Tuesday, 12 September 2017

DEPRESSION AND ITS STIGMA

The past two weeks, I've heard of people who committed suicide.

As a Nigerian, I know that my fellow Nigerians love life more than anything. So, when I heard two Nigerians commited suicide; I was perplexed.

As Fela's music says, we are people who are "suffering and smiling" 
We find a way to overcome our stress,sorrows, grief through laughing at what we go through and comparing sometimes, our troubled times with another's to encourage ourselves.
We are also supposedly very religious (now that is a topic for another day) and use this as a shield to cover certain things we go through and laugh it off whilst dying in silence.

Today, I want to look a little into depression. 

I have been told severally that as a Christian one cannot be depressed.
I mean, seriously?? (I seriously feel like preaching) 

Let us first look at what depression is and it's triggers. 

Depression can be defined as a common and medical serious illnes that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.[American Psychiatry Association ]

Depression  does not really have a single cause, but there are certain reasons that can trigger it.  Like redundancy, bereavement, divorce, illness, rape, money worry [how to pay bills or any expenses].

A stressful event like a breakup in a relationship could bring about depression without the person even realising it. 

Finding out something really scary about ones husband or wife or someone you truly trust could also trigger depression. 

Depression can also be seen in the history of some families and can reoccur in other generations.

It could come from loneliness. For people who for one reason or another have been cut off by family and friends, they tend to fall into depression.

Child Birth can also sometimes bring about depression. It could be due to physical changes or hormonal changes.

Trying to conceive for years sometimes triggers depression. 

There are probably a lot more triggers for depression but there are treatments for it. 

Because depression is a form of mental disorder, people do not want to be associated with it. 

They don't want to be stigmatised.
Stigma is a very complex concept.
It can be perceived public stigma - how people view mental disorder /depression within the society.
It could be self stigma- this how the person in question views his or her ailment and it could be personal stigma- an individual view or belief of mental illness.

In Nigeria today, depression is still seen as something extreme. Some people would still call a person with depression "mad" or as it is called in Yoruba language "wèrè".  Nobody wants to be stigmatised or called  a mad person. 
So, they hide rather than seek for help. In the process, get worse.

If you are going through any related symptoms or anything that could trigger it, please talk to someone.
Do not stay quiet.  Do not hide in shame.

Remember, it is not your fault.
Anyone could have any ailment.
No one wants to be diagnosed with malaria, cancer,  depression or even dementia.

But when you find yourself in such dilemma, do not hesitate to seek help. Speak to a professional.
If you don't want to start with a professional, then speak to someone close.

Learning about your depression treatment options helps you decide what approach of treatment is right for you. From therapy to medication or even a healthy lifestyle  like exercises. 

There are many effective treatments that can help overcome depression. So, don't stay silent. Speak up, speak out.

For those who are being confided in, please do not mock your friend or family coming to you out of trust.
Neither should you go about spreading what has been discussed in confidence around and making the person feel worse than they already do.

Let us learn to show love to one another.. A smile goes a long way and checking on a friend goes the extra mile.

You never know what your call, text or visit has stopped from occurring.

Depression is such a deep topic that I'm sure there are loads more to talk about.

Do share your views and opinions. 
Drop a comment or two, let us know how you feel about depression or its triggers. 

Remember, you are never alone.
Keep smiling and please stay sparkling.

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