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.
The only constant in life is change, goes an old thought. And the most common change from antiquity is the movement of people from their homes to distant lands in search of better opportunities, educational facilities, new vistas, career growth, or spiritual awakening. Among all this hassle of existence, what we tend to overlook is the mental effects and the emotional turmoil that such natural developments cause to an individual. As a student who is away from home for the first time and pursuing a higher degree in a college in Bengaluru, far away from the city where I spent all my life, I think the most important area that needs to be addressed is the feelings of loneliness and longing that arise from relocation to a new place and the anxiety that results from being separated from the loved ones.
The core of depression is the sudden detachment from our conditioned sentiments that has been unconsciously forged into our memories. As we tend to begin a journey, it always starts with an initial phase of excited fear. We make plans for a smoother movement but ignore the transitional costs when we are introduced to a totally different culture than the one we had always known. Hence, it becomes necessary to have some pointers in every stage of a person’s varying ages when this happens:
- Be prepared to be shocked: Remember that most of the people who are there with you are from distinct backgrounds and lifestyles. They may have their own style of speaking or comfort levels. Respect individual space.
- Be open to experiences: Every step in life can be henceforth viewed as a growing experience. What you cannot understand is just a new knowledge waiting for you to be learned and assimilated. You never know where life may take you next!
- Have positive trade-off: The basic principle of economics is that to “to gain some you lose some”. Most of the time, what you gain from moving to a new place is synergistic to loss.
- Surprise your tastes: Search for friends who surprise you. Rigid taste will just make you more claustrophobic. Let life be a positive sum game where everyone breaks their status quo to take this initiative.
- Embrace fear: Make fear your best frenemy. Always remember that in life nothing really disappears forever. It is just a temporary break from the mundane!
- Emotional osmosis is why we are here: When you are scared, everyone else is too. Talk and don’t be ashamed to seek help (especially from elders because long time back even they were new and novice to this place just like you!)
- And most important of all: Remember to call your parents as diligently as your need to sleep that five extra minutes every morning. And keep in regular touch with all those WhatsApp groups containing all those sweet despairs. Nothing makes one happier than waking up to know that someone cares it’s a beautiful morning!