Depression For Dummies

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Writing is my refuge and I seek shelter in literature. As much as I am immensely enjoying the profound indulgence in poetry, today I wish to put that aside just for a while and rewind the tape back to the start. The roots of my writing rise from prose. I’d rant and talk about anything in the world. An idea would strike me and I would just write it down. Prose did not bind me to any rhyme scheme, diction or symmetry. I was free to write and submerge myself in the ocean of words.

This is something that I would like to address, for a change; a topic that has been all over the media getting a lot of attention. It is quite marvelous, the way a single life makes populations contemplate over matters and issues that go unseen and ignored under the piles of riff raff. Here, I speak from experience and this is merely a reflection of my thoughts.

What is this “depression” you speak of?

I read somewhere that asking someone to stop being depressed is like asking a patient to stop having cancer. A natural and true writer is such a sensitive soul that at one point or the other, often and a lot, intermittently they go through depression or depressive phases.

Depression does not simply imply that a person is sad. It is as capricious as the weather right before the season is about to change. One day it’s terribly hot and humid and the other day it’s cloudy, dark and rainy.

It is the shadow that does not just follow you in the light but lurks over you, clouding all sources of light. When you are in the dark, it makes it even darker that even pitch black seems like an understatement. Suffocation engulfs you. It’s like that irritable little girl stuck in a room full of chain smokers.

“You don’t understand!”

Since you are the only one who is actually experiencing this, it feels like no one understands. Maybe they don’t. I mean, if they have tickets to a Beyonce concert, they are going to jam out and dance all night. But that does not mean they are not willing to cooperate, support you or help you.

We all have our highs and lows. Everyone has their own way of dealing with their problems. Some people like to be whiny babies and like being pampered like a girl on her period. Others are stubborn rocks and are not willing to let anything permeate unless it is strong and convincing enough to break through their walls. So, just because someone’s way does not match your way does not mean it should be discarded. Just because you’re a vegan does not mean you can’t look at a hamburger, right?

Reach out and someone will hold your hand

Yes, everyone is yapping about how you should seek help and reach out. I know how goddamn difficult that can be. Imagine sitting in a box that has been nailed close. You are the one who has closed the box from inside out. There are small cracks that are the only way you can reach out. You also fear that if someone comes close, then the nails sticking out from all over the box might hurt them. That is what it’s like when you are depressed and you are expected to reach out to others for help.

If there was a book called “Depression for Dummies”, Reach For The Stars or something equally cheesy would be chapter number two. That’s how self-help and motivational books are like, right? Chicken Soup for the Depressed Soul, anyone? 

People keep telling me “get a life.” How do I do that?

Those people seriously need a hobby because you already do have a life. All you need is to fill it in with all sorts of things. If there was a chapter number three it would be; Distract Yourself. There there Grandma Susan, it ain’t as easy as it sounds. But it does not mean you should not give it a try.

The best way is to have multiple options open like hobbies or general activities.

  • You can initiate something new like read a new book, watch a new movie or start watching a new TV series.
  • You can enroll in extracurricular activities from playing an instrument to playing a sport, from singing to acting to debating. Anything you like!
  • You can revive an old passion like sketching, writing and one of my favorites is listening to old school music.
  • You can be creative like cook something interesting, do some gardening, go skateboarding, swimming, work out, go for a walk or even dance in your underwear when you’re in your room alone or home alone (lock the door, okay?)
  • Keeping in view your religious or spiritual beliefs you can meditate, pray or go to the church and confess a sin or two. Bend down on your knees and talk to God!
  • Treat yourself to a cup of coffee, go dine in somewhere with or without someone else, buy a new shirt or a pair of shoes
  • Express yourself through some change in your appearance. This is something I’ve seen people do often like dye your hair (I did that three times!) or get a new haircut. Now, be careful and think this one through before you go off shaving your head, getting a tattoo or piercing because you are the one to bear with the consequences afterwards, too. Only do this if you’re absolutely sure about it!

A Positive Support System

Chapter four would be “Surround Yourself by the Right People”. This is vital! A positive support system and people who actually understand can be so comforting. I would recommend at least one person from your family; anyone you get along with really well, can easily confide in and ball your eyes out if you have to. A parent, partner, sibling, cousin or a friend or two you really love should be a part of that circle. Their presence can be extremely soothing.

If you do not like the way someone behaves with you especially when you are depressed then you do not need to keep them around or put up with their crap during this rough time. It could be someone like a family member who you cannot completely discard, but in that scenario, just distance yourself.

It’s okay not to be okay

If you are depressed, you are not alone. If you chose to be secluded to sort things on your own and get your act together, that’s absolutely fine too. You know what helped me a bit? I switched my phone off, deactivated my social media accounts, turned on my favorite music and binge wrote. I mean, I have been depressed for over a month now and here I am writing an article ranting about depression! (Depressception? Gosh, no!) I have not fully recovered but I am feeling so much better.

Before this gets out of hand, I’ll start wrapping it up. I have been suffering from depression ever since I was sixteen and it has never been easy. It never is. It is not a choice, it just happens. There are so many people who go through this. We know and understand. But time passes, both good and bad. You must keep on going. Only then will you know for sure what time has in store for you.

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