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What Two Years Of Dealing With Depression Taught Me

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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!

You must be to comment.
  1. Кіртісом Манн

    It’s your two years depression. What about a guy who has depression since 2015, Who is dying every single day grabbing with a lost hope ,”one day she’ll come”, who has no friends because he’s just living by grabbing a lost hope? Puja if you has the question inside you that how I have that strong desperateness while we hardly talked in aakash, really I have no answer of this. This will never come by telling, or mentioning. How could I make you understand me my condition? You never talk to me by phone call then how can I at least express myself? All I do is texting you. I can never force you to love me….how can I? Or how can anyone? One thing I want from this world is just listen to me once and my world is you.

  2. Кіртісом Манн

    Isn’t there any forgiveness of mistake? Does humanity forget to mercy? Is humanity dead?

  3. Кіртісом Манн

    What if someone often get hatred and mistreated isn’t it normal that person that he/she will hate others?

  4. Кіртісом Манн

    What do you think I don’t know I can’t make you to love forcefully? I know everything. You know what our main problem is we can’t understand other person’s situation. So, we judge that person with respect to own self. Maybe that thing happens with you…with me also.

  5. Кіртісом Манн

    You know no one it may be you or me want to see each other in bad condition.(as much I know you)
    But you know life gives real pain. And this pain is life.

  6. Кіртісом Манн

    I don’t know how to handle this unbearable pain. I’m getting sucked and fucked by my life. It’s true.

  7. Кіртісом Манн

    Puja, I want to talk to you. I want to Short out all matters between us.

  8. Кіртісом Манн

    Puja I know I deserve what you are doing but I can’t bear up these. Talk to me at least once.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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