So many actors and actresses have chosen to end their lives just as Pratyusha Banerjee did recently in Mumbai, that suicide is turning out to be a very real aspect of contemporary show business. From Nafisa Joseph to Jian Khan to Pratyusha, there have been many such incidents of successful starlets giving away their lives because of either personal or professional issues.
The response pattern to all such incidents is same in India — widespread shock initially followed by attempts at sympathy that imply these women had been wronged by their partners (perhaps they were). Then there will be those who will claim that they knew she was “unhappy but not depressed” or “she was too strong to be depressed” as though everyone is an expert on that state of mind when you not only decide to end your life but actually go through with it. This common response pattern demonstrates that how depression isn’t regarded as a serious issue in India. The general impression is that people who are strong will ‘get over it’ on their own. The only sensible comment that has come out in this entire episode is from Karan Johar who tweeted “a wake-up call to families and friends who don’t consider depression a medical condition”.
Depression is a word we have come to use so lightly and playfully that its severity has been lost with time. You often hear your peers or colleagues make statements like — “I’m depressed because India lost the match, or I’m depressed because John Snow died in GOT, or I’m depressed because I have nothing to wear to my best friend’s wedding”. But do any of us really know what it feels like to be depressed or go through it? If only Pratyusha’s friends and family could have identified her symptoms earlier, she could have probably lived longer.
Depression is an illness that involves mind and body and it can impact an individual’s social occupational functioning. The feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness are intense. Many times people are not even aware of their symptoms. One needs to know that ‘sadness’ is only a part of depression, some may not even feel sad at all. They may feel lifeless, aggressive, restless, and irritable. When is depression, women tend to blame themselves, feel sad, apathetic, feel anxious, scared, avoid conflicts at all cause, feel slow down and nervous, have trouble setting boundaries, find it easy to talk about self doubt and despair, use food, alcohol, friends and love to self medicate. Whatever the symptoms are, snapping out or ignorance can worsen the situation. Thus, assessing early signs of depression can help in fast recovery. Treatment of depression requires psychotherapy or a combination of medicines and psychotherapy. The diagnosis and treatment of depression is something that can be done only by a certified mental health professional i.e a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist.
What causes depression, especially amongst our young, independent and determined women? Many factors contribute to the unique nature of depression in women, from reproductive hormones to social pressures to the female response to stress. Learning about these factors can help you minimize your risk of depression and treat it more effectively. Although most people who are depressed do not kill themselves, untreated depression can increase the risk of possible suicide. The youth have a tendency to feel more depressed when they are going through a rough patch with their partners or break ups, or hitting road blocks in their career path, none of these can be matters grave enough to end your life.
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