I have had a difficult, tiring experience with depression. But I fought and overcame it all. Here is my story.
I was a brilliant student until my 10th standard, when I had a nervous breakdown. The doctors in Chennai diagnosed me in a scary way.
“She won’t be able to have a normal life,” they said.
But those words didn’t come true. I went back to school and passed my Tenth (Exams) and continued my studies. Yet things were bleak and far from normal in my teenage years. I was a silent loner, had no good friends and never felt like venturing out to parties. My grades by now were abysmal too. Many teachers were mean. I could hear the whispers about me being an odd teenager everywhere.
Despite all this, my dear mother — a single parent — continued to show amazing patience and love towards me. My grandmother encouraged me to play sports and refused to make me dependent on prescribed antidepressants. Their belief in me gave me hope.
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But things took a turn for the worse. I was unable to finish my 12th standard and write my Board exams. My classmates all went on to college. Me, I was forced to drop out of school and spend one whole year talking to therapists. But even in that dark time, I stayed positive. I stayed at home that lonely, dark year and finished school a year late. I shuttled from one psychiatrist to another. Yes, I was prescribed antidepressants, and taking them helped me on my path to becoming well again. But I refused to depend on medication. Reiki helped me greatly, healing my spirit. I knew people were laughing at me. I became an angry teenager who felt all alone. I knew the world was labelling me crazy but I knew inside that I would never give up — a fighting spirit spurred me on.
I went on to college. Meanwhile, the intense ambition of becoming a novelist took hold of me. That drove my spirit on each day.
… Now I am a published author with a second novel coming out soon. Today I have a magical, lovely life.
I was afraid of how things would turn out as a teenager, but if I could look back and give my younger self advice, I would say this.
“Don’t worry, everything will turn out great in the end.”
Because it did.
But one issue still pricks — The stigma. This heavy stigma around mental health is sad. Being treated for these issues is nothing to be ashamed about, because millions go through it. Seeking professional help is crucial and you can emerge a winner. Some of my friends today want to help shatter this stigma and I will be honoured to help them. But it is sad to hear that families of some depressed girls in India cover up their issues and get them married off.
Why such shame? All those women can instead be told that they can fight and succeed in life.
Encountering depression taught me to face obstacles and fight. That strength spurs on my writing. My ambition to be an author was the magical goal that changed my life. Discovering the passion for writing was therapeutic and helped me out of depression. The constant willpower saw a positive finish to my journey. So I wield that as a weapon and continue to go on.
(*Name changed on request)
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