D-E-P-R-E-S-S-I-O-N, a black-hole of a hideous ten letter word, that many are scared of and many, refuse to talk about. Depression affects more than 300 million people globally, and adolescent depression is, well, increasingly common. It is time to lift the veil and end the social stigma, attached to it. I share my experience here, to help people understand, what depression feels like and how it affects and scars one’s life. Hopefully, my experiential sharing would lend a better understanding of the issue and lead to a more compassionate view of those, afflicted by it.
I do not know, exactly, when it started, or, what the possible causes could have been. But about three years back, when I was in the tenth grade, I first felt the signs or, call it, symptoms of depression, obviously not knowing what it was, or that, it had anything to do with depression. I started withdrawing into my own zone and spending more time alone. I lived in an almost constant state of fear – fear of the future, fear of studies (even though I was a good student), fear of not being good enough… It was an over-enveloping fear, of and about, everything in general.
Everything seemed so vague and meaningless, my future looked bleak and foggy. I was utterly confused and doubtful about everything, so much so, that I could not even tell what I was feeling, or, what I really wanted. Thinking about the future worried me and I was always stressed about things, that were probably never even going to happen. I would overthink a lot, my brain mostly conjuring up a bouquet of negative possibilities in life, that gave me the creeps. I would overthink all day and all night long, till I fell asleep, crying on a pillow, drenched in my own tears.
I would wake up everyday, to go through the same grind and everything, including school, academics and life, in general, seemed more of a burden to me. Nothing made sense. It was like, something was missing. Something was lacking, in my life. It seemed, like I was looking for something to fill up a void inside me. I felt hollow inside, as if a part of me, had left me and everything around, looked blank and pointless. I felt miserable- I could sense that something felt so wrong, not knowing what it really was, or if, there was a solution to it.
I wanted to know if it was normal – whether, there were other people who had experienced something similar – it was like feeling something so terrible, but, not knowing, what to do about it. After a certain point, I could not feel anything. I felt detached and drained out – like being totally lifeless and soulless. I lost interest in everything in life. Nothing excited me and things, I had earlier enjoyed doing, lost their fascination and meaning. It was like, a long phase of complete lack of motivation to do anything and even, to live at all. No enthusiasm. No interest. No energy. Low spirited. Always tired. Exhausted.
Drained out of spirit and the will to live, suicidal thoughts hit me frequently. Everything, either scared me, or, worried me no end and made me feel so bad, that I wanted to give up on life. I had given up all hope and I was convinced that nothing would ever get any better, that things would continue to feel so miserable, forever. Death seemed, like the only solution and an easy escape, from all the problems of life. I developed suicidal thoughts and I would often find myself pondering, if that was the time to give up, or, whether, I should give life another chance.
Everything had lost its meaning to me and life looked dull and colourless and the future, dark. I felt utter negative emotions overpowering me – sadness, anger, hopelessness, helplessness (to name a few); frightened and ashamed of what was becoming of me. I stopped believing that I could do wonders, or that, things could change, for the better. At times, I felt a mix of a variety of emotions – including fear, pain, grief, regret, frustration and, much more. I could not really understand how I was feeling, or, what was wrong with me. All I knew, was that I did not feel good and I did not want to feel this way anymore.
I was not always sad though, not 24×7. I did feel happy sometimes, like with friends and others, but such a feeling would not last long. Happy times were always followed, by sad ones, for days on end. Looking back, it truly felt like what the great English Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley described in his poem, ‘Ode to the West Wind,’
“I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed! / A heavy weight of hours has chain’d and bow’d / One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.”
Chained and bowed, life could not have been more despicable. The life sapping phase of my life, cried out for succour, as I could not take it any more. Dulled and defeated, the co-ordinates of my life seemed to have gone into a never-ending holiday. My life hung from a slender thread, any moment it could have been that final kick, for an ultimate plunge into the precipice. What saved the day, perhaps, were a string of factors, I shall delve into, later. For now, I hope, I have been able to give you all a peep into a hell-hole, spelled and called, DEPRESSION. Look out and save the day, for those, you know of.
 Accessed at http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/ (last visited Jun 8, 2017).
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