A Journey Through the Void

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There has been an increase in the mental depression rate across the globe over the years and it exists in almost every age group. Although depression induced from trauma are something not everyone can avoid, lately people are simply falling into one. Is it the life style? I cannot see any kind of strict measures being taken by the society either. I feel people always refrain from talking about their mental health condition as they don’t want to be judged by the society maybe because there is a public stigma associated with it. The way society views this topic needs to be changed so that people can express it comfortably. The affect generated by a depressive mind if not taken care is devastating. I have heard of parents acknowledging less about the mental health condition of their kids. Is it because they haven’t come across one in their childhood ? The lifestyles are changing so does the age at which certain diseases and health conditions occur. Children undergoes so much pressure and pain silently which later grows into something disastrous and by the time it is acknowledged things would have already gotten worse. It’s high time parents take care of their children’s mental health. When I first encountered depression, I had the strong support of my mother because she knew the pain as she too underwent depressive episodes when she was young. She would provide me the emotional support I required at every stages of my life. She would encourage me by telling her stories of how she overcame it, the saddest part was she had no one to tell. No one even understood what depression was during her time and she would bare it all by herself. I really believe that for a depressed person emotional support is the most essential thing in that stage of their life. They may not be in a condition to ask it, but it is the duty of their family to provide it by understanding their situation. Depressive people are always on the look out for emotional support, a shoulder to lean on, to be acknowledged, to be able to share the pain.

I am here to share a very important part of my life that changed me for good. A part where I underwent multiple episodes of severe depression for nearly 2 years and how I found my way out of it. This is not just for those who are undergoing depressive episodes but also for those who are finding it difficult to keep up with themselves or are feeling alone and lost so that they won’t slip into one, to let them know that they are not alone. We are all in this together and we will make it out together.

“When I is replaced with we, even illness becomes wellness” — Malcom X

It was 2012, I was just 15, also the year everyone were talking about the end of the world. The world didn’t end for everyone but only for some including me. On 23rd July, early morning, my father passed away from a cardiac arrest. He was the most energetic and healthiest person I knew my entire life. I was in pieces. He was my best friend, my go-to person for everything. It was like I lost a part of me. I had to leave everything starting from my friends to my lifestyle and move along with my mother to my hometown. Ironically previously I used to spend all my vacation in my home town and never wanted the vacation to end. Now I am going to stay there for years to come. I found it difficult to handle all the drastic changes at once. The very place I loved once turned out be my nightmare. After shifting I had to join a new school but, in my hometown mostly all of the schools were not willing to admit me directly into 10th grade as they felt I might underperform and tarnish their reputation since I was doing an entirely different syllabus from the place where I come from. I was going through so much pressure and sadness all at once and fortunately one of the schools gave me an admission understanding my situation and there I restarted my education. I was very much in pressure. Although I adjusted just well, I sort of lost my morale, confidence, I was performing very poor. But got through somehow as I always did in every situation. After I got into high school things started to take affect, all those months of sadness took its shape in the form of something worse. It was all of a sudden. I started to get small panic attacks and since it was my first time I couldn’t understand how to handle it. I would talk to mom and she would help me with it.

But things got worse in different directions apart from personal well being, I was unable to adjust with the very place I loved once. The grass is greener on the other side turned out to be a big lie. I was emotionally drained with a variety of situations in and around. The panic attacks and anxiety attacks started to become more powerful in me.There were times when I used to go to school in private buses and I would suddenly have a panic attack. I used to feel detached from myself on a bus or while I walked to school. Life was very difficult for me. I didn’t knew what was happening to me. I could not even explain it properly to mom. She would advice me on certain things so that I can handle it whenever it comes in future and I used to do just that and tame it down. Along with that I was also living in a very negative environment where I hated almost everything. I was feeling myself as a negative magnate. I was displaying my symptoms even in schools . I used to get panic attacks in school out of no where and I would try to divert my mind by sleeping in my bench thinking about the beautiful moments I had in the past and trying to focus on my studies and friends. But I never told anyone as no one of my age would understand me or worse the fear that people would take it for something else. Only mom knew it. She used to be worried and would always wait for me to arrive from school We both would give a wide smile to each other from far away when we would see each other as I walked towards home from school. Something that would melt almost all my problem just like that for a moment.

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I strongly denied medications as I was that kid who sort of spend his entire childhood on medications due to various health problems. I wanted it to stop being on medications whenever something was slightly wrong, something that was under my direct control. I never wanted to go on that path again. So I tried to tame it down myself. I finally found ways of calming myself using different strategies and reducing my panic attacks without any medications and I was making a steady improvement. I would look back and reflect on my thought process of how I performed when compared to the past. After my high school I was planning to leave my hometown and go back and do my engineering since I thought going back would heal me quicker. I thought it will give me the required change in life and make things better again.But something hit me. I also couldn’t leave my mom alone. She too was fragile and needed the emotional support which I knew only I could provide as we were still recovering from father’s demise. So I decided to stay back and join a nearby college and be with her for the next couple of years. Things were getting better for us. It was freshman year I decided to dump everything, dream big and make a bunch of friends. I started to rebuild myself to be alone and strong. Everything went smooth in the first year of college as per my plan. But as I entered the Sophomore year it turned out be the monster in disguise. I was very much into the idea of success and growth that everyone started to perceive me as a nerd and later I got deserted by my friends even the ones who I considered my best friends. I used to sit alone in the first bench through out an entire semester. I would come back home frustrated, trying to create games and apps since at least they took me to a different world and made me forget my pain.

via psychologytoday.com

But things started to go sideways, I started to have severe panic attacks once again. I felt like I had to get myself ready for next wave of fight. This time it was pretty worse and in one way or the other the worst thing that could happen happened. It took the from of depression. I started to feel numb. It felt as if my entire life was sucked out of me. I couldn’t feel happy nor could I feel sad. I was just empty. I tried to cry but I couldn’t. I tried to feel but I couldn’t. I knew I had messed up big time. On the other hand I didn’t have any close friends to talk to other than my mom to free my mind let it be college or home. But like they say the universe has a time for everything. Luckily I had previously tried to make friends beyond my branch even though I sort of was an introvert and making friends was not that easy for me and that extra step I took in freshman year became my life saviour. That’s when I met a very special person from another department who was also a close friend of my high school mate. We had become good friends previously. Our friendship also had grown beautifully till now. I started reaching out to him as I had no one else during that time. And he was happily ready to be that support I really needed. A genuine friendship. I would run to him whenever I get a chance to clear my mind off the negatives, He even used to assist me at midnight while I was busy coding my ideas. I never thought I would ever make a great friendship in my entire life looking at the progress I made from my childhood in terms of friendships. It did improve my health but that was just a small percentage, but of course a crucial one. But that was not enough as I still had a long way to get out of it, things were getting messed up during my exams. I was having irregular depressive episode. I could barely study and I felt so numb that I didn’t even feel like I was going for an exam nor I wanted to. There were days when things became so severe that I would pretend if everything was okay and write my papers and run back straight to my bus since I used to feel like I was losing myself. Once I suffered panic attack in my exam hall and all I could do was sleep on the bench and be strong. I some how survived all the exams the same way. But I made sure I gave my best to pass the exams and it was fruitful. It was after the exams I understood my potential to withstand any bad situation in life. It gave me a huge boost in my confidence. After my exams I went on short trips to nature enriched places, startup clubs and I was feeling much better than ever before. I became a traveller. Whenever I felt thing were out of place I would just travel. Now I was in the third year of college. I decided to get along with my entire class once again. I gave up on my grades, gave up on my growth, tried to be playful, and have fun with my friends. I understood personal development was more important than anything else. I decided to level up my fight against depression full on. I fought it with being more social, making more friends, indulging in more college related activities.I ditched my steady performance in achieving my goals, I never missed a chance to travel with my friends and I felt like I was actually coming back to life and becoming more of myself day after day and that mattered more to me that anything else.

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By the time I was in my final year of college I felt fit as a fiddle but still not much alive but I was okay. Still I was more energetic and was able to get back to pursuing my growth but cautiously. I was ready to grind in and put in the hard work for my goals. I was happy that I got myself up. After college I was able to go for a trip to the Himalayas with my friends a wish I had for years and that gave me a fresh perspective on life ahead as well as peace. But I understood a truth after that. Himalayas can provide you peace of mind only when reside there, after all neither can I stay there forever nor could I take the Himalayas with me. But still it changed me a lot. I got my final depressive episode in the second half of 2019 due to multiple personal issues from a confused career to other aspects of life. But the interesting part was I was not running away or afraid of it anymore and I strictly knew how to handle it in a matured way. And I tackled it very well without giving myself away. After that I took a small break by travelling to somewhere special and letting out my problems. It turned out to be the best thing I needed. I took a deep look into my future and knew it was time to get up and take life seriously, I decided I will move to another city as I had planned and get a job. Today I take all my pain as an important part of life for my growth rather than trying to run away from them. The more I got beaten and wounded, the more stronger and wiser I got. The way I face failures and pain is very different today. I am very calm in the face of pain today as it is inevitable but I can choose if I want to suffer or not. I would ask myself. What is life trying to teach me? What can I learn from this which will make me indestructible. A juggernaut.

I know this period is very difficult for all the people across the globe, a lot of people have lost their loved ones and I know how hard it is to bare that surging pain but believe me you don’t know how strong your are. Be in the present and love everything while you have it. I can assure you if you believe you will get through something then you will get through it not matter what force is acting against. The pandemic is nothing compared to your capabilities, There might be people who lost their jobs, who might also be sole earners of their family, graduates who are unemployed. I know it is easy to try to convince you because I am not the one who is experiencing your pain, but don’t let your guard down now. It is not forever. And always make sure to take care of both your mental and physical health. They are your wealth.

Remember everything is temporary, so is your pain. All you need is to believe in yourself and have lots of love for yourself and for others. Always be forgiving. You will overcome and achieve anything.

Things to remember when you get depressive episodes

  • Your friends and your family are the greatest weapon.Spend more time with your loved ones, discuss your thoughts with them.
  • Get along with nature, it gives you a sense of life.
  • Try to remember all the beautiful moments in your life, write it down, it will help you more if you feel detached from yourself.
  • Evaluate your thought process, reflect on yourself.
  • Keep yourself busy with something you love.
  • Never stay in the same place for many hours.
  • Social interaction and physical activities are a must.
  • Get a glimpse about spirituality, read similar books.
  • Travel with your tribe.
  • Visit a psychologist if you feel things are getting really worse

You might not feel doing any of those mentioned above but you must find the will. That is how you fight it.

Waking up to the truth became a consequence

I hope anyone who had similar experiences might resonate with me.

Katy Perry via https://gomerblog.com/

During my depressive episodes I used to get completely detached from my identities for a certain time period of time. It was a very frightening experience for me. A different feeling all together, like looking at the world with a naked mind without getting attached to my identity, It forced me to see the bigger picture of the world without any supporting ideas on anything, a neutral outlook on this life. The most valuable thing I learned during this phase was understanding how arrogant I was towards my own life. Blindly following a system from education to everything I have come across. Although I am not completely against every system that are implemented in our world. Everything has its advantage and disadvantages almost every system I hate also have its own fair share of advantages and weighing them is upto the individuals who are benefitting from it and not upto me. But the only thing which frustrated me was the way I followed it. Totally accepting as if it was my way of life. I was not deciding for myself. This piece of thought rekindled the life within me, today I always try to become more conscious about my life, which gave me even more clearer picture about the beauty of this life. I found out that happiness is in the little things. If you could very well enjoy looking at the rain drops falling, birds chirping or even a flower with wonder and happiness you are at peace and success. I would say I am really happy for breaking out and having a mind of my own and I regret the past where I was a slave of the system where happiness is defined in the other things. I became more arrogant towards the system for denying the bigger picture of life. I tried to unchain myself from almost all the identities that held me down that was either self made or provided by this world from my birth to this very day. Although I knew this can only be achieved gradually. I made sure I will never be a blind follower on the things which are currently in my knowledge base, i.e those which are protected by my intellect and will never be ignorant and always be welcoming towards anything that is beyond the understanding of my mind and body. Because I feel denying something cannot exist just because we are incapable of knowing or understanding is the ultimate form of ignorance. And lastly I made myself sure never to ignore this beautiful opportunity of life to the fullest of the capabilities that has been woven into me and shed of all the unwanted strings attached to me of any form. Remember all the power we need is already within us. We are just ignorant not weak.

Never give up and always love yourself !

Software Engineer at FRND