Battle with depression: I can still remember how tears rolled down my cheek, uncontrollable and distressing, while I was in the middle of a meeting. I couldn’t control the crying spell and neither could I understand the reason behind it. Just then my sister walked in and was shocked to see my face wet with tears. She consoled me, asked me to quit and take rest.
But the very thought of letting myself give in to my emotions, which at the time was not an expression of myself but a devilish impact, broke me from inside and I crumbled down wailing in pain. A pain that had no location but was more intense than a physical ailment. You know the worst thing about depression is that you cannot point out the whys and hows of it. You just have to deal with the uncertainties that it produces in your mind. You have to lose yourself in endless search of the reason why exactly are you anxious and depressed.
This incident happened a month after I got myself medical help from psychiatrists and psychologists. I was diagnosed with Dysthymia, Anxiety and Post-Traumatic stress disorder. After a month of regular medicines, self-love and a break from everything, I thought my battle with depression was over. That I had conquered the disease that affects millions and thousands succumb to it.
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But then, it was there again. Like a devil that was always underneath my bed, waiting for me to lay down and relax. In fact, I can’t even say if depression is as visible as a ghost under the bed. Because it is its invisibility that makes it the worst kind of ailment that human beings deal with. An invisibility that is exacerbated by social stigma around depression that sidelines it as a temporary sadness or stress that every one deals with.
I left my medicines with the confidence that I can deal with it on my own. But the first instance of self-confidence in me was ruined even before I could imagine
And I was back to the same diffident, timid, anxious woman who blamed herself for being weak. Suicidal thoughts were back again killing me inside each time I faced disappointment at work. Future seemed dark, present blurred while past as heavy as baggage on my back. Fear of being alone made me even more helpless because until when I could depend on others’ company to feel better?
This revival of my depressive symptoms raised many questions in my mind. Was it just my thought, a construct of mind or did I really go back to square one in my battle with depression? Was all that pride and happiness for winning over it hollow then? Until when can I depend on medicines and help to feel normal? If I have to be dependent, am I even free and hence normal?
People kept saying that “push yourself”, “do something for yourself”. But how do I explain that I became dissatisfied with myself? That my relationship with myself became estranged as I blamed her for not being strong enough?
But then what I realised is that the battle with depression lasts longer than we think. As my therapist said, it is not like a physical ailment the symptoms of which disappear once you take medicines. It is a long battle, sometimes rough sometimes bearable. All you need to do is keep your hope and the will to be better each day alive. Because without that, you are already headed for a loss. Yes, it is a battle each day to keep that hope alive.
It gets wet in tears, invisible in blank stares and smeared by constant negativities and self-doubt. But all you can do is try. The consequence could be anything but not the regret that you never tried to deal with it. And try to not blame yourself. Let her be weak, blank and in need of help. Because the more you try to hide your weakness, the more difficult it will be to face it and resolve it.
Views expressed are the author’s own.