*slowly slinks back into blogging*
Who, me? I never left *cough*.
I’m back and boy, it’s been long. When you write for a living, it can be a monumental task to open the laptop and start working on a new piece when all you want to do is binge-watch another season of ‘That ’70s Show’.
Writing has always come easy to me. It has been my outlet for all my frustrations, hope and dreams (but mostly frustration). It doesn’t help that I’m a painfully mediocre writer but that hasn’t stopped me until now.
However, there has been a bigger reason for avoiding the written word – depression.
I’ve never felt the need to talk or even write about my depression to anyone and now I know, that was the biggest mistake I could have made. Sure, my friends and family know what troubles me at times but the core reason was never audibly expressed, maybe because I wasn’t so sure what the problem was myself.
Depression is a slippery little motherfucker. Some days, you get up feeling mentally and physically exhausted with absolutely no urge to move but on other days, you’re chipper until the clouds set in.
This comic made me snigger, sorry.
I know depression differs for everyone but today, I want to talk about mine. It’s never easy to admit you are depressed. The topic is taboo mostly because people either do not relate to you or are too uncomfortable to discuss the same.
At first, I didn’t realize that what I was feeling on most days was depression. I brushed it aside as PMS or my general crabbiness at having to function, but as more time slide by, I grew curious, then concerned, then downright worried.
My depression took a long time to settle in. I thought I was always tired because of work. I didn’t understand why I felt sad on most days but to make up for it, I spoke up and went out a lot more. I took to drinking a lot more because it made me feel happy and carefree for a while but soon, that passed and all I was left with was a killer headache, sadness and embarrassment at whatever I had done/spoken the previous night.
The only person I confided in was my boyfriend and as precious and pure as he is, he didn’t know what to do or say to help me. Although, he tried, so he gets major brownie points for that.
Soon, my depression grew to such an extent that I cried often in my room, I went drinking almost everyday (no, it honestly does not help) and for the most part, I lay on my bed, wishing it away.
When I read about depression leading people to commit suicide, I scoffed. I never understood the concept until I woke up one day, wishing so forcefully that I was dead and the pain gone. This terrified me.
I lost all sense of hope and direction. No, this wasn’t something others noticed because I was always the talkative, hyper and loud woman I have always been.
Artwork by Shawn Cross
Simply put, I felt like absolute shit and didn’t see the purpose of going through the motions every single day.
I joined a new company and I felt better, for a little while until the sky darkened over me again. I took trips, I went home, I met my friends, I even went on a small vacation but nothing helped. I was always brooding, always sad and the worst part, I didn’t know why.
It sounds ridiculous and it feels that exact way. I didn’t want to talk about it because my friends/family would ask why and I had no idea what to tell them. I have a great family, a good job, amazing friends and a pretty fucking sheltered life, so what can it be? I still don’t know.
I’ve lashed out because of depression, I’ve cried my heart out, I have even stood near my balcony wondering how it would feel if I just got over the edge and ended it all – to put this in perspective, I am absolutely terrified of heights. I cannot look down without panicking – but I didn’t. I just couldn’t.
Funnily enough, I was procrastinating at work one day when I came across a Buzzfeed article about people who procrastinate a lot (Talk about irony). Most of the memes (god bless memes) and gifs was hilariously close to my situation and I snickered until I came to the very end of the article. The author had attached a suicide prevention line. The author (I forget who) had also spoken about how mental health can be few of the reasons for these situations.
This hit home. I knew I must definitely be losing it when I thought a Buzzfeed article helped me understand what was wrong but hey, it is what it is.
Depression takes many forms. This was mine.
Incidents in January made it worse that I closed in on myself for a while.
When you are depressed, you find it hard to see the positivity around you. You assume that either people know what is happening to you and are being your friend out of pity or that they just don’t care. The cynic in me was overpowering the sane me.
It still is. I can still feel it, lurking in the corner, ready to pounce. I have been battling it for a year. Silencing it was hard but refusing to listen to it was harder.
Depression has been my biggest battle until now. There are many who think it is a call for attention which is why the stigma around it is so hard to get rid of. I, for one, absolutely refused to go to a psychologist because that would mean admitting that there was something wrong with me. I sought help, eventually but that is a story for another day.
I’ve still not won this battle. I still feel its cold grasp on a sunny morning or when I’m out having a good time with my friends.
I can still hear it whisper when I’m in a meeting or when I’m watching a movie.
But for now, I’ve firmly put it back in the Pandora’s box and thrown away the key.
The reasons for writing this post are many.
- To show myself and others that it is not the end of the world. You can still fight it, just do not give up on yourself.
- Asking for help does not make you weak. It shows your resolve to make yourself better so please, please, do not give up (like I had).
- Do not ridicule what someone is going through. The word depression is thrown around lightly these days but it might do more harm than good.
- Offer help. If you know someone going through it, offer to help them anyway you can. It might be a small gesture but it will mean a whole lot more to them.
- Do not dismiss it. I did and it took me to a very ugly place, one that I am still shakily getting back from.
If you managed to make it till here, thank you for hearing me out.
If you left it halfway through thinking it was a cry for attention or that I don’t know what depression is, well, sorry I guess.
P.S I am nowhere qualified to diagnose or even point out the symptoms of depression. This was my story. If you or someone you know is going through something similar, here are few numbers you can call:
24×7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669 – AASRA
+91-22-2307 3451 – The Samaritans Sahara
I hope I helped, in any minuscule way.