it isn’t as easy as it seems or sounds

I read this letter that was published in Today:

One of the sentences that the contributor mentioned resonated.

Some of my friends tended to conclude that people suffering from depression can be self-cured.

I wonder if these opinions from some of the contributor’s friends were adequately measured before made. Depression is a condition that is easily comprehended or that can be emphathised by those who have not been through it. It is not as simple as telling the person that he or she should just “be brave”, “cheer up and relax”, or perhaps even “get over it” like I have often heard. They don’t get that, it is not really within the person’s ability or mental capacity to move on, get over it, or just relax and see the brighter side of things. Maybe, for certain cases it is possible, depending on the severity, but in a lot of cases I believe, it isn’t. That is the reason why we have psychiatrists and psychologists, who are a form of intervention to help the person do so. We didn’t just create two types of medical professionals for the sake of job growth or to spur employment numbers. It just gets annoying or perhaps even worrying when people who may be close friends of the person make light of the situation and tell him or her to get a grip and snap out of it. The only thing that they are contributing towards is the person reaching the end of the tether and losing it totally.

Besides this, there is the stigma in our society, yes in cosmopolitan Singapore, of being viewed as a sufferer of depression, or as someone seeking help for depression. Most of the time, they may recognise that they are facing a problem and seek help but secretly without the knowledge of family and loved ones, which is really important because these are their inner circle who should be aware to lend that vital pillar of support. Nobody wants to be called a looney, which is what the stigma is about. In more serious cases, the person may not even recognise that there is a problem but instead ruminate ceaselessly on how he or she can break free from the avalanche of negative thoughts that threatens to down out one’s sanity, i.e. to ‘snap out of it’. Somehow, economic and societal progress has brought about an immense pressure on people who cannot cope mentally with the stresses of life and all that encompasses life. Perhaps sometimes, things change too quickly and drastically for the individual to handle, or personality traits could also have influenced the way the person reacts to the cards that life deals you with.

Depression is becoming more common in our modern world, yet in terms of recognising its severity and taking calculated steps to addressing it, we do not seem to have progressed in tandem.

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