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Saturday, Sep 05, 2020 12:45 [IST]

Last Update: Saturday, Sep 05, 2020 07:04 [IST]

The ills that plague us

Much has been debated and discussed threadbare and vilified by self-appointed activities and justice seekers over the untimely death of celebrated actor Sushant Singh Rajput. There are over a dozen national news channels devoting their entire airtime on conspiracy theories and who killed Sushant ever since his demise. The rising baritones for “justice for Sushant” and the numerous hashtags in his name going viral on various social media platforms these past few months have effectively buried one crucial element linked to his death: depression and mental health issues.

Even as the investigating agencies struggle to find why or how Sushant died, many across social media and off it are raising questions on “how could he”, despite having a soaring career graph and fame, “do such a thing”. He was happy. He was cheerful. He had plans for the future. So “he couldn’t have killed himself”.

While we are not here to comment or cast aspirations on the entire case and endorse any possible angle that may have led to his death-murder or suicide, let us not forget that depression is real. And it kills.

Depression is an illness that knows no boundaries. It is not selective and does not discriminate against anyone, whatever their age, gender, race, religion, nationality, or economic level. It affects people from all walks of life. It causes them psychic pain, loss of pleasure, inability to connect with loved ones, family and friends, poor performance at work, loss of energy and loss of hope. The sad reality is that untreated depression too often leads to suicide.

One of the common misunderstandings about depression is that it’s similar to feeling sad or down. Although many people with depression feel sadness, it feels much more severe than emotions that come and go in response to life events. The symptoms of depression can last for months or years and can make it difficult or impossible to carry on with daily life.

It can disrupt careers, relationships, and daily tasks such as self-care and housework.
Depression is predicted to soon become the leading cause of disability worldwide. As depression statistics continue to rise, it is more important than ever that we recognize depression as a “medical” illness and continue our efforts to erase the negative stigma that still surrounds it.

Many people mistakenly believe that being depressed is a choice, or that they need to have a positive attitude. Friends and loved ones often get frustrated or don’t understand why a person can’t “snap out of it.” They may even say that the person has nothing to be depressed about. Behind closed doors, a person might be self-harming themselves and walking out wearing a bright blue full-sleeves ruffled top or leather jacket with a devil-may-care attitude to swap the mental blues with a classy outlook. This does not negate the fact that they are not suffering silently, just without drawing attention.

Just because we don’t see depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses nor see people’s brain chemistry and their life experiences that brought them into the dark terror in the first place, is the reason there’s so much stigma attached to it. It has a crippling and insulting effect when the person suffering from it is questioned or dissed about it. Society needs to snap out of this mindset and acknowledge that depression is real and can be treated, like all other illnesses.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi