Life has ups and downs but having downs all the time isn’t what we call life
Depression is a state of being mentally unwell which affects physical well-being, eventually leading to a person becoming chronically sick. This kind of sickness is manifested in different symptoms, such as hormonal imbalance, depressed mood on nearly every day, least interest in everyday activities, change in sleeping patterns, loss of energy, feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness, difficulty in thinking and concentrating, suicidal thoughts and attempts.
It is believed that mostly women, compared to men, are victims of depression because of biological differences, socialisation differences, social roles, coping style, and stressful life events. Depression in women is also caused because of gender-based violence, socio-economic disadvantage, income inequality, low social status and much more. It is believed that women hit puberty earlier than men and in this phase women go through a roller coaster of emotions which at times lead to negative thoughts, culminating in depression.
The state of being unwell for weeks together without any actual existing pain pretty much defines depression. In our valley we are more prone to such mental illnesses because of the continuous shutdowns, losing our loved ones in militant/armed forces attacks or during encounters, continuous snapping of internet, uncertainty about what will happen next, and much more. We can’t deny the fact that we pretty much live an uncertain life where we are unsure of the next day and eventually we overthink, which leads to depression.
It isn’t appropriate to say that depression isn’t a disease. We often shy away from accepting the fact that someone is depressed and are more likely to refer to such a person as insane, which isn’t the right thing to do because like other diseases depression, too, is a disease and in no way should we shy away from calling it one. Anyone can go through this disease, from a little one to an old person, because this disease is not related to age. However, some are more prone to it than others.
I often think of what my life would have been like if I didn’t have depression. My mom when she speaks to doctors says that she wants her “old daughter” back. I wonder how I can be my old self who didn’t believe in sad being the new normal, who firmly stood by happiness, who believed she could be what she wanted to be – a good human being. Little did she know it wouldn’t be an easy journey. Recently, talking to one of the many psychiatrists I have consulted – Yes, I doctor shop. I know it’s bad and I have stopped. – this psychiatrist from Delhi said that I would have to take medication for depression for almost seven years, which is till the age of twenty-five as I am currently eighteen years old. This truly was a bolt from the blue. I contacted my local doctors in Kashmir, who suggested that it would take me much less time to get back to being what I was earlier. I believed them more, because more than anyone they understand me better – vocal for local, I say for sure! One should always consult a local doctor, for they have more knowledge of the local culture, ways of parenting, schooling, and other factors.
During depression one doesn’t usually do what one would do usually, but professional advice is of great help. Friendly advice does help, but like I said, it’s a disease and proper medical advice is necessary for its cure. Knowledge of the disease is important because the more you know, the better you respond. Being uneducated about the disease itself causes the disease. However, it is a disease that can be cured by even basic knowledge of the disease. We should go with the new saying: “A little knowledge is enough to deal with the disease.”
The treatment of this disease requires precautions to be taken. One should first accept that it is a disease and then deal with it in a prescribed manner. The sooner one gets to know about it, the better it is for everyone, because everyone deserves a dignified life and no one deserves a hard life out of which there is no escape. Living a life which is always hard leads one to think that he/she is unworthy of it. Life has ups and downs but having downs all the time isn’t what we call life.
We should live our life believing that it’s all going to make perfect sense someday and it’s all going to be fine because, after all, the bad times are not going to always last. It is always about giving yourself time to heal, no matter how terrible the disease. It is a battle and a battle is there to be won!