Rafay Hiraj
5 min readJan 7, 2022

How the world’s worst mental problem gets to fly under the radar

Pharmaceutical companies have us believe that depression is simply a chemical imbalance in the brain, an abnormality in the mind of a crazy person. This description is not an accurate representation of the workings going on behind the curtain, they are rather a ploy made to get depression and anxiety-riddled people to buy prescription drugs that are meant to cure this problem and essentially knock it out of the park but are they really that effective?

Well, let me begin by stating the obvious fact that no, they aren’t. The reason is fairly obvious. If the workings of the mind and curability of one of the biggest issues of the modern world were done simply by the use of a drug, well then it would be quite impressive. Unluckily though, this is not a perfect world, over here money reigns supreme and whosoever has the most wins. Unfortunately for the common man, they get stuck in the crossfire between major corporations and ultimately end up getting exploited.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression at any given time affects 280 million people in the world. This is obviously a gross estimate but the number is staggering. It accounts for 3.8% of the global populace. Depression is common in ages between 18–29 which accounts for the majority percentage of this massive figure. The risk of suicide among patients with untreated depression is 20%! This represents 1 person in a group of 5!!

Depression is persistent, the major problem with depression is the fact that people suffering from it don’t generally know why it is that way. We tell them that it is just a malfunction in the chemical balance of the brain and that causes more panic when prescribed drugs do not kill off the problem. What these actually are, are artificial temporary solutions designed to ignore the actual sources that cause them. It is an example of taking a shortcut that we just discovered has a slim chance of working.

On the contrary, talking to a group of people with a similar problem is quite beneficial. Group meetings specializing in this sort of area have been proven to be very valuable for people suffering from depression. There is a reason so many people seek therapy. It is estimated that over 40 million people received mental counseling in 2020 and this is just in the US!

I may present all these statistics to you and maybe many more but the fact of the matter is that depression is still a very overlooked issue. Part of the reason is that people making relevant policies have no experience in the issue and they end up making uninformed decisions. All the while, teens are also expected to exaggerate the effects depression has on them. One of the causes is social media to state the obvious. People feel depressed when they post on their accounts and don’t get enough likes, people may hide behind a fake post that shows them as being happy. Deliberately altering your mood by hiding it or by containing emotions is also one of the leading causes of depression.

Telling a victim of depression to talk to someone is easy for the potential curer, but who goes around telling people that they have depression? People will laugh and make fun of you, that can only make things worse. So what does the kid dealing with depression do, as for him depression is understandably personal?

Depression is not taken seriously, even now when suicide rates have skyrocketed due to it. Drugs are provided by unqualified doctors without getting to the bottom of the problem. The main goal must not be to give the patient a prescription so they go back home but rather to understand the source of depression. We are not crazy species, we are logical ones and depression is a messenger of a problem that needs immediate attention. In most cases, it signals some kind of childhood trauma and/or lack of meaning. It is an opportunity to understand more about yourself.

I personally think depression comes from a lack of purpose building up in the person. The logical answer to that is to find meaning and that can be done by taking over as many responsibilities as possible. Taking the energy out from depression and putting it into work on something else. The results are amazing, whether it is learning a new skill, taking up a job, running a business, or simply exercising, the idea is to keep yourself occupied in meaningful work. Obviously, if the responsibility is taken away depression is bound to resurface but that can also be seen as a blessing in disguise.

Nature is one of the best cures for depression. This could mean going for a camping trip, going for a walk or running or jogging, gardening what have you. Nature is the perfect antidote and how amazing is that? Maybe depression is the call to connect with what created us and very few really understand that.

Depression is associated with pain, and what drugs do is that they make you forget about them. This forms a short-term solution with long-term repercussions. What must happen is to get to know these sources of pain and try to fix them by preventing them from causing more pain. If we go down that road it is obvious this can only result in benefits. People who come out of depression come out stronger than ever and that is no coincidence. They come out with more energy, determination, and purpose than ever before as their character becomes stronger than ever.

We must start taking depression seriously sooner rather than later as this is a growing problem. Youth must be more educated about this in school.

Mental health is a serious issue and anyone who tells you otherwise hasn’t been through it.