#Personal Stories

Combating Depression: How Self-Love Acts As A Silver Line

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Combating depression: How can self-love help in dealing with depression? Is family’s support essential to overcome mental illness? Why should it take a malady to understand the value of self-love? Here is my story.

I still remember that day vividly when I chose to sleep forever as an answer to the increasing complexities in life and a way to attain peace. Anxiety crippled my body and my wisdom and pushed me into darkness from where no one returns. I popped too many sleeping pills and lied down on my bed, emotionless, gazing right into the hollow that I felt in my mind.

I was angry at myself for not performing well at the job that I loved, for picking up fights with my parents every day and for not meeting my expectations. Later I was diagnosed with depression and that’s where my life embarked on a new journey, painful yet transformative. I learnt that combating depression is not only about medications and therapy. It is also about strengthening your relationship with yourself and with your loved ones.

Combating Depression: How It All Began?

The major reason why I plunged into this darkness was the lack of self-love, self-confidence and the motivation to do something for myself. Whether it is about studies, work or just living happily and peacefully, I constantly doubted myself. Even when I was diagnosed with depression, I felt as if I was giving excuses to escape the struggles of life.

Yes, self-criticism is often good to improve yourself and be better each day. But rather than pushing my growth, self-doubt strangled it. I became harsh on myself, physically and mentally. I stretched my capacities so much that I lost it completely.

What made all this worse was my estranged relationship with parents and society because of their patriarchal mindset. I am a feminist but this belief is often threatened by my immediate reality which is rampant with sexism and misogyny. Even though I write articles on women empowerment, my voice and stance are disrespected or ignored whenever I try to question the patriarchy in and around my house.

I am forced to helplessly witness oppressive customs and practices and this creates a huge gap between my immediate and imagined reality, between feminist mindset and patriarchal reality.

Subsequently. the difference between the right and the wrong blurs and I am left wondering if I ever progressed at all? What is the significance of my feminism? Is it only an imagination far away from ground reality?

Depression And Self-Love

But battling with depression taught me important lessons for life. Even though the battle is ugly, there is a silver lining exuding a beautiful feeling of self-love. I have started valuing myself for who I am. Rather than blaming and doubting, I allow myself the space to recuperate, rethink and then try once again.

I have learnt to forgive myself on days of burnouts and to pat my back for every achievement. however small or insignificant it is. I can’t deny that living is a struggle but it can be combated with a positive and liberated mindset, which is what I have understood.

Moreover, it has also strengthened my relationship with my parents who have realised now that their pressure and patriarchal mindset is unhealthy for me and hence for themselves. In fact, it would have been difficult for me to deal with depression without their support. But as far as my feminism is concerned, I have learnt that change is a long process.

It requires patience. consistency and effort. So rather than succumbing to the pressure to be silent, I will make my voice louder. Even if it goes unheard today, it will reverberate the walls tomorrow. And I owe this to myself as, for me, feminism is a part of self-love.

Learning Self-Love The Harder Way. Why?

But the question that always arises in my mind is that why did it take a serious illness like depression to understand the value of self-love? Why did it take my episodic anxieties, suicidal thoughts and frequent breakdowns for my parents to shed the cloak of a patriarchal mindset?

Why is it uncommon for parents and society to accept women with their choices? Why isn’t self-love and feminism a part of women’s life naturally?  Why do we correlate self-love with selfishness in the case of women?

I learnt the value of self-love the harder way. But you, dear readers, love yourself and keep defying the gendered norms without feeling guilty. It is a basic necessity of life to own the freedom to love yourself and to question the wrong. And even if you are diagnosed with depression, remember that medication and therapy will help you deal with one aspect of mental illness.

The effort to change your mindset, to inculcate self-love and to get back on the track that leads you to your dream, should be yours.

Views expressed are author’s own. This is a personal story. If you have one to share, write to [email protected]