Depression is NOT what you think & my own story
I don't mean to make this a depressive post, but then, I think sometimes it is good to bare yourself so that everyone is aware that life is not always rosy, though it may seem that way on the outside. I was diagnosed with depression almost five months ago, clinically by a psychiatrist. For five months even before that, I had been visiting a counselor because I knew something was wrong with me that I could not pin point accurately. Counseling involves therapeutic treatment by a professional and trained counselor that does not involve any medication. A counselor helps you to understand your mental and related physical ailments, and suggests you to take measures accordingly for treatment. But it turned out that counseling was not sufficient for me. Before you conclude that I may have been harassed by abusive in laws or husband or got cancer or something, there was nothing of this sort. So first and foremost, it is not necessary for some untoward incident to occur in your life for depression to take over you. It can happen for a multitude of other reasons, and I wonder why people shy away from talking about it. My doctor says it is like any other ailment, like blood pressure, diabetes, and so on. A lot of celebrities are opening up about it, but then I still see many people feeling awkward even mentioning it. I have even been asked why are you publicizing it. So here is my answer - depression is EXTREMELY difficult to deal with. It maybe as bad as cancer, maybe not, I don't know. But the fact remains, I do NOT want to hide it because I want people to be aware, to come out of the rut of their lives and realise it exists, and someone suffering from depression is not seeking attention or being lazy on purpose. And no, they are NOT going to commit suicide the next minute!! I tried everything I possibly could before I went to a psychiatrist seeking medical help. You can imagine, I spent five months with my counselor first. And the way it dawned on me that I needed some serious help, was something I never imagined. I had been on a dream holiday with my husband, alone after seven long years of getting pregnant and raising two young kids. It was a perfectly lovely holiday. We went to some popular tourist spots and enjoyed thoroughly. On the way back in our car, I felt extremely anxious and stressed. There was no reason for it. My head swirled with all sorts of weird and negative thoughts, things that had no rhyme or reason, and I was so overwhelmed that I finally had to ask my husband to stop the car, because we had two other people along, and I could not be myself in front of anyone else. We got down, walked far away from the car and sat down, and I cried for a full ten minutes while my poor husband sat with a confused look on his face, and asked what happened, to which I simply indicated wait, let me cry!
When I was feeling slightly better, I told him, I have been feeling this way for a long time. The stress and anxiousness had become a part of my life, I was just dragging along trying to get a hang of my feelings, which I could not understand myself. I never realised when I got carried away with the routines of life, had been ignoring my own feelings and needs, and how deeply it had been affecting me. I can still picture the desperateness when I told my husband that day, I need to visit a psychiatrist, I cannot live like this anymore! We went back to the car later and I lied down in his lap, holding his hand tight, more out of fear for myself, to get some strength, wondering why this was happening to me and what about my children? Good lord, if I continue this way, how am I going to give a normal childhood to my children? So, I finally went to the psychiatrist. I also continued with the counseling, because a psychiatrist cannot do a counselor's job. I started my medication in consultation with a psychiatrist and I feel a lot better now. I still feel weird when I have to tell my little kids every few days that I have an appointment with the doctor. But I do. I always tell them the truth, at least as far as I can!
If I miss my medicines for even a day, I feel anxious. I feel bad, sometimes even sorry for myself that I am dependent on medicines. On some days I feel depressed about being depressed, such an irony! But it is worse when people try to be sympathetic. The only reason I do not talk about it to people is the misconceptions surrounding depression. What a depressed person needs is UNDERSTANDING rather than sympathy. A depressed person is not a lunatic, or sad or suppressed all the time. They have mood swings, they can be happy one moment and sad the next, over enthusiastic one moment and suddenly out of energy. Please respect their space and privacy. Do not look down upon them or try to be overly friendly or ignorant. Just be normal, because someone who is depressed in not abnormal but just that, depressed. If you have read the book by Shaheen Bhatt (daughter of Mahesh Bhatt), I have never been (Un)happier, you already know a lot of what I am talking about. If you have not, it makes for a good read to know about depression, where Shaheen describes how she feels through the harrowing experience of depression and when she ultimately gets treated for it. I have shared a small ebook on Amazon, which is a journal of some of my experiences in a naturopathy centre, in an attempt to get out of depression (a lot of women have responded to me positively about this one, but I'll leave that for now). You can check it here if you wish to. All said and done, the best way out of depression, along with seeking professional medical help, of course, is to
be physically active (other than performing your day to day tasks)
pursue your hobbies (make time, nobody has it. I learnt it the hard way!) and
have time and space for yourself. (everybody needs it at some point, no matter what)
I can say out of experience that this has been helping me, and in the long run, if you do not want to be a victim of depression, you should still follow it.
I would be really happy if you wish to share your personal experiences with me on my email or need any help relating to depression. I am not an expert, but I know quite a few people who can be of great help, and I can help you in understanding someone who is depressed, which is very important too. Here, I want to mention that it is necessary for the family members to be very supportive and care for the depressed person, instead of trying to shy away from or avoid the fact of the person being depressed altogether. Remember, depression, if left untreated, can lead to dangerous consequences, even death, at its worst, or a sad, unfulfilled life, at the very least. So do not run away from it, but find a practical solution by seeking medical help. Wishing you lots of love and happiness. Remember, you're important, no matter who you are and where you are. Take care.