“Look how fat she is!”
Those words, followed by a series of laughter and muffled snickering was something Shade got used to overtime. Tears filled her eyes, but surely, she did well to conceal it. As a kid, she was the fattest in the class and definitely, nothing compared to other kids in the neighborhood, in terms of body size. To her classmates, she did quite a good job of holding up herself — she was a strong girl. But deep down, she knew how bad it hurt.
“Your cloth is out-of-fashion, get out!”
Michael burst into tears immediately. He tried so hard to be amongst the most fun and admirable clique in the school. Yet, despite his remarkable efforts to get the latest shoes and clothes, he just got mocked before the whole school.
“The pregnant drop-out.”
If only they knew, if only they knew. Those words raced through Nneka’s mind as she walked past her ex-classmates. If only they knew that she wasn’t sleeping around, but got raped.
Depression, depression, depression. The hurt, the pain, the inexpressible burning from within. One might conclude Shade, Michael and Nneka are a stone throw from depression. However, this would be false if appropriate measures, conscious actions, and specific steps are taken. This is why it is extremely important for youths, teenagers, children, and adults to understand how to nip this monster in the bud. Hopefully, this article would shed more light on the subject of depression, its symptoms, and its antidote.
Grab your snack, strap your belts; the journey is about to begin!
What do you know about depression?
To some, depression is that withdrawn feeling you get when your coffee spills right in front of colleagues at the office, while to others depression is the brief moment of gloom that occurs once in a while. But in actual sense, depression is more than that. Depression is more than mood swings or momentary sadness.
According to the World Health Organization, about 264 million people are affected by depression worldwide. Definitely, if depression were to be some short-lived emotional response to challenges, the stats wouldn’t be this high.
So, what then is depression?
“Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a diagnostic mood disorder that results in a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities or people.”
Depression might as well be accompanied by loss of energy and appetite. Depression is not some sort of blues that requires extreme willpower to snap out of, neither is it a short-lived moment of grief. It is an actual medical condition that requires urgent attention.
What causes depression?
You might be curious about the root of this deadly psychological disorder. Well, I was too. So, I researched and sucked out the following causes:
- Early childhood trauma: Rape, maltreatment, malnutrition, community panic caused by insecurity, and a myriad of other reasons could result in ECT (Early Childhood Trauma). These events have a way of instilling fear in children, which immediately re-manifests when the individual is faced with similar challenges sometime in the future.
- Sleep: Yeah, I mean sleep. The effects of skipping the recommended hours of sleep for your age range is more than the groggy and grumpy feeling you get in the morning. Sleep has a way of reducing stress and further boosts your immune system. Never underestimate the importance of a good night’s rest.
- Family history: If you’ve got a family history of depression, you stand a higher chance of getting depression.
- Specific conditions: Although everyone has a fair chance of being depressed notwithstanding your monetary worth or fame, specific conditions; such as smoking, some medical illnesses, and stress, increase your chances of being depressed. Going through difficult life changes or experiencing an unplanned significant adjustment might as well skyrocket your chances of being depressed.
Actually, the causes of depression are quite much and are in most cases, peculiar to each affected individual.
Left unattended to, depression might pose some serious health risks, all-together summing up to put your life in danger. This, therefore, creates a need to understand it’s symptoms and treatments.
Symptoms of depression
Once you have a grasp of its symptoms, you wouldn’t face much of a problem identifying it if you come across it. Here are the symptoms of depression:
- Loss of interest in activities that once brought you pleasure.
- Difficulties sleeping throughout the night.
- Changes in physical well-being such as headaches, body pains, lowered appetite, higher fatigue, and decreased energy.
- Difficulty in concentrating and increase in efforts used in recalling events or things.
- Reduced sexual desire.
- Mood changes such as mood swings, increased anger levels, irritability, restlessness, anxiousness and a strong desire to withdraw from people and gatherings.
Once you spot most of these signs, it is advisable to report to a healthcare practitioner for proper screening and diagnosis. When it comes to depression, immediate action is paramount and might just be the life-saver.
What are some steps you can take to combat depression?
Asides the established medical routine through which depression could be cured, there are some DIYs (Do-it-yourself) when it comes to the fight against depression. If you think you are depressed, you should definitely try out these steps. I am sure you must be itching to hear them. Well, here they are:
I am sure what must be racing through your head is: ‘easier said than done.’ Actually, that’s true. Speaking out to people about how you feel, what hurts you internally, what makes you cry at night, what gives you heartburn whenever you recall it, might not be that easy. Seriously: How would they understand? How would they feel your heartache? How?
Truly, it is impossible to explain to others the feeling of hopelessness that might have overwhelmed you, but what if you are not the only one who has plied that road? What if you aren’t the only one who has boarded that bus? The only way you can get help is when you speak out. Talk to a friend, a relative, your clinician; just talk about it. Wouldn’t you love a mood where it feels as though all your entire burden has been lifted? In as much as talking might not necessarily result in that perfect feeling, a journey of thousand miles begins with a step. So, talk.
Scrolling through your Instagram timeline, you might encounter a post displaying fleets of cars, expensive apparel, a beautifully painted mansion, as well as a cute puppy lying close to an inviting swimming pool—all acquired by the same person.
Humanly speaking, you might be tempted to compare the person’s achievement with yours. But don’t. A lustful comparison would never lead you anywhere, instead, it would create a feeling of worthlessness in you. Definitely, with all your hard work, you do not deserve that. In place of that, you deserve commendation. So, stand up tall in front of the mirror and repeat these words:
I am smart, I am blessed, I can do anything I put my mind to. I am smart, I am blessed, I can do anything I put my mind to.
Encourage yourself, and strive to be a better person; a better being.
Do you think you are depressed? Seeking medical opinion would be a fantastic option. Do not forget to speak out, do not forget to encourage yourself. Again, the fight against depression, a monster ravaging our society, is a collaborative one. If you recognize any depressive symptom in a friend or relative, be sure to be your brother’s keeper and speak out.
Remember: depression doesn’t have to kill you when you can kill it!
Timilehin Abioye, is a teenager who is concerned about the welfare of teenagers, youths, and citizens of the world in general. He is also a volunteer at U-Recycle Initiative, an NGO, focused on resolving the environmental issues ravaging the earth. Timilehin is also a medical student at the University of Lagos, as well as a coding student. He plays the piano too.
Do you want to connect with Timilehin? Follow him on Instagram.