As my blog completes 3 years of its existence, I thought I should treat it by giving it a visit sometime. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you would know that I am currently doing a research on how the experiences and expression of depression differs in men and women. My research only takes into account the people who have been clinically diagnosed already and while looking for the participants, I noticed a very interesting pattern among the people who shared an interest in participating. A lot of the people I talked to had a very similar response when I asked them how they came to know about their depression and if they have been diagnosed by a professional.

“I know I am depressed but I haven’t visited a professional.”

To a layman this may seem like a normal sentence that doesn’t have any particular meaning attached to it but as a researcher this throws up a whole range of questions that go through my mind every time I hear this.

“What had been stopping them from visiting a professional?”

“Is it because of the stigma attached to visiting a psychiatrist?”

“What would the thought process of a person who knows he/she is sick but doesn’t seek help?”

“If they haven’t been professionally diagnosed, how do they know they are depressed?”

“What is their understanding of depression? Is it really in sync with the scientific concept?”

Now, I cant be asking these questions to someone who hasn’t agreed to be a part of the research yet but it does seem like an interesting avenue to explore. Another interesting thing I found was that women share their struggles way more than men. When I first started looking for participants most of the responses I got were from women.

And that is exactly what I am trying to study.

Is it possible that since women are more comfortable in sharing their emotions that they have higher diagnoses of depression than men? If so, is it also possible that men show signs of depression differently than women which isn’t usually considered a depressive symptom?

Maybe something like heightened aggression, substance dependence, hyper-sexual drive, over-involvement in work or isolating oneself.

Those are some of the symptoms that have been proposed by previous researchers so far and it would be interesting to see if I find something similar in India as well. Either way, despite having just begun my research, it seems that I have found more meaning from the people that did not come forward than the ones that did.

It will be interesting to see what happens now. Maybe I will end up with more questions than answers.