Since this is a testimony of my journey with a mental illness, there is no starting point and a definite end to this account. As a student, I am used to writing essays and papers, with defined beginnings and sharp ends. But with this particular account, I believe that such precision is not a possibility. That is how depression works. Comes without a warning, takes no time to make its home inside our bodies, and only God knows when it will perish.
I was in the second semester of my postgraduate studies when I realized I needed professional help. Denial of any possibility that I may be suffering from mental health issues the previous months, culminated in days of anguish and emotional numbness which finally led to an epiphany- that professional help was the only way I could have a shot at a second chance at life.
The first year of my postgraduate studied remains a complete blur to this day. I struggled to fit in among my batchmates, who ideally were to be my family for the course of the two years. As luck and chance would’ve had it, in the backdrop of academic pressures which would amplify each passing day, the only friend I had was my flailing mental health.
The day I finally decided to start therapy, I came to a rather saddening conclusion; my mental health issues, whatever they may be, had left a huge vacuum between who I had the capabilities to be and who I was. I had big dreams and high hopes, but something in my mind was eating it away, layer by layer.
My intuition told me it was probably depression, and as it turns out, I was right. Living in a society where people mistake depression for sadness, low moods and as ignorance would’ve had it, negative mindsets, communicating to one’s peers or superiors, about just how destructive depression can be, seems a herculean task. It will eat you away from the inside but the fear, that people may only see the farce of a walking talking, seemingly healthy body (and presumably mind), is the unwelcome guest, many people are forced to entertain.
Better late than never, it is said. Just as my second semester was coming to a close, I started therapy, which continued during the course of my vacations. I returned for the third semester with the assurance that I had help and can sail through, performing to the best of what I was capable of, at that point.
With continued therapy, I was able to handle a vast number of six subjects and score high grades in each of them. There was a sharp rise and consistency in my grades and for the first time in my months, I had tasted a semblance of emotional stability and things were finally looking up.
But with my now years of experience, living with depression has made me realize how unpredictable it is. The higher you soar, the more brutal the fall proves. Just as my third semester neared its end, certain experiences proved to be massive triggers towards a complete breakdown. And long story short, I have been on medication since.
However, it is important to not view such lows as failures or setbacks. During the course of recovery, one may go through many highs and lows, but they are all a part of the journey, towards a destination, whereupon reaching we are newer, happier and peaceful beings.
I am indebted to Dr Sujatha Sharma, for being the friend and guide I needed to pull through. And to Dr Avdesh Sharma, for not only being the person that he is but also for not prescribing me heavy-duty anti-depressants.
– Kavya Anon