Depressed or Sad?

It has become quite common for people to say, “I feel depressed”. However, many a time, it appears that they haven’t been through the struggles that somebody diagnosed with depression, would have gone through. From Deepika Padukone to Dwayne Johnson, several celebrities have now come out openly with their own stories and struggles. When we hear these accounts, and read about it further through various sources, we begin to wonder if, in some ways, we might be suffering from it ourselves. It’s true that there would be moments in life when we feel low, dejected, sad or upset. However does it qualify us as "depressed"? This is an important question we might want to consider.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:

1. Difficulty in concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions

2. Fatigue and decreased energy

3. Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness

4. Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism

5. Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping

6. Irritability, restlessness

7. Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable (including sex)

8. Overeating or appetite loss

9. Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

10. Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings

11. Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Depression is not a sign of weakness or a negative personality. It is a major public health problem and a treatable medical condition. It is just like having a physiological condition that can be treated using medications. However, along with medication, counselling is also required to fight depression out of one's system.

You can be strong and still be depressed. It is a condition that can affect anyone regardless of social status, economic status or education level. A person might not experience all the symptoms at a given point of time. However, if you experience more than two of these symptoms for more than a period of two weeks, or if you suspect that you might be having this concern, please do reach out for professional help. Although it might be a difficult and distressing time for you, understand that you are not alone. Talk to a trained counsellor.

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