“The biggest difficulty is feeling closure and extremely lonely, and that loneliness is your worst enemy. You feel trapped in a dark place. You feel worthless and helpless. It’s terrible, it’s like you’re in a different zone of thoughts. You find happiness in nothing, nor do you try searching for happiness. You don’t want to be happy. The world seems like a gloomy, miserable and haunting place. You are your own enemy, you blame yourself, you hate yourself. You don’t want to do anything; life stands still for you. You just want to sleep with the hope that you will never wake up again.”
These very personal thoughts and feelings were shared with me by an individual, who once suffered depression.
Upon hearing their experiences, there was a considerable amount I could relate to and I wanted to partially fulfil the aim of my writing. Initially, when I stepped into the world of writing, I had a distinct image in mind. A vision with a clear purpose to benefit others, and not to merely fabricate words to impress others.
The concept “Words Can Heal” involves reaching out to heal and mend souls.
Many people I have come across focus on the outer image of a person and do not care to take an insight into what is stirring up inside them. They place their concern in the outward image they choose to display to the world as they sense a fear of being judged!
Hence, today I penned down my thoughts and I aim to encourage those individuals suffering in silence to be more open about their mental health.
The National Health service UK defines clinical depression as more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days. According to the health line, depression is defined as a mood disorder. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities. Whatever the definition may be, it certainly has a distinct and more personalised meaning for each individual.
Depression differs from the usual mood swings we experience, and the symptoms vary from being short term, to average, or even long term. Depending on its intensity level, it can cause the affected person to suffer to varying degrees. This psychological state can significantly disrupt your daily routine, impact your social life, personal life, and negatively impact your work life. The symptoms vary from person to person sometimes being psychological, physical or sometimes can be anxiety triggers.
I want to bring attention to the real-life experiences as they are the ones that we can relate to. Most of the people I encountered to gather an insight, reflected the same dilemma, and that is, that they do have happy moments in their lives, but they are always tinged in sadness.
Someone poured their heart out and said:
“Whenever somebody talks to me about depression, the first thing I always suggest is to seek professional help. I’ve been seeking therapy on and off since years. I’ve seen seven different therapists. Some have been good and some not that useful. Personally, I’ve never been told anything by a therapist that I haven’t already thought or read about myself. Apart from professional help, I have tried speaking to family as well but always regretted it afterwards because of their reactions. I think what a lot of people who suffer from depression want is empathy when we talk to someone. We want people to understand how we feel and not just have sympathy for us.”
As we see mental health issues escalating around us, it is essential we explore remedies that can help us grow out of this misery. Therapies, antidepressant medications, exercise, nutritional changes in diet, praying, contemplation, yoga, music, reading etc, all have proved to assist people in one way or the other to a certain extent. But the final rescue is at your own disposal. It is your own will power, which determines how you battle with this distress. There are two paths that you can choose from when you are drowning in depressing thoughts. There is a very fine line in between the two directions, in which you often find yourself hanging. While you are juggling and trying your best to maintain your balance, the real test lies in your resilience. Either you will break down completely or you will rise again. The choice is for you to make and the deciding force is your inner strength. Easier said than done, but that is what the process of recovery is, perpetual, and patience is the key to go with the flow.
Even if you detach and overcome this temporarily, I personally feel that depression takes a seat in the back of your minds somewhere and it never really goes away. It is a part of you, so embrace it with fortitude.
I once read somewhere that depression is feeling like you have lost something but having no clue when or where you last had it. Then one day, it comes to your realisation that what you actually lost is yourself.
I hope I don’t get to that point because the image above of the woman reflecting on life is me. I want to break this social stigma by saying that I have been suffering from mild depression on and off lately too. I try to be as positive as I can, however we all have our emotional breakdowns at some points in life. This is one of the many human traits and we simply cannot escape it, and we should not even try to do so. When we suffer from a physical health issue, we run off to seek immediate medical assistance as we fear the consequences. But why is it that when we suffer from a psychological disorder, we tend to hide it? Our outlook on depression is something I feel strongly about. Depression is like any other ailment, yet if you say to someone that you are feeling depressed, they tend to make an instant assumption that you are facing some problem in your life. Can one not be depressed without having a valid reason? Depression does not occur on a particular day and it can be triggered by anything. Sometimes, events build up and lead to depression, sometimes you don’t have any reason at all and you have no explanation for why you feel so dreadful. You simply do not find answers to these peculiar questions, which life throws at you.
Stephen Fry rightly said: “If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather.
Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.”
I firmly believe that if the people around you are kind and understanding then your journey, no matter how long and arduous it is, it becomes a little easier. A little kindness, a companion to whom you can pour your heart out, a group of sincere friends, an understanding family and a non-judgemental society, all these are little saviours from the dark thoughts that prevent people from seeing the light. Many lives have been lost in the dark dungeons of depression and it is high time that we highlight and exchange our views about it on a wider scale.
It’s just the perception that needs to change so people don’t hold it back and share without the fear of being judged. If you are suffering from depression, speak it out and make sure your voice is heard! Please do not suffer in silence. There is always help available. Make sure you reach out in time before it is too late to travel out of the dark shadows.
I have played my part today, are you ready to do yours?
– Fatima Ali