Depression as an outcome of feelings of different struggles
Lately, everyone has been discussing some of the other things about depression. Whenever I might think or read about depression, Sushant Singh Rajput would always cross my mind once because just after his death, depression is given more importance than before.
We might call depression common but it is a serious disorder. Depression affects how a person feels, the way a person thinks, how a person acts. Depression makes a person feel so much sadness and loss of interest in activities. And also, can decrease your ability to function and also leads to many physical and emotional problems. Sadness can include helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness which keeps a person away from living life to the fullest. Depression can really disrupt relationships, daily tasks, housework, career. Depression is a serious mental illness and a person battling with depression just cannot decide to not be depressed, it is clinically treatable.
The physical symptoms of depression of symptoms can be weight loss or gain, chronic pain, heart disease, inflammation, sexual health problems, worsening chronic health conditions, trouble sleeping, gastrointestinal problems,
How depression affects family member and their relationships
It is not always necessary that depression only affects the people around us in a negative way, sometimes there could be positive changes like our family starts to understand each other’s mental health. Let’s discuss a few points that might affect other people:
Anger and stress: There can be a case where people might feel anger or resentment towards the person who is always depressed. This behavior is not appropriate, it is very important for the family members to be supportive and to understand depression is a serious illness, they have to accept the thing that the depressed person is not depressed by choice. Sometimes family’s unhealthy behavior or reaction towards the depressed person increases the illness, so it is important to develop or cope up with it. Speaking to the therapist, or going together to family therapy or joining groups, and assisting parents to understand the illness and how they can cope with it.
Division: Depression can drive family members apart many times. Some may not want to keep any relationship with the depressed person or the case can also be that they might not know to deal with depressed people. Some other family members who may be very much concerned can opposite, they may become over-involved or trying to anything possible to keep the depressed person happy. Depression can truly be hard for the family, and especially the case when they do not know how they can support the affected person. Family members should educate themselves on the topic and should keep taking the tracks of the symptoms.
Neglect: When a person is depressed in the family, it can lead the other members of the family to neglect their own health. It can lead to problems in other relationships. It is important for family members to find out ways they can take care of themselves. Talking to different people like talking to friends, or other family members or psychologists can help to properly set up the health boundaries of all the family members.
Positive Change: As I discussed earlier positive change can also be possible, treating depression of a depressed member from a professional and also having awareness about depression among family members can help achieve long-term happiness and positivity in the functioning of the family.
Myths about depression
- Depression is not a real medical problem.
- Depression is something that can be just get rid of by thinking positively.
- A person can only be diagnosed with depression when something bad happens in life like failing a board exam or death of a loved one or a breakup.
- If the parents have depression so will the child.
- Depression only affects women
- Talking about it makes it worse
- Antidepressants always cure depression.
- A person will be forever on antidepressants
- Depression is a normal part of growing up.
Struggles of people with depression
The rate of struggle cannot be measured but there can be few points we can discuss as struggles people might be facing
- Not wanting to leave the house: Many people who is suffering with depression are capable of being housebound for weeks and months. Depression has the power to attack your will power, physical ability to even leave the house. Even to buy some daily essentials would be very tiring for an individual. The fear of every person hating you is real for people with depression. It is not always necessary that people will always want to sit at home, some people also have family issues which might have also led to depression, so it could also be a situation where people might not like to go home and feel all negative.
- Feeling of guilt all the time: Guilt can be a very perfect normal feeling for people with depression. Not only people with depression but doing anything you regret can be followed by guilt. We can say that feeling guilty is actually a main symptom of depression, many times people guilt can become a reason why people experience depression. Feeling guilty over things close to us or over a disagreement is very common.
- People don’t bother to keep up good hygiene: When depression is around, people might stop showering, stop brushing their teeth, won’t do their hair. It does sound “gross” but that is what depression does to a person. It makes people so sick. The idea of even having a shower brings the feeling of worthlessness or ponding water that can be feeling so physically painful. It just simply drains out all the energy to do things.
- Difficulty sleeping: People obviously need eight hours of sleep. People with depression find it very difficult to sleep all day. Even if people with depression sleep all day, they feel so restless. They feel that they’ve never slept. They tend to keep on taking naps after naps after naps and are never satisfied. They are never satisfied with whatever amount of sleep they take.
- They always feel confused or they can’t make up their mind: Depression surely makes thinking and problem solving more difficult than usual. For people suffering from depression, decision making becomes intense. They feel stuck, they feel very confused when they have to take some decision which may change their life, like “should I take this job” or “should I date someone or not” and many more.
- They always feel empty: People with depression feel like not caring about things, they feel like gives them joy or pleasure, they might not feel anything at all. Every individual has different effects on depression. Some might be dealing with sadness, some might be dealing with emptiness, some might be feeling angry, and much more.
Helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness
All these three things are definitely a feeling of depression. And it also is known as the cognitive triad of depression. When a person looks into the future and figures out that it is dark and weak, they feel that will remain dark, as they are. It makes a person hopeless.
When the person starts questioning oneself and start comparing themselves with others and feel the inferiority complex, we can call this set of feeling as worthlessness.
When the person feels trapped and feels completely helpless with the situation, it is called helplessness. This cognitive triad of depression; helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness can be a very big sign of a person suffering from depression.
Types of Hopelessness
- Alienation: Alienation means attachment. Alienated individuals believe that they are somehow different. They feel as if they been cut off.
- Powerlessness: Every individual needs a feeling that they have the power of their life, if they are not navigated towards their goals or wishes they might feel powerless.
- Forsakenness: Forsaken means the situation or past experience of total abandonment which leaves individuals to feel aloof when they need someone the most.
- Uninspired: Feeling uninspired can be very difficult for unprivileged members of minorities, the opportunities for growth or positiveness is a definite factor lacking.
- Oppression: Oppression means subjugating or sabotaging a person or a group of people. It means the feeling of being pushed down or the sense of being crushed under or flattened.
- Limitedness: A person feels limited when there is a struggle for survival or hope which may be included with so much failure. They continuously experience themselves as lacking to do the right stuff to cope up with the growing world. This type of hopelessness is very common among poor people or physically disabled or crippled people.
- Doom: This one is the most vulnerable to sink in this particular form, people are just in the circle of hell that they are diagnosed with a serious life-threatening illness. This type of person has trapped in a fog of their life is over.
Learned helplessness is a situation when a person continuously faces a negative and uncontrollable situation and stops trying to change the circumstances, even if they have the ability to change it. For example, if a smoker tries hundreds of time to quit smoking but fails repeatedly, he/she can become frustrated and start believing that nothing can be done to stop smoking, and therefore he/she can stop trying to quit smoking thinking he/she is never going to stop smoking.
The name learned helplessness was given by two American psychologists Martin Seligman and Steven Maier in 1967.
It is not the case that this learned helplessness is possible in humans only, learned helplessness is possible in animals also. They start to believe that they have no control over what happening to them or how they feel.
The phenomenon is learned helplessness because this is not something a person or an animal is born with, no one is born having the belief that they have zero control over things. This is developed behavior on the basis of their experience where they had no control over the circumstances or simply perceived that they had no control over it.
Martin Seligman’s experiment that led to theory
This experiment was conducted between the 1960s and 1970s, and many of us might find the description upsetting because of the use of animals and the treatment, but these kinds of experiments were commonplace in the 60s and 70s, and this experiment has led us to the theory. Seligman and Maier were working with dogs and their responses to the electrical shocks. And some dogs were given electrical shocks that they could not predict or have any control over.
For this particular experiment, dogs were placed in a box with two chambers and divided by a lower barrier. And one chamber was electrified and the other was not. When the researchers placed the dogs in the box and turned on the electrified floor they noticed a strange thing that some dogs did not even attempt to jump over the low barrier to the other side. Therefore, the dogs who did not attempt to jump over the other side were the ones who were given shocks previously and knew that had no control over the situation. And the dogs who attempted to jump the barrier were the ones who did not receive the electrical shock treatment.
To further research more on the topic, Seligman and Maier brought a new bunch of dogs for experiments and divided them into three groups. So, the group one dog was strapped into a harness for a span of time and was not given any shocks. So, the group two dogs were strapped in the same harness and were given electrical shocks which they can avoid by pressing the panel through their noses. So, the group three dogs were strapped into the same harness and were given no option to avoid them.
Once the first manipulation step of the dogs was completed, they were all put in the same bow with two chambers. Dogs of group one and group two quickly figured out that they can avoid the electrical shocks by just jumping over the barrier, but the dogs from the group did not even attempt to jump the barriers, the dogs concluded that there was nothing that they can do to avoid shocks.
Once the experiment with the dog was done, they tried the same experiments with rats. The same way with rats, they divided them into three groups, one group of rats received escapable shocks, the second group of rats received an inescapable shock and the third group of rats received no shocks at all. And the rats who were given escapable shocks were given the option the avoid shocks by pushing the lever, but the rats who were given inescapable shocks were able to press the lever but would still receive shocks.
So later, all the rats were placed in the same box and received electrical shocks, but there was a lever present in the box through which they can escape the shocks. And the same thing happened just like dogs, the rats who received inescapable shocks did not try to escape the shocks but the rats of group one and group two successfully escaped the electrical shocks.
So, the rats and dogs who were given inescapable shocks showed the behavior of learned helplessness, they did not try to avoid the electrical shocks or pain, because they believed that they were anyways going to suffer.
Studies on learned helplessness in humans
It is not possible to try such experiments on humans nor anyone should try to. But in one of the studies conducted in 1974, the human participants were divided into a group of three.
One group was subjected to very loud and unpleasant noise, but they were to put an end to the noise by pressing a button four times. The second group was subjected to the same noise but was not able to put an end to the noise as the button was not functional. And the third group of human participants was subjected to no noise at all.
Later when all the human participants were subjected to the same loud noise and were given a box with a lever which would turn off the loud noise. So, the people who initially had no control over the noise did not even try to putt off the loud noise, but people in the other two groups quickly figured out to turn off the loud noise.
How to deal with helplessness?
Helplessness is surely deeply rooted in depression. So, it can become very helpful or useful to start looking for professional or any kind of help as soon as possible, because it won’t take time to get worse. It is useful to ask for help as early as possible because once it reaches that extreme level of worseness, the individual might not have any courage left to deal with the situation. You can take therapeutic techniques in order to cope up with personal coping style, in order to become stronger again stronger.