Did you know that 300 million people world wide suffer from depression and that around 800,000 of them succumb to suicide? Despite being such a massive problem, people around the world are still afraid or ashamed to talk about this important topic. There is so much ignorance and misinformation out there in the world that a significant amount of people suffering from depression themselves do not know that they have this illness. Depression is not the feeling of occasional sadness that we all feel when we fail an exam or get rejected after an interview. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses that is characterized by persistent sadness or loss of interest that will affect your feelings, thoughts and actions in a damaging way. A person suffering from depression may experience symptoms like agitation, excessive crying, feeling worthless or guilty, irritability, excess sleepiness or trouble sleeping, loss of energy, thoughts of death or suicide, lack of concentration etc. One may simply feel too much or they may feel completely hollow and empty inside. It is not just excess sadness that is experienced by people who are grieving a loved one’s death or a loss of a relationship, sometimes it is completely replaced by a feeling of nothingness. Prolonged sense of emptiness can be a telling symptom of depression but it is much harder to realise and detect.
Not to be confused with the anxiousness that you feel when you are about to perform in front of an audience or facing your parents when you have broken your curfew. Anxiety disorder is characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety or fear that are strong enough to negatively impact different aspects of your life and is often associated with panic attacks. A person suffering from Anxiety Disorder experiences restlessness, racing thoughts, excessive worry that cannot be pushed aside or overlooked, palpitations, nausea etc. People have reported feeling a sense of impending doom without a valid cause. Anxiety disorders and the cocktail of symptoms accompanying it can impair a person’s ability to live normally in society as it can affect a student’s academic life as well as the work life of an adult. People can be excessively worried about even trivial things like walking across the a crowded room or a test that they are already well prepared for. Anxiety and depression also seems to go hand in hand, making it a doubly vicious threat in a persons life. Although over 10 million cases are reported in India, acknowledgement of the topic let alone the prospect of treatment is brushed under the rug in many societies. The affected person more often than not are told to simply stop worrying. This can become increasingly difficult to live with if proper treatments are not given at the right time.