Depression has always been a sour topic of discussion because not many people want to admit that they have it to avoid society’s judging looks. But depression is a real thing just like other mental disorders that needs to be addressed and understood. In Nigeria, there are more than 1.5 million cases per year.
Depression basically is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. It is one of the moods involved in bipolar disorde (Manic Depression).
It usually requires a medical diagnoses by a professional and can be caused by a variety of things,such as;
– Abuse (physical, sexual or emotional)
– Substance abuse
– Grief / loss
– Serious illnesses
Although some people only begin to abuse substances when they have been diagnosed with depression, it is the cause of the depression in others. And while coming down with a cold may not necessarily cause depression, serious illnesses like diabetes, heart diseases, scoliosis or HIV/AIDS could lead to depressed feelings.
Some common symptoms
– Severe mood swings
– Loss of interest in activities
– Insomnia or excessive sleeping
– Severe weight gain or weight loss
– Agitation / irritability
– Social isolation
– Lack of concentration
– Slowness in activity
– Severe body pain
More often than not, depressed persons tend to overthink or have thoughts of suicide.
But a depressed person doesn’t always look sad and gloomy or express ‘all’ their dark thoughts. In a situation where they find themselves in an environment where they are constantly expected to socialize or where people don’t believe in mental disorders, they tend to mask their feelings with fake smiles and forced joy, sinking deeper into the abyss. On the outside, they are trying to be happy, but on the inside they are beating themselves up because they know they are not genuinely happy.
Depression isn’t in ones head. It is a real life condition that we as Nigerians need to acknowledge.
Depression can be cured by medication, therapy or self- help strategies. The timeline for the healing process varies in individuals, some take months while others take a lifetime. But the first step towards the healing is acceptance. Accepting that there is a problem and deciding to work on it is progress enough. Depression or any other mental health disorder isn’t the end and the sooner we acknowledge it the better for us as a nation.
By Farida Umar
Industrial chemist in the making
Proud feminist and weirdo
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