I never really understood depression until recently. A person might feel down for a while but to use the word ‘depression’ in my culture seemed like an excuse not to pull your weight – to lie in all day. That’s probably why when I become depressed 5 years ago, I didn’t recognise it.
Even now, I sometimes wonder how I got away with being depressed while holding down a job, taking care of a 3-year old and a husband. I remember how much of a struggle it was to get up in the morning – and when I did finally get up, I’d feel an overwhelming urge to cry. I succumbed to this urge many times. I was always tired and I wanted to be alone most of the time. When my family asked me what was wrong, I couldn’t really explain. My life seemed perfect but I had a deep sadness that loomed over me all day.
My depression lasted about 18 months. I never confided in anyone about it and I didn’t seek help. I dragged myself out of bed every day, often disappointed that I’d woken up alive. When I think about those times I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I feel proud of myself of getting out of depression alive. Truthfully, something deep inside me – deeper than I’ll ever know – wanted to live. It pushed me out of the endless darkness. On the other hand, I lost a lot of time and opportunity. There’s so much I could have achieved in 18 months. I could have been enjoying time with my family and friends but I mostly ended up upstairs in my bed at every chance.
I have some idea why I was depressed. I was incredibly hard on myself and I guess my morale broke into pieces. I’m sharing this because I know millions of people suffer from depression. Everyone is susceptible to it –all you need is a trigger, a memory, the last straw. It matters to know that it affects others – even those who seem strong. Some famous personalities that have suffered from some form of depression are Stephen Fry, Brooke Shields and Victoria Beckham. I thought no one would understand. Looking back now, perhaps they would have. Telling someone would have eased some of the burden but I was worried about being mocked and judged.
There are days I feel down, especially when I’m tired or something hasn’t gone my way but I’ve promised myself I’ll never get that low again. I’m maintaining spiritual, emotional and physical health. I’m building greater capabilities so that I can understand my own limits and limit my battles. Past hurts may sting a little but my head is higher now…as I look forward to a promising future.
Thanks for reading.