I’d look on the brighter side…….If I could find it

- Eeyore (Winnie the Pooh)
Nothing can describe depression in a simpler and yet such a precise way. Depression is like living in a body that fights to survive with a mind that doesn’t cooperate. It’s brave enough that such people go on with the businesses of life when actually they feel lost. Probably the worst part about depression is that people who don’t have it, just don’t get it. Unlike physical illnesses, mental health problems are surrounded by misinformation and hence taken rather lightly. With physical ailments no one says reflexively, “Oh it’s just cancer, you’ll snap out of it. You probably ain’t trying hard enough!" Unfortunately depression is not something you can shake off. In fact expecting them to move on when they can’t, compounds their problem. Not only do they have to deal with the illness but also the guilt of not doing anything about it.  Their loved ones don’t take it seriously until it’s too late. They are not even spared in death and accused of being irresponsible to have committed such an act of cowardice.

The many layers of stigma that stick around depression need to be removed considering the epidemic proportions this illness has reached. This taboo makes us blind towards the suffering of our loved ones. The patients are either themselves unaware as to what’s wrong with them or they end up hiding it lest be mocked at.


Let’s try and put an end to their silent misery and be armed against this subtle, silent killer before it adds more casualties to its list. Awareness of the symptoms helps in seeking them out and early detection translates into early recovery. Look for the following symptoms and if a person is showing even half of them, he/she needs help.

Depression is an endless tunnel and a person who is suffering from it is like a child lost in that tunnel. If we can associate that imagery with a depressed person, we may be more empathetic. They need someone to hold their hand and lead them out of it and one should feel no shame whatsoever to seek professional help. A continuous depressed state of mind needs focused therapy that friends and family are not capable of providing even with the best of intentions.

It is heartening to see more and more celebrities come out and talk about their dark phase. Not only does it take away some of the bad rep that mental illnesses carry but also gives hope to patients and their family.

Elizabeth Gilbert has so aptly described it:

When you're lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you've just wandered off the path, that you'll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it's time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don't even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Dr.Shivani Salil
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