India, the most depressed country

depressed-countryOne more suicide in the showbiz – the young actress known for her lead role, ‘Aanandi’ in the popular show on Colors, ‘Balika Vadhu’, killed herself. And this time too, the cause of death was said to be depression. After getting out of ‘Balika Vadhu’, she was seen on various reality shows, and was yet to get a regular show with a good role, and it is speculated if the bad phase accentuated her depression forcing her to take the decision. She was in a relationship with Rahul Raj Singh and was set to marry him. Was it personal life or career issues – is still in debate. Yet, one thing is clear – here is yet another life sacrificed to the glitz of showbiz.

A few other shocking celebrity deaths that we immediately remember in this context are of the young actress Jiah Khan, and a few years down the line, the promising actress Divya Bharathi. How can we forget the unfortunate death of great director Guru Dutt several years ago, and the legendary actress Meena Kumari, who literally drunk herself to death? Down south, the sad story of Silk Smitha has made its way onto the silver screen.

The list can only get longer and longer if we include all the lives that have either gone into oblivion or lost forever, succumbing to depression, even though they were not suicides in real sense. This problem is not limited to celebrities alone. India has 36% of depression rate in the world, making it the most depressed country. According to recent statistics, on an average, atleast one lakh deaths in a year are caused by suicides.

Yet, depression, as a mental condition that can be treated with expert intervention is hardly discussed in our country. Infact, it is a taboo to visit a doctor to get treated for depression or any other mental health issue. We stay in a constant state of denial.

In order to inspire people to discuss problems such as depression and insecurity, one of the top actresses of Hindi film industry, Deepika Padukone had spoken openly about how she had this feeling of emptiness despite having everything working out for her, career-wise, and how she would break into tears at the slightest pretext during that phase (in 2013). With help and advice from her mother, she met a therapist followed by a psychiatrist, who helped her deal with her depression.

Deepika shared these details on a TV show hoping to impact lives of several others who try dealing with depression on their own, and in most cases end up mental wrecks.

Dr Shyam, Deepika’s psychiatrist said in an interview, “We all have experienced sadness but we assume that the sadness is going to pass and we also start feeling bad about our own sadness. There is a certain amount of guilt and shame associated with this condition which is no other condition has it. If you have high blood sugar you are not alone in your room feeling bad about your low blood sugar. If you have a broken bone people come and say listen you are hurt can we help you. With depression it is a lonely, isolating, private condition that a person cannot even share in our country.”

Five tell-tale signs of depression

1. You lose interest in things and activities that you earlier loved doing.

2. You start experiencing difficulty in sleeping.

3. You get easily angry and irritable.

4. You lose confidence, experience negative thoughts that include feeling lonely and helpless.

5. If neglected, depression can increase suicidal tendencies.

Celebrities or no celebrities, depression is common and a lesser evil if it is given timely attention, and for this psychological assessment, therapy and clinical attention are a must.

Medaram Jathara

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