*8 PM. Social setting.*
Friend 1: How is X doing? I haven’t heard from her in a while.
Friend 2: She is kinda depressed. She doesn’t interact a lot nowadays. She told me that she wants to see a psychiatrist.
Friend 3: That sounds serious! What caused this?
Friend 2: I don’t know. Personally, I don’t think it is a big deal but, she seems to get affected a lot over it. I tried telling her to not take things seriously. But, she still does.
Friend 1: Yeah, I’ve noticed her doing that. She needs to man up.
Me: Maybe she is really depressed and should be encouraged to visit a psychiatrist.
Friend 2: For what? Because her job has stress? Because she doesn’t have a boyfriend? I go through that too. Doesn’t mean that I need a psychiatrist to tell me that life is hard. I know it.
Friend 1: Yeah. I agree. I feel she just needs to chill and get over it.
Countless sessions. Innumerable discussions. All of it, just to make people aware about the importance of mental health and addressing the taboo circulating it. However, it seems like all of it is menial and ineffective in tackling this issue.
Why is depression seen in such a low light? Why is it viewed as an impairment?
Oh my god. I can tackle my issues. Why can’t she handle hers?
It’s not like she’s going through big problems. Why make a fuss about it?
Let me clear something here. Depression is not a measure of one’s ability to take problems, or an indication of one’s strength and weakness. It is a state where one person suddenly blacks out and cannot function at their best. It is not a permanent damage. It is a temporary concern.
Let me present an analogy.
Friend 1: Dude, I don’t think A can come today. She is sick with the flu.
Me: I don’t understand why she takes the flu. Like, I am in the same environment as her. Breathing the very same air. I didn’t contract it. But, she got impacted. She needs to buck up.
Friend 1: But, it is flu. She’ll visit the doctor, take meds and be fine in a couple of days.
Me: What! Doctor for flu! That is so unnecessary. Flu is not a big deal. She shouldn’t get so serious about it.
That is exactly how it is. Unfortunately, our brains are equipped to categorize flu and other bodily disorders as seemingly okay. But, depression is not a disorder. It is a sign of flaw within the mind. They are first-world issues. They are rich peoples’ problems. They are so silly and stupid. Who is that sissy who is actually cribbing about it? And trust me, I’ve heard people stating this exact thing.
What people fail to realize is that as susceptible our body is to getting flu, in the same way, our mind can go through depression. It can happen to anybody, anytime, anywhere. The same plate of food can be totally okay for one but, can trigger a stomach disorder for another. It doesn’t mean that the digestive system of the second person is weak or the food is necessarily toxic. It’s how the food mixed with the other things and caused this reaction. Similarly, having depression doesn’t make you mentally ‘weak’. It’s just how one thing or issue connected with something more and caused anxiety. As simple as that.
Depression is normal and it exists. Even if you don’t have it or essentially, don’t understand it. Millions of people have taken treatment for it. Millions of people don’t come out or ask for help because of the stigma associated with it. Depression is real. It could be affecting the people you see on a daily basis. The person next to you might be dealing with it.
Open your eyes people. If you are unaware of the gravity of it, spend some time reading about it or having a meaningful conversation with somebody who is going through it. Moreover, be considerate and compassionate about it. Try to get rid of prejudices and identify with it. And if you can’t, it is fine. Not everybody can grasp everything. But, at the very least, try to be civil and not judge a person with depression. Try not undervaluing depression. This is the tiniest thing we can do- do our bit to erase those preconceptions about it. Create a world where nobody would be ashamed to have depression, for whatever reasons and, where nobody would shame a person for going through it.