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We Could All Learn Something From Shaheen Bhatt's Take On Depression

20/12/2016 3:13 PM IST | Updated 21/12/2016 8:42 AM IST
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Representative image.

In a culture where talking about one's depression has long been akin to confessing to a dishonourable deed, the context is becoming markedly, and encouragingly, better. There exist several avenues for spreading awareness—far more than even 10 years ago.

Recently, Shaheen Bhatt used Instagram as her soapbox to gracefully talk about her depression, with the ease and casualness of someone posting about their Monday morning cappuccino. By doing so, she normalised the word "depression." She drove home the point that she doesn't "struggle with depression" but "lives with it." Further, through her article in the Mumbai Mirror, she granted us her perspective of not only what she goes through, but also what her loved ones do, and equally importantly, how she has helped herself through therapy.

Seeing a therapist should be viewed no differently than seeing a personal trainer...

Depression, although one of the most common mental health topics, has many misconceptions attached to it. While sadness related to an event falls within the range of normal, and therefore acceptable, human emotion, depression usually carries with it an array of neurobiological consequences, which are not yet fully understood by science or by culture. Depression is associated with chemical imbalances in the brain, which can explain the seeming unpredictability of bouts. Sometimes, especially in chronic cases, there is no relatable cause about which to feel depressed, and when loved ones do not understand that, it can lead to added feelings of loneliness for the person experiencing depression. On the other hand, whether caregivers understand the uncertainty of depression or not, they might feel helpless as nothing they do seems to liberate the individual from the grasp of depression.

It is imperative for caregivers of youth in our achievement-driven culture to discern the warning signs of depression from general sadness. Depression in youth can manifest itself in feelings of hopelessness, changes in sleep patterns or appetite, increased social withdrawal, vocal outbursts or crying, lack of interest in activities that were previously enjoyable, and other undesirable shifts in behaviour.

One of the best ways in which we can help people with depression is to destigmatise the discussion around mental health. It is only when we start to stamp out the stigma that individuals experiencing mental illnesses will feel comfortable to speak out and find help. Seeing a therapist should be viewed no differently than seeing a personal trainer, for example. Much like in fitness training where you are the one doing the hard work under the guidance of a trainer, in counselling it is you who can find the way out of the gloomy trenches of depression while the therapist empowers you to do so. Let this be the generation that revolutionises the approach towards mental health and let this be the time to do it.

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We Could All Learn Something From Shaheen Bhatt's Take On Depression [ed]We Could All Learn Something From Shaheen Bhatt's Take On Depression [ed]

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