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Whispers of the Heart …

More women suffer from depression than men. Mental health and specially depression are a cause of concern. Losses cause depression. The causes of depression vary. One cause is externally induced depression due to reactions of intense sadness and grief over loss. The second comes from within us and therefore internally induced. It creates a pall of lethargy, tiredness, pessimism, crabbiness and negativity which comes from within us, is unexplained and affects all that we do. The third cause of depression is genetic, chemical and biological. This depression is best treated by medication.

Depression is like a deep dark well, the more you want to come out of it, the more it sucks you in. Depression is like a disease and needs to be acknowledged to be treated. Clinical depression requires treatment from a psychiatrist. Melvi (name changed) was brought to us by her family who did not understand her problem. She had no appetite, was pessimistic, had low self-esteem, and was generally slow to grasp or act. She was a great seamstress but now showed disinterest, suffered from headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain. She wasn’t responding to medical attention. She was depressed. It was counseling and therapy that pulled Melvi out and not her family’s attitude of snap out of it.

It is not easy to come out of depression but it is possible. WHO (World Health Organization) has predicted that depression will be the disability and killer disease of 2020. Super sensitive women cannot handle the stress of emotional turmoil, loneliness or stop feelings of unwantedness and helplessness.

Our patterns of behaviour affect our health. Depression makes a person eat too little or too much leading to weight loss or weight gain.  Depression is our psychological health eating away at our physical health. Stress reduces the body’s ability to fight disease. Sadness is a part of life. Depression is more persistent and unpleasant feeling. In women, the strain of divorce, unhappy marriage, maintaining family on a shoe string budget are reasons to get depressed.  Repeated state of depression can affect a part of our brain – the hippocampus which helps us to remember. Depression manifests itself in headaches, mood swings and thoughts of suicide.

To prevent suicide, which is depression related, one would have to challenge and counter the beliefs that cause depression. Stop selective attention to negative experiences. Keep a diary. Evaluate all events as positive, ignore irrelevant. Some people walk around thinking they cannot do anything right – the “I am a loser” thought. They think that there are only 2 alternatives – complete success or complete failure. Another belief is that their success is externally caused and their failure is internally caused.

Some people have learned helplessness which feeds and intensifies depression. Depressed persons look for immediate gratification, procrastination and withdrawal.  The most important thing to undo depression created by us is to learn to cope with stressful situations. A gloomy, monotonous life devoid of laughter, exercise, meditation can add to stress and pile up of tensions.

Coping would mean a positive outlook. Face the sunlight and the shadows will fall behind.  The best way to come out of depression is to wake up and meditate, do yoga or exercise, concentration on breath, have an occasional change of place, keep busy, hard work is an elixir, have a long bath and concentrate on things that make you happy.  

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