Adesuwa Ojo is a 17 year old student of University of Lagos currently studying philosophy. Although this is her first published work she has always had a passion for writing and has written series of articles.
Check out what she has to say about Depression..
DEPRESSION; THE SILENT KILLER OF NIGERIANS
For quite a while now depression has been spreading its evil wings all across the nation going from household to household bringing grief upon families. We more often hear of people who jumped over bridges, overdosed, hung themselves and many much more all in a bid to end their life and this leaves us very baffled as to why one would want to take his or her own life. For example, not too long ago, we heard the story of Allwell Orji, a well established medical doctor who dashed out of his sport’s utility vehicle and jumped over the third mainland bridge into the Lagos lagoon this strange happening left Nigerians in shock as to why such a well established man who is an envy to many of his peers would want to end his life. And now over time we more often hear of such heart breaking news and this is not an issue that should be swept under the carpet because sooner or later a large percent of the able bodied men, women, youths and even children would have committed suicide leaving the country to it’s doom but sadly, the idea of depression is not seen as anything important that even requires attention in Nigeria. And as a matter of fact in budgeting for the health sectors the mental health sector is allocated the smallest percentage. It has even been noticed that 4 out every 10 Nigerian women and 1 out of every 10 men women are depressed. According to the WHO 7,079,815 Nigerians suffer from depression which is approximately 3.9% and this might as a matter of fact be untrue because very little percentage actually open up about their depression. When many Nigerians are asked about their view on depression they view it as a something unserious, as a phase that should just be gotten over with but to the very best of knowledge it is not such an easy step to get out of depression and continue with life.
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
Depression is often time mistaken for stress although stress is a causative factor of depression they are not particularly the same. Stress is defined as a state of mental strain resulting from a demanding circumstance or even daily responsibilities. Depression on the other hand has more than this to itself. Depression is a form of mental and mood disorder often characterized with persistent sadness, loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities, inability to concentrate, withdrawal, unexplained episodes of crying, severe mood swings in short periods of time, sudden interest in drugs and sedatives or even a noticeable increase in the quantity taken. Depression also exhibits a feeling of tiredness, worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt, disappointment, frustration and many other negative attributes. It begins to groom negative thoughts such as “life is not worth living”, “what am I living for” and many much more and as the thoughts wink in more and more it makes life more difficult to manage from day to day. Depression is not discriminative. It affects everyone regardless of age religion gender social or economic status. Therefore we should never assume anyone cannot be depressed but instead we should watch out for one another.
WHAT CAUSES DEPRESSION?
There are a series of reasons why people get depressed and in fact various types of depression. Depression can be caused by genetics. If a family has a history of clinical depression it is most likely to affect the forth coming generation at some point in their life. Depression could also be caused by an individual’s personality, for example a person with low self esteem or a reckless lifestyle or even someone who is overly careful could easily be affected by depression. Sadists, pessimists also are at the mercy of depression. Also depression could be caused by recession/ economic instability, this is most likely the leading cause of depression in most depressed Nigerians. In Nigeria, the recession seems to have come to stay with no plans of ever leaving, also the issue of unemployment most youths commit suicide when they start to think of where they fit in the society, how to pay back their parents how to live a comfortable life and as they begin to think these thoughts and no answers seem to be coming forth they begin to get scared, then frustrated and slowly it becomes depression which most times lead to suicide. Depression can also be caused by the environment one grew up in or lives in. A child who sees a lot of violence maybe the parents are always getting involved in physical combat is prone to depression. Also depression can be caused by a feeling of neglect, a feeling that nobody really cares and that one is alone and unwanted. There are many other causes of depression just as there are other forms of depression, just to mention a few.
HOW DO WE MANAGE/ AVOID DEPRESSION?
Depression can be managed ad prevented, most times it depends on the cause of the depression. For example a person who is depressed because of recessive status of the country, lack of employment and such problems can only be resolved by the government. The government should try to address the drastically deteriorating socio economic status of the country, provide jobs, empower the youths in meaningful and not in insulting manners. However while waiting on the government one should try to empower themselves and stay happy. For the people who are depressed based on their individual lifestyles and personalities should try to change up their lives, although it is not as easy as it sounds but a gradual conscious effort should get you there. For example a person with low self-esteem should try to find what they are good at and should also know that no matter what insecurities they have, physical or not they can always make the best out of it and those flaws are the things that make them unique. And if they are flaws that could be self-corrected they should work on It and if otherwise they should love themselves just for what they are cause in the real sense of it nobody is perfect and because your flaws are more obvious doesn’t make you less human. Also parents who get in a lot of physical or verbal combats should please try to stop especially in the front of the young, because apart from the physical damage you cause one another you are also affecting the psychology of the children you claim to love. For those who are depressed because they feel neglected should learn to love themselves because everyone has their own problems and there is barely any time for anyone to check on others but that doesn’t mean we should check up on our friends once in a while.
To reduce the depression rate in the country, the government should look into the socio-economic state of the country, also the allocation to mental health sectors should be increased, as a society we should try to avoid violence and not look down on people with insecurities and disabilities but instead we should try to lift each other up, because in lifting others we lift ourselves, as individuals we create time to check up on our friends, cause your hello might be all that is needed to save a friend, and we should learn to smile to each other because you never can tell whose heart you might warm with a smile and also when we notice our friends are having the symptoms of depression we should try to talk to them find how we can help because in the solitude of their thought they might be pushed to suicide.
In conclusion, depression is a menace to the society and to the individuals that although most times not self-inflicted can be managed by simple conversations and maybe a few medications. So talk to someone today about your problems and listen to someone else but in all be careful who you complain to and do not broadcast the problems you hear. You can save a life.
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