In my professional capacity as Editor, I have worked with a fair number of writers: in-house, freelancers, agencies. I have fought over word counts, especially with the last two on that list. Some writers send in desperately forced 500-word-pieces to meet their targets; at least 200 words are mere fluff. In the health and wellness space, there are two “fluff” pointers that I’ve seen many writers champion.
- Get enough sleep
- Eat fresh vegetables and fruits
Ah, the miracles of rest and fresh produce. There isn’t much that they cannot cure, it seems, from stomach problems and skin conditions to quarrels with your husband and coming to terms with the loss of your pet.
Thanks to recent communication from the Indian Ministry of Health, I’ve discovered yet another superpower these two goodies have: curing depression.
Here’s how it works: If you are depressed or going through a “period of low mood”, don’t fret. Don’t listen to all those know-it-alls who recommend you talk to a loved one or a therapist. Don’t give it any more importance than you would to a sad evening when you’re upset because you ran out of cookies.
All you need to do is sleep for eight hours and eat fruits.
Check out, if you haven’t already, this insightful poster the Ministry recently shared on its Twitter handle.
Miracle cures, aren’t they all?
Think positive. Tell yourself all this “depression sh*t” is nonsense; you can snap out of it with happy thoughts.
Stay clean. Don’t believe those rumours about severely depressed people who gave up on personal hygiene. They dug their own graves.
And of course, practise yoga, that elixir of life which is India’s gift to the world and fixes just about everything, including the leak in your roof exacerbated by Mumbai rains.
I appreciate the fact that the government is waking up to the importance of mental health awareness. God knows there is incredible ignorance about mental health problems, with large sections of the population continuing to brush the issue aside fearing social stigma and plain old denial. BUT spreading grossly inadequate and glossed-over information in the name of awareness is worse than not trying at all.
First – Depression is NOT only a state of low mood; depression is NOT just sadness.
Second – Telling someone to “think positive” and “go for a walk” when they are suffering from depression might actually make things worse. It’s not like people with depression aren’t trying; thousands get along with life, many of them facing high-functioning depression, many of them silently struggling. Pretty often, it is not mentally and physically possible to muster the strength to be creative and travel when your mind is either reeling with anxious thoughts or is completely numb.
As for popping multivitamins, Oh My God! There is little, if any, medical evidence that multivitamins can ease depression – yes, a balanced diet can help boost your overall wellness, but that doesn’t mean popping vitamin pills will magically lift someone’s soul-breaking depression!
And third – Battling with depression can be difficult. But the first step is accepting that it goes way deeper than adopting better personal health and hygiene. If you or your loved ones are struggling with depression, please don’t be railroaded into believing that bananas, paintbrushes and alarm clocks are adequate to help you cope. Speak to a loved one, your doctor, a mental health professional, a helpline.
Depression is a medical condition, and it’s important that we quit viewing it in the same light as PMS, stress, mood swings, general unease, and the gazillions of maladies that yoga can erase without a trace.