We are the millennials living in the fast-moving world where everything “seems” to be perfect, easy and very convenient. We have upgraded healthcare system, upgraded ourselves as well to get conscious about our physical self. Everyone is keen and aware of keto Diet, everyone wants to hit the gym or the yoga mat, get a lot of cardio for a good metabolism and physical health. But are we equally aware and conditioned to care about our mental health? It is almost like every day that we get to know about a suicide death due to depression. It was a very long and heavy week for me when I got to know about the suicide death of the heartthrob of a zillion fans: Chester Bennington. Chester who gave a sense of solace to a lot many souls with his music finally resorted to the extremity of a ‘suicide’ to find his own solace.
Allegedly, he gave up in their fight against the darkness of depression and mental health issue. It’s very saddening that in such a case the family and friends barely know that he/she is battling depression. It’s only after a suicide or an almost suicidal attempt with self-inflicting wounds that the kin, the friends, the whole society show some concern about the issue of mental illness and realise how grave consequences such an illness can bring. We all know about the famous figures who battled Cancer or some other physical ailment but a very few public figures really come upfront and confess about their mental illness. There may be several reasons due to which our society is not used to accept mental illness like any other physical illness. The prejudices and customs have always referred mental illness as a public shame. Even today mental illness is considered as a superstitious derivative of black magic or some supernatural forces in some places.
For a woman suffering from depression or any other mental illness, things get rough to a totally different level. Women are twice as likely as men (12 percent of women compared to 6 percent of men) to get depression. According to the societal norms, such a woman is generally outcasted and even her lineage and progeny is doubted. Due to which it gets difficult for such a woman to lead a life of normalcy even after recovering and getting medically cured completely. The society makes sure she gets tagged with her mental illness throughout her lifetime.
Fighting depression is not at all easy. It requires a lot of strength to endure. It’s difficult for a person suffering from depression to let others know about his condition. There is the fear of getting called by names like “mad”, “mental” etc. It is the society that makes it difficult for him to confess, acknowledge the condition and seek for help. Most of the times he lives in self-denial, fearing that such a diseased mental condition might bring down all the dignity and respect he has earned all his life. The prolonged sadness often gets confusing. And very stealthily depression starts etching new features in his behaviour, perception, and thoughts.
He tries understanding his new self and in the process alienates himself from the people surrounding him. It is a prolonged struggle that one faces where he is misjudged by the society as anti-social or weird for his behaviour. There is another aspect of depression “the smiling depression,” a person experiencing such a condition conceals his mental turmoil with the brightest of the smile. He smiles despite going through the intense storm of pain he experiences inside. Seeking help in this condition becomes more difficult and people around him get no clue since his pretentious self never allows his depression to get unveiled.
Getting aware about depression will be a great help for self and even for the people we love. There still maybe many people we know and love who are yet to get diagnosed and even not coming forward. It is very important to at least take the first leap and pop up the questionto someone we care for “Is anything bothering you?” “Are you ok?” or maybe a subtle assurance “you not responding my calls, that’s fine, I am here to listen to everything. Do let me know when you want to speak to me!” Trust me it helps! My struggle through depression wasn’t a cakewalk either. I had my times of self loathe and self-denial. I have tried describing the audacity and intensity ofmy depression is through this elegy:
“You crept in slow very slow,
stealthily and against the soothing flow.
I heard your footsteps,
but didn’t care to impede your advance and failed to stop u conquer.
I thought of me as the magnum, soon to shoo you away…
….soon to cut your vines growing in my mind.
But I was so grave wrong, wasn’t I?
You ate me, ate me up the whole.
Now ‘me’ is more of you and less of me.
There is none to stop you and none to retrieve me back.
All I get to see is mocking faces when I tell them about you.
I run away from the crowd to be with the little of me left in me,
in the dark, silently counting my every breathe, hiding from you.
But there again, you hunt me down and devour me more.
I try hard to blend into the world by holding back my tears,
Or sometimes I join the laughing league by pulling up the rawest fake smile…
“Depression”, Will you ever care to set me free in my unending exile?”
These were the word that really helped me in venting out the anguish and deep rooted feeling of “never-ending” unhappiness. But the truth of all there always exist this silver lining no matter how dark the cloud is. We might be too gloomy to realise it today but a little bit of awareness and help can help us get through it. Get pass the “Phase” with a smile and turn that “phase” almost non-existent.