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What do you do when depression hits? Here's a true story of thriving through depression. Read on!
What do you do when depression hits? Here’s a true story of thriving through depression. Read on!
This post is part of a two day special on Survivor Stories, where we share and celebrate the stories of women who believe they are survivors.
It all began in a small sleepy town of Assam. We were a happy family of six. I was ten. Life revolved around school and playfulness. I did not know much about the world; satellite television and mobile networks were still to invade us. It was a November afternoon. We were preparing for our final examination, sitting in our backyard. The Sun was warm and yellow. It was just another day in a small town of India where life was slow. I too would not have marked it, had our Daddy not met with an accident while driving to a nearby town. It was fatal. The yellow Sun crumpled in our tiny hands.
The thing with children is that they don’t know what to do, when something uncanny happens. They have no choice but believe adults. I readily believed what I was told repeatedly that it’s going to be okay. And when you are told, that it is okay, you somehow don’t express your grief. You tend to be strong and this was my first step towards escapism. I imbibed the first wrong lesson, that breaking down or grieving is wrong.
When I entered my tumultuous teens, I thought being a rebel was cool. I did so to avoid the growing gap in my heart. The first gulp of anger and grief I felt within the crevices of my heart, I drowned with loud music. And no matter how much we romanticize school life later, it’s difficult to grow up as a tall, thin teenager, in an age where everyone wanted you to be like the other girls. I remember strong headaches during those days that went and came back at their own will. Doctors could not help much.
I did well throughout, yet within I felt lonely, sad and unworthy. I did not know that I was suffering from depression.
College came. I did well throughout, yet within I felt lonely, sad and unworthy. I did not know that I was suffering from depression. Till then I had become an expert in escapism. However, it taught me a lot. In process you over do a lot. You tend to get addicted to something. Some people use drugs, sex, alcohol, or work to escape something that needs their attention. I used music and books. I would wake up with a book and my ear phones and then sleep to it. That was my addiction. When you cannot live without something, you know that you are addicted. And we are only an addict when we refuse to see the turmoil that is within. It’s said that once you take care of what lies within, your external cravings are taken care of by themselves.
When college got over, I had a breakup and Lo and Behold, I hit my lowest. One fine morning, I woke up not wanting to open my eyes and face the day. I knew something was wrong. I needed help! That was the first time I sought help. I visited a psychologist.
Throughout the session, my psychologist pinpointed that more than heartbreak I was dealing with feelings of abandonment. We traced these feelings back to my childhood, back to the death of my father. My psychologist said, “You never mourned the death of your father and felt abandoned due to his sudden death. And now that this guy suddenly left you, it triggered your old feelings.”
The best thing I ever did was asking for help. I learned that we don’t learn everything on our own; we sometimes need help, one who can show us the way.
The best thing I ever did was asking for help. I learned that we don’t learn everything on our own; we sometimes need help, one who can show us the way. Now that I look back, I think depression was the best thing that happened to me. Since I was broken, I could rebuild myself. I finally could reconnect with myself without suppressing my inner emotions. It wasn’t easy but worth each effort. It was difficult to wake up in the morning and feel empty and hopeless with life. It was very difficult to live with low self-worth and low self-esteem, but you got to take that one step each day. Breathe in, with all your might and begin your day. It’s difficult to move into a day that might not interest you, but you still got to take one hour each day. I took one breath at one time.
When you are facing depression, just know it’s okay to live with it, just like any other disease. Because you can move with it too; when you live with it, every minute is not hell-raised, you do have your moments of joy and happiness before the gloom sinks in. Know, it is okay. You are only crossing a bridge. We all need that bridge at times.
The first thing one needs to do, when going through any low is to be kind to oneself and take it slow. Though it feels at times that the sky has fallen over us, but I learned to be gentle with myself. Each one of us is unique and one has to take whatever time it requires to heal. You need not compare yourself with others and speed up. Learn self care. Do what makes you feel good.
I personally went for physical exercise, got into a good diet. And most importantly, kept paying regular visits to my psychologist and charted my progress. Not to forget, good music, good books and good companions. They are a sure shot road to discovery.
Pursuing your hobby helps too. I took up sketching and for long hours. Got into a routine, Slept early and woke up to a morning walk.
Pursuing your hobby helps too. I took up sketching and for long hours. Got into a routine, slept early and woke up to a morning walk. While I was getting better I kept away from triggers that could worsen my condition such as old places, people, sad movies, or songs. I made a list of those triggers and did not visit them until I felt safe again. That included some close people too. I also joined a support group which did wonders.
And one day, I grew beyond that darkness. The best part is that one becomes wiser and better, not bitter as a person. That’s what happens when we take time to heal and clean our wounds. When you tape over it, you become bitter, when you clean it, you become better. That’s the trick to a healthier life. It does take time and perseverance, but I assure you, it’s worth all the time and effort.
I lived through it and this is my story. I have never been ashamed of it. And why should I be? It’s like any other disease that can hit anyone. Are you ashamed of the cold you caught last season? I am sure not. So, if you have lived or are living with it, it is okay. You can still live with immense dignity and pride, for you are the person fighting in the ring. You might get knocked down many a times, but that’s what fighters are made of. They become legends in history.
You are the legend in your life. Never stop knocking back.
This is my story, winning myself from depression. I have lived with it and conquered it as well. I have lived many a dark night but I knocked it out with the hope of the arriving dawn. Dawn did come. Now, I am a better human being, doing well in every sphere of life. I thrived through it. I say with a lot of dignity that depression is my story, and I have won hands down. You can too.
If you are a survivor, do share your story. For I know, every-time I have risen to tell my story, I saved one life from sinking low. Our society tells us to keep it behind the curtains.
I tell my story with hope and dignity so that the light I could see may become your vision too.
First published here
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Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer. Workaholic. read more...
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