It's About Time Pakistani Society Changes Its Perception About Depression

It’s About Time Pakistani Society Changes Its Perception About Depression

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“Depression” is still a term that is misunderstood and feared in Pakistani society. We often mention “depression” and its symptoms but don’t talk about it in a way that normalizes it. The single most important fact Pakistani society needs to understand is that the brain is an organ just like any other, and can become damaged or ill if stressed enough.

Clinical depression begins when the brain can no longer handle stress properly, resulting in some very serious symptoms such as extreme fatigue, apathy, anger, suicidal thoughts, and many other issues. Stress coping mechanisms such as praying, hanging out with friends and family, eating favorite foods, or listening to music may simply not be enough in such cases.

The brain can become fatigued, damaged, or ill due to stress in two main ways:

Source: New Hope Clinical Research

* Some people may suffer stress constantly, slowly weakening their ability to handle stress and eventually resulting in clinical depression.This can be compared to carrying a heavy bag on your back: The first few hours are okay, but if you continue to carry the heavy bag, your body will slowly grow tired and fatigued. The heavy bag becomes harder to lift as time passes until you cannot continue to lift it anymore.

* Some people may suffer a sudden shock or distressing event that triggers their clinical depression. This could be compared to lifting too much weight, without having the strength for it:  The heavy weight suddenly overwhelms your muscles, putting a sudden strain causing severe muscle damage and maybe a broken bone.

Clinical Depression is just like when we damage any other part of our body. Therefore depression sometimes needs medication. Just like how you would take pain-relievers for a sprained muscle. Depression, sometimes need therapy to be cured, to practice dealing with stress. Just like how you would slowly build up endurance to carry your heavy bag for longer periods of time by practicing every day.

Source: NaturPhilosophie

Clinical depression is not a sign of weakness, but simply a sign of illness. It can be treated and cured, as long as people receive proper medical or professional help! Suicide is preventable and how we talk about it makes a world of difference! We lose too many people to depression and suicide because they couldn’t share their problems due to the taboo and stigma of having depression.

Our tendency to want to believe clinically depressed people are weak, making excuses, or simply need to “suck it up” is what kills them. Depression is simply a medical condition that is entirely treatable if you let people realize it is not a personal failing or their “fault.” You wouldn’t ever blame a patient with kidney disease for their illness. You realize their organs are damaged. You don’t think, “she’s weak-willed and couldn’t handle toxins properly, so pathetic.” How ridiculously wrong and harsh is that?

Source: NaturPhilosophie

We should be able to discuss depression just like how talking about a stomach ulcer, a muscle sprain, or a headache is considered normal. So please let’s change the narrative around depression. The next time you’re with a group of friends or your family, talk about depression, make it normal. Maybe one of your loved ones just needs for it to be normalized to reach out for help.

Save lives. Don’t judge them into the ground.

P.S. Here is a small list of phrases you should DEFINITELY avoid and why.

  • “How can they be so selfish to be suicidal”

Source: Giphy

Their brain is tired and wants to find peace, so it constantly projects the idea to end their life as a solution. It isn’t about selfishness at all. In fact, you’re being selfish for considering your own emotions over the possibility of THEIR DEATH. Your temporary hurt can be cured, their death can’t… so get over yourself!

  • “Just suck it up and move on, the rest of us are”:

Source: Giphy

Just no. You are not living their life, you do not know what stress they have and how bad it is. If you can deal with your own stress, high five! Stop bragging about being healthy. Are you going to go to a cancer patient and say “Well my cells properly divide, how come yours can’t do that?” Jerky, definitely.

  • “You aren’t depressed, just worried about school/marriage/etc and need some attention or a break, right?”

Source: Giphy

People who are depressed are tired of being depressed, it isn’t about you and your attention. Stop trying to convince yourself their depression is made up, to make it less of a problem for you. Parents, please don’t say this to your child. If they are coming to you for help, this is a sure fire way of making them shut up and not talk about it again.

  • “Just pray, you only need God”:

Source: Giphy

Prayer is awesome! BUT, you don’t just pray for kidney disease or cancer to go away right? God made medicine and health care for a reason! So tell them prayer is a great coping mechanism, but if that isn’t enough they need to go to a doctor for help.

  • “Are you trying to tell me you are pagal? How can you have a mental illness?!”:

Source: Giphy

Okay parents, enough with being your child’s harshest critic. Mental illness does not equal crazy. Depression can be cured so why not focus on that, instead of being hurtful to your already tired and ill child.

Last but not least, don’t laugh if someone is sharing their depression or anxiety with you. Depression can affect ANYONE at any time in their life. So don’t give karma that chance to kick you in the gut later okay?

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