Thursday, 26 November 2015

Why so Serious?


Rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens,
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens,
Brown paper packages tied up with strings,
These are a few of my favourite things.

These are the simple things of which Frauline Maria sings about to the von Trapp children to cheer them up (in the movie Sound of Music).  It is her way of telling them to find happiness in the little things in your daily life when you are sad.  We always fail to notice these little things which actually make us feel good.  People walk around tight lipped and knitted brows, deep in thought.  Every person is sad, angry or worried about something.  Everyone is stressed out!

As J.K. Rowling puts it allegorically in her Harry Potter books, the creatures called dementors. Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, and they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them. Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling; every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself - soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.  They can be repelled by the spell Expecto patronum produced by thinking happy thoughts.  A patronus is produced which shields you and keeps the dementors at bay.

We all have faced the dementor in our lives.  It makes us sad, gets us immobilized and leaves us distraught.  That dementor in muggle(non-magical people) world is called DEPRESSION.  It plagues more people than you think.  Irrespective of where you are from, what religion you belong or whether you are rich, poor, male, female, a celebrity or an ordinary person.  Every other person has faced it at some point or the other in life.  While some are able to fend off this deadly dementor, some fall prey.  But people are not really open to talking about it.  They are embarrassed to say they are sad and unable to deal with it mostly because it is not acceptable for a person to be sad!  The reasons may seem silly.


“Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone.”  A hungry man is given food, a thirsty man is given water, and a sick man is given medicine, but a sad man is rebuked for being sad.  It is easier to say I have a fever than to say I am depressed. If you came complaining of fever, what if I told you, “There are people suffering from TB, diabetes and cancer and you worry about a silly fever? Get real! Move on! ”.  Shall we ignore it? How would you feel? What we do is treat the fever till you recover.   Be it bacteria or the virus or the weather that got you down, you accept that you are ill and take treatment.

Likewise, a depressed persons need treatment till they feel better.  They need to be nursed.  More often than not, the only nursing a depressed person needs is to be loved, to be told that who they are makes a difference.  The patience, support and care of a loved one do great healing.  So be it a failed relationship, failure in exams, not fairing as good as your friends or family problems, that got you depressed, it is necessary that you be treated.

More than anything they need to be accepted and validated for the way they feel.  They need to realize that it is all right to feel that way at times, however it is not the ultimate feeling.  Rebukes like, “Why do you think like that?  How can you feel so ungrateful? Can’t you see the bright side? Get over it already!”, may not be accepted in the right spirit by every depressed person.  Maybe the brighter side needs to be shown and made felt by them in this phase, in order to come out of it.
Poor relationships, peer pressure, lack of friends and loneliness and the inability to handle such pressures may be the common causative factors of depression in youngsters today.  Not everyone is emotionally immune!  They do not consider sharing with parents for the sole reason that they do not feel understood.  They cannot be blamed for it.  Most parents are not really helping with the kid-these-days attitude.  They blame the generations of today for knowing no hardships, growing up in luxury and not being tolerant to change, problems and when things do not work the way they expected.  You cannot blame the parents either.  They have seen their share of hard times and survived through it just fine and they feel the youngsters have everything they could ask for, but still complain.  While they may be right, voicing it out to depressed young minds would only push them away from them and close them up into a shell.  This gap in communication creates a deadlock to the depressed person who then looks for alternative means to relief, and these means may not always be helpful.

Healing depression

“Breathe. You’re going to be okay.  Breathe and remember that you have been in this place before.  You’ve been this uncomfortable and anxious and scared, and you have survived.  Breathe and know that you can survive this too.  These feelings can’t break you and they will pass.  Maybe not immediately, but sometime soon, they are going to fade and when they do, you’ll look back at this moment and laugh for having doubted your resilience.  I know it feels unbearable right now, but keep breathing again and again.  This will pass and I promise it will pass.”
-          - Daniell Koepke


It is simple to note that depression is just a state of mind just like any other feeling, say happiness or anger.  But allowing it to overpower you can worsen it.  It is important to remind oneself that it is temporary and that mind has the power to resist it.  It is perfectly normal to feel that way at times, and you need to accept that first, rather than being sad about being sad.  It is okay to cry too.  Meet a close friend and vent out or write about it, but get it all out.  And once that is done, one has to bring himself/herself to resist sad thoughts and find a means of distraction.  You may feel the urge to lie and obsess our your sorrows.  But you need to make gradual attempts to keep away from those things that make you sad, be it thoughts, things or people.  Despite the fact that you lose absolute interest in your hobbies, likes and everything else, you need to find those things that make you happy.  Say music, it always lifts your spirits. Watch cute and happy videos of animals and babies. Watch your favourite movies or sitcoms.  Try to engage in a hobby.  Go for a walk or workout.  Keep your mind busy with other things. 

Eating chocolate after a dementor attack always makes you feel better!  Think happy and say Expecto patronum!


When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I am feeling sad,
I simply remember my favourite things, and then I don’t feel, so bad!

-Nivedita

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