When someone has a cough, we don’t define them as ‘coughed’ and when someone has cancer, we don’t call them ‘cancerous’. But if someone has depression, we tragically define them as “depressed”. Depression is merely an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, albeit the cause being rooted far deeper within our mental processes and our hearts. The fundamental baseline is that it is an illness like any other, meaning we can most definitely get rid of it. I wouldn’t call myself a scientist so I’m not going to try and find the cure – instead, I’m going to try and find the cure for societies perception of depression, which is, perhaps, a step towards curing depression as an illness.
- Try to make other’s feel good, that’s how we feel good ourselves
Someone with depression could be the liveliest, most entertaining person but there is something that is pulling them down. Medically, depression is the lack of a certain ‘happy chemical’ in your brain and when it’s not there; we lose all will to live. Why does that happy chemical disappear? That is different in every case. All of us have obstacles in life that we must overcome in order to carry on. Obstacles make us work harder and create stronger versions of ourselves. But sometimes when we are overwhelmed with too many obstacles at once, it can break us. And when we don’t have people waiting at the bottom to catch us from our fall and help us back up, it is almost impossible for the fallen to get back up again, and that is when we lose people. And I don’t ever want to see someone hurt themselves because they have no support. As human beings, it is our duty to support those around us. If you see someone who is down – they don’t have to be depressed – we should try and cheer them up. I love it when I see someone laughing, it is the most contagious, most addictive drug in the world. Laughter is something we couldn’t live without. And when you create happiness and laughter, it is ten times more addictive. It is one of the best, if not the best, feelings we have. And making someone else unhappy? It is one of the most heartbreaking, inhumane things on this earth and it is most definitely not natural. If we all decided that, “we are going to try and make others happy at every opportunity we get”, not only would everyone else be happy, it would make our own lives much easier to live. We would live guilt free. We would have this drug of happiness running through our veins 24/7. We would always be smiling. Doesn’t it sound like a perfect world? And it’s so, so achievable. Try it. Every single day, try and make someone smile. Make them appreciate that they saw you and want to see you again. Be it complimenting their clothes that you like, or offering to pour them a drink, or even just having a heartfelt conversation with them and giving them your time. Just try and make someone smile. 🙂
- Give them a hand
Our perception of someone with depression defines everything about them as ‘depressed’. “Don’t talk to him, he’s depressed.” “Don’t invite her, I think she’s depressed.” We should understand that even if someone is depressed, they’re still the same person and we should try and do everything we can to treat them with the kindness everyone deserves. If you think someone is in depression, talk to them, see how they really feel because most of all, they need support. They need someone there who they can trust. Most of all, they just need a hand. Something reaching out to them, showing them that they’re not invisible, that they’re loved and wanted and deserve to be in this world. Still joke with them, still do fun things with them and if we put the effort in, they will see that someone cares and it may stop them from taking drastic actions. Because you cared. You just saved someone’s life. You’re a hero. And nobody needs to know except you because knowing that you have just stopped someone, a real person who you can see, hear and feel, from harming themselves and instead have given them a motivation to live will undoubtedly make you happy. You just saved a life.
- Be genuine and understanding
Most illnesses have a cure and if there isn’t one, we’re looking. Depression is simply another illness, like a flu, just longer lasting and usually affecting our lives a lot more. But, there is a way to improve and get back to our former, healthy selves. Support is one of the main cures, and if we want to cure depression, then we must all be the cure. It’s not hard to help another human being. It’s not hard to be there for someone to talk to. It’s not hard to listen. Firstly, it is extremely hard for someone with depression to tell you because of the way it is perceived in society. Someone with depression would expect an over the top reaction, perhaps a gasp and then telling other people and gossiping about it, maybe even laughing it off and saying “nah it’s not a problem, you’re just upset” or “it’s just a phase, you’ll get over it”. This usually makes the person feel worse and as if they don’t matter enough. But they do. An acceptable reaction would be to listen to them and let them tell you everything they want to tell you. Then let them know that you’ll be there for them, let them know that you support them. Usually, a good way to get someone back up to the surface would be to talk to them more and with genuine curiosity – this works in all interactions as when you are genuinely interested in someone, they appreciate it more, so if you make an active effort to show your interest in the person, they’ll feel your support without you even having to say it. If they haven’t told you but you sense something is wrong, I wouldn’t try and force anyone to tell you but maybe try and get them to talk to someone who they may speak to about their feelings. And if this isn’t possible, then it may be wise to express your concern to their parent or guardian because the most important thing is that they are able to talk about it and feel supported. Essentially, look after your friends, whether they’re in depression or not, these are people you love and care about so always make your best effort. And then you know you’ve got their support when you need it. Always.
- My story (in brief)
I was fortunate to have my friends to support me. It started off with my school attendance slowly decreasing, and eventually stopping completely. The doctor diagnosed me and I was devastated even more because I had “that ignorant perception” of depression. I had never been exposed before. My close friends realised something was wrong (and even some people I didn’t expect to, realised and supported me). They visited me almost every day, and after the initial talk, with me telling them I had depression, we rarely talked about it. We mostly had normal, fun conversations. At one point, it got to the worst point possible, but even then my friends were there to support me, without judgement. I diverted my attentions to charity and work, with my friends’ heavy encouragement, and I slowly got better. I have to say, the two biggest factors in getting better for me, were my friends and focussing myself on other things.
- What I have concluded
I think saving a sinking ship is less about the action we take, but it’s more of us having faith in the so-called ‘sinking ship’ and looking at it more like a ship that’s being weighed down with some useless trash cans – all we have to do is throw them off and let the ship rise back up. It’s all about humanity, being appreciative of others and supporting others. It’s really simple – be nice and save a life.