65% of India’s millennials display early indicators of depression such as sleep disorders. No! Millennials are not sleep deprived because they binge-watched Game of Thrones all night or were busy clubbing.

There is never one concise reason for one to be depressed. It is an amalgamation of an array of experiences and emotions that have consolidated over a time period. The worst part of millennial depression is the stigma around it. Individuals neither choose to be depressed nor do they wish to remain in mental turmoil to garner attention and pity.

“My favourite ice-cream flavour is out of stock. I am so depressed,’’ is the most irksome, irrational and insensitive thing to say. It is similar to saying, “that dress is so gay.” This could be unintentional and could be a result of unawareness. This calls for more discussion and awareness since the fallacies around depression worsen the sufferer’s frame of mind.

Every individual suffering from depression does not fit the one size fits all cliché. Depression can be work, academic, post-partum and relationship (not just romantic) related. It is tough to streamline the roots of depression. It is neither a phase nor a bad day and it can happen to anyone irrespective of one’s socio-economic background. A plush home and high standard of living do not guarantee a depression-free life, contrary to what the majority believes.

Instead of understanding depression, we have romanticized it. There is absolutely nothing fancy about depression. We associate a concept or phenomenon with a generalised norm and stereotype whenever we fail to understand or explain it, or worse are simply ignorant about it. It is easy to spot an individual suffering from depression if one uses stereotypes as a guide. Below, is a depression spotting guide 101 that will guarantee accurate predictions?

Sign 1: He/she refuses to get out of bed and barely socialises with anyone.

Sign 2: He/she talks only when necessary and never laughs.

Sign 3: He/she is distant and are unfriendly

Sign 4: He/she is lazy and ungrateful

Sign 5: He/she drapes a shawl around his/her body, holds an Old Monk in his hand ( this does not apply for a depressed female of course) and grows his beard( applicable for men as body hair is not ladylike). Just imagine a millennial Devdas!

Sign 6: He/she has no ambitions and there is nothing but hopelessness in his/her eyes.

Sign 7: He/she speaks in a perplexing language and has a great amount of weight and depth attached to his/her words.

 All India Bakchod uploaded a video titled, “If we treated depression like other diseases” accurately captured all the insensitive and unsolicited advice that individuals suffering from depression hear on a regular basis. Jogging as an antidote to depression and it is all in your head are a couple of them.

The following is a checklist of phrases or words that you should not say to a person suffering from mental health issues.

  • You are using this as an excuse to draw sympathy and attention.
  • Install Tinder and all this depression vepression will be gone in a jiffy.
  • You need someone special in your life to “cure” your sickness. Similar to that of an Imtiaz Ali film where a woman helps her man during his existential crisis or a prince rescuing his damsel in distress.
  • Arre baba you are so privileged! just look at all the poor people around you and be grateful for what you have. I understand the importance of being grateful but it is important to understand that pain cannot be ranked or compared. It is personal and every individual irrespective of his/her walk of life feels it.
  • Offo! it is all in your head or it is just a phase

The #DobaraPoocha campaign by live love and laugh foundation and Dear Zindagi sensitised Indian public about mental health on a large scale. If we cannot cry to the fullest, how can we laugh to the fullest?” is one of my favourite dialogue in the film, Dear Zindagi.

We have started talking about depression but we need to make sure that awareness trickles down to all tiers of the society. The problem is depression is not sexy or lucrative enough to be discussed on media. We have a long way to go but we are on the right track.