The D Word
That is exactly what Depression feels like. Like falling down a black hell hole. Like the rabbit hole in ‘Alice in Wonderland’: nothing is what it seems to be, nothing is what it was.
By Depression, I mean Major Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder, as it is technically called. And to set the record straight, Depression is NOT sadness. Major Depressive Disorder, or MDD, is a mood disorder, a mental illness. It is accompanied by changes in brain structure and chemistry. Low moods or sadness is just one of its many manifestations. MDD has physical symptoms as well as psychological symptoms. There is no catastrophic life event that brings on MDD. And……
……it can happen to ANYBODY!
When I was felled by Depression, I had no clue what it was all about. When I was floundering through the mental and physical swamps and sinkholes that Depression brought to my life, I tried desperately to understand what this illness is, how I could help myself fight it and how I could get to the other side. I looked around me for stories of people who had made it through and how they had done it. I did come across many success stories, but not one of them Indian.
Considering the fact that one out of every ten persons in the world suffers from a depressive episode some time in their lives, this should have been surprising. But, then, it was not. Actually, it would have been a wonder if I had found one, for we don’t talk about the ‘D’- word, even if we suffer from it. There is much of social stigma attached to the ‘D’ – word. And that’s a double whammy – first, surviving the illness, and then, surviving the social stigma.
That is when I decided that the ‘D’ needs to be brought out into the open – we need to talk about it. We need to fight the social stigma, and that can happen only when there is more awareness about it. People like me, who struggle with Depression for years and years, should have more access to information and knowledge about their condition. They need to know that it’s ok to be afflicted with a mental illness, which is not in their hands, much like any physical illness. The why’s and how’s of getting MDD do not matter. What matters is how to manage the condition and how to get better.
I have been to hell, and back – such a long journey. And I have lived to tell the tale.
Please help me get the word on ‘The D Word’ out there. People who suffer from Depression and their families, as well as society in general, would benefit tremendously, if we opened up about – ‘The D Word’.