We all have days in our lives we can’t forget, for reasons both good and bad. One such day that I can’t push out of my memory was the day when I cried on the foot of the staircase of my school. That night, I contemplated taking some drastic measures because I was depressed enough to stop fighting the people who’d made life hell for me. I’ve had several run-ins with bullying, body image issues and identity crisis.
By the grace of God, and with the support of a couple of my best friends, I managed to get my life back on track. That was one of the most important years of my life, academically. I decided to focus all the negative energies encompassing me into my academics and into making myself a well-rounded personality. Four years down the line, I haven’t been successful in blocking the memory of that day, but I’ve done a good job in blurring it out. Being that depressed and unhappy with oneself takes a toll on the mental and physical health of a person.
Mental health, as most people are already aware, is the overall well being of a person, emotionally and psychologically. The sad part is, however, that there are more than 40% of us that are actively combatting poor mental health.
I’m no expert but I have a clear deduction about depression. People who tend to vest power in the opinion of other people tend to be more depressed. I tended to give a b*tt-load of importance to what people thought of me. I still do, but not even nearly as much. The minute you take your foot off the pedal, and hand the steering wheel to someone else, you might as well say your last prayers and get ready to drive off the cliff. Now don’t get me wrong y’all, it’s fine to take other’s opinions and even analyse them, but validating and basing yourself off those is only a recipe for disaster.
When I look back on my journey from mild depression to today, I keep ‘kickin’ myself in the nuts’ for not talking about my problems to anyone. Probably even a stranger. A secret like that eats you up. If there’s anyone you even mildly relate to, and trust, you need to speak up. Don’t think that they’re going to be able to help you, it’s primarily your battle, but you’re going to feel lighter and more content. Don’t underestimate the importance of the people who you value. I always have a song in my mind that I think of the minute I feel drifting to a bad place. It gets me back on track. You could probably think of ‘Happy’ by Pharrell (you could also think of all his crazy hats, that thought will crack you up) or 7/11 by Beyoncé.
That’s the thing about dealing with depression. Irrespective of what your parents told you, you have no control over some things. One of those things is what people say to you and about you. But you can control how you react and respond to all those people.
This has been the hardest thing I’ve ever written, period. If you know me, you know I haven’t written this to gain any sympathy or appreciation- I’m in a great place right now and I’m confident of not having any slip-ups. My sole purpose of writing this on World Mental Health Day was to make Depression more accessible and recognisable and for people going through it to know that if someone as messed up with as low a self esteem as I had can get through it, with a little bit of effort and lots of help, it’s not impossible for any body. You should take my word for it because I’m not some rich washed up journalist trying to impress you, or a counsellor trying to console you. Nor am I a multi-millionaire celebrity claiming to be depressed. I’m a regular person (just like 90% of people who are depressed). I’m a victim and I’ve been through everything you’re going through. You should trust me when I say, don’t let your struggle become your identity.
Here’s a list of songs my best friend Nupur Kulkarni curated for you to listen to when you’re feeling blue:
I feel like Dancing- All Time Low
Victorious- Panic! At the disco
I can Feel it- Hey Violet
Hey Everybody- 5 Seconds of Summer
Human- The Killer