This post was inspired in part by a good friend (let’s call her Jane). One day Jane updated her WhatsApp status with great insight into depression and how to fight it. The post resonated with me and I thought I expanded it into a relatable blog post.
What is depression?
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. It is a general feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities.
Depression is often mistaken for sadness which is a natural response to events. If you experience prolonged sadness with some of the symptoms listed below, you may be depressed.
A 2018 World Bank study identified that about 22% of Nigerians suffer from chronic depression. Depression is not a respecter of persons or class. The news has seen more suicide cases of late, of which a good number may have been as a result of depression.
Symptoms of Depression
The APA lists the following symptoms of depression
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Personally, I was downcast and lost interest in school in my third year. I just lived through the time thinking why struggle through school when one will die one day and leave everything behind.
I had my worst semester results.
I have met students who were depressed due to one reason or the other. A student friend once told me how his battle with a habit drove him into depression he contemplated quitting school.
Most often the result is a downward spiral in academics and relationships. Staying down does not make things any better. It is important to first acknowledge that you’re sliding down a path and seek help or talk to someone about it.
The best way to fight depression is to actually do something about the situation. You have to get your head off the blues and try again. Put in some more effort, attempt a new approach, try, try, try again. As long you have your mind set on achieving that goal then you keep trying to reach it.
I understand the case differs with people where some people simply lose the zeal to try. This is why you need a close network of people who care about you during this time.
Open up, Share
Relay your case to someone you trust. Even if you are lost on what to do about your case, look for someone to talk to. A strong support is important. Let this person know what you’re going through, as much as you can, avoid staying alone.
More importantly you have to decide you want to leave that condition. Pray about it, do some sober reflection, talk to a friend, but put in some effort (no matter how small) to escape that situation.
This too shall pass
Time heals a lot of things. The condition will not remain the same for ever. I know this sounds like some inspirational rhetoric, but it is what it is. If you hang in there and remain strong, you’ll come out of these troubled waters.
What’s your experience with depression as a student? How did you tackle yours. If you want are currently going through a phase and need someone to talk to then you can message me at firstname.lastname@example.org