In the current fast-paced world like ours, we are in a constant hurry to get things done, be the best, and aspire for the greatest. In doing so, we are also consumed by a plethora of commitments, concerns, deadlines, fear of failure, pressure to excel, to succeed and to live up to expectations and the list is endless. These endless tirades of thoughts usually end up taking a significant part of our brain, leaving the rest for an un welcomed guest, depression.
According to Pakistan Medical Association, depression in urban areas of Pakistan is much higher than the average world depression ratio.
As reported by a daily English newspaper recently, Secretary General PMA, Dr Qaiser Sajjad said, “Around 35.7 per cent citizens of Karachi are affected with mental illness while 43 percent people in Quetta and 53.4 percent in Lahore are reported to be affected.”
People suffering from depression are everywhere. It could be the middle-aged guy sitting next to you at the hospital, the quiet colleague at work, the student in class who never answers, even the neighbor aunty who shouts a lot at her kids or the uncle who is always smiling from his balcony. Depression is something any one from any age bracket can fall prey to.
Most of the times, our society attaches religious connotations to depression, labeling it a result of lack of connection to God. What needs to be realized is that depression is a health issue just like fever, cancer or asthma. The way proper diagnosis and medication is required to cure these diseases, so does depression. It is important for people to understand that depression is a disease and needs proper diagnosis and cure.
On an average, globally 20 percent populations are affected by depression while in Pakistan 34 percent population is suffering from depression.
These facts highlight the grave problem that we have at hand. A country where 34 percent of its population is experiencing mental illness puts a great question mark on the economic, political and social well-being of the country.
No wonder we have knife-brandishing murderers on the loose and a growing number of domestic violence and acid attack incidents are being reported from across the country.
The problem with depression is that it doesn’t have a face. A person supposedly smiling could be an unhappy person deep down. The only way to track this face-less, unwanted guest is by talking it out.
The real hurdle that people face when going through depression is their inability to talk about it. This is because half of the time, people do not even realize what they are going through. Their inability to recognize their emotions make them even more frustrated and pushes them deeper into depression.
A first step to lifting the stigma associated with depression is to acknowledge one’s feelings.
What one is feeling and why? Whether one is feeling angry, frustrated, disgusted, annoyed, or simply sad, every individual needs to be able to name their feeling. Only then can recovery take place.
Awareness of emotions is essential in helping people in depression, therefore it is important to acknowledge one’s feelings at every step of the way to ensure a stress-free environment for not just ourselves but for everybody around us.