Sakyasen Mittra, OP
ressure… pressure to do well in studies, pressure to shine in extra-curricular activities, pressure to land the best job available… this incessant race to be the ‘finest’ is today leading to a lot of unnatural deaths. This huge amount of pressure is taking a huge toll on the mental and physical being of kids, students, adults – people from all strata of society.
Inability to be the best is causing mental agony to many, and is leading to depression which in turn is creating health problems. There are many, some are open about it, most are not, who are addicted to anti-depressants to help them cross the barriers of life. And when medications don’t help at times it turns fatal for those who suffer from ‘chronic’, ‘clinical’, and ‘manic’ depressions.
Two decades back people probably never knew about the disease ‘depression’. Today however, it is a common phenomenon with many going through different phases of depression. The disease ranges in various stages and ‘clinical depression’ is the one of the most severe forms of the disease. It is not like the depression one suffers from losing a loved one or happens due to some thyroid disorder problem. It is acute, long-lasting and may even last a lifetime and at times may claim lives also.
There are many symptoms to diagnose a person suffering from ‘clinical depression’. The most common being when the person starts feeling he/she is a failure and feels guilty and worthlessness also. Among other signs is a constant feeling of sadness, fatigue for no apparent reason, outbursts over trivial issues, irritability, the loss of interest in all pleasure activities and hobbies, sleep disorder, either lack of it or oversleeping, weight loss and a few more. But the moment such traits become noticeable in a person, it can be said that the cause is ‘clinical depression’.
The symptoms are so severe that it affects normal relationship in place of work, schools or colleges and even day to day social activities. Doctors are of the opinion that if the characteristics mentioned above is observed for a minimum of two weeks in a person, then it is a sure sign that ‘clinical depression’ has struck.
Today for almost every disease there is a cure… yes that is what the doctors think. But then ‘clinical depression’ cannot be just cured by medication only. The patient needs constant comfort from parents, friends, relatives and even from workplace professionals. The human touch is the most important to patients… words of encouragement, may be a comforting hug or praise… all can have a wonderful effect on the patient and lift his spirits.
British writer and theologian Clive Staples Lewis had once written: “Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and harder to bear.” Well Lewis may have made this statement in the 1950s when the world probably was not even aware of what ‘clinical depression’ is. But then he couldn’t have been far from the truth.
A 2015 WHO report, has said that in India 6.5 per cent of the Indian population suffer from some form of depression and in most cases it is not noticed as there is an acute shortage of psychologists, psychiatrists and mental health workers. Another WHO report in 2016 has said that worldwide 8,00,000 people commit suicide every year and of them 17% are Indians. That in itself is a huge worrying figure. Many of these deaths are due to some form of depression or the other and the report adds that if identified early the loss of lives could have been avoided.
Many anti-depressants are available in the market and doctors bank on them. But one of the most common forms of treatment is psychotherapy and it is very effective for people suffering from ‘clinical depressions’. However, in cases of severe ‘clinical depression’, hospital stay or participation in counseling programmes till the symptoms improve may be required.
Peer pressure today has affected the human brain in a major way. Danger looms large for students and especially young professionals in this rat race. Unless handled carefully and promptly, depression in any form may turn out to be huge curse. The time has come to relax, take a deep breath and take the next step forward. Otherwise there will be no step to take at all.