Currently, one finds that depression (and its disastrous effects) is on the rise. Suzy Singh lays out a path to beat this illness in six effective steps, enabling the sufferer to emerge a winner and help others in the same dilemma
Just like a violent hurricane lays bare what lies beneath the surface of a beautiful landscape, the current pandemic has brought to light the woes and worries that lie hidden in people’s minds. ‘Depression’ is a word knocking on every door today, and it doesn’t seek your permission to enter. It creeps in stealthily, through the windows of your eyes, that see so much negativity flashed across social media and news channels each day. It enters through your sad heart that lies broken because no one has bothered to check on you, ask how you are doing, or care enough to find out if you still exist. It eats away at your core, silently, as you continue to withdraw from the world, slowly surrendering your dreams, desires, sense of purpose, and the will to live.
Depression infests your mind like an invisible termite. It can go unnoticed for days and months, until it morphs into a dangerous werewolf that eats away at your insides, consuming your body and soul, and eloquently convincing you that you are a black swan who deserves to die. It claimed the life of Sushant Singh Rajput, like so many other talented and successful artistes before, including Jiah Khan, Silk Smitha, Nafisa Joseph, and Parveen Babi, who shone bright and briefly. They ended the game too quickly because they couldn’t bear to keep on living with the heartbreak, pain, loneliness, betrayal, and looming sense of failure.
The interesting thing about depression is that, like death, it is impartial to success. It looks at everyone equally. In its eyes, anyone who has forgotten to sing and dance, has lost faith in themselves, thinks they’ve failed miserably, is shattered by rejection, deception and heartbreak, feels disconnected from everything, and believes there is nothing more to live for is an easy prey. It lurks beneath dark emotions that we so desperately try to hold on to and hide, not realising that by repressing our difficult feelings, we are actually preparing a compost pit of dense emotions that will breed and nourish the deadly darkness within.
If you have recurring encounters with crying spells, panic attacks, feel vulnerable and unsafe, prefer shutting yourself away, have lost your appetite, lie awake in bed all night, and sleep through most of the day, or get upset and irritated over small things, it’s time for you to reach out to someone and bare your heart. It’s quite possible that while you were busy pretending to be strong, bearing the weight of your family, work, relationships, and life, depression entered in through the back door of your mind. If you don’t take timely action now to evict this dismal intruder at the earliest, chances are it will make permanent residence, taking charge of your body and soul soon enough.
Own your depression
If there is one great blessing that the pandemic has brought in its fold, it’s respect for the term ‘Mental health’ and the associated family of afflictions. Depression is today being relieved of stigma and can be owned more easily, hence my request to all the people reading this article: please don’t hide in the closet. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, own the issue and talk to your family and friends. If you don’t feel better after speaking to loved ones, let them get you in touch with a trained mental health professional, counsellor, or coach. You might also benefit from joining an online support group. There are several online mental wellness platforms, where you can become a member for free and receive support anonymously, like the ‘We Listen’ NGO that I serve at as a professional advisor.
However, I do wish to emphasise that to work through and overcome depression, self-regulation is most important. This involves learning to control your harmful thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.
I recommend a six P’s protocol that is very useful and effective in dealing with this condition:
This involves avoiding all things that make you feel unsafe and insecure. Just as you would avoid certain foods if you were trying to lose weight, I suggest you reflect carefully and deeply on what makes you feel unsafe. Make a comprehensive, personalised list that is unique to your context. In the ‘what to avoid’ list, make sure you include every alarming, external trigger that sets off a panic attack; people and statements you are provoked by; situations that overwhelm you; and food, drink, or substances that aggravate your condition. Be equally vigilant of your internal triggers such as negative, punishing, judgmental self-talk and derogatory stories in your head that undermine or devalue you. Abstain from consuming dark media such as melancholic songs and violent, disturbing serials that increase sadness. Also, while there may be a deep urge to self-isolate yourself, remember it will only feed your loneliness, so gather the will to not do this.
Now write up this list and pin it up where you can see it every day, making sure you adhere to it diligently. If you are self-aware and committed to action, half the battle is already won.
It is equally important that you focus your attention on doing things that help you reconnect with life, activating the dried-up wellsprings of joy within you. This is best done by re-engaging with activities that you enjoyed doing as a child or those that bring you pleasure. Rekindle old passions, talents, or gifts, like singing, painting, designing, gardening, baking, knitting, crocheting, cleaning, and organising, all of which can be hugely therapeutic and almost meditative. If your faith in a larger force is still intact, praying can be very powerful. Pray to receive the descent of Grace to find the strength to emerge from your condition. You may also consider joining an online book club, poetry recitation club, or a satsang where you don’t need to meet people physically but can still remain connected to a support group or a common fraternity through voice or video interaction.
Since repressed emotions are key contributors to depression, creating havoc, and hurting the mind, working with and processing repressed emotions is very important. You must learn to get in touch with these uncomfortable feelings, acknowledge them, name them, work with them, release associated negative mental beliefs, and through regular practice, expel trapped emotions. This practice can also help you to look at life in a new light and reinterpret your traumas, experiences, and history in a more useful and compassionate way. As you release trapped emotions and false beliefs, your thinking will begin to transform, and the neurons in your brain will fire in new ways, allowing for brain plasticity to occur. This will allow you to perceive life through happier, healthier filters. For a handy guide on how to process your emotions, please watch the video with the same title on the Suzy Singh YouTube channel.
Depressed people are deficient in happy hormones, which is why activating the body’s organic inner pharmacy to release them is a very useful way of altering brain chemistry without having to take medications. Of course, if the depression is severe, you may require adjunct support through medication for a limited period, but self-regulation and activating the body’s innate intelligence to heal itself is beyond question. Every time you accomplish small tasks, your body releases dopamine, the happy reward chemical. Oxytocin, the bonding chemical, is released through contact and hugging. Serotonin, the mood-elevating chemical, is known to be deficient in depressed people, so make sure you get enough sunlight, which stimulates its release. Exercise releases the pain-relieving endorphins, so do add some daily exercise to your routine. And finally, you can activate the release of GABA, the calming chemical, through yoga and meditation. Several apps today provide free meditations. I suggest you use guided meditations, as these are a great way to begin your meditation practice. In case you have trouble sleeping at night, you can listen to binaural beat music. These aids help in slowing down brain wave activity and facilitate sleep, allowing the body to heal itself.
If you’ve done all of the above and you still don’t feel better, or if your condition seems to be worsening, it’s time to call the GP or family doctor and ask him to refer you to a trusted psychiatrist, psychologist, or psychotherapist. After a series of tests, a psychiatrist will determine whether or not you require medication. People who have been through depression usually recommend that you take at least two opinions before you start medicating yourself. Always go with the professional you feel more comfortable with and who is easily contactable. Once you start taking the meds, it’s best to be vigilant about dosages and not miss or skip them. If you are not tolerating a particular medicine too well, always mention it to your physician and ask for a change. Please remember, medication is only a support for a limited period and must not be treated as a crutch or a cure. Also, please remember that psychiatric drugs should never be stopped suddenly or without consulting the doctor as this can shock the body and adversely affect you. Unfortunately, many people do exactly this despite knowing they shouldn’t. Be kind to yourself, and if you feel strongly about stopping medication against the doctor’s recommendation, tell him exactly that. Be firm, but let him decide how to wean them off.
Finally, like a ship anchors itself to the shore, it’s important that you seek out something that anchors you to life, something that you can hang your ‘will to live’ on. This will give you purpose and strength to pull yourself out of the dark, depressive place that you may presently be in. Some people find purpose within their families, like choosing to live on for their ageing parents or taking care of a younger sibling they feel responsible for. Others milk their trauma and embrace causes, becoming catalysts and agents of change in their workplaces or communities by setting up or supporting shelters and NGOs, or by blogging, writing, and giving voice to the unspoken and unheard, through social activism and other ways of allowing their pain to bring light into the lives of others. Find something that is deeply personal, meaningful, and inspiring for you, and let that serve as a beacon of hope.
When you overcome depression, you don’t just help yourself; you help all others, making it easier for every other depressed person in the world to rise and shine. You add critical mass to the quantum of people who have beaten depression, and this facilitates behavioural transformation at the collective level on the planet. By extracting the awareness and wisdom that the experience of depression has awakened in you, going forward, you can make an inspiring vaccine from it. You can inject hope in people by telling them your story. You can support and help them to emerge from the same dark, dreary place where you find yourself today. You can derive comfort, satisfaction, and purpose in life by becoming their pathfinder, by navigating and gently helping them to reconnect back safely, to courage, faith, and life.
Life Positive follows a stringent review publishing mechanism. Every review received undergoes -
Only after we're satisfied about the authenticity of a review is it allowed to go live on our website
Our award winning customer care team is available from 9 a.m to 9 p.m everyday
All our healers and therapists undergo training and/or certification from authorized bodies before becoming professionals. They have a minimum professional experience of one year
All our healers and therapists are genuinely passionate about doing service. They do their very best to help seekers (patients) live better lives.
All payments made to our healers are secure up to the point wherein if any session is paid for, it will be honoured dutifully and delivered promptly
Every seekers (patients) details will always remain 100% confidential and will never be disclosed