When Depression Swallowed Me
Depression… Well, I never gave a second thought to it, never. Life was running smoothly and happily too, until one day my world went all upside down. The very first touch of depression made me realise how wonderful my life was upto then-in fact, it snatched from me every reason to smile or feel good. Though I continued to respire, my breaths had lost the ability to swoon over anything wonderful and my heart had failed to skip a bit when it saw anything awe-inspiring. So, when something fantastic would emerge before my eyes, my brain would interpret it as beautiful, but would not make me feel so. How bad!!
I was 23 when my first bouts of depression began. During childhood, I used to feel some hollow feeling inside me-an emptiness that would make me cry for no reason at all. But it was only occasionally. As I grew up, it took a colossal form, too large and bulky to be handled by my weak inner self. And a day came when it overpowered me. Being trampled under its feet, what I could do was just cry. It was 7 pm and sun had just set down. All of a sudden, I began feeling down-it was as if something vital was escaping my soul, leaving me all high and dry. Soon, I found myself weeping very bitterly.
The night slipped and a new day came. The sun was shining very brightly and so was my heart. I was in a cheerful mood. But as soon as it dropped below horizon, that melancholic feeling again erupted. I cried again. This became the thing of daily routine. Everyday, after the sun would set, my hormones would become debilitated and keep me depressed for hours. This would be followed by the crying spells. Earlier their duration was about 10-15 minutes, later they got stretched to an hour or more. But to tell the truth, tears had therapeutic effect on me. After weeping, I would feel better and would be relieved from the dismal state for next two or three days.
Depression not only makes you cheerless but also snatches away the right to live a normal life. I noticed that my interests in day-to-day activities were waning. The hours for which I was under the gloominess would be the hardest to pass. Nothing would please me at such times. In fact, I developed abomination for people around me-their life and activities appeared insignificant to me, in addition to mine own. Sometimes, I would curse them, for no apparent reason. Parents and friends tried to reconcile me many times, but whatever effort they would put in, they had almost no positive effect on my gloom. They, according to me, could not apprehend my condition and hence had no idea what I was going through.
Months passed and nothing changed. What had changed was the duration of crying and the time for which I remained depressed. Both were stretched up to midnight now. People would suggest that I should keep myself engaged all the time. But that hardly had any impact. I had lost all interest in almost everything now. My favourite songs no longer touched my heart or soul; I abhorred the idea of going out; no activity was charming enough. Parents, especially my mom, used to sit by me for hours consoling me. She would always come up with ideas that could lessen my sadness. She would try hard to stop my crying, but in vain. Many a times, I did not feel like talking to anyone, so I would shut myself in my room and not allow anyone to enter until I was normal. A few close friends also stood by my side throughout this “ordeal”. They would tolerate my bad behaviour- they knew that rebuking would further annoy me, so they always sympathized with me.
Meanwhile, I saw a doctor. Whatever tablets he gave me had no effect. Some of these were sleeping pills and made me more lethargic. But the fault was all mine. I had not put the simple effort of searching a renowned psychiatrist. Above all this, I made a conclusion-depression cannot be cured. How wrong I was at that time.
Day by day, my situation was worsening. Two years had passed and I showed no sign of recovery. Weeping continuously had a detrimental effect on my physic also. Even in day time, when I was not depressed, I would cry over trifle matters. Sometimes, my eyes would be so swollen due to it that I would feel ashamed to face others, especially at work. The simple sobs had turned into shrieks. They would be so loud that my throat would pain for hours after that. Chest started paining now and then; coughing became frequent; and eye infection too became a common thing.
I knew that I had lost it. The ability to keep emotions under control had gone. In fact, I had absolutely no idea where my life was heading to. Miserable, wretched, and pathetic-I was all. But the worse was yet to come. Now, the bouts of depression got more prolonged. Time factor had become irrelevant- I was down in dumps all the time-day, dusk, or night. And this was making life harder, almost unbearable. I was only physically alive- on the emotional front, all the spark had extinguished.
What a mess life had become… Ending it seemed a better option than living like a corpse. Suicidal tendencies crept in me, but I feared death. My mother had passed away recently and taking such a foolish step could bring more sorrow to my family-I could not do that. So, I continued living. But such thoughts kept on coming. Some situations in life shake you so badly that you repent being alive. But you can’t die either.
Situation became alarming when I developed breathing problems. Now, I could not talk continuously for more than a minute or two. Even walking for a small distance would make me pant badly. And it would take nearly 15 minutes to come to normal. Heartbeats would be so rapid that I could hear them clearly. All this, along with my depressive state of mind was playing havoc on me. A friend of mine suggested a psychiatrist. He himself had gone through all this and after treatment had got a lot better. I could not deny this time. So, I fixed an appointment. Yet, I was uncertain that anything worthwhile could be done for me.
Treatment began soon after. Doctor gave me pills for brain relaxation and raising the level of hormones. He also told me that it would take about 10-12 weeks to get fully recovered. To tell the truth, he was very sure that I would soon be better. But, I still was not. However, the medication proved really beneficial. In first two weeks only, I showed a recovery of about 20% and that was not bad. The dose was increased thereafter. Now, the duration of depression would last for only 15-20 minutes. Crying had stopped automatically. And soon, I got rid of the breathing problem also.
Like every disease, I had the apprehension that depression may come back any time. So, I started practising yoga. Hormones had played so many games with me and there was no question of giving any chance to them. Keeping their level high was most important. The yogic activities boosted my immune system and brought back my emotional balance-a prerequisite to lead a normal life.
I delayed and suffered for four years before getting counselled. It is better to nip it in the bud rather than try to control it after it has overpowered you.