March 26, 2018
By Nana Zuke
Depression is one of the most painful medical conditions that people deal with on a regular basis. Even more so because people deal with depression behind closed doors with no assistance. People get to a point where the sadness and hurt is unbearable that they sometimes end up taking their own lives.
There are 23 suicides in South Africa daily and one in four teens have tried to commit suicide. One in three hospital admissions for suicide involve youth. This is according to The South African Anxiety and Depression Group. The sad truth about the society we live in is that most people feel so alone but they have to put up a front just so they fit in.
People suffering from depression are often ashamed to talk about it because there is still some stigma attached to it. Very few people view depression as an illness. Victims tend to try and deal with it on their own, hoping that one day they will suddenly feel whole and happy again. The danger of dealing with such an illness solely takes its toll on the victim, putting more emotional strain on the person suffering from it.
Shakira Mahabeer, Student Councillor at ICESA said it is always very helpful to speak to someone when an individual is depressed. “A parent, teacher or religious leader. Surround yourself with positive people, it’s also very important to eat healthily and exercise. Journaling can be a great way to unload negative thoughts. Seek professional help to find the cause of your depression and if you need medication, join a support group. Shared experiences lets one know that they are not alone,” said Shakira.
Dealing with something as complicated and sensitive as depression can leave an individual feeling helpless. Students don’t reach out to professionals when they start feeling down and under, instead, they turn to drugs and alcohol. However, these just provide a temporary fix. There is no need to feel helpless and alone when you are depressed. There are a variety of channels in a college or university environment that are especially dedicated to ensuring that the journey you embark on is a positive and successful one. The academic staff is always there to assist you.
“As part of the Work Readiness Programme at ICESA, last year we held workshops every month which was open to all students which covered topics such as communication, improving self-esteem, stress management,” said Shakira.
To start your journey of healing, change your routine and start doing things that are emotionally rewarding to you. Set goals for yourself. Goal setting gives you purpose and direction, also knowing exactly what you want to work towards and achieve for yourself can be great motivation. Start with small achievable weekly or even monthly goals. Draw up a bucket list for yourself and tick items off the list once you have completed them. Tracking all your small and big achievements is a great confidence booster.
Social media can also be very toxic. You have to monitor the content and people you allow into your personal space in social media. Any content that leaves you feeling demotivated and pulls you down should be blocked. The good thing about social media is that you have total control of what you see on your timeline. Start following positive people who motivate you with tips to better your life and get rid of those who promote unreasonable beauty standards.
Avoid stress including activities and keep away from individuals that do not add value to the person you are working on becoming. Instead, focus on yourself and all the things that make you happy. Start putting more effort into your personal development and make daily affirmations that lift up your mood.