‘Dear Depression, You Are Also My Biggest Strength And Triumph!’

Posted by Geetanjali Sharma in #LetsTalk, Mental Health
April 5, 2017
This story is in response to Youth Ki Awaaz’s topic for this week – #LetsTalk to start a conversation on the stigma around depression. If you have an opinion or personal story of dealing with or helping someone else deal with depression or suicidal thoughts, write to us here.

Dear Depression,

I was clueless about who you are. This was probably because you are such a hush-hush affair here.

I remember that at my grandparents’ house, your presence was blamed on ‘demonic possession’. I used to think that people accompanied by you only ‘seemed sad’.

But one day, you visited me. How could you visit me – a happy, above-average and lively girl? Even though I was surprised, this was really happening. Moreover, before my naive self could even comprehend what was happening to me, I was greeted with the usual statements of ‘she’s just sad’.

Was I really ‘just sad’?

Yes, I was ‘sad’, but it wasn’t just about ‘sadness’. In fact, it was quite different, and as much as I hate to admit it, it was very severe. Your companionship gave me sleepless nights. I neglected my studies and commitments. I avoided people, and instead, preferred the solace and comfort of my desolate room.

I’d spend hours staring at the wall decorated with posters of Disney stars, bands and Harry Potter. What was happening? You made me feel like a panda. I turned pale and exhibited ’60 shades of dark circles’. However, I do not regret this because pandas are just adorable.

Everybody started to notice the change in me. My mother would often ask about why I’d spend hours locked in the bathroom and then emerge with red and swollen eyes. “Ah, I wasn’t crying. I am just unwell,” was my usual response. My dear depression, you made me lie to my dear mother!

Till then, I couldn’t really put a finger on why you were around me. I mean, there really was no reason for your presence.

Soon, things started getting out of hand. One thing led to the other and before I knew it, I had a sharp instrument in my possession. This instrument was used for cleaning nails, but this was not what I had in mind then. I locked the door and bent over the sink to do something I had never thought of doing previously. Two minutes later, I found myself bleeding with no sensation of pain.

You have forced me into performing unimaginable deeds. Remember that time before the maths exam, when you made me face my inner demons (whose presence I was denying), while being surrounded by fat textbooks? Back then, I lost all my feelings and emotions. I was as vulnerable as a china doll – a little nudge and I could just shatter into a thousand pieces!

Ah, what a year you gave me!

My dear depression – nowadays, when people ask me to help with their mental-health woes (read depression), I tell them to thank you instead. After all, I have so much to thank you for! It’s a different matter that people want to punch me on hearing my advice!

Battling free of depression?

Sure, I lost a part of me to you. The vulnerable and starry-eyed kid was gone. In its place, a mature and grown-up person has emerged. You have made me realise the value of people, happiness, the sun, a sound sleep, a smile, laughter and just about everything. You have taught me the biggest lessons of my life. You have even given me ‘boasting rights’.

Today, at 19, I stand as a strong and ambitious young woman – all because of you! Yes, the scars on my arms are a constant reminder of how bad things can be. But hey! They also remind me of how bad times always end and days packed with sunshine and happiness are just up ahead. When people exclaim and sympathise on seeing my arms, I just bat my eyelashes, and say, “Ah, I am a badass, you see!”

Of course, you must be wondering about why I am writing to you. Oh, I also forgot to ask – how have you been doing? It’s nice to always have you on my back. Once you met me, you have never really left me. But, you know what? Three years later, I have learnt to live with you and control you. You are therefore, also one of my biggest strengths and triumphs!