When the mind causes pain – Depression occurs

A mental health disorder which associated in the elevation or lowering of one’s mood swings. At its worst, it has a high probability of being the cause of death.
Image: Internet

“The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night,” said Friedrich Nietzsche, one of history’s known depressives.

A mental illness is a physical illness of the brain that causes disturbances in thinking, behavior, energy or emotion that make it difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life. Although mental illnesses and mental health have been affecting many people, it is still seen as a taboo in our community.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) has reported that one person commits suicide every 40 seconds; making suicide the third leading cause of death. SADAG has also reported that men are five times more likely to commit suicide than women. This being because of societal beliefs that men should remain strong, even under distress.

There are many ways to notice when someone close has anxiety and depression. Here is a list of that to look out for in your friends/family to notice if they have depressive episodes:

  1. The person is less optimistic than they normally are. A sudden shift in the way a person views the world can be a first telltale of what they might be going through.
  2. Substance abuse as a form of escapism. Most people turn to alcohol abuse or drug abuse to escape reality. Oversleeping and having no energy for anything else can also be seen as a symptom.
  3. Disinterest in hobbies or activities they usually enjoy. People with depression usually stop taking part in activities they previously enjoyed.
  4. Being short tempered or irritable.

Although these are not the only signs to tell if someone has depression. They are a guide to trying to have a conversation with a depressive person and trying to reassure them and seek help. These symptoms might look different in people with high-functioning depression. The signs and symptoms of high-functioning depression are similar to those caused by major depression but are less severe. They may include changes in eating and sleeping habits, low self-esteem, fatigue, hopelessness, and difficulty concentrating.

High-functioning depression allows the person to be able to function mostly normally, going to work or school, performing well, keeping up with responsibilities at home, and engaging in most social activities; making this type of depression hard to spot in others. High-functioning does not mean fully functioning, symptoms will still be there but less visible. For more information, please visit https://www.sadag.org/images/brochures/Depression%20Brochure.pdf .

When the mind causes pain will be a segment in The Village Mag exploring mental health and trying to remove the stigma around it. Different mental health issues will be explored with every new magazine update. Remember to seek help if you notice some of the symptoms named in this article. Contact the Suicide Helpline, available to offer free 24-hour telephone counseling, crisis intervention, information and referrals nationwide on 0800 567 567 or via SMS 31393.

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