“According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is a common but serious mood disorder that causes severe symptoms that affect how one feels, thinks, and handles daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.”
But having gone through Major Depressive Disorder, I can say it’s much…much worse. Worse than the image the above words or for that matter any words, can portray. It almost killed me! Statistics say, every 30 seconds, somewhere, someone is taking away his/her life because of “depression”.
I last swallowed antidepressants and sleeping pills about 4 months back and even today I can’t be more grateful to the little everyday joys which I would call blessings now:-
Taking one thyroxine pill vs. swallowing 13 pills everyday simply to function.
Living without Side effects of pills – from stomach ache to nausea, fever, migraine, drowsiness, breathlessness, dry mouth, insomnia, loss of appetite, memory loss, dizziness and so on… and then taking more pills to combat them.
Jumping out feeling refreshed vs. wanting to never wake up again.
Falling asleep within 15 min vs. tossing over until 7 am.
Being jubilant and lively vs. walking like a zombie.
Not shedding tears for hours at length.
Not thinking of possible ways to die and wishing today would be my last day.
Feeling suicidal and depressed even when surrounded by a bunch of people.
The list could go on, but I think you got the idea.
I decided I won’t ever look back but here I am. The mere hope of this article helping even a single soul, in any way, pushed me beyond my fears.
At the start of my 2nd year in college, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I couldn’t believe my ears when the Doctor told me I have to take the pills every day for the rest of my life.
After two months I told my Doctor that I was feeling depressed. But never visited him again as I overestimated myself and believed I could deal with it all alone. I tried to get as busy as I could, so that I won’t have time to think, and assumed that way it would vanish. Yet even after reading tons of books, blogs, watching videos online, attending lecture at AIIMS, meditation, playing badminton every day, eating healthy, earning my first salary as an intern, I constantly felt low and barely managed to survive. I had crying spells and used to avoid people as I felt disconnected and feared they would see the hidden face.
Slowly building up, eight months later – the once deep, low depressive swings became a lot stronger. One day I woke up breathless, by the evening I had flooded myself with tears on an empty stomach, and was a step away from ending my life.
Two days later, I found myself in the same situation, this time I went to a Psychiatrist and for the first time lost my composure in front of someone. I got on anti-depressants, sleeping pills, concentration pills and panic attack pills along with therapy sessions with a Psychologist. This went on for seven months.
I don’t want to go deep into what actually caused my depression, because like the recovery, it also wasn’t build up overnight and involves people and personal situations. I still have to be extremely careful with myself. There have been times when I spilled the beans, and the signs reappeared — trouble falling asleep, nervousness, irritability, exhaustion – the trick is to recognize these signs and kick start the healing process again. Sometimes it involves taking major decisions. At others, some time alone does the trick.
The following advice is based on my personal experience and some are backed by science too.
What might save you?
- Stay alive for your own sake. Get professional help, soon.
- A sound sleep, healthy meals and regular activity including sports/exercise. Don’t compensate it for anything else. See book that helped me.
- Spend an hour before sleep doing what you enjoy or used to enjoy or trying out something you might enjoy.
- Develop Self- Compassion and Empathy. See book that helped me.
- Talk your heart out with at least one person.
- Spend time with people “who love you” and bring a positive vibe.
- Watch stand up/books/TV series having comedy. See book that helped me.
- Don’t take your career/life very seriously. Don’t stress over what others think of you.
- Stop striving for perfection or excellence in every sphere unless you also want to become a heartless machine.
- Face your fears but, step by step. See book that helped me.
- Enroll in this free course on happiness.
Want to help a depressed person?
- Try to re-affirm the person and show him/her a positive outlook.
- Don’t compare the depth of Depression with the shallowness of sadness.
- Don’t say it’s all in your mind. Click here to read about the chemical imbalance in brain, when depressed.
- Remove the stigma. Also, success, money and fame don’t put it away. Angelina Jolie, Adele, Deepika Padukone to name a few who fought it.
Life doesn’t always go the way we want it to, but nevertheless it’s worth living.