I’ve been living with depression for the past 7 years. It began when I was in 12th grade, studying in Bombay. It slowly started creeping into my life and in little time it became this big black cloud that I couldn't seem to get rid of. I started showing symptoms of a mental illness at 16 years of age. I stopped doing almost everything including socialising or stepping out of the house. I would just lay in bed all day - eating and watching tv. With a friend’s help and support, and most importantly my courage, I went to see a therapist as soon as I could. She made me feel comfortable; her empathy had no bounds and that’s what I needed the most then. Slowly, it started getting worse and I was asked to see a psychiatrist as I needed medication. Then began a long journey of seeing numerous psychiatrists, taking all possible medications, trying different kinds of therapies, etc. This cumulative journey was extremely tedious and draining.
My mental symptoms started becoming physical - stomach aches, headaches, and so on. It seemed to never end. There was something happening each day and with great difficulty and fear. I was looked down upon for having a mental illness and it just kept taking a turn for the worse from then. My parents didn’t understand what to do and what to believe. For the longest time and possibly even today, my father is not willing to accept that I have depression. I was told all sorts of things - think happy thoughts, be positive, just be busy all day, etc.
It felt like I’d lost a whole big part of my life, my prime years. Nobody understood or rather everyone assumed that I was just being a rebellious teen. The symptoms kept getting worse, my medications increased, I started to lose myself even more. No one tells you about the trauma you have to go through while seeking help for your mental health in a country like ours where it’s still swept under the carpet.
I would hear things like - you have everything you ever need, you have a loving family, etc. then why are you so sad? These would make me wonder about myself - why am I so sad? Why have I had multiple suicide attempts, multiple change in doctors, multiple medicines and therapies? I still cannot say that I’ve healed completely or that I’m happy but I can, on most days, function.
I don’t know how and why I’m still here, living and breathing, but I still need support. A lot of it from friends, parents, cousins, and everyone else around me. Trust me, support makes a ton of difference in your healing. I hope that someday I will be able to live without thinking of dying. The trauma of one’s childhood manifests in their adulthood as distinguishable disorders and personalities.
There is no right or wrong in seeking help. You do what you need to do in order to get through the day, the month, and the year. People will always have things to say but you will have to clear out the noise for your sanity. If you're having a bad day, take the day off; curl up and cry in bed, eat your favourite food and just be. Words aren’t enough to tell you how important that is. I just want to say that look out for people. Please reach out to your friends and family when you think that you’re not okay.
Support is everything when you're going through a hard time and nobody tells you how hard it is to keep yourself alive.
Concluding my story with my fav Lora Mathis quote - 'you ask what I have done with my life. why I am 22 with so many unfinished selves. so many futures I could not commit to. but you don't know how much of my time has been spent keeping myself alive.