Depression is a big cause of suicide – with its vice grip on the mind and an inability to see through the fog.
A few days go, a friend of friends of mine committed suicide, someone I’d met casually at a couple of mutual friends’ parties and did not exchange more than a few words with. Suffice to say, I did not know him very well.
But that was not the reason why shock or stunned surprise wasn’t my initial reaction. It was of jaded hopelessness, a regretful sadness. As time goes by and one gets older, you see too many people bogged down and in these extreme cases, struck down by life’s vicissitudes, unable to find the means – internally or externally – of coping with their problems and pain.
Meanwhile, my friends who were the boy’s friends, are besides themselves with shock and grief. They rerun every last conversation they had with him in the last year, his messages they did not find time to respond to, all the obvious signs they missed, why they never saw it coming and never thought he would take such a step. Why he did reach out to them, but then didn’t. Well, lets us not even think of the pain, the grief his family is going through.
I didn’t press for details on how he took his life – how is that any more important than the stark fact that a young man with everything to live for, the rest of his life and plenty of youth still ahead of him, felt that snuffing it out was a better option?
He left a message of some sort, the gist of which conveyed dashed dreams and a future that he couldn’t foresee. Again, not clear on the details, but it’s obvious that he gave up hope. What’s life anyway without hope? The two are actually the same, to be used interchangeably. We don’t know what’s coming tomorrow, in spite of our careful planning and progress-making endeavours. Life is just a blueprint we draw for ourselves on the basis of what we’re hoping for.
There’s many a narrative in hindsight about people who commit suicide: that they didn’t think it through, they were too hasty, if only they’d waited some more until things got better, or sought counselling. But how do we know anything about their mental turmoil without walking a mile in their shoes? Depression is a big cause of suicide – with its vice grip on the mind and an inability to see through the fog. Even doing simple things and going about daily life needs a mighty juggernaut of mental strength or outside help.
Over the years, I’ve seen people I know, or knew by association, driven to kill themselves for reasons primarily falling into these categories: either something drastic or tragic that happened to them out of the blue or a long, festering slide downwards in life or career that they could not pull themselves out of in spite of fighting long and valiantly. Often a battle only known to themselves, as all our personal battles are.
There was the higher secondary student who decided she wouldn’t get good enough grades for the university of her choice, and took her life before the exam results were even announced. The young wife and mother of an infant who fell into depression and killed herself a week later – while remaining strong outwardly – after her husband died in a road accident. Even the thought of her baby wasn’t enough to keep her going. Then there was this classmate of mine and later, colleague, who couldn’t take it anymore when he was fired from the job. I’d watched him struggle among the better educated, competitive and socially upwardly mobile classmates, but didn’t actually (see) it until in hindsight. Through sheer will, he drove himself to get his dream job – his hope. Then he lost it.
On the other end, I have also met someone who lost his entire fortune in events affected by 26/11 and had to pay off debts, too. He said he contemplated suicide, seriously. But somehow he held on and worked for years to pay it all off.
Such is life, or death.
Here are Some Ways that Can Help Fight Depression:
Of course, you might have to depend on medication to fight depression completely, but these easy methods can really support you and help break the strings.
1. Stay connected
Although during depression you would want to go in isolation and refrain from meeting or talking to any friends, family, or relatives, it is very important to stay socially connected. It might seem very difficult but it will help in uplifting your mood. Try joining new classes in order to make new friends, go out with your close relatives for a cup of coffee, accompany someone for movies, plan a weekly dinner party or go out for a walk.
2. Pursue your hobby
Indulge yourself in doing things that make you feel good. Even if you don’t feel like doing it push yourself and just do it. Plan short trips, listen to music, play games, read books or paint, watch a funny movie, do something adventurous or spontaneous. It will definitely give you a change of environment and help to take your mind off. Even relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing and meditation might prove beneficial.
3. Food and mood
The food we consume has a direct impact on how we feel. Avoid consuming foods like caffeine, meat, alcohol and other foods with high chemical preservatives as they might affect your brain adversely. Make sure to eat at regular intervals as elongated gaps between meals can cause irritability and fatigue. Junk foods like sugary snacks, baked or fried food should be avoided as they can cause mood swings and addiction. Vitamin B deficiency can trigger depression hence consume more quantities of citrus fruits, eggs, leafy vegetables and beans.
4. Soak up some sun
Sunlight helps in boosting serotonin levels which can uplift your mood. As and when possible expose yourself to the sun for at least 15 minutes in day. You can go take a walk during work breaks, have coffee with a friend out in the open, open the blindfolds in your room or go for a walk in the garden.