For many, living in fast-growing Asia cities has inadvertently join the rat race fighting for limited resources and embracing the dilemmas of run always properties prices thanks for the Qualitative Easing and unprecedented high rate of inflation where many were caught in structural imbalance of seemingly widening income and resource accessing inequalities. As a result, individuals suffering from depression are getting a lots more common nowadays in Asia, its randomly in nature and had no specified tendency for certain individual’s profile. In fact, some were just more susceptible than others to succumb to depression and increasing demands in one’s lifestyle is one of the key inducing factors. Significant number of them were trapped and stranded helpless without sound supporting infrastructure from the local authorities or friends and relatives due to insufficient proper awareness and personal biases on depression.
To make the matter worse, Asian normally doesn’t disclose openly on family members suffering from some form of mental conditions, they also self- impose strict rules forbidding them from exploring more on treatment options due to cultural biased perceptions of shames, guilt, social norms, peer pressures, taboo and so on. Many held perception of labeling depressed individuals in poor light.
The heighten awareness and proper knowledge on depression are therefore the proven effective ways offering an additional path into acknowledging and deploying timely helps to one of the World’s top 3 of 21st century modern illness after it was slow to recognize the hidden hefty prices the communities pays for being ignorant and complacent. Divorce, breakdown, hospitalization, suicides, downtime and so on are just some of the social consequences when the conditions worsen. It jeopardizes the foundation of informal and otherwise strong and indispensable family supporting networks which thrive in Asia. Local relevant authorities has pledged to tackle rampant depression cases reported in the escalating competitive society, which have been a major source of social problems for many families in Asia and Its had been proven its related to dysfunctional of our brains triggered by range of complex stimulus yet to be fully understood.
Increasing number of Asian seeking helps on mental distress offer a glimmer of hope that’s economic progress and prosperity are the solutions to these problems. Materialistic success had been grossly and improperly exaggerated as the ultimate antidotes to all problems. The mental challenges presented by continued competitive Asian lifestyle call for a change in new perspective on depressions as Local experts do not expect an easing of mental stress to break out in the Asia in near future even though many are cranking up education on awareness and supporting resources.
Understanding Depression From 3 Angles
There are three primary perspectives; emotional, physical and circumstances. Contrary to popular belief, depression is actually hereditary in nature and at times runs in family across generations.
Emotions, Circumstance and Physical
Many Asian had no clues in managing our own emotions not to mention helping others in this regard. Some turn to substance abuse to overcome or rather self-meditate these symptoms. Tell tales signs of alcoholic and drugs abuses often associated with some kind of mental conditions. Some fails to express, manage and channel out their emotions, some pass on them to others and end up depressing them instead, some chose to hold within without proper addressing and led to physical and mental breakdown and from time to time unpredictable eruptions.
For example, assuming the challenging role of full time housewife although being honored as one of the greatest profession on earth despite lack of conventional recognition of wages, promotion, days off, material gains and so on wasn’t every one cup of tea in the modern era, some Asian career women couldn’t adapt and plunges into depression, same goes for welcoming a new life into the family for newly minted mothers and so on, there simply too much a gap in reality and expectation.
In addition, those who are of “A” personality of being naturally aggressive and perfectionist had difficulties in accepting life inevitable more down then up. Others are paranoid and unreasonably sensitive, worrying excessively, constantly fearing for the worst for all events and accumulate the tensions generated within waiting to be unleashed anytime.
True happiness is … to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.”– Seneca
Major events such as accident, getting married, divorcing and death in the family and so on are all categorized as triggering factors, these events will inevitably have us overwhelmed with helplessness, reinforced by other’s social biases, drastic adjustment in recognition and values. For example, high achievers who experienced traumatic worse turn of events got themselves in depression and couldn’t accept the outcomes and chose to take their own lives. We all need to learn to cope with major stresses in a proper ways, having access to a strong supporting network of religious faith, fellowship, close friends and families and don’t hesitate to demand helps when needed can means a different in life and death.
It also related to upbringing, most of us we fail to impart children effective ways of channeling their emotions. Most avoids the problems directly or deploy authoritative and no nonsense tone when children got emotional and come to them for advice and guidance and they ended up growing up with minimum emotions management life skills.
Early Warning Signs of Depressions
Two major signatures are extended 2 weeks or more of derailing from one standard lifestyle which are emotional in nature, feeling extremely upset and lost hold of enthusiasm on all kind of favorite activities, difficulties in maintaining well balance rest and diet, exhibiting strong negative and pessimistic outlooks and consistent self-blaming across all matters.
Too often than not, limited understanding of the true nature of depression puts friends and relatives suffering from the condition in a fix. Asian typically associated misfortunes with bad “karma” and instead of extending practical supports, some aggravate the situation with inconsiderate hurtful comments: e.g. “Don’t dwell on it, tomorrow will be better!”, “Take it easy, you can overcome these conditions”. “ Don’t worry too much.”, “Have you stumbled across something “dirty” lately?”. Some even seek out alternative local folk religious “Guru” for spiritual cleansing treatments. Many fail to comprehend their friends or love ones simply cant stop their depression on their own, otherwise they would had done it already.
How to recognize, prevent and helping other suffering from depression therefore play an important role for reasonable healthy living. 3 critical practical tips one can consider helping someone who are depressed; 1. Listening. 2. Companionship and lastly 3. Interacting, avoid being dragged down by handling this alone as it’s a uphill long term battle lasting no less than 6 months on medication and one ought to summon a couple of others to dilute the loads of caring for one not unlike being admitted and taken care of in a hospital by a rotating team of nurses and doctors.
Fellowship and regular lunch date and tea break with colleagues, friends and families represent one of the best ways for emotions management, talking and sharing is an indispensable part of the therapy. In fact, Physicist reported 60% of their patients are having non-physical related illness but rather mentally and emotionally associated. We are after all a complicated being and multifaceted approaches toward managing depression yield the best results, for example deploying counselling together with medication and engagement in self-help group. All three aspects are critical before one can reasonable be well and productive again.
How to Prevent?
Having sufficient rest and proper diet are fundamental, being enlightened and capable of physically active are also the key pillars for sound sanity. Regular exercises with “3+3+3” helps; 3 times a week, each session 30 mins and getting heartbeats go beyond 130 per minutes. Workout emits endorphin our brains crave for emotional balancing. Most importantly, adopting a positive life perspective by helping others also do us great favors.
Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”– Mother Teresa,
For more than a few decades, Asian especially Chinese has pursued materialistic physical gains as a major focus of conventional success, however people diagnosed with some form of mental conditions has also picked up markedly over the past year with a spate of tragedies in family, workplace, school and communities. This led us wondering what else are missing in the formula of pursuit of happiness?
As it turns out it’s just a matter of recognizing depression as a form of mental condition needing the right treatment as we all had mood fluctuation as we carry on our daily life and handling the challenging primary issues such as marriage, parenting, career change, , new life style arrangement and so on. Some ended up getting depression as a results not unlike some fall gravely physically ill.
Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”– Henry David Thoreau,
As depression had significant leverage on the society well-being as a whole. We need to avoid being judgmental and critical of others, social tagging on one having depression didn’t help the matters. Just simply physically being there is all it takes sometimes. It’s not the context that’s matters but the emotions behind it. Emotions are fluid and can move around. Prayer, listening rather than one sided advice dispensing without addressing the core emotions underneath are common mistake we make in Asia.
Many Asian tightens grip on denial and refuse to ask for helps due to prides, fear and improper understanding of depression. It’s brain’s imbalance of certain functions rather than merely mood swing or having different perspectives. It’s known to be induced through genetic, extended physical discomforts and stresses and other factors. Asian need to treat depression as mental illness as gravely as we regard life-threatening physical illness and seek proper helps
People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care‘ —Theodore Roosevelt
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