16 year old Shinjini had to face a pathetic situation at a reality dance show where she was allegedly rebuked by the judges of the show for her bad performance. The girl, unable to bear such harsh remarks, got collapsed and had to be hospitalised immediately. She suffered from partial paralysis due to the public humiliation she was subjected to.
About a month later, the girl was able to move her lips and utter a few words. Till a month ago, the girl had been actively participating in television reality show named “Dhoom Macha Le Dhoom”. She even acted in a Bengali film. The doctors have diagnosed her condition as Myeloencephalitis, an inflammation of both the spinal cord and the brain, as against her parents who have blamed the judges for their daughter's condition.
Whether or not the speculations of Shinjini's parents are correct, is another issue. But one thing which lurks out of the whole issue is the claws of “depression”. In the recent years, there has been a drastic increase in the cases of depression among adolescents and children. Parents are not ready to accept that their children can be the patients of depression. In fact, they engender a common myth that young people can't get depressed viewing the signs of depressive disorders in them as “normal mood swings” typical of a particular developmental stage. But the reality is miles away from this illusion.
According to a study, approximately 4 out of 100 teenagers get seriously depressed each year. In general terms, clinical depression is a serious illness that can affect anybody including teenagers. It can affect one's thoughts, feelings and overall health. According to NIMH (National Institute for the Mentally Handicapped) fact sheet, girls are twice as likely as boys to develop depression.
Modern lifestyle has contributed a lot to this enhanced form of illness. It has brought a certain form of alienation between the children and the parents thereby invoking loneliness feelings inside the child. Though there are other reasons as well, majority of depression cases among teenagers are a consequence of the effective communication gap between the adults and the children.
The busy guardians term their inefficiency to spare time for their children as “gathering material comforts” for their future only. But fail to realise that the quality time which could have been utilised in the nurturing of their personality is slipping out of their hands. These children develop a weak foundation of emotions and are more prone to neurotic disorders. They switch to games on computers, internet, cell phones and friends outside their family to have an arena of their own to express themselves. But often, failing to achieve the right comradeship, they are led to wrong practices.
There can be various reasons for depression namely death or forced parting from a loved one, lack of confidence, unattractive appearance, tension in relationship with parents, teachers or classmates/pals, unsuccessful love relationship or any other one. But the outcome can be disastrous for the teenager’s personality. It may create a vacuum inside the child who remains mute about his mental chaos. It may lead to various health related problems as well.
What one needs to keep in mind is- such things must not be neglected. Even the minute signs of change in the behavioural pattern of the child should not be ignored. If parents feel in the least, that their ward is facing some problem in his/her immediate surroundings, they must urge the child to speak up and open his/her heart to them.
If the symptoms of depressive disorder persist for a longer period of time, they should not hesitate to visit a psychologist. But the first thing is developing friendly relations with the child which seems to be the healing touch in dealing with such problems.
ShraddhaAugust 1, 2008 at 12:00 AM