Free Press Journal

Keep At Bay: Stave of depressing thoughts


Depressed individuals are plagued and agonized by a double whammy. They lose interest in life and suffer from physical and mental disabilities, writes Ravi Valluri.

Also Read: Distress- Getting rid of fear

His team mates and opponents jumped and hopped as Uday (name changed), a strapping youngster generated pace and bounce, off the wicket. Soon he fancied representing the school and maybe one day India too. The youngster was passionate about cricket and he modelled himself on Imran Khan. He sported a similar flowing mane and dressed like the talismanic and outstanding Pakistan speed merchant.

He spent considerable time at the nets honing his bowling skills and was fast emerging as the leading bowler of the school and had by now developed a reasonable fan following. His was also obsessed with Bollywood productions and was enamoured of the superstar Amitabh Bachchan so much so that his swagger and gait were similar to those of his idol.

At that young and innocent age, the minds of whippersnappers are influenced by the purported acts of valour of their superstars and iconic characters by whom they are inspired. And they dream to be like their paladins. Humans are social animals and interactions whether in person or through the media weave their way and etch impressions on the mind. Uday too was a dreamer.

However his doctor father, who was to later succumb to Alzheimer did not approve the fantasy and the make believe world his son inhabited. Much to his chagrin, the aspiring cricketer was forced to forsake the red cherry, the nets and white flannels and opt for the medical stream at school.

Unfortunately, the youngster went into a depression. He could barely figure out the complexities of human anatomy as his mind meandered perpetually to the cricket play field. Intriguingly the doctor father could never appreciate the mind and passions of his only son.

Ronald Reagan, the reputed actor and former US President was to write, ‘Recession is when a neighbour loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours.’ The stripling youth lost the possible opportunity to represent India and went astray losing his peace of mind and at an innocent age was administered Prozac and was to undergo psychiatric treatment as he withdrew into a shell of anonymity and was beginning to exhibit violent tendencies.

A depressed mind manifests antipathetic emotions such as melancholy, feelings of despondency and rejection. It is more than traits of sadness and grief. Soon the mind faces hardship such as symptoms of anxiety, sleep disorders, debilitating agitation accompanied with acute restlessness and disorientation in the thought process.

At the physical plane a mentally distraught person is afflicted with fatigue, exhaustion, attacks of migraine, chest pain, arthritis, spondylitis, problems in the gut – which lead to severe digestive problems, reduction or increase in appetite, a sudden spurt or loss in weight of the body, degeneration in the limbs, drop in immunity levels which result in pestilence  and opportunistic diseases.

Depressed individuals are plagued and agonized by a double whammy. They lose interest in life and suffer from physical and mental disabilities. A depressed individual hosts negativity within his persona resulting in depletion of his aura. Consequently he becomes friendless and is cocooned in the vicious cycle of miserable thoughts. This infelicitous state can become treacherous as the afflicted may contemplate snuffing out his life, suffer from schizophrenia or even suffer from addictions.

Demons of gloom-ridden thoughts always create their nests in the minds which are not robust and efficacious in approach to life.

The great Buddhist scholar, Nagarjuna had written some prescient words:

‘If there is a remedy when trouble strikes,

What reason is there for despondency?

And if there is help for it,

What is the use of being sad?

So come what may, I’ll never harm

My cheery happiness of mind.

Depression never brings me what I want;

My virtue will be warped and marred by it’

It is important for despondent and desperate people to appreciate that time acts a pre-eminent healer and depression and suffering can be staved off through surrender to the Divine, through the practice of meditation and mindful living.

It is foremost to ensure that the mind of an individual does not get gripped by disconsolate thoughts. Moreover, the afflicted should not be encumbered by despondency and negativity. The family, friends and associates need to play an active role in boosting the morale of the patient by uplifting his spirits and ensure that he is not mired and enmeshed in the cesspool of negative emotions. Fortuitously, medical science has made rapid advancements that help-lines are available today 24 *7 wherein prompt assistance can be rendered to those suffering from bouts of acute depression.

A mind which is cannonaded with negative thoughts should unflinchingly take to physical activities as they release positive endorphins which help to stave off negativity and depression.  Apart from medical treatment, such people should go for long walks, if they have a pet it would be a worthwhile effort to take the pet for a stroll and observe its pranks. At their work place, they ought to take the flight of steps rather than the lift, attempt an early morning jog and sweat it out instead of consuming a cup of coffee, which will any case add toxins to the body through its content of caffeine. The body and mind will benefit by partaking lime water laced with honey to combat early morning blues.

Also Read: Embrace emotionally evolved souls

It is advisable both for physically and mentally endowed and individuals suffering from depression not to be seated for more than twenty minutes. To divert their attention from mental maladies, it is an effectual habit to attempt gardening or pursuing a hobby.

What happened to the main protagonist Uday? He was treated medically for the psychological problem, but was also guided by his friend and colleague to also attempt alternative methods to stave off depression.

These included chanting of Mantras, reading of inspirational literature, attending the Happiness Programme of the Art of Living. By learning the unique rhythmic breathing technique of ‘Sudarshan Kriya’, practice of pranayama, yoga and meditation, Uday could combat the vicious cycle of depression.