PERSON, not diagnosis

“In the year 2015 I was at the lowest point in my life. My grandmother was diagnosed with a brain tumour and the following week, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Additionally my 11-year-old relationship with who I thought was the love of my life was on the verge of ending. With so much happening personally, slipping into depression was natural. I preferred spending time alone locked up in my room and I started sleeping too much. I stopped going out completely and lost a reasonable amount of weight. I had a very low attention span. I stopped forming memories and was unable to hold conversations with people. I could not even remember the things that had happened two days back or something I said an hour back. I could say “X” in one breath and in the same breath I could wholly contradict myself and say “Y”. Two months down, my grandfather was also hospitalised and had to undergo surgery. My father was barely holding on. I eventually stopped going to work, dad could not be everywhere. My sister was 16 years old at that time and in retrospect considering the state I was in I don’t know how much I was able to contribute. Nobody had the time to pay attention to me because there was already so much happening in the family that needed everyone’s attention. Whilst trying to look after my grandmother and my mother no one realised that I also needed to be taken care of. Until one day while walking down the stairs my feet stopped working and I fell and sprained my leg very badly. Nothing else happened, my feet just didn’t move forward. My head was filled with noise and I could hear no one and nothing else, the noise was taking up all the space. So when the noise in my head reached its peak, I realized that I was not well.

Until one day, I went diving for the first time. I remember the silence in the ocean, the refreshing inability to hear or speak to anybody. It was all a new world. It was unreal to be able to swim in the same ocean as the sharks. The silence moved me so much that the world above water seemed like meaningless noise, which rushed back even harder the minute I surfaced. When people are talking to you and you cannot process that information because it all just seems like a constant buzzing, you realize that you are not well. So much so that my time on land terrified me. When the others around me realized, they were quite supportive. But i feel that, generally, there is this innate discomfort or inability to deal with a person undergoing depression. For instance, during depression you don’t have energy and you’re always drained out. But people would tell me to go out and smile more. I wish it were that simple. I couldn't find the energy to get out of the house. It was very hard for me to pick up the phone and speak with somebody. It was not easy to smile. I used to find it tedious when my friends and family used to tell me to just “ be okay”. There were also all these questions that were thrown at me: Why do you look like this? Is something wrong with you?

My office space back then was a mess. When people would move across, they would notice. They would realise that something is wrong with me. To the extent that random clients started noticing that something was not right. I have a very exhausting job that requires significant mental alacrity, but I don’t remember any work that I have done in those two years and barely managed to scrape through each day. I used to just hope to get by my work week. However, the weekends would also be terrifying, since there was a societal expectation to meet friends and hang out. After a point, you stop making excuses and you stop answering calls.

Think it was a two-fold issue. On one hand, my grandmother was dying and my mother was being cured of breast cancer and on the other hand I was uncertain if I wanted to be with my then boyfriend. In the middle, when things looked disagreeable at home you usually look to your partner for some support. In the process, without realizing, you become dependent on them. You look up to them for emotional and mental backing. Although he was there for me, it was very hard for me to distinguish whether I was with him for the emotional support or because I actually loved him. I guess I just became a different person and I could no longer relate to the relationship or the person I was with. I still loved him but it would make me sick to imagine as to why I was unable to be with him. We were going to be married but the engagement had to be called off. A year and a half after my grandmothers’ death and when we no longer need to go the hospitals, I realized that everything had become okay. Otherwise the two years were the toughest. I am sure I have become a changed stronger person. It’s all quite hazy. I can’t remember it because of the depression. My ex-boyfriend is getting married now and I could not be happier for him. Everything else is looking upward and I just had the happiest and best year ever. I still haven’t seen a shark in my dives, but I have a good feeling about 2019.”