My WhatsApp profile picture is black today and my status message says, "My brain is my enemy." So far, only one friend noticed and asked, "Is it as a tribute to the depressed journo?" Yes, it is.
She jumped from the fifth floor down to her death. And all the note in her handbag said was "My brain is my enemy."
Radhika Reddy, a Telugu news anchor, was suffering from depression and she knew it. What prevented her from seeking professional help, I wonder. Is it the social taboo attached to mental illness?
Many of us know we have depression, anxiety, obsession...but we never seek professional help because our society believes mental illness is a curse. Even educated people like Radhika shy away from seeing a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist.
Radhika probably just jumped into impulsive suicide and could have been saved with timely intervention. The term 'impulsive suicide' probably makes no sense to people who have never experienced depression. Please note that, depression, unlike mere unhappiness, is usually a longer, deeper feeling of hopelessness.
Suicidal depression is like an impulsive need to kill oneself. It's not that death suddenly seems very attractive to a depressed person. It is not true that depressed people are unafraid of death.
It is more like the need to jump out of the window of a high-rise building on fire. It's not that they are not afraid of death or of falling. It's the terror of the approaching flames that makes them jump out of the window. That's what happens when a depressed person is desperately trying to run away from the flames that seem to be burning him. He just leaps out of the window to save himself from the flames. He leaps to his death to run away from all the things that seem to depress him. "And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling." writes American novelist David Foster Wallace.
When I go through depression, I just want the people around me to understand that mood disorders like depression does not mean my character is flawed or that I am a weak person. Depression is not something that will go away by simply thinking positive. So, stop telling me to think positive and hang on!
Depression is a medical condition caused by a change in the chemistry of the body and the brain. When I am depressed, I am probably feeling intensely sad without any particular reason. I am probably feeling low in energy and am unable to concentrate. I am fighting my own brain, my mind. You may suggest going back to my hobbies because you know it gave me happiness at one time. But do you even understand that when I am going through depression, I really don't want to do the things I once loved?
Don't ask me what exactly is it that is making me feel so depressed! It may help others. I don't know. Every time you ask me this, I wish I could shout back and say, "Damn it! I don't know what it is. I am just fighting the chemical locha in my brain. Leave me alone."
Even if I tell you to leave me alone, when you think I am depressed, just be there. Be around to hold my hand, to hug me, to listen to me.. or just let me know you are there just in case I need you. Depression is difficult...for you, my friends and family, and for me.