Know your terms; the difference between depression, stress and anxiety

Know your terms; the difference between depression, stress and anxiety

Before we start, let’s give you a reality check. According to the WHO study, approximately 5 crore people in India alone, suffer from depression. Yes, that number, despite our claims that we are a happy country, a country of people who know how to go on despite the dreariest of conditions put upon them by circumstances. Coming to the world scenario, as per NIHM, approximately 6.9 per cent of the whole populace has admitted to have undergone one major episode of depression, out of which some come out victorious, and some not, which is the case with all the diseases and disorders. And these are the hardcore facts that are created on the basis of reported facts. There are many cases that do not come out, for even now, there is not much awareness around mental health.  Quite contrary, there is shame associated with the same.

Life is not a bunch of roses, it is a smooth and beautiful stream at times, and at times is a battlefield one has to go through, in order to reach the next chapter. But nevertheless, each day, it offers you a new avenue to go on, and not be stuck with the muck of uneasy restlessness that may have been bugging you. However, not everyone has the strength to get up and go on. Moreover, there are people around you who will smile and laugh, yet will have a monster of stress, anxiety and depression eating them inside out, which everyone, including you, will be oblivious to. And one day, the monster claims them, whilst you stay behind, stupefied and curse your inability to read between the lines.

But, mental uneasiness that results in subsequent disorders is not something that can be treated with the usual measures of trying to cheer the person up, or rendering the situation as mere moodiness. No doubt these measures of understanding help in opening up the person, for the wounds can only be treated once they are visible, but, once identified, clinical help is a must and should not be ignored. You can save the life of a loved one, by taking mental illness seriously.

However, there is a fine line between anxiety, stress and depression. It is high time that we understand the same, in order to take one positive step towards a world where mental health awareness leads to more understanding, and less records of deaths, if we can prevent it.


 The first stage which is a ticker of not everything being hunky-dory in your life or that of a loved one, is anxiety. Anxiety, as the dictionary meaning suggests is a stage when a person is always at guard, always a little too scared of what may come the next day, someone who is not able to form a positive notion. The person starts to get scared of possibilities and the scenarios that start forming are always the worst ones.


 This is the second stage when due to anxiety your mind starts working overtime, fretting over trivial issues which you may not even bother about on normal days. It is when one thinks and rethinks the negative outcomes and over wears the mind, leading to a situation when the person cannot utilise mental energy into something of utility. Stress leads to constant exhaustion and no amount of sleep or rest seems to curb it.


 This is the time when you start interest in every normal thing that you usually loved, including the daily necessities of fulfilling your appetite and sleeping. It refers to that constant period of feeling low and a dread that clouds the person who is suffering from the same. This is the point, which specifically requires medical attention, if the same has not been sought for during the previous two stages. For clinical depression may result in a variety of physical disorders, which are but not limited to heart diseases and cancer.

Mental disorders are not something to be taken lightly. Wake up and observe, yourself and your loved ones. Analyse and speak up if you see a loved one suffering from any of these.

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      • January 23, 2018

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