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Ups and downs are a part of life. What is that saying? Yes, life is not a bed of roses. There are good times and then there are bad. And it makes some amount of sense too. How else would learn to be grateful? How else would be treasure what we have before going back to hankering after what we don’t? How else without the highs and lows?
If I look back at my life, I feel humbled, lucky and happy. I have been truly blessed to have parents who have given me a sheltered life, one where I was protected and loved more than I feel I even deserved. In fact, I still am. I have a sister who is my rock. She’s younger but has been with me helping me navigate through this maze called grownup life. And then I have a partner who truly cares about my happiness, tolerates my quirks which I have in plenty. He walks with me on this journey which is at times tough. I know it well that I’m truly blessed, more than many women I personally know or have read about.
So with all that in mind when someone asks me that I can’t possibly know what depression is, I think he is possibly right but then maybe not quiet. There was a time, albeit short, in my life when I was probably quite depressed. Now I’m not a medical professional so I can’t be sure of it. But let’s just say that there was a time when I used to secretly take my father’s BP pills to numb my senses and sleep. Yes, sleep so that I didn’t have to deal with the uncertainty that had suddenly crept into my life.
It was towards the end of 2009 and the entire 2010 when I felt like I had been thrust into this new kind of life. A life where everything was not always fine. A life when even the simplest of things weren’t easy. A life when even my parents couldn’t shield me from emotional pain.
S and I weren’t married back then. His mum had recently passed away so he was under tremendous pressure to get married to someone else. I still don’t know how he endured all of it and stood by me while being a good son too. I didn’t go through the pressure and mental stress as he did but it was tough for me too.
We didn’t know if we would even end up sharing a life together. The idea of being with anyone else, of him being with someone else was too much to even endure. I remember we would tell each other jokingly that let’s be together this month and we’ll part ways from the next. But of course, it was no joke.
Love is no joke. Spending your life with someone is no joke. But in our country, it often is.
Now when I look back, I can’t even fathom how we went about our day to activities while being under so much emotional stress. I guess resiliense often comes about as a reflex action. I remember once we took a bus to Bannerghatta National Park during those days. That was supposed to be our last outing together. I think it was sometime in April and from May we would go our separate ways. I still remember waiting for him at Majestic. It was one of the brightest days in the city. You know those beautiful, sunny and colourful days you have in Bangalore? That day was just that but I couldn’t feel any of it. All I recall feeling is heavy.
I vividly remember the trip, our conversations while feeling sedated with pain and helplessness the whole time. I recollect passing a car showroom and seeing a family posing for pictures. I looked at them and thought we could have been them in a few years. I didn’t want to think that we’d not be together. That thought was too painful. I didn’t want that day to end even though I have no interest in bus rides or National Parks. And that day was just a template for so many other days we spent that year.
I coped with all this by becoming irritable, shouting at random people trying to sell stuff to me on the streets. Rambling on and on and often losing it. I didn’t cry because I lived with my parents then and it would have broken them too. So, I took it all out on my sister and S. But still, I couldn’t share it all. S was devastated and doing more than anyone could have in his position. And my sister was just a child (still is for me).
So, I took cough syrups and my dad’s BP medicine as my escape. It was stupid and reckless of me to do so. I knew it but I still did it. It was the lowest point in my life and I never want to be back there again. That was a horrible, horrible time. And when finally everything was sorted and we could finally get married, I couldn’t enjoy my wedding one bit. I still feel uncomfortable and upset talking about my wedding or weddings in general. I absolutely hate seeing wedding pictures or attending weddings. I haven’t seen my wedding video yet and I don’t know if I ever will. Unresolved issues and hurt perhaps.
It was a time in my life when I was depressed. I walked around with a heaviness in my heart which I couldn’t shake off. So, yes, I was depressed and no once could have known that I was. No one. I was lucky to have found a way back before it got worse but not everyone is as lucky.
So, don’t take depression lightly or mock it because it can happen to anyone. Also, it can make you do things you normally wouldn’t.