Why Deepika and Ranveer’s big reveal on dealing with mental health together on Koffee With Karan has a lesson on care-giving | Health and Wellness News

Even actor Ranveer Singh admitted that he felt helpless as a partner and did not understand how to deal with actor-wife Deepika Padukone when she was battling her mental health issues. And that it was only over time that he realised what kind of care-giving was needed and what were the red flags he needed to watch out for. Recognising depression in a family member or loved one can be challenging, as the symptoms can vary from person to person. Most importantly, one doesn’t really know how close to the precipice the person is.

However, there are certain common signs and changes in behaviour that may indicate someone is experiencing depression. It’s essential to approach the situation with sensitivity and understanding. Dr Shaunak Ajinkya, consultant, psychiatrist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai, lists some symptoms below and says, “If a person has five or more of them daily for a period of more than two weeks minimum, he/she is most likely to be suffering from depression.”

Why Deepika and Ranveer’s big reveal on dealing with mental health together on Koffee With Karan has a lesson on care-giving | Health and Wellness News

Signs of depression that family members/friends should watch out for 

1. The person consistently feels sad, low, helpless or hopeless for an extended period of time.

2. The person may lose interest in activities they once enjoyed or withdraw from social interactions altogether.

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3. Depression can lead to insomnia or excessive sleep. Pay attention to any significant changes in the person’s sleep habits — either difficulty in falling asleep, repeated awakenings during the night or awakening very early in the morning and then unable to fall asleep again.

4. A noticeable increase or decrease in appetite leading to sudden weight loss or weight gain

5. Constant feelings of tiredness, fatigue, lack of energy, or motivation.

6. Increased irritability, mood swings, anger outbursts or agitation.

7. Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things.

8. Unexplained aches and pains, headaches, or digestive issues.

9. Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, low self-esteem, or inadequacy and thoughts of death.

How should a caregiver approach a person suffering from depression? 

The most difficult part is to create a “safe space,” as Deepika Padukone said, for the affected party to open up about their feelings and experiences. “Use ‘I’ statements to avoid sounding judgmental or accusatory, such as ‘I’ve noticed you seem really down lately,’ and ‘I’m worried about you.’ Listen without trying to solve their problems,” suggests Dr Ajinkya. Remember that taking an affected partner or family member to consult a mental healthcare professional is a huge leap of faith. “So refrain from making negative judgments or telling them to ‘snap out of it.’ Depression is a medical condition, and they simply cannot will themselves to feel better,” adds Dr Ajinkya.

He suggests that caregivers have a more involved time with the sufferer as isolation worsens depression. And educate themselves about depression and its causes to better understand what their loved one is going through. “Encourage them to avoid addictive substances, follow a balanced diet, take up physical activity and make lifestyle corrections together so that the affected person doesn’t feel they are the odd one out. Don’t leave them alone if they mention self-harm and reach out for the hotline,” he says.

But most importantly a caregiver has to practise self-care. “Caring for someone with depression can be emotionally draining. Don’t hesitate to seek support or counselling for yourself, if needed. Anger and frustration are just a normal part of looking after someone. So be compassionate towards yourself,” says Dr Ajinkya.

What about therapies?

While there are antidepressant medications, joint counselling with a partner can help manage symptoms more effectively. “Couples therapy aided in resolving one of my patient’s conflicts with his spouse. The therapy processes empowered him to take control of his life, allowing him to focus on his career, build meaningful relationships and enjoy a better quality of life,” says Dr Ajinkya.

Depression is a medical condition and professional help is necessary for effective treatment. Your support for and understanding of your loved one are half the battle won.

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