It’s undeniable that this century marks the advancement of human livelihood. But with science and technology developing from time to time, the pace of life also quickens as time goes by—causing an amount of pressure into someone’s working or even daily life. Not to mention, personal and societal problems too should be taken into one’s stress account.
When the stress level reaches a certain degree, it causes our brain to release or detain the influx of the hormones. This imbalance hormonal phenomenon resulting a psychological state called mental disorder. The most common case is what we know as depression.
According to the latest data from Indonesian Mental Health Specialist Assemblage (PDSKJI), averagely 3.7% of Indonesia’s overall population suffers from depression, which means approximately 9 million out of 250 million Indonesian are battling with their darkest side.
Basic Health Research (Riskesdas) also fills us in on the patients’ age range, spanning from 15-29 years old. To top all of these trivial matters, World Health Organisation listed several countries with the highest rates of depression and anxiety. Indonesia ranked #4 in depression and #5 in anxiety.
FX Albino Prasodjo, M.Si (Psi), a psychologist residing in Bethsaida Hospital, South Tangerang, defines depression as mood-and-mindset-affecting mental disorder.
“The symptoms doesn’t happen immediately; instead, it progresses approximately for 2 weeks or more.” said Mr. Prasodjo, who is also a psychology lecturer.
“Generally, when someone is already diagnosed with a disorder, their condition may perturb their daily lives—especially the ones involving human mood.” he added.
The causes of hormonal instability varies, depending on the patient’s perception on life. It might be because of financial, career, love life, or family problems. But that’s just the triggering factors.
Identifying the symptoms of depression is tricky, as human tend to save their faces while communicating with other people. They fear that they won’t find someone who would listen and understand their problems, as our society’s comprehension in depression is not thorough. What are the chances of you finding people who uses the word ‘depressed’ liberally?
Hence, pay attention. Because when you’re lucky, you might get a glimpse of the tell-tale signs from your close ones.
First, they always seem to be unmotivated. If you find someone being less energetic than usual for several days in a row, offer yourself to be their ears. They might be facing one of the hardest times of their lives. Next, they radiate negative behaviours such as changes in their appetite, low sexual drive, lack of self-maintenance, easily worn out, or sleeping problems. Also, they will withdraw themselves from most social interaction.
“Mainly, there are two methods of dealing with depression: self-regulating (social therapy) and psycho-pharmacology (medical treatment).” explained Mr. Prasodjo.
The first method is socially acceptable in Indonesia. But the second method—which requires medication, hasn’t been fully welcomed. There are still myths about counteracting remedy for depression. Let’s review the old wives’ tales and the facts.
- Antidepressant contains addictive substances
This is the most common misperception of all, as some family of the depressed often refused to do this method because they believed antidepressant may leave their loved ones hooked. Spoiler: it doesn’t contain any addictive substances. Antidepressant should only contain substances that stabilises the work of your body in producing hormones.
Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor about the ingredients of your medication. Whereas it may scare you a little bit, at least you can distinguish between the genuine or the fake thing. Nobody will be able to fool you!
- The side effects will disturb your daily life
First thing first: side effects are normal when it comes to drugs. If it has no effects whatsoever, it’s placebo. Sure, it may be uncomfortable at the adaptation phase, but your psychiatrist must have given you a precaution before prescribing the happy pills for you.
Only be concerned when you find an unusual reaction your physician has not mentioned. Don’t run away from them to seek help from a completely different doctor! You will have to start over, back to the beginning, making efforts from the bottom, the second you decided to find a new doctor just because your medication started off with a rough patch.
- Antidepressant is slow-acting or doesn’t even react to your body
Since the process of depression itself is slow, it’s safe to say the treatment too, will take a while. Again, don’t give up on your psychiatrist just yet. Consult to them if you have been taking antidepressant in a period of time and still no changes.
- You should stop taking antidepressant when you feel better
The bitter truth: depression is not curable. Antidepressant works as the stabiliser of your bodily chemicals—it doesn’t eradicate the state of depression. So even if you feel you’re going to be fine without any medication help, stopping is a big no. The sudden halt will lead to extreme hormone fluctuation, or in other words: worse depressive episode.
Recovering from depression will not do if you don’t complement it with the first method—social therapy. It is an alternative for those who doesn’t need antidepressant. These are some of the things Mr. Prasodjo suggested, that will boost your mood.
- Physical activities
Have you ever heard about how working out eases PMS on women? Well, it’s true! Sweating releases endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin—the hormones of happiness. While trying to get yourself cheered up, you also get physical health benefits. Talking about killing two birds with one stone!
- Build a healthy and nutritional eating pattern
It’s not only exercising that can produce the joyful feeling. Food too, can increase certain hormone levels. And of course, food detoxification can make you feel better because basically you’ve taken out the trash out of your body.
- Get enough sleep
Stress is derived from physical and mental tiredness. When you force your way out of something, while the problem may be solved, your body will be the one that takes the toll. So if you have been lacking of Zs in your life lately, try to steal a couple minutes of napping. Half-an-hour napping equals six-hours worth of energy. Isn’t it wonderful?
- Do your hobbies and interests
Nothing feels more blissful when you’re doing something of your interests. Whether it’s reading, binge-watching TV series, baking, martial arts, dancing, singing, et cetera, it doesn’t matter. You should do what makes you feel alive. The most attractive a person can be is when they do something with burning passion.
- Join a social activity
After you feed your body, you feed your soul. Helping others in need gives you a satisfaction no money can provide. Replenishing your soul helps to clear your conscience and take some burden off your heart. And don’t worry if you haven’t found someone who can help you—people can surprise you, what goes around comes back around.
- Finding the resilience inside you
There is one Japanese saying that piques my interest. “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” No one can save you except yourself. Other people, they can only contribute their support and love, like watering a flower. But if the flower doesn’t have the will to grow, then the water will go to vain.
Fight. You know you have it in you because you are a strong person. Even if you don’t see it, there are people who supports you regardless not having to know you personally. You are not alone!
And lastly, remember to always be grateful. What you have today is what some people can’t have.
To all of you, who is having their bad days: you are a very kind and beautiful person.
Watch our video about Depression & Antidepressant Consumption in Indonesia here!