Let’s talk about..Depression (ugh!)
I visit the doctor for a quick relief from a fever or other physical ailments. Concerned family, friends, and colleagues, call to enquire about my health. I describe the illness in detail while they listen sympathetically. But when I feel depressed and emotionally drained, I feel that it will pass. That bottle of liquor or that packet of cigarettes will make me feel better. Then, the feeling returns and refuses to go away. I feel I must fight my demons myself. Soon, I feel fatigued. It affects my friendships, my work, and my relationships. A well-meaning colleague tells me to seek help, when I overreact for an umpteenth time over a trivial issue. I feel offended. Mental health issues and me? Do I need help? How can I ask for help? What will the world say?
It can’t happen to me
Mental Health and Depression are one of the most prevalent topics today – but the least acknowledged by people who are going through these states personally. Everyone likes to believe that it can never happen to them, and even if they are going through the symptoms, they will choose to ignore it simply due to the stigma attached. The blame is heaped upon lack of work life balance or unfair life situations.
Everyone is stressed, anxious or sad about something or the other in their lives. While stress and anxiety are sensations experienced by the body, sadness is a mood, and depression is the state of being sad for a prolonged time. We may not experience depression every single moment of the day because we do have neutral moments, but it may not necessarily be a continuous state. Maybe, a close friend didn’t behave as you expected him/her to, or a promotion or project did not go as per the plan. It is natural to feel let-down when there is a gap between our expectations and reality. And when we allow such feelings to fester, it causes stress and anxiety, which, if prolonged, may lead to depression. If you are curious or struggling with such a situation, or maybe you want to help someone, click here to go through this simple questionnaire to understand how to spot the signs. It will be worth your time.
Depression or Deep Rest?
Mental health means emotional, psychological, and social well-being. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “mental health is not just an absence of mental disorder but a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his or her community”. Renowned author Jeff Foster says, “the word depressed is spoken phonetically as ‘deep rest’. We can view depression not as a mental illness, but on a deeper level as a profound (and very misunderstood) state of deep rest, entered into when we are completely exhausted by the weight of our own identity.” This is exhausting because we feel that we are not enough according to the norms of the world and we are constantly trying to fit into what society thinks is good and right.
In an interview, Michael Dalton, a Bio Energy Healer said, “we are so busy trying to feel good all the time in whatever we do. What we really need to do is to get really good at feeling.” In a research conducted on Happiness by University of California, Berkeley speaks about Emodiversity, the range of emotions experienced by a person at any given point of time. The more varied the range, the higher the quotient of happiness.
Simply allowing ourselves to experience the entire range and not restricting ourselves only to the positives, is a good way to be in flow.
How do we heal?
The first and the most important step is to ask for help. Getting in touch with a medical professional or a therapist would be the best step you could take towards wellbeing. Simply talking to friends or family may not be enough. In fact, it is very important for people who are dealing with depressed people around them to seek professional help too. Mood lifters for those dealing with such a state could include engaging in little tasks like de-cluttering the space around them, taking a class or pursuing a creative hobby, expression through art, or being of service as a volunteer. Healthy habits like eating consciously, getting enough sleep, mindfulness practices, meditation, breathwork, and yoga are some of the greatest ways for us to address this condition. Gratitude journaling is an extremely powerful practice while dealing with depression. Focusing on all that is good in our present, what worked for us in the past and looking at the reverse gap as compared to fearing a bleak future ahead helps tremendously.
Here at Mu Sigma, where most employees are fresh out of college, wellness is as important as solving problems for our clients. A full-fledged wellness program is in place where employees are encouraged to participate in yoga sessions, mindfulness, and meditation sessions, to help manage stress, and anxiety. Along with our in-house counselling facilities, we have tied up with counselling organizations whose counsellors are available for consultation face to face, over email, over the phone, and online sessions. The team leaders can connect their team members struggling with challenges to the counsellors to make sure that they are receiving adequate support. Programs and initiatives are in place to enable better understanding of oneself and others to increase harmony within teams.
At the end, it’s not just about overcoming or avoiding depression and anxiety. It’s about consciously choosing wellbeing in any situation life throws at us and knowing that help is there for those who seek it.