This article is about depression, a common mental illness about which people need more awareness. The causes of depression are difficult to gauge but, sometimes, even sudden changes in ones life can lead to mental disturbance that affects ones emotional and physical well being a lot. At other times, many small issues gather mass to become a mountain of depression that one has to carry silently. It may also be a side effect of many illnesses or caused due to poor nutrition, hormonal imbalance, alcoholism, violence, economic crisis, death of a loved one, divorce or even exposure to terrorism which we are collectively going through at the moment. The symptoms of depression are headaches, pain in the heart, abdomen and joints, diarrhea, constipation, sudden changes in mood, loss of interest in just about everything, negative and pessimist thinking, a profound sense of self-pity or sense of guilt, anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness etc, etc, etc. Lack of concentration or lack of night sleep, low energy and recurrent thoughts of death and suicide are special hallmarks. In extreme conditions the person suffers from hallucinations and feels that everyone is his/her enemy and is conspiring against him/her. Low output and low creativity at work are visible signs as is a constant scowl to denote that one is ever depressed. The people engaged in creative professions start under-rating the results of their efforts and the work as an 'anti-depressant stops working for them. In severe cases, anti-depressants, sleeping pills, psychotherapy, acupuncture are helpful but there are some other helpful tips given below that can help one avoid depression. 1. If one feels some symptoms of depression, he should not ignore them but instead try to overcome those feelings or seek help. 2. One should share all problems with someone and should not hesitate in telling everything. Avoid sitting idle and thinking that everything would settle itself. Instead one should engage him/herself in physical activities like jogging, walking, running, gardening, etc, etc. 3. One should try to do small good deeds that give real happiness. Try to dress up well and go out and widen your social circle a bit. 4. One must include dates, figs and bananas in ones menu as all of these contain substances that help increase Serotonin (the hormone released in body in times of excitement and happiness). 5. Try listening to music. 6. One should engage self in positive activities like home decoration or gardening. Most important of all, do not wait for some divine help and do nothing. Put in your best foot forward towards coping with depression. -MARIA GUL, Karachi, September 3.