Why is it that all voices go down and people start hushing when it comes to talking about depression or any other form of mental health for that matter? When a person accepts that they are depressed and are looking for support from their friends, family or a loved one, why is it that they are made to shut up by saying that it’s nothing and that all of it is just a made up story in their head? Why?
Isn’t mental health an important part of a person’s well-being? So why is talking about it such a big taboo?
Depression is one such thing that I had never pondered upon until I realized that I too was in it. It was much easier for me to accept it than it is to speak about it out in the open. Until now no one including my parents or my friends knew that I went through this whole process of being into depression and overcoming it (work in progress). It wasn’t like I did not try talking to them, I did but unfortunately failed. I was shunned away by saying that it was all crap and I was just over thinking. At times I did try to accept what they said, it could be just over-thinking. So I decided to give myself a month’s time to see where the over-thinking took me. I was right, it was much more than just over-thinking.
How did it all start?
It was the during the summers of 2016 when it all began. If someone was to see my life from the outside it was perfect. I was having the best time at work. I had successfully executed a high-end event, everyone was very happy with my work and so was I; I was highly motivated to work hard. My social life had improved, I was traveling more often, I had met a lot of new people and made new friends. One could easily think when a person is having such an amazing time, why would there be any reason to be depressed. I totally agree! Nevertheless, whatever we see from the outside doesn’t necessarily mean they are the same from within. Everything looked great on the outside but from within I wasn’t happy.
Initially, I thought that it was just a phase and it would pass by; I just did not pay any heed to it. Gradually as time passed by I realized it wasn’t just a phase. It was much more! It was getting very hard for me to understand what was happening. My first big moment of realisation during all this mental chaos was when I had my first breakdown. One day as I came back from work tired and exhausted, all I did was, cry! The pain that I was going through all this while was too much for me to take. After my first breakdown, I tried convincing myself saying that now that it’s all out I am going to be fine. But to my disappointment, it wasn’t. What was just a monthly thing had turned into weeks, and weeks turned into days I started having breakdowns every single day; all I did with most of my nights was, cry. This feeling of pain, sadness, and helplessness had killed me from within and left me fully broken.
I had realised that it was DEPRESSION. By this point, my life was a total mess. My productivity at work had declined completely, I had started eating like nobody’s business, my physical activity had dropped to zero; my motivation to do anything was dead. I very much wanted to talk to someone but I didn’t know who to talk to. I knew I was depressed but I didn’t really do anything to get over it neither did I seek help when I most needed it. One day I just picked up my phone and decided to talk to my mom about what was happening and so I did; as I began explaining things to her I broke down again. I told her that I thought it was depression and I wanted to see a doctor; I wasn’t really amused by her reaction; according to her I was just homesick and I needed to come back home for a break. For her, a person like me who all her life has been extremely strong and independent couldn’t get so weak and vulnerable. Next, I spoke to my brother hoping that he would definitely understand and help me out; but all he said that it was nothing and it’s all in my head. That is when I decided not to talk to anybody about it. It made me realise how orthodox people are when it comes to mental illness.
Crying had become a part of my daily routine and the pain unbearable. Suddenly one day I decided to quit my job; I wasn’t performing to the best of my capabilities which led to further problems at the work front. I gave up everything and returned back home. All this while nobody ever got to know what I was dealing with; I never showed it to anyone how broken I was from within. I came back home with a lot of hope that my breakdown would reduce and I could get back to being my happy self again. However, I was disappointed by myself yet again. While at home all I did was eat, sleep, cry and watch meaningless movies.
It was while watching one of the movies did I find my silver lining. It made me realise that until I accept myself and my condition completely I can never expect anybody else to ever do it. Without discussing with anybody I started taking therapy. It took me a lot of time to get over this feeling of sadness and constant crying. Therapy wasn’t a magic wand; it took me a lot of talking, meditating, running (my current obsession) and reading to get over it. Trust me it wasn’t easy at all; it was a long difficult path and having to deal with it all by myself made it, even worse. Not that it’s gone entirely, I do have breakdowns (probably maybe once in a month or once in two months) but with time I have better control over myself. In fact, I am much better as a person now, I am more loving, caring, humble and calm. My perspective on life has changed drastically and I feel much happier and content with myself now. Every night I go back to bed with a feeling of satisfaction and joy rather than sadness.
My sole purpose behind sharing my story with the world is to create more awareness about depression and other mental illness. It saddens me to see how people after being so educated and well aware shut themselves from the harsh reality of depression. You don’t shut a person out because he/she has cancer, you rather accept it and pray and love that person more than ever; you pray every day for their recovery. Why can’t the same thing be done with depression as well? While dealing with an illness like cancer you need a strong mind; but how will anybody deal with it if their mind is fighting its own battle. As important as it is to heal the body of any illness it’s equally important to the heal the mind as well.
My request to each one reading this is please do not shun someone if he/she is going through tough times. If they say they feel depressed, talk to them, try to understand their perspective even if you disagree. It isn’t easy at all to deal with something like depression all by yourself (though I did, but it need not be the same with everyone). Also to people dealing with it please accept your condition and seek help (very important). Seeking help is the most difficult part of mental illness as there’s so much negative talk about it, but trust me you can get over all the challenges and hurdles if you decide to do so.
Studies show that every three in ten people suffer from depression, but do nothing about it. Why? Just because it isn’t acceptable by our so-called “SOCIETY.” You are constantly judged and are labeled as a weak person unfit for the “SOCIETY.” It just doesn’t matter what the society thinks, all that matters is what YOU think. Don’t run away from situations like I did, take control and change things. Be kind and loving to yourself.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ∼ George Bernard Shaw