I only hope I do not raise too many red flags during the course of this article. At any point this post alarms you I assure I am an extremely sorted individual who knows how to ask for help if needed.
But today this needs to be written. I write this to understand the things that happen to me and perhaps to explain to those that do not understand. I do not know what to term it as yet. The biggest fear about saying the ‘D’ word is the response it brings with. “Attention seeker”. Or worse sympathy. You cannot blame people really. Some mean well. Some don’t. But almost most do not understand. I seldom wonder why and how so many people today are depressed. Perhaps we are a more intellectually aware race now. A race which is more peaceful. And peace gives us time to think. Perhaps mere survival is no longer sufficient these days and man longs for purpose and reason. Perhaps. We will never know for sure.
Everyone’s reasons are different. I have spent countless nights (and days) trying to associate mine to a particular incident, a trigger, a cause. There are a few moments in life, I can perhaps label as traumatic, but strangely enough they do not scare me or haunt me. My sadness and fears, in truth, come from the most basic of human experiences. Bullying, being misunderstood. At the heart of it, I have concluded, is the lack of re-assurance. Someday perhaps I will find it or get over it. But that is not the point of this article. Depression is a big word. And an extremely cautious word to be thrown around. It is a combination of things and issues really. Sometimes it’s family. Sometimes it is life. Sometimes it is the overwhelming realisation of reality. And the fact that it cannot be changed. Sometimes it is the fact you will never be able to put into words and explain the things that feel except that you feel them. Sometimes it is the helplessness for not being able to find the energy to go on. Sometimes it simply is inexplicable.
It is not easy to understand (and believe people in) depression perhaps because we have fixed causes we associate sadness with. Break-up. Separated parents. Financial failure. People have a way of assigning weights to happiness and sadness. A owns a big car, huge house, great job. A is successful. A is happy. B just lost his job. C was told he is good for nothing by his boss. B lost means to a livelihood, a career. C can get another boss. B must be sadder than C. Not all of us judge this way of course. But the point is we always associate an amount, a quantity with hardship. Which is why you see arguments like “He lives in an AC house, has a comfortable lifestyle. What has he got to be depressed about? Do you know how many under-privileged people are there in the world?”
Breaking the human soul, sadly, has very less to do with poverty and privilege. It requires, unfortunately, only as little as words and actions. A small rebuttal as a child. No one to run to in your moment of distress. Being made to feel you are worthless. Laughed at for something you oh so strongly believed in. Proven wrong and being laughed at more. These discomforts do not differentiate between the rich and the poor.
There is not one particular reason or trigger behind. You get over a break-up. You learn to deal with your parent’s separation. And when I say this I do not belittle pain caused by break-ups or family separations or the other hardships in life. They are equally hard, if not harder. However having a root cause, reason perhaps makes it easier to fall out of. But you cannot walk off depression. You do not understand what triggers it. And you cannot deal with something that you do not understand. You only understand there is a consistent sadness. And you do not have the energy to deal with anything. Not talk to the people you love, not try and explain the sadness, nothing. You just do not have energy for life.
There are tears. Lots of them. Inexplicable at times. Most times they are confined to safe solaces of your rooms\houses. Sometimes you have unexpectedly fight them back at public places. The triggers are hard to explain. But usually it is when helplessness dawns on you that the person sitting next to you, your friends, your colleagues will probably never understand what you are going through. What you have gone through. Worse. Know it and not believe it. Know it and dismiss it.
Sometimes you break down when you are laughing. This one is a paradox really. We smile a lot of times in our lives but there are only rare times when you laugh from the bottom of your heart. This might sound very philosophical, literary but honestly there are rare times in your life that you truly laugh from your heart. Think of it as the happiness you felt when you got that crayon box you waited for the whole week as a kid. Pure. Genuine. Those are also times you break into tears. Because you are truly laughing. Perhaps the tears come because in that moment there is so much purity, genuine joy it is almost all the worse things didn’t happen. Or won’t happen. Or maybe whatever happens after this you have this one moment of unadulterated bliss.
It is perhaps especially hard because unlike other illnesses once in depression, the will and energy to get out of it itself vanishes. Get up and be happy for what? For who? Go and achieve things why? And then do what? Thankfully I have one reason, one driving factor in life. It is sufficient and worth every fight. But such questions are dangerous. Because sometimes they have no answers. It is not important that depression can be caused by the smallest of the things which may later in life seem insignificant. It is important to know depression is beyond logical reasoning and arguments. But then if logical reasoning doesn’t work then what does?
There are different coping mechanisms. Music. Art. Humour. Work. And some we will never understand. Which brings me to my next deep pain in life. Mocking someone or their ways in the world. You have absolutely no idea what is saving someone from the world. Of all the things I do not understand about this world, the one most that perplexes me most is laughing at someone. “It’s harmless” “Oh it’s just a joke” “It’s all banter”. No it is not. Ridiculing a human being is honestly much more detrimental than we give it credit. It is something I have never been able to do. And I never do. Not as a joke. Not as fun. Not casually. Never. People often tell me they do not come to me for honest opinions because I can never say not-nice things. And it is true. I believe in every silly idea, laugh at every bad joke, and appreciate every stupid new attire that people try. And all honestly. From the bottom of my heart. Because that’s what some people need sometimes. Someone to believe in you. Not your idea, or your bad joke or your stupid hat. You. Sometimes all you need is someone saying “Okay this may not seem like the stupidest shit in the world right now but if you think so greatly of it it must be worth a shot. If you believe it’s true, it must be true. If you think it is such a great joke then it must be. You believe it, so I believe you.” You never know who is on the verge of breaking down and what a few kind words can do to save them.
In conclusion, there is only one fact that remains. Depression is temporary. No matter how bad things get and how worse it feels. It gets better. You will perhaps never be as normal as the person with a happy childhood, happy life. You do not want to either. You are defined by what breaks you. But you will be better. It gets better. It always gets better