POST TIME: 6 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Depression: Time to get vocal
Depression does not affect a person overnight. It comes from being in extreme mental distress for a long period of time
Tahsina Islam

Depression: Time to get vocal

Depression, the modern malady, is becoming increasingly common these days. People’s periphery of knowledge regarding what depression actually is, however, has not reached to a satisfactory level yet. Therefore, we use the word with so much ease and without any discomfort in our day to day lives that this frightful word is bandied about casually. Thus, the stress that should be given to this virulent form of mental disease is absent. And ultimately the silent outcry of the people who are in dire need to be unchained from the burden of depression, is not reaching the people in general. Depression does not affect a person overnight. It comes from being in extreme mental distress for a long period of time. In most cases, the person suffering does not realise that he/she is mentally ill and should speak up. Yet instead of speaking up from the fear of being called mental/crack/pagol they keep it inside and this ultimately results in extreme mental outburst at some point of their lives.

 There is no denying that depression is a hellish form of mental illness. Like any other illness, this illness must also be treated with proper treatment and care. So, how to know if a person is suffering from depression?  It is very natural that not every day in one’s life goes smoothly. There will be happiness and there will be sadness. However, if any point of life someone discovers that he/she is sad with no apparent reason, everything seems at worst and nothing excites the person like before, the person is most likely to be suffering from depression.

Depression can be derived from a person’s any past distressing experience, an experience of sexual harassment in childhood and mostly, a person’s loneliness for a wide span of time.

In 2017 the whole world experienced shock when celebrated singer-songwriter of Linkin Park, Chester Bennington committed suicide by hanging himself. Chester was a successful singer, a responsible father and most importantly a public figure. Apparently do we see any valid reason of his suicide? But there were reasons. One of the crucial one was he was sexually and physically abused in his childhood thus led him take this terrible step to end his life.

As it has been said earlier that depression never comes all on a sudden and suddenly one day a person suffering from depression has the blow up. And by this time, that person remains incapable of having support be it his/her family let alone people outside of family in most of the cases. Depression is a global phenomenon. The World Bank recognise depression is a key challenge facing the achievment of SDGs. Depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$1 trillion each year.

A few days ago, one prominent newspaper reported a serious allegation of mental torment on a 7th grader by International School Dhaka.

The student was extremely bullied for having darker skin tone by the student’s peers. Surprisingly after informing the school authority, they did not take any step and after being bullied for several days, the kid stopped going to school out of depression and now is totally detached from education.

It is well known that the urban people are more affected by depression than rural ones. Let me dissect this a bit. Urban life is more machinelike which means almost everyone is in some sort of race. The race is all about who can overtake whom and remain in top of every aspect. And to do this, one needs to toil hard and take more stress. No wonder, this happens day after day making people physically and mentally vulnerable. The stressful, lifestyle of the urban people has also an impact on mental health. The whole thing is like a cycle. One works hard, feels tired and ultimately sick, stays on medication and medication can trigger this issue of depression.

Moreover, there is a tendency widely seen among the urban people that they like to flaunt their achievements, success and wealth. Social media platforms are thus the easier option to do this. Therefore, there is always some sort of unsaid competition of showing off occurs making people depressed who have less to display proudly. Again from a generalised view, this showing off can get one a huge number of friends/followers in social media, how many of them we can get when we need them in person? Isn’t our life is a colorless one away from all the colorful pictures of our social media at the end of the day?

People suffering from depression feels an unexplainable emptiness around them and this feeling of emptiness can be so acute that it can convince a person to commit suicide even.

Robin Williams, the American actor, comedian used to be regarded as the funniest person alive took his life because of this depression. He made kids to the elderly people laugh but who knew he, himself was a sad soul inside?

Regarding this suicidal tendency and depression related issue, one much known stereotype is people will be seen comparing the depressed person to others and saying ‘’ If they can live happily, why cannot you? ‘’ This is because we like to view others life the same way we view ours. Thus, commenting on anything or judging anything from own perspective remains in question.

In this scenario one anonymous quote comes to my mind instantly that says, “if someone asks you, ‘why are you depressed, life is beautiful!’ is like saying, ‘Why do you have asthma? There is so much air!”

Now question comes, is there any way to get rid of depression? But, at first we need to give it recognition that it is really a disease because it can only seek treatment if it is a disease. And yes, depression is a mental disease.

Studies have shown that people are reluctant to seek professional help for depression, especially from mental health professionals. This may be because of the impact of stigma which can involve people's own responses to depression and help-seeking (self stigma) as well as their perceptions of others' negative responses (perceived stigma). The aim of this article was to examine community help-seeking intentions and stigmatizing beliefs associated with depression. Furthermore, many people here believe that mental illness can only happen to people who are ‘mentally weak’ and people who have ‘too much money and time.’ For these individuals, seeking support from a mental health professional is seen to be a sign of ‘weakness’.

There is now an online helpline named ‘’ Kaan pete roi ‘’. It is the first ever emotional support helpline in Bangladesh. I personally think it is a great approach and more like this should be established. However, I also feel people must come out  of this stigma that having mental problem is a very big deal and reach out for real help. Overall, people must talk about it. It is high time.

The writer is a journalist working for

The Independent