What Two Years Of Dealing With Depression Taught Me

Posted by Puja Roy in #LetsTalk, Mental Health, Society
April 9, 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.

To me, depression isn’t synonymous with sadness, unhappiness or sorrow. It’s more like gloom, misery and melancholy.

Personally, I feel that sadness is only a temporary affliction, mostly due to recent incidents. On the other hand, depression is a disease which numbs your feelings and can continue for years.

I started suffering from depression two years back, when I left school and joined a college, which I eventually came to detest. The major reasons for my depression would be my inability to find friends in college, inability to keep in touch with people or have real conversations with them. The symptoms which emerged were – an absence of feelings, becoming severely uninterested, being unable to perform because of the mental condition, and becoming almost machine-like.

To further elaborate, there was a time when I used to starve myself to feel hunger or some form of pain, somewhere. I could feel my heart-rate falling, my muscles aching and my head bursting. Yet, I was satisfied that I still felt alive in some base manner.

I remember someone I loved tell me, “You’ll just be my rebound”, and then begging me to react to it. Honestly, I didn’t even possess the power to do so at that time. I just smiled and said, “Cool”. After all, I couldn’t blame him for not loving someone who didn’t love herself!

In the early stages of my depression, I used to cry. Later, I couldn’t even do that. My eyes would swell and tears would occasionally roll down – but I wouldn’t be upset. I always had a sense of pride. But, even people’s insults stopped affecting me.

‘Am I even alive?’

I was helpless. There were instances when I felt worse than animals. Sex wasn’t appealing and relationships were just a kind of compromise for me. The friends could never help me. Everything was just blank. Moreover, because this was not related to any problem with brain functionality, comparing my emotions of the pre-depression phase with the ones post-depression only made me feel worse.

My sleep-cycle got severely disturbed. I couldn’t sleep for more than two hours in a day. Thus, I used to feel extremely tired during the work – especially while working.

The worst part of all this was that people just wouldn’t understand me. Rather, they would crib about my condition and call me weak. However, depression isn’t just limited to the weak. It also happens to strong people, especially those who hide emotions often at the cost of their mental health.

Fighting your way through it isn’t easy. So, I just keep myself busy. That’s the easiest escape – but not a permanent one.

I believe that my depression started because of lack of opportunities, prospects and my fear of being ‘ordinary’. Therefore, I guess, the government can help us by building more institutions, which would be inclusive of the entire spectrum of students. Not everyone is good enough for IITs or IIMs. But the huge difference in standards betwwen IITs, IIMs  and other institutions is also not justifiable.

In India, there is corruption when it comes to allocating jobs or seats in educational seats, as well as in the quota system. These make me (and others like me) very depressed. These are the problems that discourage people, and make them give up their ambitions to settle for nothing. Personally speaking, I think we need more industries, greater motivation to study hard in India and less incentives to go abroad.

I do not think that the friends and family members I talk to can help me with my depression. That’s because I think it’s ‘all in my head’. Besides, these people weren’t the reasons for my depression. However, I would ask them to understand and accept us (me and others like me, that is) as we are, and not dismiss and neglect us because of our condition. After all, we have become unsocial because we don’t get the hang of it anymore!