Down with the Big D


Bazila Nazir

JOY, peace, and hope are blessings. And we understand the value of good mental health when faced with dark tunnels of depression.

According to research, during the Covid-10 pandemic, depression increased by 50%, irrespective of age and gender. Actually for decades, Kashmir has been facing mental health issues. Covid-19 just came and made things tougher. Also, the political turmoil in the Valley added fuel to the fire.

The cruel circle of events comprising torture, disappearance, displacement, killings, ballistic trauma, etc., have caused grief, insecurity, uncertainties of career and relationships. And among the worst affected have been students and the youth of Kashmir.

Let it be understood – depression is a psychiatrist disability. Depression has caused major psychological morbidity in Kashmir, and there has been a rising trend among clinicians of prescribing antidepressants more than in the past. The two-decade long conflict in the Valley has caused what can be called ‘low-intensity conflict’.

The burden of depression is rising in the Valley, affecting both the working and social lives of individuals. The prevalence of hopelessness is 55.72%. There is also a significant difference in the prevalence of depression among males and females and rural and urban areas.

Jammu Kashmir has a population of around 12.5 million and there are some 41 psychiatrists, who are mostly affiliated at teaching hospitals in the two cities of Jammu and Srinagar. There is an instant need for the development of mental health services in Kashmir.

Conducting of awareness programmes is not enough to deal with the trauma. There is an urgent need for researchers, clinicians and policy makers for devising policies and interventions in the context of the widespread mental health statement of the Kashmiri population.

  • The dangerous signs

The depressed often feel worthless and also experience inappropriate guilt wherein they may often think ‘it’s all my fault’ or ‘what’s the point’.

There is also a general loss of interest or withdrawal from activities that were previously looked forward to like sports, hobbies, going out with friends.

Looking towards death is another dangerous signs. Abasement is sometimes connected to suicide. Reports often says that the, Kashmiris who have died by suicide in recent years had shown signs of abasement or mental health issues.

Increased fatigue and sleep problems too are a sign of depression. People living with abasement might stop doing things they enjoy because they feel very tired. Abasement often comes with a lack of energy and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue, which can be among its most debilitating manifestations. This can lead to excessive sleeping.

Anxiety too is an off-shoot of abasement and often occurs along with rapid heart rate and heavy or shallow breathing. Feelings of danger, panic, dread, restlessness or a sense of tension are all connected to this state.

Uncontrollable emotions too are a sign of depression. One moment one would have a sudden outburst of anger; the next moment, tears would be flowing uncontrollably. Abasement can cause mood swings that fluctuate wildly and it has nothing to do with anything outside of the person experiencing them.

Upset and tired boy teenager sitting on the floor keeps hand to cheek looking thoughtfully and hopeless. Stressed student guy feels emotional discomfort, anxiety and mental health problems.
  • Control this low

Small lifestyle changes may help manage these feelings. Consult a psychiatrist since it’s more effective for most people with depression. Thinking positively is also a must. Also, know that today isn’t indicative of tomorrow. A simple solution is challenging negative thoughts with positive thinking. Do something you enjoy, spend time with loved ones, practise gratitude, and consider limiting drugs and alcohol.

Also, remember, ‘when you will not go to worship, then it is obvious that you will go into depression’.

Dr. Mehran, a psychiatrist shares with KC, “Depression is rampant in J&K due to several factors. Most of them are unemployment, three decades of violent madness, drug abuse, almost absent opportunities for our youth and cultural degradation. We have official figures, mainly from NGOs that say that depression is spreading like cancer in the Valley. These figures are incontestable”.

“Depression leads to anxiety and crime. We already have many other issues at hand and so my advice is to consult a psychiatrist as early as possible and take proper guidance from peers before indulging your depressive thoughts. Depression can be cured and a person can live a peaceful life,” adds Dr Mehran.


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