Depression- A Taboo That Needs To Be Talked About

If you grew up in India with some bad memories, especially if you are a boy, you would have been told to “be brave”. Let’s admit that strong talk in a harsh tone combined with a stern expression and the death stare really did give you the encouragement of your life.

You gulped down your fear and chided away sadness. Made sure you came out stronger. Went around with that rugged look with earphones blaring out songs that told you to be strong. You laughed out if someone said that you had empty eyes and a death like smile. You did, you really did. However, somewhere in the back of your mind, you wanted to run to that person and break down in front of him because he knew you better than you knew yourself. He acknowledged you more than you ever did, and that scared you. Sadly, you gulped down this fear too.

That has been the story of a lot of people in India. And today the blame is being put on each and every person who was, directly or indirectly, involved in this. Even the ones who went ahead and posted “Fikar hai toh dobaro poocho” on their Facebook timelines just to tell people that they too follow the trend of posting such “motivational” videos.

No, please do not get me wrong. I have absolutely nothing personal against the video. I support the idea that someone atleast tried to talk about it. However, I am against people who forward such stuff to fit in the trend. It is similar to the case where people do not hate Shah Rukh Khan but do hate his fan following (yeah well, beat me over it).

Wear the ripped jeans or go to McLeod Ganj if you have to follow the trend, but please do not take a life-threatening situation and convert it into a trend. Listening to Coldplay because it is in trend is okay, however claiming that you have depression because it is trend is not okay. You do not have depression just because you did not party one day.

Sadly, in India, going to a Psychologist still remains a taboo. It is considered as bad as people talking about contraceptive methods, which is disheartening because awareness about both these topics is necessary. If you google the term ‘depression’ you will find a definition stating ‘feelings of severe despondency and dejection’. Okay. Accepted. However, it is more than just a feeling of depression. Depression is a part of mental health and that is as important as physical health. Someone who is in depression goes through a lot more than just a feeling of sadness and dejection.

World Health Organization (WHO) declared India as one of the most depressed countries in the world. WHO announced that 36% of Indians are likely to suffer from major depression at one point or the other throughout their lives. I was personally saddened by this figure. However, worse is that people still are reluctant to talk about it. Youngsters are okay talking about sex because “we are modern, man!” but they still prefer to act dumb when it comes to talking about depression. Older people are okay talking about them turning a good eye towards technology, but not about depression. Majority of Indians joke about this term with various sentences like, “Bro, she left me. I am in depression” or “Dude your face looks like you are in depression” or the worst one is “Depression main hai bhai vo” followed with a fit of laughter.

It would be very unfair if I sit here and type in some definition of depression, because depression is subjective. Saying that constant crying, not smiling and getting suicidal are the only symptoms of depression, would be very wrong. Like I said, depression is subjective and, therefore, has different symptoms for different people. For some not being able to keep up a conversation can be a sign of depression whereas for some a plethora of thoughts constantly running in their heads. Depression can be caused by some major unfortunate events like child loss, break-up, getting sacked at job etc. It can also be caused by small things like a stressful workday or not being able to score as much as you wanted to.

I wish I could provide a solution for it other than the usual ones of ‘talk to someone’, ‘go see a psychologist’, ‘pen it down’ etc. And I am not in any way saying that these techniques do not work. They do work for some. But considering that this is subjective, even the solutions are. So I am in no position to list out an array of solutions and serve it. I really do wish that was possible, though.

However, what we can do is stop treating depression as a taboo. Let’s  work towards getting rid of it. We need to stop telling people that depression is just a feeling that will pass. It is almost like telling a person that he does not have to pee as it might be just a feeling. But does it really go away? I guess not.

Let’s treat depression like it needs to be and not shy away from finding a solution.

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