April 11th, 2016
“Depression: The Road I Never Meant To Take!
Somewhere deep inside, I knew that I was not fine. So, a couple weeks ago, on the insistence of one of my friends who herself happens to be a doctor, I decided to see a psychiatrist.
My friend said, “I don’t mean to imply otherwise but please seek professional help. The symptoms are crystal clear.”
I am never the kind of person who turn their back on things that are considered stigmatic in our society. I knew things were going bad in my life, but I attributed it to stress and my inability to manage things. That’s what people around me told too. “It shall pass.” was the mantra I heard over and again. I had been brushing the things off to a side for quite sometime while concentrating on several other things but the stage never seemed to pass. My curious mind wanted to surf the internet about the things happening to me. It was all there, reflecting like bright stars upon my blinded eyes but I didn’t want to accept it. Probably because, I knew I was strong and I was just going through some dark phases of my life but I was damn wrong.
The problems continued and my condition deteriorated. The inexplicable pain, the psychological torment which I experienced when a few areas of the brain got activated hurt me so much. I failed to fathom the reasons for such symptoms. How ironical it is! Even though the physical and emotional pain possess the same kind of neural signatures, the latter can’t be soothed with the dose of a Tylenol.
Days passed by and one day, I reached the saturation point. The great masquerade game which I excelled in couldn’t hide my make-believe acts anymore. Only I could see the whole life I’ve built raze to the ground. I felt suicidal once again like many other previous times but the spell that I used to cast on myself to knock over the horrific thought wasn’t working anymore. So, before the negativities overpowered me completely, I chose to take the advice of my doctor friend and consult a psychiatrist.
“It’s so obvious, you are depressed!” the doc confirmed, making my worst fears come true. “And I reckon you know what the root cause was!” she added, after what it seemed like a 30-minute talk.
Walking out of the hospital, I had answers to all the questions which I have had for years but I had a bigger challenge- facing the world. It was not easy at all.
I hit up mom’s number on the speed dial of the phone and talked to her. She was the first person I wanted to talk to. To my surprise, she was composed and she tried to calm down a sobbing me! But around an hour later, I got a call from my dad who simply yelled at me – “What is the depression for? Did anyone close to you die? Or what is it that you’re hiding from us?” Questions were hitting me like bullets. I had no answers. He wasn’t prepared to listen also. So, I disconnected the call, deciding to give him some time to calm down.
But this was just the beginning of the questions that began to swarm around me.
“You have a good job for a 22 year old, handsome pay… why the depression?”
“You are living your dream life, then what is all this about?”
“Why are you sad? You seem happy.”
“You don’t look depressed.”
“Why do you feel empty?”
“Are you trying to gain sympathy?”
“Don’t think you have the hardest of life. There are millions out there, living in conditions that are much worse.”
“Been there… done that! Don’t teach me what depression is!”
“It’s all in your head!”
“What don’t I know?” and several other questions were fired at me like salt sprinkled on a wound.
I had heard people judging me enough and telling me that I was overreacting to something that was pretty meagre. This was one of the reasons why I had refrained myself from going to a doctor in the first place. Also, the fashion of changing the true meaning of words these days – Where date is no more a meeting where two people know each other, and depression is no more a crazy-psychological issue- added to the taunting which I received and still do. For most of the people these days and even me at a point of time, depression meant those small episodes of lows or the blues and bruises of life. A blog on the same by a friend of mine forced me to check if I belonged to the same category or was it something more.
So, what was it? Was it a broken heart, an ailment, loved one, or anything else? It was not just one. It was one after the other that wasn’t letting me get over the former completely. I am pretty sure I was an open book to most of my friends and closest associates but what many people don’t know is that this depression of mine triggered when I was first molested (inappropriately touched and groped) as a teenager. It was then, that my sadness and anger issues took an ugly birth. Then came a battle for studies. Not being able to cope up with the fact that I have to deal with few financial issues which meant I had to compromise, an autoimmune disease hit me which left me scarred till date. To add was a heart break from the only unrequited love story I had, then a forced sexual assault and being forsaken by someone whom I looked up to the most. One after the other, these have taken a toll on me.
Every time, just when I began to think that things were going to get better, the worse got dumped on me. Yet, I clung on to the hope that tomorrow is another day and it eventually gets better. It was all in my hands, wasn’t it? To my surprise, things took a drastically negative turn. My emotions began to disorient and void filled my life. Unknowingly, I entered a journey into the limbo where I lost my real self and set on a quest for the same. However, the path was an unknown labyrinth edged with thorny woods. The dreams that I had were no longer mine and the ambitions had gone awry and this jilted feeling only left me astray. I took decisions that were detrimental to my life. I was overwhelmed by guilt. I will always be the person who hurt my parents in more ways than one can count, I will always be the one who rebelled not only against the society (which is good), but against her own self, and the morals that she always stood on. I am the one who knows what is to be done but cannot do it by herself.
I’ve been told by the psychiatrist that I was strong enough where many people fall apart and it was perfectly okay to let go and give in sometimes. But it’s hard to adhere to it when your mind isn’t willing to, when you’re beginning to hate the things you loved, when you don’t find interest in anything (like even writing this blog post, which took me a lot of courage and self-motivation) and when you live with an erupting volcano inside you.
It’s really hard.
For all who have been through some dark patches in their lives and understand the feel of a depressive episode, one should also understand that the actual depression is different from what one thinks is a consequence of stress or inability to handle things. I’ve gotten out of that illusion. It’s comprehensible that an uneducated person or the old not-willing-to-change people from yesteryears do not get the true meaning of depression but when a fully educated person blames me for complaining, it makes me wonder.
For all I know, it feels like drowning in the deepest of ocean, suffocating and trying to catch for breath, when you feel the whole world happening, right in front of you.
It’s a lone battle where you have to either win or die trying, and I’m giving my best to be a warrior and emerge victorious. So, dear friend, think twice before you ask questions, assume things or judge people.”
Submitted by — Harika Bantupalli
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