How I Emerged Stronger After Defeating Depression That Could Have Kill me?

by Sobia Khatoon

From panic attacks to sudden blackouts to suicide attempts, I have been dealing with everything – from being the happiest child for one hour to a typical cry-baby for the next. My mood swings were disastrous and really unacceptable for everyone.

In October 2016, I was diagnosed with chronic depression, which eventually turned into bipolar. Since then, I have gained a much deeper insight into how society views and deals with these issues. I have also come to realise how my words affect the way people interact with me, and how they view me as a person. Some people understand it; some think it’s an attention call. Since then that I had been on regular medications and therapies.

Depression is one extreme to another, you are either so high with happiness or so down that you doubt the world will have colour again. Everyone will tell you that it will get better and you dream of when it will be. Some days I swear I could feel the sun radiating happiness through my body, and then other days I felt nothing and everything all at once. Depression is not easy nor is it a quick fix.

Wanted To Be Invisible

It is not that I did not try. I did but all I got was stunted or negative responses again due to lack of awareness and understanding. I started keeping it to myself thereon, which made everything worse. I felt isolated and like a misfit everywhere. My self-esteem dipped to an all-time low. I felt that people are ridiculing me or laughing at me among themselves. I wanted to hide away or become invisible.

The only few mechanisms that kept me going were journaling and music. I loved to listen to songs that I could relate to in my lows. I would try and pick people that are clean slates so I don’t feel judged and by sharing with them or helping them out instead I would get a sense of achievement that would lift me up. There were innumerable days in a month when I would sulk in my bed refusing to wake up. I took my medicines and chose to lie in bed all day.

However, I was still hopeful and waiting for the days that would be bright and cheerful. I had lived an incomplete life so far but believed that everything was going to change for the better and that those dark clouds would eventually let the sunshine through.

From panic attacks to sudden blackouts to suicide attempts, I have been dealing with everything – from being the happiest child for one hour to a typical cry-baby for the next. My mood swings were disastrous and really unacceptable for everyone.

Self Doubt

It was just the start of the questions that kept swarming around me and hands pointing towards me – accusing me of being a coward who puts a tag called depression on meagre problems and so on. I could not answer every one, but I managed to talk to my parents and gather little support from them. There were also a few friends who decided to stick with me during this phase, but I was not sure about how long they would stay.

I have spent my entire life for other people and I still don’t know how to live for myself. I hate to think that there are other people in this world that feel like their existence is an empty pit in which they will be buried one day. That’s how I felt. I still kept going though, I think purely out of spite at this point. Sometimes I felt so terrible that I have gone back to hitting myself, pulling my hair and screaming. But I kept going. I worked, I watched my TV shows, I took myself out when I had the money, visited people when they would be free. It feels like a horrible existence, but I despise the mental illness more than my life, and I was determined that the disease would not be the end of me.

Life-Changing Experience

Depression has torn my life apart, it has changed me in more ways than I could have ever have imagined. Depression is something that is part of me and part of who I am, it has brought me to my darkest moments but I have made it back. I have learned more with this struggle than you could ever learn in any book.

Every day I achieved something by living with this illness. I managed to study and live a productive life despite this illness and that is an achievement.

Four Years Later

Now, after more than four years, I feel like I am fine and I have been advised not to be on any more medications from tomorrow. Now, after four long years, I will have no reminders named after my medicines. This is something more than beautiful. Having acceptance of my mental illness means taking charge of my life and moving forward. This has played a big part in my recovery. I started to have acceptance of my mental illness after giving myself credit for my strengths and weaknesses and accepting my limitations. Also, believing that I have something to offer to society and doing positive, healthy things in my life.

It was an awaited morning of my life. I have been more than beautiful and strong. I have been dealing with something that kills people and that had almost killed me too. But I am fine, and I believe that it is after four years that I look beautiful now. No, actually I looked beautiful even while I was a patient of this disease but I look more beautiful now. Yes, that’s correct. I look so beautiful now and I realise that I’m so strong for I have overcome something horrible and disastrous.

Sabia Khatoon

I don’t know how to thank my parents, my friends, my psychiatrists and most importantly myself and counsellors who have been able to help me have this rebirth. I am more than just happy. I am excited and I don’t know how to express this happiness and how to pour it out. It’s like now I really feel that blood mixed with happiness runs through my veins, which was earlier mixed with anxiety, stress, depression, fear and related things.

Lastly, I thank depression for being a vulnerable and beautiful part of my life. A disaster that I have experienced and I have fought, first cowardly and then bravely. Seth Adam Smith, an advocate of suicide prevention, writes, “One day, you will stand at the summit of a figurative mountain and look back on your life’s journey. And, to your utter amazement, you will see how your experiences with depression, dark and painful as they were, only added to the overall beauty of your life”. And this is something so, so powerful.

(The author is a young student about to join a college. Ideas are personal.)

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