Growing up, we always used to use the word “depressed”. Depression, then used to denote being extremely sad about something that does not go your way like breaking up with your partner or fighting with your friend.
Depression is not about being sad. It is about feeling multiple things in your head that makes it hard to breathe. Depression is not one of those jargons that makes you write poems like they show in movies. There is nothing glamorous about depression. It is real and painful. It is about waking up in the middle of the night for no reason and staring at the ceiling until the sun comes up. There is nothing beautiful about that.
Mental health in our country is still behind the veil. Nobody talks about it even if it bothers them. Because, if you call out for help you are branded weak and gullible. Depression doesn’t always attack you when you are at your worst, trying hard to do something in life. It can creep under your skin even when you have everything in life. Just because someone is depressed, it doesn’t mean that they have lost something or someone. It is a rough patch and the best thing that you can do is to not judge them.
Do you know what it means to wake up angry? To be angry about everything, the way you look, the things you see, the people who let you down, everything in general. And, then there are days you wake up feeling horrible about yourself. It leaves a pit feeling in your stomach. People don’t choose to feel depressed. Given a choice, nobody would want to be in that space. But, then, there are certain things that are not in your control. Depression is one among them.
Sometimes it leaves an excruciating pain on your body, so much so that you can see every ounce of energy drip away slowly leaving it hard to even move a muscle. And, there are times when you don’t feel anything at all. It is a state of voidness. It is like someone invisible is holding you captive for days together.
No, it is not about self-pity. It is not their imagination. It is a disorder that is beyond one’s control. It is not like one day, you wake up and decide to not be depressed anymore. It doesn’t work like that. Sometimes you don’t understand the purpose of your life, you don’t know what to look forward to, you are just there surviving with a lot of pain. So, when someone tells you they don’t feel right, don’t tell them that they are imagining stuff. In their version of reality, they are battling something that they have no control of. As humans, we are capable of feeling things and this person there is feeling it at a higher decibel.
This is something that I wanted to write about for a long time, but never really knew where to start. There are so many people in India who commit suicide because they are not able to handle depression. Depression needs awareness.
How does that affect me, you may ask? All my friends are well educated. I am sure they have no reason to be depressed you may say. Depression doesn’t differentiate the literate and illiterate. For all that I know someone out there in your own circle might just be looking out for help. It takes a lot for someone to reach out for help. Don’t shoo them away. Don’t start off with your own story. Listen to them, allow them to vent it out.
If you who is reading this is suffering from depression, I want you to know that you are not alone. You will get through this. Talk it out. It is okay to feel vulnerable. Not everybody is great at everything they do. There is light and there is hope. You might not see it now, but you deserve to see it and you should see it.
Talk to someone, anyone. Open up.