Drive away the blues

Drive away the blues

For 24-year-old software engineer Rishika Karthik, being tired and low on energy was a new thing. Usually the life of any party, she had been avoiding contact with people since sometime. Her work deadlines were taxing her and regular quarrels with her partner brought her on the verge of breaking down.

She soon realised she needed help. Rishika was told that she was slipping into depression but things could be reversed for the better.

So was the case with Sreeja S, a young professional. Despite having a good circle of trusted friends, she would often find herself in uncomfortable situations, mainly due to miscommunication.

“It took me a while to understand that I needed to speak to someone outside my circle, someone who could advise me on how to go about things.” She adds that it is only after “being in the chair” that she knew she could deal with the issue.

Many young and elderly worry about seeking a doctor still. With yet another ‘World Health Day’ here , depression and mental illnesses come to the forefront again, with this year’s theme being ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’.

The problem with discussing depression often revolves around lack of knowledge or ‘overinformed’ people, says Dr Safiya M S, psychiatrist with Mind & Brain Clinic, Sahakara Nagar. “If a person is well-read, their acceptance and insight is better. But some still can’t deal with it and blame their issues on others.” Many believe in superstitions too. “Then there are others who overdo it with the easy access to information,” she adds.

Depression is of two kinds — depressive disorder (clinical depression), which is often due to the genes, and adjustment disorder, where people are not able to adapt to certain situations. Dr Safiya observes that around 60 to 70 percent of cases among people in the age group of 20 to 60 years are due to adjustment disorder.

“These are triggered by bad performance, relationship issues, validation factors or even due to dilemma caused by religious reasons. Performance at studies or work is a common issue among 20 to 30 year olds,” she says.

Decreased sleep and appetite, bowel and bladder issues, social and occupational interference, mood variations, sadness, lack of motivation, hallucinations and suicidal tendencies are the common symptoms of depression. In light of the recent incident where a 24-year-old boy killed himself after broadcasting a video tutorial online, increased awareness for identifying depression and reaching out for help when required is the need of the hour. Dr Vijayakumar D R, consultant pyschiatrist at People Tree Maarga, Yelahanka, says, “Depression can be seen across ages, from 14 to 75 years. In 14 to 25 year olds, low mood is usually seen. There could be a decline in academic performance, irritability and withdrawn behaviour with lack of self-esteem and negative thoughts, with some showing suicidal tendencies too,” he says.

“For every person who has attempted suicide, there might be eight people who have thought about it, ” he adds.

Dr Vijayakumar says that of the cases he has seen, 10 to 15 percent of people might have attempted suicide by taking a few pills or slashing their wrist. “If left unattended, this could have turned into something grave.”

Rishika agrees, “Not everyone is able to push themselves to go meet someone. One needs to keep their eyes and ears wide openfor this to spot changes in
themselves and others around.” She adds that talking to family and friends about this helps a lot.

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