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The three year phase in my life when I was severely depressed left me drained and in a haze but it also taught me a few important lessons!
Depression is something that creeps up on you silently. You don’t even realize when it starts affecting you. I know for I have spent a lot of time with it.
It all started when I had my child. Like most new moms, I felt overwhelmed but unlike many I found myself floundering day by day. It all seemed to become harder and harder. I didn’t realize it, then but I was suffering from postpartum depression.
Now books about childbirth tell you how to prepare for the process of giving birth. You have books which talk about how to take care of your child. But back then there were hardly any books which talked about what it meant to be a new mother. To be blessed with a healthy happy child should have made me happy and yet I found myself feeling lethargic and listless all the time.
I was lucky I guess that I did not suffer from a severe case of PPD but it led to me being borderline depressive for a long time. Now, I look back and realize that I should have spoken to someone, asked for help.
But like I said awareness about mental health was low. And more importantly these things happen so slowly that you don’t realize when you become accustomed to it. As women, the role society has thrust on us is to care for others, we are never told to care for ourselves.
I would say I was borderline clinically depressed but, of course, since I never consulted any medical professional I can’t be sure. What I do know is that there is a period of three years which seems like a haze.
I remember very little about this time period beyond the fact that I existed, I did what was expected of me. All I know is that I fulfilled my responsibilities like a robot because I couldn’t allow myself to feel the grey numbness. It seemed to want to overpower me all the time!
Then, one day I don’t know how or why, but the greyness suddenly started dissipating. You know how they write in books that ‘suddenly the cloud lifted and she could see everything clearly’? Well that’s exactly what it felt like to me.
Suddenly, I was started to feel like myself again and I had never been so grateful for that. I wish I could say that my depression ended like that but it didn’t. Over the next few years it would come and go but it taught me certain things.
It taught me to appreciate the good days. The days where you laugh because you feel like it or you catch yourself smiling about something, those days are to be treasured.
It is wonderful to wake up in the morning without dread sitting in your heart. To be able to hum as you go about your day, to joke with your family, to just enjoy your day. So appreciate what you have because no matter how trivial it seems, there is someone who longs for it.
Just because you have good days doesn’t mean the bad days won’t come. Understand that there will be days when nothing feels right, when no matter how much you try you cannot avoid the greyness. Bat down the hatches and prepare to weather through because while it seems like an eternity, know that this too will pass.
Learn to put yourself first. Understand what you can do to push the bad days as far as possible. Exercise helps, music helps and talking to someone can help too. Make yourself a priority. Don’t feel guilty about saying this is important for me.
And don’t feel bad about suffering from depression. It’s not your fault. Yes, it’s easy to think that there are people worse off than you so you should be happy but these are things that you can’t control.
No one wants to have depression but if you do then you have to find a way to deal with it. Telling yourself that you shouldn’t be depressed just makes it worse because now you’re depressed and guilty!
We women have a tendency to play down our problems but remember no one can understand what you are facing until you tell them. So don’t feel shy or ashamed to say that you have problems and that you need to do whatever is necessary to deal with it.
You don’t catch the men in our lives feeling guilty about their health problems do you? Now I’m not saying you should expect to be cosseted like most men want when they have so much as a cold. But please understand that when you start giving yourself importance, others will too.
Picture credits: Photo by JESSICA TICOZZELLI from Pexels
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Asfiya Rahman, a management graduate, is a teacher by occupation and a writer by inclination.
I Had To Be The ‘Good Girl’ Through A Lifetime Of Being Depressed
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