(For a dear friend and everyone who suffers from it)
Talking about depression is perhaps one of the toughest things; both for the ones suffering from it and for the people around them. It isn’t very glamorous to admit to that feeling of utter sadness and melancholia which persists. It can be like a sea of sorrow and a heavy feeling of drowning inside that sea which lingers. It lingers, and sometimes it fades to an extent, but never really disappears and relapses back again. And precisely because it is tough to talk about depression, it is necessary to talk about it.
Many factors or, sometimes, even a single reason can initiate the feelings of depression and the state of low dopamine level which accompanies it. The real struggle (and this would remain the single most important thing) is to identify the reason which first started causing it. It is important as the first thing one does is to try to make that feeling go away. It can be too tough to acknowledge depression and hiding or suppressing it might seem like a good idea. One might end up seeking anything that might alleviate it.
The usual self-destructive behaviour accompanied by a lack of any introspection might lead to some fascinating choices. Let’s start with some basic ones — Alcohol and smoking up seem like excellent candidates as they affect the release of dopamine and lift the mood, so to speak. Their effects wear out rapidly and the sadness comes back along, probably, with more problems. To feel the same escape again, one might go back to alcohol and smoking again and thus, form an addictive behaviour. It can be noted that sex and masturbation work also in a similar manner for the gratification of a depressed individual it would work for a while, but never works forever as, just like with alcohol and smoking, they are just escape-measures employed to avoid tackling the real reason of depression.
The creative advent of social networking has seen remarkable strides in the past few years. Today, with Instagram and followers and Facebook and WhatsApp and stories, it is easier to keep a big social circle more than ever before. These tools can be the perfect distraction for the seeker. Scrolling through the news feed and the pictures keep the head busy and instant gratification is just a click away. You might be feeling extreme sadness due to the daily problems but those likes are ticking on that picture of yours so it feels alright. It is one of the newer forms of addiction behavior but it is far more damaging as it is the most easily accessible gratification tool.
Even using the platforms like LinkedIn along with other social media can end up as a stressor. The things which are usually posted are the success stories, new jobs, successful promotions, etc. In reality, all of these things are but statistically probabilistic. No one (usually) shares any failures, or letters of rejections that they ever got. Usually we see a shiny smile and a beaming letter of acceptance. This can be further damaging to the people actively seeking for jobs since a long time who are barely getting the motivation to find an every day routine. Johannes Haushofer in his famous ‘CV of Failures’ further highlights the point .
But, among all the dazzle and apparent success showcased by hundreds of post that we come across every day, these reality checks are usually left unnoticed.
Today, it is very easy to fall into this loop which will never let you figure out what really was wrong in the first place. When asked, a lot of times the depressed person is not even able to figure out the reason of his/her state of mind. And ‘I don’t know. I don’t know!!’ is the usual chant.
The reasons might have piled up. The original thoughts and the roots might be still hidden somewhere in the depths of all the layers. Nietzsche wrote in his book ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ almost 140 years ago :
I am a forest, and a night of dark trees: but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.
Perhaps, that’s what Nietszche was talking about all along. The loneliness that Zarathustra was facing manifested in the form of these words. The hidden sorrows. And all the tricks our mind pull to make the sorrows obscure, more difficult to reach. That’s why we must keep talking, even though it is difficult to talk about. We must break through these layers.
Depression and its sadness and loneliness might batter us down for a while but life is precious and the universe fascinating. We must remember that. In our galaxy’s tiny outer part and on the tiny planet we walk on with enormous thoughts in our head. Humans are indeed very fascinating creatures. We have our body and our mind which also wants to take care of other bodies and minds around them. Most of us do feel the sadness at other people’s misfortunes. Sometimes we shed tears even for deaths in movies and TV shows. ‘He who is not afraid of my darkness,’ Nietzsche said.We shall not be afraid of their darkness. This empathy and care that we feel, among everything else, will definitely keep us on the upswing.
 CV of failures by Johannes Haushofer: http://www.princeton.edu/haushofer/Johannes_Haushofer_CV_of_Failures.pdf
 Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche: