11 Tackling Depression: An Apostolate-in-waiting - Noel D’Silva

posted Feb 14, 2019, 10:15 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 14, 2019, 10:15 AM ]

Will Somebody Help Me?

A cry that is heard many a time.

She is huddled up, head resting in her cupped hands. Padma is just 25, a successful bank officer. Yet, she seems to have lost hope or whatever. She has all but retreated into herself. In rare moments of sharing, she confesses that she does not understand what is happening to her. Maybe it is the work climate. Maybe it is the fact that her 'boyfriend' has given up on her. Maybe it is the coming and going of a skin ailment that she thinks will ultimately disfigure her. She does admit that 'dark thoughts' do cross her mind.

Can Padma be helped to come out of her depressive moods?

Then there was Desmond. An intelligent, ambitious and well-liked young man he was. He had just finished his B.Sc. with Computer Science as his special subject. However, his doting parents wanted him to join the medical profession. Long and sometimes heated arguments took place. Desmond pleaded with his parents to understand that he was not made to be a medical doctor; the sight of blood would make him puke, and he just could not, would not be a doctor. For some days, Desmond's parents sensed that something radically wrong was taking place in the life of their son. They ran helter-skelter, searching for advice, a counsellor, anyone who could be of help to their son and themselves. And then it happened. They found a note scribbled: "Nobody understood me."

Are there identifiable symptoms of this ailment that is more often than not pushed under the carpet? Some of them can be listed, such as: a loss of self-confidence and self-esteem; a feeling of overwhelming sadness most of the time; negative thoughts about oneself, life and the future; a lack of interest in companionship, and a pervading consciousness of guilt.

It is very important that the symptoms of depression be acknowledged, especially when a near and dear one shows signs of this affliction. It is also imperative that immediate steps be taken to address this life-threatening condition. As a caregiver, one can be more understanding, supportive and caring. One should listen, listen and listen with great empathy, and encourage the sufferer to speak up and share. If, in the course of the sharing, hints come up on suicide, immediately inform a psychiatrist.

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