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'People confuse feeling being low with depression'

Last updated on: June 22, 2020 11:41 IST
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'We are human beings. We all feel low.'
'It could be work related, something to do with family.'
'It is an unsettling feeling. But that is temporary.'

Kindly note that the image has been published only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy Polina Zimmerman/

"It is common for people to confuse/misinterpret their state of feeling low for depression," says NLP trainer and mind coach Anu Krishna who works with teens and young adults across India to raise awareness about mental health.

Anu KrishnaThe concluding segment of her interview with Divya Nair/

How has parenting changed over the years? What are some of the values we can pass on to our children?

I don't know about you. But I grew up with an instructional style of parenting. My father would just say it. And we would do it.

No questions asked.

I grew up in a middle class family where money was hard to come by and we valued things and money.

But some of us who had this childhood grew up to be affluent. So we said: I didn't have this while growing up. But you will.

This affluence has led to poor emotional intelligence. They have it all laid out for them. They ask for something and have it too easily.

Our children don't have the patience we had as children.

This entitlement can also work against them in many ways. They can't handle disappointments, rejection and failures when they grow up.

So you have to start by saying NO to your children. Let them earn it.

Sometimes it's hard to tell if a person you know is depressed, suicidal or simply going through a bad emotional phase. So how does one identify the warning signs of depression?
As a therapist, how do you help people who come to you for help?

A lot of people confuse feeling of being low to depression.

Some also say it because it sounds cool: 'I broke up with my boyfriend.' 'I lost my job.' 'I am depressed now'.

Some do it for attention too.

When you talk to people, you instantly get to know that. So then I tell them, 'Relax, you are not depressed. You are just feeling low'. Sooner or later, they accept it too.

We are human beings. We all feel low. It could be work related, something to do with family. Or the loss of someone close to you. It is an unsettling feeling. But that is temporary.

You talk to someone. Engage your thoughts into positive things and you get over it gradually. Days later, you won't even remember any of it.

But depression is not like that. It's deeper. You don't get over it that easily.

In simpler terms, there is a chemical imbalance in your body and mind. You are not able to think straight or channelise your emotions.

You don't feel like talking to anyone, doing anything. You want to be locked up, maybe alone. You may feel suicidal. That is clinical depression. That is more serious. You may need medication for that.

So if I see someone with cut marks on their hand or body causing self injury, I don't take up the case.

I immediately call the parents and tell them to take the person to a psychiatrist.

In terms of therapy, what I really do is help people de-layer their thoughts and break the barriers.

In the first two sessions, I just let them rant. I simply listen. Because most of the time you don't really know what the other person is going through. So you just let them speak till there is some clarity for both of you.

Then in most pro bono cases, I give them a 30-day plan. Do this. Try this. Make a note of it. Keep me updated.

This usually helps because now they have someone they can share their life with. And track their progress. It instills hope.

It's always about taking that first step. And then I tell them: I'm here with you every step of the way.

We all go through downtime. It's okay. It's normal to feel this way. I empathise with you.

Forget what happened today. Treat tomorrow like a new day.

Also, I love my job. I enjoy what I am doing. I am very passionate about this.

So when someone calls me, I am always ready to listen. And that shows in my voice. That matters too.

If I treat like any other job, it will not have the same effects.

Your message to readers.

Know that mental health is as important as physical health.

Evaluate your emotions every day.

If you know someone who needs help, ask them: 'Is there something I can do for you?' And when you say that, mean it. Most of the time, people just say it, they don't mean it.

Sometimes all you need is someone who you can talk to.

I believe in the Dalai Lama. In his words, the planet doesn't need more successful people. It desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.

I'd say first fill your own cup with happiness. Then you can help fill others's with compassion, kindness and gratitude.

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