Mental Health is important. We all know that, right? Wrong.
Even today, in many parts of the world, anyone suffering from a mental illness has to ‘come out’ and face the same criticism that the LGBTQ+ community faces. Once you’ve outed yourself, you are seen differently and it sure is different from a physical illness while you should know that the agony is pretty much the same. Or even worse, coz here nobody would be able to ‘see’ what you’re going through. But coming out is good; that’s how you know you’re not alone. It’s a different kind of #MeToo movement which is as important.
When I told my own family that I'm suffering from depression (which took a lot of guts btw), many of them were like "Why are you depressed? You are better off than most people. Plus we've always supported you. What are you even talking about?" I knew they meant well and just couldn't understand what I was going through. I suddenly understood how that 1 out of 5 adults felt who suffered from mental illness. Mine was just a case of mild depression but still, it managed to dominate my mind.
Well, depression is one slick bastard that slowly creeps in your mind. It just needs that one weakness and boom, you're gone. For me, the tipping point was my education and hence, career. I never had any money problems, I had great friends, I was even intellectually okay, but well, then came a time when I wasn't sure about anything. Facing one of the toughest exams in my country, I realized how continuous failures can ruin you. 8 failures, 4 years to be exact, in my case.
"It's just an exam, dammit." I used to think to myself but then, it did get the better of me. Slowly the things you used to love, start fading away. Nothing excites you anymore. And well, you question life. I'm not talking about the 'usual' existential crises that we all face when we're in the uni or when we're too frustrated with our love lives. I'm talking about the one where nothing seems to matter anymore. I used to love photography, painting, reading, traveling, and what-not. It took it all away with it. No, I wasn't strong enough to just let it go. I wasn't strong enough to just snap out of it. I wasn't even strong enough to get out of my bed some days.
Then I started to understand why a teenage girl suffering from depression hadn't combed her hair for months. How people stopped caring about their health or food even. Or how people got to that point where they just wanted to be alone. Coz nobody would be able to understand them anyway. And how some of them actually committed suicide. I’m including Robin Williams, our good ol’ genie who brought smiles to our faces and people like Chester Bennington and Avicii who helped us find solace in music. These people prove that glamor and success don’t guarantee protection against mental illness or suicidal urges.
Some battles you have to fight alone. People around you, sometimes the closest ones, won't be able to understand what you're going through. And it's okay. I learned how to just be glad about it coz they aren't facing it. The worst thing is, you can never explain your predicament. NEVER.
All your loved ones are too distant. You're struggling with a darkness that nobody can understand but you. But that's where I was wrong. There were people who cared, I just couldn't see it. I just didn't want to get out of it. I just thought I was drowning and there was no ship coming to save me, while there were plenty of boats. And hey, that is all you need, right? So many of them are just a call away but it was me who couldn't understand how to reach out to them. I lost many battles but ultimately hope to win the war. Hope is a powerful thing and a good one, of course. Which reminds of the wise words by Stephen King…
“Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
I know many of you won't be able to relate and honestly, I'm glad. May you never ever do. But I just hope that you give an ear or a shoulder to the one who's next to you. Who isn't saying anything but thinks about killing themselves every single day. Who is struggling to go on! Who doesn't think the world needs him/her anymore! Who just needs a reminder that they matter! And that world is a beautiful place. And it will be even more beautiful with them around.
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