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

I Struggle To Deal With My Depression, But I Am That ‘Dheet’ Who Never Gives Up

Can you stare at a ceiling forever with tears washing away your face and soul? Do petty things and thoughts make you angry like a demon? Instead of some ‘me time’ to yourself, do you prefer staying alone? If answers to these questions are “yes”, you might have depression.

Image source: kyrozvaping/Tumblr.

It comes in phases and the first phase itself is a deadly combination of irritation and anxiety. You must have felt tension building up your chest and throat, you might have wanted to scream and roar and then subsequently cry for long hours. Later on, when you’ve thought it’s over and everything is back to normal, you realise it isn’t. After a week or so, here you are again feeling all low, sad, frustrated, angry, and humiliated. Worst of all, you have no idea why. Oops, sorry, did I just say we? Okay who am I kidding, obviously I have been through all of this and alone.

People who go through what I did are advised by our genuine well-wishers to get up, to socialize, take part in activities, pursue higher studies, fall in love (at times even to get married), go for walks, meditate, drink more water—because depression for them is practically another word for sadness. You might start thinking maybe they are right, and perhaps you are upset because of whatever reasons—like you chose the wrong field to study or work in, or you chose the wrong person to love, or you don’t have enough friends, or you are way behind your dreams, or you had a break up, or you are running out of luck, or everything put together. So you decide to follow the advice, and of course felt better for a while. Then you fell apart again. This time with higher burden and guilt—welcome to the next stage of depression. No matter how kind-hearted, well-mannered, or intelligent you used to be, you are going to be hated, looked upon with pity, sympathy, and regret! All because of a sudden change and inconsistency in your behavior. Even those earlier recommendations are going to stop coming to you now. The only people to ‘get’ you would be your parents and very close friends, that too if you are lucky enough.

But if your condition worsens you could be labelled a “lazy duckling”, “spoilt brat” and what not! There we enter into the last stage. After a lot of self-analysis and a shattered image of ourselves we now realize, “It’s not me, it’s the depression talking.” But what next? You are haunted with questions—”What if I never come out of this thing? What if nobody understands me ever?” The fact is they already don’t, so another question pops up: “Should I end my miserable life?

Wait. Stop. I need you to know people do love you, they do understand you, but unfortunately they do not know what exactly depression is. It’s like those ghosts and spirit movies where nobody in this scientific world will agree with you unless they see and experience for themselves. The best way to heal is by observing people in a rational manner because when you will closely observe the life of others it will make you realize that nobody has a perfect life. Speak to the masters of their respective fields—most of them will tell you they had all together dreamt of something different. Some of the greatest people have received success really late, but important part is they never stopped struggling.

Learn to know your priorities. Keep away negative people and to do that first find out who those are as they might be right beside. Trust me, everybody looking happy and perfect on social media—it’s just their way to keep away the sadness from building. You need to work on something you like and if you don’t have enough time and resources to do that cut out time and expenses from something less useful. In my case it was the combination of reading books, creating paintings, travelling, and watching the news because it makes you aware of the reality. I am still struggling but I am not ready to give up.

It is extremely important to tell yourself that you are not a loser. Instead, as we say in Hindi, be that one “dheet” person who never gives up and never will. After all it’s your beautiful life that you have been given. Why spoil it because of something called “depression”?

I write this article under my own name. My name is not hidden to protect my identity, because I am not embarrassed of my depression anymore. I will keep talking and sharing my story, and one request for you—please do the same. You might make life easy for somebody.

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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.

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.

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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, 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.

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