If there is one way to describe how I feel today, it’s this: hopeless.
I don’t feel like getting out of bed, because I don’t feel like there’s anything that I can look forward to.
Malaysian food, which used to bring me such pleasure, doesn’t seem appetizing anymore.
The things I used to love such as shopping or even meeting up with my friends, do not bring me joy anymore.
Completing a task throughout my day is a real achievement, as I can’t seem to focus, and I feel tired most of the time.
My family think that I am simply lazy, unenergetic, or unmotivated, but deep down I know that it is not true. I’m simply depressed and everything just feels so hopeless.
-Your Loved One
Depression, a Silent Killer
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression is a common mental disorder and approximately 280 million globally suffer from depression. Among the common causes of depression are impactful life events such as the death of a loved one, unemployment, or divorce.
Symptoms of depression include a feeling of hopelessness, lack of appetite (or turning to food as a source of comfort and end up overeating), unable to sleep (or sleeping excessively), unable to focus, and a loss of interest in activities that used to bring joy. The person will also face challenges in personal, family, social, educational, occupation, and/or other important areas of function. Depending on this impact as well as the number or severity of the symptoms, there are different categories of depression such as mild, moderate, or severe.
What’s the Difference Between Grief and Depression?
It is important to know that there are differences between grief and depression, although both of them share similar features and may overlap. According to this Mental Health Handbook, when a person is grieving, the painful feeling comes in waves, intermingled with positive memories of the deceased. However, in major depression, the mood of the person stays low for most of the two weeks. Secondly, even when a person is grieving, he or she usually maintains his self-esteem. However, in major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
A Depressed Malaysia?
According to the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey, almost 500,000 Malaysian experience symptoms of depression. Additionally, results from a nationwide survey in Malaysia that was published in the journal, ‘Escalating Progression of Mental Health Disorders During the Covid-10 Pandemic: Evidence from A Nationwide Survey’ revealed that mental health symptoms, especially depression and anxiety, have been overwhelmingly prevalent in the Malaysian population as the Covid-19 pandemic progressed. During the end of the data collection period (4 August to 5 September 2020), there were high percentages of reported depressive (59.2%) and anxiety (55.1%) symptoms compared with stress (30.6%) symptoms.
I am Depressed: What Should I Do?
If you are suffering from depression, the first step you should take is to reach out for support from your family members, loved ones, or trusted companions, even if you don’t feel like doing it. Remember that seeking help is not a sign of weakness.
There are also other things that you can do. Never underestimate the benefits of doing simple things like taking a walk in the park or going for a run. You may not feel like doing either of those things, but it can help to elevate your mood. Or how about meeting up with a friend for a drink? Leaving your room or house can also lift your mood.
If you want to seek professional help but you’re concerned about the cost of doing so, here is a list of 10 affordable mental health service providers in the Klang Valley. Alternatively, if you’re not sure if you’re actually depressed, click here to take a free mental health test.
My Loved One Is Depressed – How Can I Help?
It can be hard watching someone you love suffering from depression. If you would like to know how you can help them, here are several suggestions for you:
- Understand that it will take time for your loved one to recover from depression. Be patient and gentle with them.
- If your loved one is willing to talk about it, spend time talking to them and let them know that you are there for them. Your support can mean so much to them.
- Share little details of your life with your loved one if they are open to listening. Sometimes, hearing about your life stories could help them break through the fog of depression or a sense of isolation. It can also help to reassure them of their sense of self-worth.
- Offer to drive or accompany your loved one if they are getting professional help.
- Don’t get frustrated with yourself if you feel you are not making any progress with your loved one, especially after repeated conversations with your loved one. Patience is key.
Will You Be a Beacon of Hope?
It is undeniable that depression is becoming more common these days, in a society still reeling from the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. That is why we must be aware of the symptoms of depression so that we can be a beacon of hope in the lives of those we know who are suffering in the dark abyss of depression.
“You will never understand the hell I feel inside my head.” – Unknown
Hannah Becca is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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