Posted by Vedika Aum
October 18, 2017

NOTE: This post has been self-published by the author. Anyone can write on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Embrace Yourself –

by Ved.Aum

Having  struggled with depression for half of my lifetime, i identify so much with what Rich Larson has to say in the excerpt below.

In my journey to win over depression I have lived through some extremely dark times. Depression sucked me into some very dark pits but my belief in myself and the Universe ( yes faith has a very important place in my life, perhaps it is the axis my life revolves on ) brought me out into the light, each time.

Having a loving and undemanding family, a few unconditional close friendships – even though they did not understand nor made an effort to understand, have been a boon. As on hindsight, I realise that perhaps I was spared the stigmatisation due to my near ones’ unawareness and unacknowledgement of the darkness that is depression. An ironical example of good being present in all pains. So it has been a tough and lonesome struggle and the eventual success over it, for me. And in the process I came to know and understand myself more. Developing new facets of my personality and expanding the reaches of my mind.

Left to my own devices with the blessed responsibility of my small child,  I have constantly tried out various ways and methods to distract my mind. To express it out of my system with the help of art, words, jogging, counselling, cleaning the house till I fall down with exhaustion, yelling, crying, isolating myself, accusing, introspecting, meditation, helping others in need, photography, etc etc. And yes, all these methods helped. But the most effective ones have always been , the ones that brought out my true essence.
– Creating, meditation, helping others, music and yoga and most of all spending alone time with myself with awareness. All these have helped me live with mindful awareness. Watching my thoughts and the direction they are taking has taught me to be aware of  the signs , which alert me to change directions. To consciously remove myself from that path and head on a different one.

But have I successfully banished depression out of my life?
No, and now that I have stopped questioning it’s presence or blaming others for its birth or losing my patience over it or feeling shameful or guilty about it  – by simply accepting it’s existence just as I accept mine – I have in many ways, won over it. I control it, instead of it controlling me. Though I still have a long way to go, but I know the path I am on is right and it will help me overcome it soon.

And today ,  I take a new step towards my on going healing  – by sharing my journey and struggle with depression, with the world. With the hope of reaching out to others like me. Hoping that they find strength and solace in my words. Hoping they themselves embark on a journey of self discovery, where they discover their own respective strengths to help them overcome and heal. It’s time to stop running away from yourself . Time to embrace both the light and darkness that we all are within. Time to acknowledge the darkness as a part of you, to accept and convert it into your strength and light.

As Rich Larson so aptly says in the following excerpt – Chris Cornell leaves a very important message for us. To stand up for ourselves, own ourselves and reach out for help, beginning with yourself – be the help that you need.

THE EXCERPT FROM RICH LARSON’S BLOG ON WORDPRESS, on the passing away of Chris Cornell. A call to each one us who live with depression by their bedside.

Chris Cornell committed suicide on May 18, 2017, at the age of 52. He was a dad. He was a philanthropist. He was becoming an elder statesman of rock. He was a grown up. Cornell was aging gracefully, even doing that thing where some guys get better looking as they get older. He got Soundgarden back together, and they made a great new album a couple years ago. His voice still had all the power and strength it had displayed in his youth. Much like the rest of us, the world had kicked his ass a couple times, and he survived.

But now he’s gone, and goddammit, his is the death that bothers me the most. As I’ve been thinking about this, I’m realizing that it’s both a personal and a generational thing. Cornell had a long struggle with depression. As have I. As have many of you.

It’s possible that, along with grunge, Generation X’s other great gift to society is depression. I mean, of course it was here long before the Baby Boomers started reproducing, but we talk about it more than those who came before us. We talk about it as a demon or a monster. It’s a dark shadow that shows itself at any point in time without warning. It surrounds us, isolates us, and quiets us. Depression likes to blame things. We feel like shit because of mistakes we have made in life or because of the state of the world or because we aren’t perfect. Without a lot of help and a lot of work, it’s impossible to know that it really is a chemical imbalance in our brains. After twenty-plus years of trying to destigmatize depression, some of us still have a hard time recognizing it for what it is. And even then, it doesn’t always matter.

You might think grunge is about anger, but that’s not completely true. Yes, it can sound that way, but it’s really about depression and cynicism. Those two go hand-in-hand, along with their nasty little sister, anxiety. When the three of them get going, they just eat hope as quickly as it can be summoned. That leaves despair and despair is exhausting, not just for those who experience it, but for the people around it as well. So we keep it to ourselves because we don’t want to be a burden. And then it gets to be too much. Doesn’t matter if you’re a student, a mom, an accountant or a rock star. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written about it your entire life as a means of keeping it at bay. It doesn’t matter if the music you made about it brought in fame, respect and millions of dollars. It doesn’t matter if your entire generation has suffered from it. Depression makes you feel totally alone. You hit the breaking point, and then, like Chris Cornell, you hang yourself in the bathroom.

This wasn’t a young adult taking the easy way out because life got too hard. This wasn’t a spoiled, petulant rock star who thought that this was the best way to ensure his legend. This was a well-respected member of his community; a beloved musical hero who seemed to have it all together.

This could have been any of us. And brothers and sisters, if it’s you, don’t mess around with it. Please find some help.

Cornell is speaking to us all one last time. This isn’t something we left behind with our twenties. This isn’t something cured by age or financial security. This isn’t something you “outgrow.” If it’s allowed to fester, depression is stronger than wisdom. Depression is insidious and tenacious. Depression can get to anybody. It can make you feel like an old man at 27. It can make you feel lost as a child at 52.

Call it a senseless tragedy. Call it a second-act cautionary tale. Call it whatever you want. Just don’t blow it off as meaningless.

  • Rest in peace, Chris and all the gentle souls we lost to depression

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