I was maybe, 14 when I realised this. Most kids around me were not as needy as I was. I think even as a kid, my ego found the dependency repulsive. For as long as I can remember, not that I’m old but something has definitely eaten the part of my brain which works with memory, I’ve been trying to become self – reliant. At 16, I even went through a major satan worshiper, dark art researcher, emo – goth wannabe phase. I remember, googling frantically where to find those grungy clothes and black lipstick from. To my parents relief, India supplied me with neither.
The will to be self – reliant, did make me commit a life threatening error. I didn’t report my depression when I was supposed to. I let it build and fester. I was ill informed. I always thought, all the sadness had something to do with teenage love and bitchy seniors. Interestingly, depression never made me ignorant. I read, researched. It was there. It made me sad, I’d cry night and not sleep – even exacerbated it by indulging my own pessimism. I wouldn’t have survived my 17th birthday, had it not been for the will to live. It somehow, turned stronger after an instance which for the light hearted and judgemental ones, I shall keep out. The truth is, I was ashamed to admit that I’m suffering with a disease and I cannot cure it. I was also ashamed, because as a child I thought that there was something wrong with me; maybe the leftovers of the same haunt me still. Seeing yourself, in the mirror and wondering if you’re a perfectly normal looking person, why did this horrible feeling come and stick to you, can be damning.
Why must we talk loud and fast about mental illnesses? For years, decades, centuries and I cannot emphasis more the failure of modernity itself, the diseases of the mind have stamped an individual abnormal. Scientific terminology creates a stereotype in the ill informed publics mind – a silent fear of the “Other”, something that is anything but normal. So, I thought I belonged to that category and I hid the depth of my disease. The peer pressure at school doesn’t help, the hormones make life equally miserable and above all depressives become silent sufferers at times. Anyone who knew me at school, knew the fits and the anxiety outbursts but they also knew a happier version of me. A version that almost made fun of anyone, laughed with everyone and was an intelligent nerd on days. Most of my friends knew that I was suffering, they could tell. Luckily, I was surrounded by a sensitive crowd. Some people aren’t as fortunate. The real fight really began when I reached college and lost my dog. The loss was excruciating, something that I had never really felt before. Raising a dog, is much like raising a child – so what if the little bugger didn’t come out of your womb. You feel the umbilical attachment still. Putting down your own child, could shake anyone’s mental stability. It did damage me far beyond I could understand. The only difference was, I’d by then been in therapy and understood when to knock at the right door, and at the right time. The cliches about psychotherapy need to go. I feel it’s time we accept that a viral fever needs a general physician and a depressive bout needs a psychotherapist. Go for therapy, when you feel the pain in your chest is real and the anger is far too violent to control. I found my strength in asking for help. Rising above your own selfish egotistical desire to take care of yourself is the first step toward becoming independent. IF you can’t ask for help, and you let yourself suffer – trust me, there is no bigger weakness than that.
Almost giving my parents a heart attack and losing my dog – two experienced that shaped me as a person. I was different. Not entirely, I still am depressed but I can manage my depression. I know when I need a productive release mechanism. I understand the changes in my own behaviour and I also respect my limited strength as a human being. When the depression becomes unmanageable, I seek help. I can use a thousand metaphors to underline the painful process I went through but those who are reading this, and have been where I was, need no metaphorical exaggeration.
I love you and I am with you. Nobody in this world is really alone. We don’t find the right connections sometimes but if we speak loud and clear about what hurts, when it hurts, we realise help was always on it’s way. Turn to your loved ones, or just be strong and promise yourself, you respect your life enough to go ahead and be the one to save it. Ask for help, go to the doctor in time. Manage your depression and lead a happy life.
Don’t ever be ashamed because a few are ignorant. Don’t ever be scared because social definitions are screwed up. Be brave, because you deserve more and you’re entitled to go and get it.
I feel your pain, and I want to tell you it’s real. Let no idiot make you believe, it isn’t. And let no idiot tell you that it’s the end of the line.