The recent death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput forced us all to sit up and take note of depression and how it can affect a person. More so, in the midst of a pandemic, cases of depression have gone up. There’s the health scare to deal with, then the fear of losing jobs and the burnout due to extended working hours, restricted movement, lack of social distancing and strained relationship—all this is affecting people’s mental health leading to suicidal tendencies. So today, on World Suicide Prevention Day, which is observed every year on the 10th September, to raise awareness and prevent suicides worldwide, we look into the hidden signs of depression and ways to deal with it.
Raj Mariwala, Director, Mariwala Health Initiative, a mental health innovation network that makes makes mental health accessible to marginalised sections of the society says, “All of us experience stress and anxiety at different times, depending on our circumstances. For example, if we are dealing with an event or situation that is challenging or threatening, feeling stressed or anxious is an extremely common response. At this time, what we are collectively experiencing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented.”
If you are feeling stressed, anxious, sad, scared or even frustrated right now, know you're not alone. Raj explains that anxiety can be experienced by any individual and can be deeply connected to overall context and systemic issues. A case in point is, Covid has resulted in changes to how we live our lives, routines, patterns and mindsets - changing how we work, study, connect with each other and more. “Thus feelings of worry, stress, tension, anxiety, numbness, sadness are routine responses to periods of crises. However, if these feelings of anxiety regularly cause significant distress or they start to impact your daily life —reach out for professional support,” she advises.
When a person experiences anxiety, both his mind and body show certain symptoms. We list out the common symptoms below.
1. Tensed muscles.
2. Feeling of exhaustion.
3. Chronic sleeplessness.
4. Headache and change in appetite.
5. A weakened immune system.
6. Persistent tummy trouble.
7. Body ache.
8. An elevated heartbeat even while resting.
9. Forgetting things.
10. Being disorganized.
12. Finding it difficult to concentrate
13. Constant worrying.
14. Withdrawing from others.
15. Getting easily irritated.
16. Having trouble while making decisions.
17. Suffering from low self esteem.
18. The inability to relax.
Monica Kumar, psychologist and managing trustee, Manas Foundation, says “these impulsive and repetitive actions, behaviours and uncontrollable thoughts only feed into the cycle of anxiety.” For a person who is anxious most of the times it is important to figure out the root cause of anxiety rather than focusing only on the symptoms. Monica explains that many a times in cases of anxiety it helps if the process of recovery is mediated by a professional since they better equipped to address irrational feelings, emotions and behaviours and bring objectivity to the whole situation which is masked by the symptoms of anxiety for the person who is experiencing it.
How to deal with depression?
However, there are different ways in which you can deal with anxiety or depression before it gets worse. Here’s what you need to do, once you have identified the symptoms.
1. Move your body, get some workout, eat right and get adequate sleep.
2. Practise meditation regularly.
3. Reach out to your support system like family and friends.
4. Cut down your addiction to social media. Set strict boundaries.
5. Stay occupied, engage in household chores and organizing your home.
6. Pick up hobbies, creative engagement will take your mind off from what’s bothering you.
7. Maintain a good work-life balance. Ensure you work in a positive environment. Don’t let work spill into your personal life.
When to reach out for professional help?
When none of the above help, you need professional help. There are several mental health helplines that you can call and speak to a counsellor. Also, Snapchat has partnered with Mariwala Health Initiative and Manas Foundation and launched HereForYou and Snap Minis in partnership with Headspace. Both the initiatives provides in-app support to Snapchatters who may be experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis. Users of the app can access resources by searching for words such as ‘anxiety’, ‘depression’, ‘loneliness’, ‘suicide’, ‘mental health’ and
‘wellbeing’. The content covers topics such as ways to cope with mental health issues and how to spot signs in loved ones, as well as questions from the community, answered by clinical psychologists and mental health professionals. Each ends with further information from the Manas Foundation and Mariwala Health Initiative, and advice on how to contact a trained counsellor directly for help.
You can also directly reach out for help at Manas Foundation on: 8802023901.