Depression generally occurs during the 30s and 40s, when people have crossed almost half of their lives and they are in the middle of their life’s struggles. They have seen many successes and failures but they have yet to live a long life ahead. At this stage of life, people often face difficulties in handling their everyday stresses, pressures from all areas of life increase, and become intolerable which leads to exhaustion and feelings of loss. However, some sudden losses like financial and family members may also be causes of depression. People feel lonely and without any long sense of purpose in life which brings feelings of despair. Not being able to achieve much success in life while seeing others getting excelled may also lead to feelings of failures.
Females tend to be at a greater risk of getting depression, with twice as many women facing depressive episodes than men in any age group. Although depression is gender and age-neutral and affects a large proportion of individuals across all age groups and genders, some common patterns are seen all over the world which makes some class of people more vulnerable to experience this state of mental health. Similarly, a group of people having a family history of depression or bipolar disorder may also get depressive episodes at any time of life. These people are generally considered at the maximum risk of depression due to a genetic basis. But overall, people get into depression due to multiple reasons and at different times.
Some people get multiple depressive episodes, sometimes 2 or more in a year, which makes their recovery very difficult. Often medicines and psychotherapies do not work well with these people. Though many people get 2 or more episodes in their lifetime, often most of them live quite well through proper treatment.
The increased severity of depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and acts of ending life. This generally happens when the person has not received medical attention in time, often neglects mental health needs and does not take full treatment. Some people become isolated to the extent that they are not able to share their thoughts with anyone and develop feelings of failure and loss to such an extent that they commit suicide out of helplessness. On the contrary, this act is preventable if these people get adequate treatment in time, which may stop the progression of depression to cause suicide. But it requires careful attention to the words and behaviors of such people, which they often display long before committing suicide.
In day to day life, we often ignore such signs of suffering as irrelevant ideas and tell these people to be strong, but since we do not have any glimpse into the state of mind of that person, hence we do not understand the severity of such thoughts. It is quite obvious to think that a depressed person would not declare openly that “I am depressed and getting suicidal thoughts.” That means such behaviors and thoughts should be observed in silence. That’s why, mental health experts often say to keep an eye on the words that people utter when they are undergoing feelings of failure, helplessness, and hopelessness. These words are strong indicators of what they are going through. Often, all suicidal people give at least one signal to people around them that they are suicidal. If we do not hear and understand those words, then they may end their life.
The severity levels generally recognized by medical professionals are of three kinds - mild, moderate, and severe. People with mild depression often get suicidal wishes and occasional thoughts of killing themselves. Moderately depressed individuals often get suicidal thoughts but they do not generally attempt. However, most attempters of suicide may fall in this category. People with severe depression often struggle to keep themselves alive and generally their attempts lead to ending life. Severity can only be assessed by a medical professional.
So we can see how severe depression can become, and who are prone to develop depression. Kindly be aware of the people around you if they need your attention and help. If you are going through such a state, then seek medical help, as soon as possible.
Please watch the video below for more insights into the nature of depression. This video is a part of the series on depression where I have answered some of the most commonly asked questions about depression.