A Lesson in Depression

Recently I read a novel called All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. The story revolves around a boy and a girl both on the verge of suicide. Their reasons for ending their lives are drastically different, yet the one thing common between them is the fact that both need help. The boy in the novel, Theo suffers from bipolar disorder and the girl, Violet is trying to cope with her sister’s death. Theo’s family is as dysfunctional as they come, his parents are divorced and the father has already replaced them with a shiny new family, apart from being a complete grade A bad parent, his father is also abusive, his mother is an absentee mother at best who can’t seem to cope with her divorce to be present for her kids. Violet’s parents, in complete contrast, are parents who are present and provide a stable environment to their only remaining daughter. The book revolves around how Theo’s eclectic nature brings Violet out of her depressed daze and make her want to live. The book highlights mental health issues and so many symptoms that go unnoticed, it paints a heart-breaking picture of suicide and what happens to those who are left behind. From reflective quotes to witty conversations, this book paints a picture which is at once sad and beautiful.

Many a times, we find people trying to pin-point reasons for depression and giving solutions catered to that factor. Depression is not a phase of life, it is a mental disease and as such requires professional help, just like any other disease. Depression is one of the leading causes for suicides. It’s sad that so many symptoms and cries for help go unnoticed. How ignorant and lost in our own world are we that we don’t tend to notice those individuals who are struggling to go through life? Why is it always a case of too little and too late?

You can never say what exactly triggers a person, since everyone is different. Issues that affect me may not affect you. But one thing that plays a major role in everyone’s lives is their surroundings. You are groomed in a certain way, depending upon your surroundings. Mental health issues like anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression etc. all get affected and are dependent on the kind of environment the person is exposed to, the kind of people that you see and hang around with on a daily basis. Most importantly, how others treat you affects your day. In fact, it even affects a healthy person’s day. For a person already going through a lot , even one comment makes a difference. So the next time you want to open your mouth and utter a snide remark, think twice. There’s already a lot of bad stuff in the world, why add to it?

Parents play a major role in every individual’s life. In many cases of depression, parents are completely ignorant of their kid’s mental health. They are ignorant to the point that they don’t want to believe that their kid can be sick. Some parents treat depression like something their kid is making up. The concept of depression being an actual disease is totally lost to them. This affects their kids in more ways than you can imagine. And when their kids take a drastic step, it’s all a surprise to them. All that a parent needs to do is listen to their kid. After all, it is their duty to educate themselves in any mental health issues their kids may have. All parents must be there for their kids before it’s too late.

Sadly,  the way suicides rate are going up, you’ll think it’s a trend among millennials to take their own life. It’s high time people start treating mental issue seriously and give it the due consideration it deserves. Millennials or any generation for that matter, need to stop using terminologies like depression and anxiety casually. These are not terms to be used lightly. We mustn’t romanticise the concept of anxiety and depression. Turning serious mental health issues into a joke is unacceptable.

Depression is a serious mental health issue which takes away millions of lives. Let us take conscious steps to fight it- urge people to talk to professionals, don’t stigmatise therapy and most importantly, be kind to people around you, you don’t know what they are dealing with. After all, what goes around, comes around.

Picture Courtesy- ADDitude

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