I have been struggling with Clinical Depression since I was 14. While I actually had bouts of depression from a very young age, thanks to the lack of awareness about mental health and the stigma attached to it, my condition was termed as 'just a sad phase' until I was diagnosed with it.
From that day till today, the intensity of my depression and anxiety has kept on fluctuating. There are days when I lose my appetite completely, I don't take a shower and maintain personal hygiene or days when I just zone out. It's like there's a switch in my brain which goes off and boom, I resort to my shell of isolation. I've had days when I had severe panic attacks and days when I silently screamed and cried in the washroom with the tap open so that nobody could hear me. There are days when I just lie in bed, binging on my cravings for sweets. There are also these darker days when I have to hold myself together with all the strength left in me because living through the day is so hard that ending my life seems like the only escape from the pain. But mind you, this is my narrative of the story; the people who witnessed it or heard about it, labelled me as an 'attention seeker', 'psychopath', 'stubborn', 'lazy', etc, etc, etc. It hurt, but you know what,I'm not ashamed about my condition because being ashamed or feeling guilty or sulking about the fact that I'm feeling the way I do, I'd only add to the anxiety and feed my mind and body with the negative energy it doesn't need right now. Rather, I choose to fight, like not literally going and physically fighting with people, rather fighting the wars in the battleground (which is my mind).
In retrospect, I think the bravest thing I've done is reflecting upon my condition and seeking help for it when all I wanted to do is die. And it was surprising the miraculous effect therapy had on me. I don't think any amount of 'thank yous' and 'love yous' would be enough for Charvi Di, my therapist for being that one ray of sunshine, one glint of hope in my darkness. Seeking help has helped my depression to be a lot more in control in comparison to the earlier stages. What I learned is that it's okay to have bad days; to just live or just survive through such days. I give myself that pep talk - 'I'm proud of you for pulling yourself out of bed today, I got you, don't give up, you'll get through this. Even if it's raining today, it won't storm forever right?' I have literally gone from asking life, 'Why me?' to telling it, 'Try me!'. What also really helped me keep my depression in control was the fact that I stopped comparing myself with other people and started comparing my older self with my newer one. I stopped apologising to other people for feeling the way I do, and started apologising to myself for being so hard on me. Now when I have one of those terribly low phases and I feel like ending my life, I tell myself: 'let's give life one more shot', and trust me, life hasn't failed my decision. Every 'just one more time' milestone has been so worth it.
"I've literally gone from asking life, 'Why me?' to telling it, 'Try me!"
Just like any physical ailment, it's really important to acknowledge mental illnesses and I'm glad that I chose to do that. And I'm extremely proud to say that I'm HEALING. It's been a long journey from breathing again to surviving again to living again and now to laughing again. I've started taking control over my mind and stopped letting it take control over me. There's a lot more left to discover, a lot more to repair and a lot more to heal but I don't ever want to stop or look back. Come life/happiness, let's be friends again?
I wish more people understood that a person did not choose to get depressed or anxious, instead, that feeling chose him/her. I also wish people understood is that healing takes time. It's not a destination, it's a journey. Healing isn't a race, you're allowed to take your own time and even allowed to take longer than you expected. I know I haven't reached where I want to, but I'm glad atleast I am on my way, atleast I've set out. But you know I've gotten a thing or two good things out of being in the tough state that I am / I was. It has taught me that everyone I meet is going through something I know nothing about so the least I can do is I can be kind and not judgemental. I would like to quote this beautiful writing I came across the other day:"You wake up every morning to fight the same demons that left you so tired the night before and that, my love, is bravery".
To the one reading it - No, it's not 'just in my head' and no, I can't 'just snap out of it.'