WHEN DEPRESSION IS FELT
Depression, it has been said, is more than feeling sad. It is an intense feeling of sadness and it is characterized by losing interest in things one enjoys. This may last for a while. It is a medical illness and not a sign of weakness.
Clinically, it is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behaviour, feelings and sense of well-being. It is akin to being unstable or in despair. Depressed people can feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, worried, worthless, guilty, irritable, hurt or restless. They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable experience, loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions and may contemplate, attempt or commit suicide, insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy or aches, pains or digestive problems may also be present.
Depression is therefore a form of mental sickness. It rearranges the mind. It deflects reason. It absorbs emotion and transforms it into gloominess more than anything else. It changes perspective and discards everything that makes the mind conscious of something. It removes the man from his senses out rightly and reduces him into insignificance.
This ailment has claimed recently a prized actor Robin Williams and before him David Carradine, Del Shannon, Whitney Houston including other great minds like Sigmund Freud, Ernest Hemmingway, Oscar Wilde. It is common among celebrities who could not withstand stress and pressures but it is equally a condition which affects thousands of people, even ordinary ones at that.
My interest here is not necessarily to analyze its mechanical or physical expression, even on its progeny but rather in its manifestation. I work in prison for more than three decades and every condition, every attribute and aspect that would bring about depression is ever present in an incarcerated situation. To be charged, to be detained and eventually to be convicted and sent to prison to serve time is an invitation for depression already. Yet most of the time which were devoted to inspection, I have as yet to take note of incidents when a group or a faction of the population would suffer this ailment. Except for a single incident, nothing could point towards the appearance of melancholy to a greater number of prisoners given the same condition that breeds collective or individual depression.
There must be something that accounts for the symptom to extend into something life threatening on the person undergoing it. A condition, like that which is incumbent in prison, which should breed and agitate the formation of depression would barely affect an exceptional few, then it is not the physical, environmental, even personal situation which pushes a person to contract hopelessness. It must be something deeper.
There must be a direct connection with a belief system that is contained and correlated with those predisposed with depression. Religious persons seem not affected at all by miserable conditions. Their moods are transferred to a greater force. It is their faith that overrules any mental or emotional disturbance. In prison, it is only faith that sustains sanity and balances the mind and emotional state of a prisoner. That explains the fact that it is only faith that upholds the incarcerated humanity until such time they get over the experience.
One should no longer be surprised why in the penitentiary, churches and chapels sprout in almost every corner. For a prisoner, the prison facility is a place where prayers are concrete forms of genuine hope.
Feeling depressed? Go to Church and pray.