and happiness. And the other person, many times, may not be capable of living upto such expectations. They may try to, for some time, and may succeed for longer as well. Still, in many cases, it is just not possible. There is a revolt and then separation.
Why only talk about divorce, same thing happens in joint families. The boy’s family looks at the new arrival in the family as the solution to many, if not all, issues. Even before the bride walks into the new house, each member has made up his or her imaginary prototype into which the bride is supposed to fit in. The bride on the other hand is expecting a new set of parents and siblings who match her prototypes with perfection. After a short while of playing the drama, there are complaints, fights and then revolt. If either party is forced to live in the constrained environment for long, they are prone to depression. Depression happens when ones gives up all hope and no solution is supposed to be found. Again, this happens because of the illusionary happiness we are searching outside of ourselves.
There are endless examples of such situations in our lives. While, we cannot change the outside situation that we find ourselves in, not at least overnight, what are we supposed to do? My experience is that one needs to work on being in touch with oneself before it is too late. Alas, in our education, we are taught about all far flung regions of this earth and universe but not about ourselves. I was teaching my daughter the chapter on our health and hygiene. This is limited to taking care of our nails, hair, outward cleanliness, diet and exercise. Nobody is teaching us to take care of our mind and soul. I hope to cover these aspects in my book, “Happiness is all We Want!”, expected to be released in a couple of months.
If we develop a habit of being in touch with ourselves daily, we can avoid this epidemic called depression. This Practice Changed Me Forever!
Mindful living is the next logical process to avoid walking into the jaws of depression. Five Reasons to Live Mindfully!
Ironically, these solutions have got nothing to do with changing the habits of your spouse, teaching your mother-in-law to love you, asking your children to respect you, forcing your boss to value your contribution, changing the design of your bedroom to suit your taste, getting you a luxury car and so on. This is because nature loves to work from inside. If the inside is calm and beautiful, outside world has no choice but to fall in line.
Please feel free to leave a comment and write to me at email@example.com
A seeker and explorer in the quest for lasting happiness, health and well-being. An MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. Has been a senior banker with large global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and ANZ Bank. Working in these demanding global institutions with a gruelling schedule and plenty of business travel. Was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. Learnt and practiced many wellbeing tools and techniques to focus on his own well-being while balancing the demands of a high-profile career and a lovely family.