Trigger Warning: Suicide
Let’s talk about ‘depression. Quoting Henry Wadsworth Longfellow “Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not, and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” As per the estimates by the World Health Organisation, 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression, globally. It could be anyone, your friend, your family member, you, yourself, or me. Even the person who is always jovial, struggles daily, wants to live life, a little longer with the continuous battle they go through. The pain and the feeling of getting drowned are real. It feels like a deep bottomless chasm, a place from where recuperation feels impossible. Then comes the juncture when you feel there is no other side to this life, and ending it feels like a new beginning to you.
It is sad how we have known about depression since ages, and yet we dismiss it as something unimportant. Shreemad Bhagwat Geeta talks about “The Yoga of Dejection” – stating Arjuna’s plights in great details to Sigmund Freud investigating it in “Civilizations And Its Discontent”. And yet, we ridicule the idea of depression in the 21st century. Over the years, I have witnessed, how we deal with the subject of mental health and depression. You really must go lengths, proving ‘others’ that you are depressed. Later, you will be negated about your own feelings by ‘others’, their judgments and their validations. You will also be questioned about the degree of depression you have gone through. This is how the whole vicious cycle by society works, and you feel captured.
At the moment, everyone is saddened and deeply shocked by the sudden demise of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, a well-proclaimed actor, successful in every possible way, be it level of intellect, academics or in the glittery film industry. The whole nation is now mourning his death. Media outlets, as usual, have been ridiculing his death in every possible way and passing their judgments as to how, a person with every feather under his cap, can die by suicide. This really reflects the level of ignorance. As I went through Sushant’s Twitter handle, I noticed his cover image, which is one of the most famous paintings of all times – Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The painting is a testament to how beauty is timeless, unparalleled, and universal. A masterpiece which was created by Vincent when he was said to be suffering from chronic mental illness and depression, and later died by suicide in 1890. The question is, how do we save someone who is getting pulled by the forces of depression, and how can we recognize depression in an individual? Firstly, we need to have the level of acceptance and consideration of the whole situation. Inform yourself, read up, talk to people who have gone through it, and most importantly, be kind. Never ridicule anyone. Raise the level of your understanding, and come out of your ignorance, out of your rose-tinted world where all the red flags just look like flags. Please understand, a person going through this abyss would often feel like not going out anymore, withdrawing oneself, feeling irritable, frustrated, unhappy, indecisive to name a few. This is not them acting ‘moody’ or not being a wonderful companion to you, but the constant struggle they are going through. Talk to them and if they confide to you, encourage them in every single step to consult a professional. Don’t let go of humanity, humans.
To the people who are going through seemingly endless pain, I just want to tell you, I have been there, I know how it feels.
Please make sure to talk about how you feel with someone, but also remember, not everyone, even the nicest of human beings might be able to understand your pain and trauma. I know it takes a lot of courage to come out and express the thoughts going in your head, thoughts which sometimes when spoken aloud may sound completely illogical and inconsistent. But trust me, you got to do this. Remember, communication is the first key.
Seeking professional help is the second step, and lastly, would be taking one step at a time. When life becomes a series of closing doors, make sure to reach out to the next. Because remember my friend, there is light at the end of the tunnel. You need to take a step forward for your own happiness. Quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald, “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”