Unless someone like you who cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better, it’s not.
Dr. Suess (The Lorax)
You know what’s the most alarming thing about depression? 1 in every 4 person is likely to have some form of mental health issue or anxiety, yet it often goes unnoticed and untreated. Meeting and talking to these people you would never be able to make out that they might be going through a phase of depression. I mean, who could have thought such an accomplished comedian cum actor Robin Williams, who was always laughing and making others laugh, would be so depressed that he would end up killing himself one day.
I have myself been through 3 episodes of depression. Well, at least 2 were clinically identified ones. One of those episodes, I was under counselling as well as medication and not even my parents whom I was living with at that point had even the slightest hint as to what I was going through.
I was going to work every morning, attending gatherings and family functions, going out with friends, laughing at jokes, celebrating my birthday just like any other regular day. No one saw what was going on behind that mask of mine. And there are million others like me who struggle everyday and no one would even notice.
There were days at stretch when I would not brush my teeth or take a bath, there were nights when I would just lie in bed and not able to sleep, staring at the fan for hours together. I felt like I have lost something, but could never figure out what it was. The feeling of creeping darkness, suffocating silence of night. That lack of desire to live and day by day getting strong urge to kill oneself. I was exhausted of trying to project myself happier and stronger than I felt from within. It’s a dark dark place no-one would want to be at.
The social stigma and taboo associated with mental health would never break unless someone like us, someone who has gone through this and knows how it feels would start talking about it. I think it’s important to tell people how important it is to identify the signs, to seek timely help and not to feel ashamed of the condition. With help and self management, it is very much possible to combat depression and live a life which is healthy not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally.
As they say, Stars never shine unless it’s dark. So let there be darkness for a while, it’s OK. But make sure you emerge as a star at the end!!