These days everywhere you look, you spot people talking about things not going right or how they feel stressed and "depressed". Depression has hit society in the worst way ever - right from adults to kids being impacted by it at different intensities. Research shows that 1 in every 5 people goes through depression or mental health issues in any given year.
Before we understand what depression is, let's clarify at the outset what it isn't. Depression is not feeling sad or feeling depressed momentarily. Unknowingly, we stereotypically portray depression as sadness with the extensive usage of the word.
Dr. Chandni Tugnait, a psychotherapist, life and business coach, and founder-director of Gateway of Healing says, depression is not being unhappy; it is not anger, fear or loneliness - it is none of these individually and yet it is all of these and much more.
Depression is being numb. It is nothingness. It is exhausting. It takes away all motivation and leaves a feeling of hopelessness. There is a lack of energy - it's more like a void where nothing grows or changes, where time does not exist, where there is nothing and no one. Of course, it is difficult for the person trying to cope with it as well as for the people around them.
Sometimes depression is chronic and evident but a lot of times one isn't aware of it and sometimes one is even able to camouflage it in the garb of routine & forced positivity - this last type, by the way, is the worst as sometimes we lose them to suicide - just like that - no warning, no sign, as per Dr. Tugnait.
The line between clinical depression and feeling depressed is quite fragile and often we find inappropriate self-diagnosis in this regard. Clinical depression is accompanied by a feeling of impending doom without any reason, every day, for over two weeks continuously along with fatigue, loss of interest, insomnia, etc. However, one may feel depressed for a while due to a difficult event like losing a job/loved one, etc. and may confuse it for depression and begin to pop pills. It's important to be aware of the difference - the ability to get up and fight back against these feelings, instead of accepting them or thinking that they will simply go away on their own or never go away.
The deeper the roots of depression, the more time it takes for a person to heal. It keeps a person in the loop of ï¿½being low' and makes them self-damaging. The symptoms could range from crying all day to being unable to get up from the bed to work, bathe, or even eat.
Then there are the happy and high functioning depressed people who have smiling depression. A high functioning depressed person appears energetic, carefree and cheery on the outside, most of the time and people close to them never get to know that on the inside they are being sucked into a black hole. Strangely, they would go out of their way to keep others happy, masking their own sadness.
When alone, they cry, contemplate suicide and feel exhausted from all the pretending. Why do they pretend? Well, it's funny that each time we ask someone, "How are you?", we are looking at "I am fine, thank you" as the response because if someone starts sharing how they really are, we are quick to tell them not to sulk or look at the bright side. Sharing and sulking are two different things. The fear of being judged is deeply ingrained in our beings and hence it seems like a better proposition to endure the depression in silence than to voice it out.
Contrary to what most people feel, you can't lose depression simply by 'looking at the bright side'. You may be able to camouflage your feelings to save others from getting bothered (or to save yourself from the guilt of it all) but this is plain masking and not copying or healing. People suffering from depression can't "cheer up" and that adds to more frustration.
With every depressed person (and even those suffering from anxiety or other mental health issues) there is a constant 'need' to be themselves or be how they were earlier or be how their friends and family would like them to be. This chase to "be that person" is precisely why most people, despite all the efforts and therapy, are unable to snap out of it.
Dr. Tugnait lists some ways to deal with depression-
Acceptance- Accept self and others (with or without depression) without asking for a change. This is the first step in healing. You can't change something if you resist it as the resistance keeps the energy flowing in that same direction that you wish to alter. Haven't you fought enough already? Let's change the dynamics and accept it, to release it.
Compassion- Choose compassion. Choose the wholeness of being instead of viewing yourself as someone who needs 'fixing'.
Routine- Fix a morning routine to take time to feel gratitude, meditate, read a few pages of a book while sipping tea, exercise, write a journal, sleep for 7-8 hours daily and take a cold shower.
Seek Support- Ask for help and seek professional support from a therapist in case the situation is extreme despite the self-help, positive lifestyles changes and support from family and friends. There's no shame in seeking help to be healthy!
Everyone should be more accepting of mental health issues without any judgments. Take the leap of faith when you feel ready. Until then, just breathe! You are doing fine. Depression is real but so is hope and recovery.
Read More► 5 Products to Help Fight The Ill Effects of Pollution
Toronto, Aug 10 (IANS) Depression and anxiety symptoms have doubled in children and adolescents when compared to pre-pandemic times, according to an alarming study.Researchers at the University of Calgary conducted a meta-analysis, pooling together data from 29 separate studies from around the world, including 80,879 youth globally.The findings, published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics, showed that an alarming percentage of children and adolescents are experiencing a global-wide mental crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic."Estimates show that one in four youth globally are experiencing clinically elevated depression symptoms while one in five have clinically elevated anxiety symptoms," said lead author Dr Nicole Racine, a postdoctoral associate, and clinical psychologist at the varsity. More alarmingly, these symptoms are compounding over time.The study -- which incorporates 16 studies from East Asia, four from Europe, six from North America, two from Central and South America and one from the Middle East -- also shows that older adolescents and girls are experiencing the highest levels of depression and anxiety."We know from other studies that rates of depression and anxiety in youth tend to ebb and flow with restrictions. When more restrictions are imposed, rates go up. Being socially isolated, kept away from their friends, their school routines, and social interactions has proven to be really hard on kids," said Dr Sheri Madigan, a Calgary varsity clinical psychologist.Older teens in particular have missed out on significant life events such as graduations, sporting events, and various coming of age activities."These kids didn't imagine that when they graduated, they'd never get to say goodbye to their school, their teachers or their friends, and now they're moving on to something new, with zero closure," Racine said. "There's a grieving process associated with that."While mental health symptoms in youth are rising, more mental health support should be put in place to help children and adolescents in this time of need."If we want to mitigate the sustained mental health effects of Covid-19, because of the chronic stressors our youth experienced, we have to prioritise recovery planning now. Not when the pandemic is over, but immediately. Because kids are in crisis right now," Madigan said.--IANSrvt/vd
Seoul, July 15 (IANS) South Korea's ICT ministry said on Thursday the country plans to invest nearly $26.2 million over the next three years to research digital treatment for depression in a move to find new ways to help the growing number of people suffering from the mental disorder.The number of depression patients in South Korea reached 790,000 in 2019, up 5.9 percent on-year, and the number is expected to rise as the pandemic restricts social activities and triggers economic uncertainty.Digital treatment methods, such as games and virtual reality software, have recently drawn attention as a possible alternative to treat and prevent mental health disorders without direct physical care.The Ministry of Science and ICT said it has earmarked 14 billion won until 2024 for the research programme, while the private sector will invest 14.9 billion won, reports Yonhap news agency.The research aims to develop a digital service that offers personalised depression diagnoses based on real-time collection and analysis of user data, as well as a service that provides preventative measures against the disease by using smartphones and other mobile devices.Experts across various fields, from artificial intelligence to mental health, will take part in the research, including Kim Hyung-sook, a cognitive science professor at Hanyang University.Naver Cloud, the cloud arm of South Korea's internet giant Naver Corp., will also participate in the program to build a cloud infrastructure for the digital platforms.--IANSna/
Washington, June 26 (IANS) More than 30 per cent public health workers have reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), because of the prolonged demand for responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
To evaluate mental health conditions among the health care workers, the agency conducted a nonprobability-based online survey during March 29 to April 16, 2021.
Among 26,174 respondents, 53 per cent reported symptoms of at least one mental health condition in the preceding 2 weeks.
About one in three each reported symptoms of depression (32.0 per cent), anxiety (30.3 per cent), PTSD (36.8 per cent), while nearly 10 per cent reported of planning suicide.
The highest prevalence of symptoms of a mental health condition was among young workers below 29 years (47.4 per cent) and transgender or nonbinary persons of all ages (65.5 per cent) and those being unable to take time off from work.
"Implementing prevention and control practices that eliminate, reduce, and manage factors that cause or contribute to public health workers' poor mental health might improve mental health outcomes during emergencies," the CDC said, in its weekly MMWR report on Friday.
Most (92.6 per cent) respondents reported working directly on Covid-19 response activities; the majority (59.2 per cent) worked more 41 hours in a typical week since March 2020. Workers who could not take time off had a two-fold greater risk of reporting at least one mental health condition than those who could take time off.
"The prevalence of all four mental health outcomes and the severity of symptoms of depression or PTSD increased as the percentage of work time spent directly on Covid-19 response activities and number of work hours in a typical week increased," the CDC said.
Sydney, June 24 (IANS) Working for organisations that fail to prioritise employees' mental health can increase the risk of being diagnosed with depression by threefold, finds a study.And while working long hours is a risk factor for dying from cardiovascular disease or having a stroke, poor management practices pose a greater risk for depression, found researchers from the University of South Australia.Poor workplace mental health can be traced back to poor management practices, priorities and values, which then flows through to high job demands and low resources, said lead author Amy Zadow, in the study published in the British Medical Journal."Evidence shows that companies who fail to reward or acknowledge their employees for hard work, impose unreasonable demands on workers, and do not give them autonomy, are placing their staff at a much greater risk of depression," Zadow said.While enthusiastic and committed workers are valued, working long hours can lead to depression, affecting an estimated 300 million people worldwide. Men are also more likely to become depressed if their workplace pays scant attention to their psychological health.High levels of burnout and workplace bullying are also linked to corporations' failure to support workers' mental health, said researchers.A separate paper co-authored by internationally renowned expert on workplace mental health, ARC Laureate Professor Maureen Dollard and published in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology earlier this month, found that low psychosocial safety climate (PSC) was an important predictor of bullying and emotional exhaustion.PSC is the term used to describe management practices and communication and participation systems that protect workers' mental health and safety."We also found that bullying in a work unit can not only negatively affect the victim, but also the perpetrator and team members who witness that behaviour. It is not uncommon for everyone in the same unit to experience burnout as a result.The study investigated bullying in a group context and why it occurs. Sometimes stress is a trigger for bullying and in the worst cases it can set an 'acceptable' level of behaviour for other members of the team. But, above all bullying can be predicted from a company's commitment to mental health, so it can be prevented, Dollard noted.--IANSrvt/sdr/
New York, June 20 (IANS) Increased screen time among young adults during the Covid-19 crisis correlated with a rise in pandemic-related mental distress, according to a research.A survey led by researchers from the Saint James School of Medicine in Saint Vincent, Caribbeans, found that nearly half of participants exhibited mild to moderate depression, with more than 70 per cent ranging from mild to severe depression.Seventy per cent of participants also experienced mild to severe anxiety, and slightly more than 30 per cent could potentially meet DSM-IV-TR criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).The increase in time spent viewing entertainment on a screen both prior to and during the pandemic was associated with a boost in anxiety scores. Students scored higher than non-students in pandemic-related distress."This study highlights that the pandemic did not simply affect people physically, but emotionally and mentally, with various groups being impacted to a greater extent than others," said Michelle Wiciak, researcher from the Saint James School of Medicine."It reiterates that there is an increased need for mental health support during disastrous times," Wiciak added.The research will be presented at the World Microbe Forum, taking place online from June 20 to 24.The survey was based on 294 responses collected from participants ranging 18 to 28 years old.Screen time use was not different between genders. Still, there were gender differences in average scores in depression, anxiety and distress from Covid-19."The study is unique in having evaluated mental health status as a function of screen time," said Wiciak."Since the pandemic shifted work and education to online, we wanted to gain more insight into that transition's impact. We did find unexpected results, potentially paving the way for future research and various protective factors, which can be vital in keeping a person healthy during tumultuous times," added Wiciak.--IANSrvt/ksk/