I have written on this topic before – a preview of my own story two years ago on my blog. I wrote about it when I realised that I have depression, and so here I’ve decided to do a follow-up on that.
We have come to a time where depression is openly discussed and our society is currently fairly aware of the consequences of the same. There are some who are understanding and I’m extremely glad about this. I’ve seen families being supportive and friends being motivating by being there. But there are some others who are not. People are still saying, “Oh what do you mean you have depression? It’s just a phase.”, “Stop crying, get over it.”, “You have to fight, you can’t keep sitting down there saying it’s depression”, “Cheer up”, “He/She is simply getting attention”. It’s definitely offensive and I feel bad if I see someone [or even myself] getting such remarks because this is not the kind of treatment they deserve. Let’s be clear here, neither are they craving attention nor is it a phase.
Personally, I still don’t get it why people have to be so insensitive and instead of demoralizing someone or/and make them feel abnormal, why don’t they just say something positive to motivate them? For instance,
“HEY SON, I KNOW YOU’VE BEEN HAVING A ROUGH DAY OR YOU’VE BEEN GOING THROUGH A LOT, BUT JUST REMEMBER, THERE’S STILL HOPE.”, “HEY THERE, IT’S OKAY TO CRY, LET IT OUT.”, “HEY, YOU KNOW WHAT, I’M GOING TO BE HERE LISTENING TO WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS.”, “ALRIGHT IF YOU WANT TO BE ALONE AND HAVE SOME TIME TO YOURSELF, GO AHEAD, BUT I’M GOING TO BE JUST HERE WAITING. IF YOU EVER DECIDE TO LET OUT, I’M ALWAYS HERE.”, “HEY DEAR, YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.”
I mean come on, there are a lot of positive ways to light up someone’s life! In the name of tough love, people can actually hurt others. I don’t know what the point of tough love is when it makes someone’s life worse. As far as I’ve known, tough love or being fierce with comments has never helped. I hope people will take this into consideration and be more sensitive to each other.
As a matter of fact, depression is a long-term struggle. It is not always short-term. However, it can be prevented. It is not always curable but it can be healed. We are constantly fighting the battle; we are not just sitting here bragging that it’s depression. We are fighting. Always. It is never easy. It has to do with the emotions, thoughts, determination, a proper support system, inspiration, motivation and most of all, the sense of self-reconstruction.
To summarize, it has been two years. I’m still in depression but I have reached a point in my journey to fix myself. Different people face depression differently. I still do have my gleeful days and my gloomy days. When I’m in a buoyant mood, sometimes I can hear all these voices in my mind, trying to manipulate my thoughts and cause anxiety. Yes, I get anxiety attacks. It has been a year now. I am still learning how to prevent it from affecting me as there have been times I’ve passed out and woken up face down on the toilet floor. When I’m at my worst with anxiety, the depression only gets worse. I’ll zone out and become more doubtful, fearful and I’ll get this excruciating pain within me. There have been days when I just feel empty and all other feelings are numbed.
As a result of that, I started to self-harm, to ease the pain during my [rebellious and quick-tempered] teen days and my initial days of depression. Trust me, it is not a good feeling later on. I started hiding my arms because I felt embarrassed. I don’t usually wear short sleeve tops as I have my own insecurities [well, that’s a different story], so I always wear long sleeves which helped me hide away my scars. I shun away the idea of even wearing a half sleeve. With that said, I kept cutting myself. It became an addiction. The scars were not deep so I thought it was totally fine to keep doing it. Whenever someone or something made me upset or angry, I fell to self-harm. Till one day [last year], I had no idea what I was doing and my cut went deep. That day, I swore not to do it again. I still have that bumpy scar on my arm and it acts as a reminder that what I was doing is a huge mistake. The addiction just made things worse.
Now, due to the cuts on my arm, I am facing a skin disorder called ‘Dermatographic urticaria’. It is like an allergic reaction that makes you feel quite itchy and results in red, swollen marks. I’ve seen the doctor and was prescribed with tablets and creams but I’m still struggling with it till today. It gets really difficult during the night sometimes where my skin has become so sensitive that even if I scratch a little, the itch bothers me everywhere and it lasts for about 30 minutes, ‘til the itch subsides.
The point is, NEVER self-harm. I was lucky that it’s only the skin sensitivity that affected me. There are many others that face worse, a deep cut could cause you to bleed out causing death. It is never a closure for the pain, the thoughts and the depression you’re going through. It will make everything worse. It reflects really bad and it gets really difficult in the future. You’ll start thinking about how you shouldn’t have done it. The aftermath of self-harm is terrible.
Subsequently, I decided to motivate myself. Honestly, I’m one of those people out there who doesn’t have a proper support system. I tried reaching out to my family but they just couldn’t understand the importance of what I’m going through. I don’t have a lot of friends. In fact, I don’t really have a good surrounding. I lost many friends over the years. People tend to forget me, just used me for the moment, blames my sensitive and emotional nature and well, just blame me for being the “problem”. I never really had a true connection or a group of positive people around me. Which actually made my depression and overthinking issue worse. I even tried to reach out to a counsellor in school [as I’m not financially stable] but I really felt my own counsellor was judgemental and quite narrow-minded. I even tried doing an assessment; my result stated that I have a trauma of whatever happened in my past; my bullies; friendship; pain, I have trust issues and depression. The trauma actually keeps accumulating after every incident I faced. I still feel fearful of what others might do to me to affect my mind and my heart. Considering the failure of asking for help, I knew this was not going to fix me.
Despite everything, I still believe that I am my own hero. I resisted assistance from everyone and started to help myself. Up till recently, I have been going through pain and have been affected mentally and emotionally by close ones, but I have learnt how to deal with it. I don’t cry anymore and even if I do, I just give myself a day or two and then I’m back on my feet to move forward. The only thing that keeps me going is my determination to be a better version of myself, every single day. I decide to face the world with pride, positivity, and confidence. I still have my dreadful days, my inner demons still haunt me, and people around me still put me through pain but that’s no longer stops me from moving forward. I am going to continue to discover myself, my talents and most importantly, prove to myself that I was born to do something and make a mark.
More importantly, I realized that in order for others to help you, it has to start from you. If you start being your own hero, the right ones will not only come to rescue you but will also be there during the whole process of recovering.
Lastly, I’m writing this because I want others to remember that as much as you all think that people in depression are seeking attention, we really are doing our best to overcome our mental health. If you want your daughter/son to be happy, be there for them instead of complaining that they’re always sad. Change the atmosphere around them to a positive one. If you want your friend to fight depression, don’t just tell them to fight, but just be there during the process. Understand their plight and their feelings. If you, as a human being, want the number of suicides to decrease, make a difference. Start understanding that depression or any other mental health issue is a real struggle. Someone might look ecstatic and excitable at work, at home, in a restaurant and you wouldn’t know how he/she was fighting with their demons the previous night or maybe even currently battling them in their head. Observe your family members’ and friends’ behaviour. If you think they’re acting differently, they are being bitchy and rude, laughing for everything, before you call them an “attention-seeker” or a “bitch”, talk to them. Maybe even try to help them take the first step to get out of their funk and face the world. You don’t even need to be related to someone or be their friend to help. Show them love, concern, and give them your utmost support. All of these will definitely stop someone from making a drastic decision and perhaps, it’ll give them the light of positivity and hope to live again.
Break out from the stigma of depression.