Minnie Dlamini reflects on being depressed

Following Minenhle Dlamini's post this weekend where she briefly opened up about a time in her life when she was depressed, we unpack some of the causes of the condition and how to deal with it

TV presenter and media personality, Minenhle Dlamini reflected about a sad time in her life when she was depressed, so much that she lost a lot of weight. She opened up about her battle with depression on an Instagram post.

“This picture reminds of such a sad time. I was miserable, depressed, and losing weight like it was carbon dioxide. I still got up and went to work and continued my hustle, no amount of pain was going to stop me from achieving my goals. So I worked harder and smarter. I gave myself moments to cry and moments to fake happiness, until I was finally happy again. I NEVER want to be this skinny again. PS. I honestly believe we go through sh** so we can fully appreciate the good,” she wrote.

Minnie told DESTINY that she was just sharing and reflecting about a certain time in her life and didn’t want to engage more on the subject.

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group defines depression as a mood state that goes well beyond temporarily feeling sad or blue. It is a serious medical illness that affects one’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, mood and physical health.

Dlamini is not the first celebrity to open up about being depressed. In her autobiography titled Eyebags & Dimples, actress Bonnie Henna explores her troubled childhood and how she was diagnosed with clinical depression in 2008.

READ MORE: Pregnant women suffering from depression are more likely to develop diabetes

Though the causes of depression vary, it is often brought on by a mixture of different factors. Sometimes a specific event may lead to depression; other times depression comes on for no apparent reason, even for people whose lives are going well.

“The trauma of my childhood had caused so much psychological and emotional damage that, over time, it translated into physical symptoms, and insufficient serotonin was causing my clinical imbalance,” she wrote.

Family history is a common cause of depression for example, having a close family with depression means you are more likely to have depression as well. Other causes include the break-up of a relationship, a traumatic event, loneliness, legal and financial problems, retirement, and grief can all result in depression.

In her book, Henna said she constantly felt anxious and even though you may fight it, it finds a a way of coming back.

“I had no energy for anything. I was constantly anxious, with a feeling of hopelessness and being hunted down. Even during happy moments I’d have a feeling of impending doom. You can find ways to suppress it, but it is always gaining on you,” she said.

READ MORE: Young children also suffer from depression and anxiety

Signs of being depressed include feeling frightened and disorientated, a racing heart, chest pains, dizziness, difficulty breathing and the fear of dying to name a few. In the beginning, the first panic attack seems to come from nowhere. It can happen while a person is doing some everyday activity like being in a taxi, sitting at work or shopping.

In an interview with Gareth Cliff on Cliff Central in April last year,  local Hip Hop star Jabulani Tsambo aka HHP also opened up about his struggles with depression and revealed that he’d tried to commit suicide three times in 2015. The Motswako MC decided to voluntarily admit himself into rehab for 10 days afterwards to “clear his system of antidepressants”.

Although therapy and anti-depressant medication are the most effective treatments for depression, home treatment is also important, says SADAG. There are many things you can do to help yourself during a depressive episode and to prevent future episodes like surrounding yourself with positive influences, being patient and kind to yourself, allowing friends and family to help you and break large tasks into small ones so that you’re able to do what you can.

However, depression is one of the most treatable mental illnesses.  SADAG reports that 80% of people with depression will make good recovery on antidepressants. Antidepressants don’t work quickly – for most people it takes 2-3 weeks to start feeling better.