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Depression is still an invisible illness in Indian society, as most of those depressed seem to be going about their life like normal. A personal experience tells us how they really feel.
It is the constant gnawing and confusion which is difficult to be explained. Something has started eating me from inside and I am not able to put a finger on it. What is this heaviness in my head? This is not a headache. I must be sick. Is it an oncoming fever? No, it is not. I know it is going to stay with me for a while. Am I afraid? I am trying to acknowledge its existence. I have been told that the sheer understanding of it is the cure.
There is this sinking and persistent gloominess all around. It is like everything around has turned grey and black. There is no other color. There is no need of any other color. Why do I feel like crying all the time? There is no apparent reason to cry! However, this is how it feels. The tears need to come out.
Suddenly, fatigue becomes overpowering. Every ounce of energy is draining out. My limbs are going limp and there is an urgent need to sleep. I sleep like there is no tomorrow, with no inclination to wake up because there is no wish left to see the world anymore. My bed has become my saviour.
What has happened to my hobbies and the activities I loved? I am losing interest in everything. All the events which are happening around me feel like a movie being run from a distance.
Fatigue has become a major part of my life. How do you explain this to somebody? There is a noticeable change in my appetite. The eating habits have changed. I have started isolating myself.
I feel dead. This sinking feeling won’t leave me. I am gasping for breath. There is this heaviness in my heart which is making me breathless. I feel disappointed – with myself and with the people around me. Why do the others disappoint me? It is like I have become fragile like a thin piece of glass, which will break at the slightest touch.
It is midafternoon. Why don’t I feel hungry? I force myself to eat something lest people ask. Now, I want to throw up. I no longer exist. My existence has become bleary. The invisible line between life and death seems to be playing with me. I am still finding difficulty with breathing. I look around frantically, for someone to help. How do I ask for help? What do I say? Do I tell them that my heart is sinking, I can’t breathe, and I feel eternally tired? How can anyone understand this until they feel it themselves? They will surmise that I am sick or coming up with a fever and will advise me to rest. They will ask me to go out with friends. How do I tell them that social interaction is the last thing I would like to do now? I feel this numbing pain in my shoulders and neck. Am I sick?
I drink a glass of cold water. Somehow it feels good as it goes down my neck. I can feel it tracing its way down my throat. I look around again. People are occupied in their own worlds. I have no idea how to ask for help. I take a walk to the washroom, shut myself in a cubicle and the tears start rolling down. Why am I crying? I have everything possible to make my life comfortable. What are these tears for? What do I want from others? If the happiness comes from inside, where is it right now? The questions are never- ending and there are no answers. My mind has become a jungle of thoughts. I hate myself. Yes, I do.
Whatever has happened to me, this condition is debilitating. Will this kill me, or will I kill myself? Someone had once told me that suicide is not a way out. I believe in this. What if my soul gets stuck in a spiral for thousands of years. There would be no respite from that. I must find a way out from here. The medicines, yes, they help. There are friends, who are willing to sit with me and listen without any bias. How do I tell them that despite for craving for a human touch, I cannot bring myself to see anybody? Yes, it is a conflicting situation. I want to be surrounded with people who love and at the same time, any socializing abhors me. How would anyone understand that?
I am now thinking of what might possibly soothe me. A walk among trees, taking in deep breaths in the open and the restful green color, sounds like paradise. A chat over a cup of tea is also sounding like a good proposal to me. Good food is always considered therapeutic. I must avoid alcohol. Though it would give a momentary euphoria, the aftermath would be more dispiriting. As I think of these things, I realize that my breathe has returned to normal. I am no longer oblivious to what is happening around me. I can hear what the others around me are talking. Yes, it is gone for now. I also know that it will come back, and I cannot envisage its tempo. I am scared. However, this is how it is. This is how I am special.
I am thankful that this has made me more sensitive towards the emotions of others. I do not judge people anymore. Yes, I am breathing deeply now. My heart is lighter. I will continue moving with my life for now. I recall somebody saying that we will believe in only what our eyes can see. The invisibility of my affliction is a curse which I must endure. Today, I move forward with baby steps, embracing every little sparkle which crosses my way.
A version of this was first published here.
If you or anyone you know is feeling suicidal, here are some of the helplines available in India. Please call.
Aasra, Mumbai: 022-27546669
Sneha, Chennai: 044-2464 0050
Lifeline, Kolkata: 033-2474 4704
Sahai, Bangalore: 080–25497777
Roshni, Hyderabad: 040-66202000, 040-66202001
Image source: Flickr
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, you can request to be a Women's Web contributor too!
The author works as a Managing Editor. She has previously published articles on mental health
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