Dear Depression, Thank You!

“So, Tabassum, what are you walking out with?”
“Myself!”

It’s a very confident person walking away from few pieces of baggage she carried for a really long time. And, oh boy, it feels so light.

We are our decisions, we are the people we keep, we are the ones we leave behind, we are the ones we hurt, we are the ones who hurt us, we are a little bit of everything which has happened to us or happened around us. It has shaped the way life is right now.

It often happens that, we cling to things which are familiar, things which make us feel safe, even if its something destroying us because we are scared of the unknown, we are scared of uncertainty ahead. So, we cling to anything which is comfortable. And, when we finally realized that this not how it should be, we start a war within ourselves. This war is nothing but realizing what’s good for you, what you want, and how it should be like. This brings us to a thinking process which is not only toxic but suffocating as well.

Let get back to the main topic – Depression. First, it does not have a mood. Second, you really can’t tell if someone is depressed. And third, we need more people to accept that its fine if you are struggling with their mental health.

I started this year with a lot of unhealthy environment not just in personal life but professional life as well. People are shit, there is no need to do coating, there is no need to understand, there is no explanation needed, some people are basic shit. You are surrounded by them, sometimes, we love them, sometimes, we report to them, sometimes, we live with them.

Without realizing we start believing what they tell us about us. When we are vulnerable, other people’s opinion matters, or say we give them the power to have a say about us, and we believe them. Maybe because we love them enough to trust them, maybe we look up to them or maybe they are meant to be right all the time and that’s the only thing we have known.

So, in this age of constant change, while I was trying to make it work, exhaust myself for people, and trying to give my best no matter what, I took myself to the shit road called depression and called is a hormonal imbalance, though I did have that as well, but we will talk about it may be later sometime.

I can tell you what was the reasons for my depression but they are not worth it. So, let’s talk more about how to figure out if you need professional help, how you can survive it, and get better.

There are a lot of levels of depression, in my case, these were the signs:

Behavior:
You won’t feel like going out anymore, going to work feels like a burden, you will cut off from your friends, you will hate the activities you love.

Feelings:
You will be overwhelmed by even slightest of inconvenience, you will feel guilty for things in which it was not even your fault, you will be highly frustrated and irritated, and you will cry a lot, a lot.

Thoughts:
You will be constantly lost, you will overthink, you will feel like you are failing in everything, you will criticise yourself to the point where you will feel that people are better off without you.

Physically:
You will be tired all the time, you will actually wake up tired. You will struggle to sleep and you will hate food, it will all become a task, basic functionalities.

In short, you will be a mess. But here’s the thing, it’s all alright. It’s okay to feel that way. I was miserable because I felt I was not supposed to behave like that, I was not supposed to feel this way, this is not me, this is not who Tabassum is. And, the ones I thought could help me were busy making their own life.

So, a few months ago, one day I woke up with an Identity Crisis, I did not know what to do, who to talk and how to fix this. My shift to another city, to another company and becoming single was not well received by me. I was in the middle of strangers, at work, at home and with myself. I figured it was time to seek help. I did hesitate for a week but went anyway.

And, it has been transforming. I took the sessions for 2 months, and I could not thank enough. My first session, I literally felt that I paid the therapist to watch me cry for 45 minutes. It took nothing but one question, ‘How are you feeling Tabassum?’ and I did not know where to begin, so I cried, I cried my heart out. This person sitting in front of me, so calm and composed, with no judgment on her face, no emotion towards me, waited for me, till the time I said, ‘ I am not well. And, I need help’.

These two months, I experienced different emotions every week, every time I went for therapy.

1 Week – Shock – I don’t understand this. What is happening?
2 Week – Denial – This is not happening to me, nothing is in control here. This is not how it should be.
3 Week – Anger – Why it is happening to me? I don’t want to feel like this. I hate this.
4 Week – Bargaining – I could have handled better, I should have done things differently.
5 Week – Depression – I want to grieve the loss, whatever it is, it has gone. It hurts.
6 Week – Acceptance – It’s ok to feel this way, I understand what happened, I understand why it happened. This is what I need to do to feel better.
7 Week – Happiness
8 Week – More happiness. End of Therapy.

I understood one thing, that in all this mess I forgot to show love to the only person who needed it the most, myself. I was nderstanding towards other people’s reasons, situations, and, I forgot to show that understanding to myself. And, it’s okay.

It’s okay to feel the way you are feeling right now, what matters is what you going to do about it? Are you gonna let it consume you? or break through and create good values for yourself ? so that nobody gets to make you feel the way you do.

For people who know someone close who are struggling, there are few things you should not be saying.

“It’s just a phase.”
“Get yourself together.”
“Are you sure you are not PMSing?”

Things to do:
Get some time off and hear them out. Nothing else. Literally nothing bloody else.

I have an amazing roommate who has been so kind to me, keeping water by my bedside when I could not stop crying, giving me pillows to hold on to when I struggled to sleep in the night, making me eat while I sat with a shit face and help me decide what to wear. I am so lucky to have few best friends who have heard me and picked my calls even if it was 4 am in the morning, during working hours, few did it while attending a press conference, during commute, just to hear me cry and be there for me, for sending those messages throughout the day, letting me feel loved.

And, an amazing boss, who I learn from, every day. To my amazing colleagues who made me feel loved and feel home professionally. An organization which is like living a dream. I have so much to be grateful for. I owe a big thanks to all of them for embracing who I am, for believing in my potential, and loving me unconditionally on the days I myself could not. Thank you.

For the ones who are suffering and reading this, two months ago, I could not even decide what I want to wear, I would sit at the wardrobe looking at it, not paying attention, just sitting there, it was so fucked up that this silliest and easiest of the task felt like a huge burden.

Look at me now, slaying and how. This is happiness, true happiness. Being self-aware, to accept myself, the way I am, the way I function, the way I feel, the way I react, all of it. This is me. And, I accept all of it. You can do it too, take every garbage out of your life, people, things, anything which is killing your vibe.

You have no idea what you are capable of, not until you allow it. You have no idea how much love, what kind of love you deserve until you get rid of the shit you settled for. You have no idea how strong you are until you decide to throw away something you could not think of living without. DO IT.

I want you to be brave, for yourself.

And, whenever in doubt, look at yourself in the mirror and ask – What will define your life Tabassum? and you will have your answer.

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