This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Javed Rumi. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

4 Ways Depression Feels Like I’m Drowning

More from Javed Rumi

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.

Manic depression and anxiety are quite prevalent in India with 56 million Indians going through this experience. Perhaps there is a curiosity among readers who don’t have these issues themselves, and there is a need for those who do have it to feel some sense of familiarity. I, myself, have rapid cycling manic depression along with anxiety, my moods drastically changing almost every other day or so.

It often happens that a bad mood will be following me around like a pet dog for a month maybe due to a disappointment with my career or some small social gaffe. Suddenly and without warning, this bad mood, these doubts, take on a lot more importance than they should, thus triggering my depression.

I want to relate to you what my depression can feel like. Sometimes it feels like drowning. Here’s how:

I Struggle

The cold shock of fear that comes before a depression first starts suffocating me as I thrash about in the water trying to gain footing, trying to make sense of it all. But my feet tread only more water.

I am overwhelmed by a sudden feeling of failure, embarrassed by my own existence. This sudden attack on my pride makes me feel my world has turned upside down. I can’t trust anything anymore. I start questioning my capabilities and whether I will achieve anything in life, whether I’m capable of living a full life. I feel close to failure; no, I have already failed and am just walking down the wrong path.

And so I begin my drowning.

I Sink

As I go down, I hold my breath and try to repress the need that’s bursting within my chest; the need for my emotions to come out. I do this by analysing my emotions. By trying to think my way through my emotions, I attempt to keep them at bay.

But this further removes me from reality. I obsess over these emotions, trying to understand what causes me to lose trust in myself and why I can’t find any satisfaction from doing anything in life, I withdraw into myself and my friends find me disturbingly quiet during these times, staring off into the depths.

As I brood obsessively over my perceived failure, over the emotions in my head my thoughts get more and more abstract.

Weird half-formed thoughts start flitting past my head like strange deep water fishes.

I stare at my friends and wonder if I can trust them, if anyone can be trusted. I feel they are out to humiliate me. I am a failure after all, and they know it. I forget to shower, to eat, to take care of myself. And yet I believe, I believe that if only I could think it through, then it would be all right. Then I would be better.

As I sink, I realise that I’m trapped inside my mind. That there is no way to avoid sinking. But my emotions still are in turmoil, still grasping for the fading sunlight rippling above.

I Give Up

Eventually, at some point, my mouth opens and the emotions come out in small, beautiful bubbles, each one containing a part of me.

Perhaps I’m lying in bed, perhaps I’m having a cup of coffee by my table, and I’m tired and I let it in, I let in the pain.

I realise that I’ve lost all hope in achieving joy right then. But still, I continue to living despite not breathing anymore. The light has gone out, but I still work.

This is when the weight of living as a human being falls down on me, and for a while I’m down.

As I accept the sadness within me, as I let the burning water into my lungs, my mind ceases to think. I am drifting in the currents of my emotions and they slowly bat my body around as I sink deeper.

I know that this will pass but it still sucks, to be frank. I am in grief for my past happiness.

Break The Surface

As I allow myself to die, what’s left of me slowly rises up, up, up, and then eventually feels the warmth of the daylight rippling through the water.

When my heart accepts sadness, I eventually become lighter. Here I accept for while that this is my lot in life, that this sadness is here and must be felt.

Just 3 days have passed.

But my journey is not over yet, the waters of depression are my home, as much as the sun-lit windows of my good days, and the soaring skies of my mania.

I will talk about each of these in time.

You must be to comment.
  1. Disability Empowerment

    Depression should be considered as any other Medical condition.
    You get well over management, though management are key for recovery.

More from Javed Rumi

Similar Posts

By Shrsti Tiwari

By AgentsofIshq

By Umesh Sharma

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

Read more about her campaign.

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.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below