Today, someone I know well called up at my house. His son, it seems, was diagnosed with depression. My mother shared this with me, and exclaimed, “How can a kid get depression?”
No. Anyone can get depression.
Major Depressive Disorder, known as depression in layman’s terms, is a dangers and sometimes, a fatal disorder. It doesn’t discriminate between its victims. Yes, some people are more likely to be diagnosed with it, because of biological, cognitive or social factors. There are stressors, and there are factors that affect it.
But the fact remains. There is no reason, no single cause. Something that drives one person to the edge may not affect the other. Every person is unique, and this is true to what they perceive to be a stressor. You cannot apply your rules to everyone around you and analyse their behaviour based on your criteria. Kids, teenagers, adults and the elderly, everyone has their problems. But sometimes, we fail to look at the world without the glasses of our own opinions and biases. Truth is, those glasses are so thick that they blind us from the reality.
Never tell a person to
- get over it
- stop whining
- think about the world’s problems
- come out of it
It is not a choice. Nobody wants to feel low and miserable, nobody desires the grey. Just like nobody craves any illness. People are not judged for having flu or infections, then why depression? It is a disorder. Detectable, treatable. What we need to do is get rid of the stigma, the fuss and most of all, the ignorance about it.
When someone confides in you about what they feel, listen. They chose YOU to confide in. It takes enormous courage to trust people with their problems and secrets. You may not be a therapist, but your mere presence will make a change. Don’t judge them, don’t ridicule them. Let them vent and cry, let them snap and then space out. Let them be, but never make them feel lonely. Stay there. Even if they don’t mean anything to you, stay. You might end up saving someone’s life.