In all my life, I had never imagined, that I would have to face something would be so terrible. But every day I convince myself that somehow, there is a way out of all of this.
Depression. I don’t recall when I first came across the word – in some newspaper, some magazine maybe, sometime in my adolescent years. Perhaps it was one of those ‘dealing with depression’ ideas or maybe some study. I wouldn’t know that this would consume me someday when every day would bring with it a dull, aching sense of nothingness.
I have made a lot of mistakes in life, primarily messing up my career path in some sort of an irredeemable way. Or perhaps it can still be salvaged, and that’s what I keep hoping for every second, trying to find some purpose, some direction in a life that is utterly chaotic and somehow also simple in the alternatives that it offers; but alternatives I could never be happy with.
Seven years. Seven years of making mistakes, having intermittent stages of realisation; but somehow being steered into a path that would be the ruin of me. Sometimes these decisions were all mine, sometimes edged on by people who found it imperative to judge me and pronounce upon the likelihood of my success.
So, I made mistake after mistake, until all I was left with was regret, a powerful sense of remorse where every connection with the past is simply a reminder of how terribly I have failed. How much I could have done. How much I didn’t.
I have never felt so dejected in my life, so helpless against all the battles life will pit against you over and over until you’re simply broken; until the point where you can’t stand any of that anymore. I have spent days lying on my bed, crying until my head would throb for days, having lost all energy even to get up, to go out, make a snack for myself or to talk to someone. In fact, the enthusiasm to do any thing at all, even the things that I loved.
I was alone, and I felt a terrible weakness. That there was nothing to do. Nothing at all. Nothing to bring any order; forget happiness; in a life that reeked of guilt and regret. Of having failed everyone who had hopes for me, of having failed myself.
And you realise at that point that you are alone. You are completely alone in this fight. All those nights of me crying. And screaming inside. Of having fantasies about slicing my skin until the exposed blood and flesh would be the only cure to this monstrous pain and rage and anger. What could I do about it?
Like last Sunday, when my usual stupor and dullness gave away to another bout of tears in the morning, and I called up some ten mental health helplines. I did not know what to say, and I did not say much either when one out of those ten finally replied. Enough had been said before; when I took counselling sessions for a year. Yes, I had understood myself better, but clearly not made much out of it.
So, I need to keep up with this pretence of everything being normal, of talking to people, of smiling and laughing as if nothing is wrong. And that seems to be the hardest part. It’s easier getting a cut on your knee; or an illness, at least people acknowledge that. But depression is mired in a series of wrong notions and is regularly misused; a pop culture plaything in the most twisted way.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a loving family and great friends. They’ve all tried to help me at this point. Sometimes doing everything they could. But in the end, you are alone. You are alone in the fight. Let’s face it, only you know the misery you’ve been through, however, understanding people are around you. But there’s hope – that you can pull yourself out of this.
My words are not about long ago, in fact, it’s all happening now. It’s hard to describe it sometimes. How do you talk about emptiness? Of being stranded in some place in the middle of nowhere? Of wanting to die in your sleep every night? It smothers you, all of this. Makes you feel frail and inconsequential, of being nothing, a nobody against it all.
But despite all of this, there is hope. Surely this cannot be the end of the road. What is life without the promise of something better?
Note: This is for everybody who has dealt with depression, and partly to help me deal with it too. No, I have never been close to committing suicide or cutting myself. I have always fought against doing it, though I fantasize about it all the time and it feels strangely cathartic. This is obviously unhealthy.
I have been very fortunate to have a good support system, but I guess one of the things I’m trying to say is that the final battle is yours to fight. Put up the fight of your life.