I could start by sharing some statistics on depression or quote some research to illustrate that the problem of mental health disorders is pervasive and very real. I could also weave together words that will present a very bleak picture of what it’s like living with depression. But I’m not going to do any of that. Instead, if like me, you too are going through depression or something similar, then I’m going to tell you something very important that might hopefully help you cope with it better.
You are not alone.
I know you’re thinking that this is probably just an empty reassurance. After all, aren’t all of us dealing with our own maladies, all by ourselves?
No, I really mean it, WE’RE NOT ALONE.
There are so many others who, like us, are dealing with similar, if not the same problems. Take me for instance, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and bipolar symptoms as early as 18 years of age. What followed since my diagnosis has been a ride nothing short of a rollercoaster!
It started with denial. I didn’t want to face the fact that I had a ‘disorder’, a condition that would be dubbed an anomaly in this near-perfect world. I wanted to be like the rest of the girls in my college, I wanted to be ‘normal’. I didn’t ask for any of this to happen to me. Who does, ever?
So I carried on living my double life. On the face of it, I was an average student, who would go to college, attend tuitions, chill with friends… the works. But underneath, there was an immense conflict. I struggled to deal with phases of wanting to shut myself out from the whole world, phases of sudden emotional outbursts and confusion, almost like a dark cloud looming right above my head (only no one else could see it).
This carried on for most of my life after college, and I learnt to just ride with the cyclical highs and lows. It did affect my ‘regular’ life in many ways, because the constant flux made me make few bad decisions. But I’m learning to not live a life of regrets.
I struggled, and still am struggling to deal with these ups and downs. It’s not the same for all of us, some people are able to take it all in their stride. And for many like me, the lows are very hard to deal with. But the one piece of advice that has really helped me is that we shouldn’t fight the lows. Rather, we must embrace them.
From my own personal experience, I can assure you that depression doesn’t have to be a reason for you to stop living your life fully. There are ways to heal, approaches you can try – start by reading and researching to understand your condition fully, seek help from professionals, and most importantly, talk to friends. Healing does take time, but you can try embracing your darkness. Don’t let it engulf you, but just get to know it, this will help you accept and deal with it better.
There’s a light in you, and in me, and inside all of us. Don’t let that light fade out.