How Depression Hijacked My Life
Life is like a coin. Like every coin, it has two sides. On one side, life is beautiful like a flower. The other side houses the ugly part of your life. As life moves, time tosses your life, it flips and falls. You may expect the beautiful side sometimes. But sometimes it may take you for a ride. You may be on cloud nine and the other second it may drag you to the bottom. It might make you happy, the next moment might be full of tears. It may serve you a cup full of joy, but the next cup might be full of pain. You have to accept it. Life has both the good and the bad side. We all know how unpredictable life is. Full of surprises. There are some moments that are etched in your hearts forever. There are moments you’d never like to recall. Good or bad, it’s part of your life.
Like many of you, I had my own share of terrible days. More than terrible they were horrible. The days I hate the most. The days I want to erase from my life. But, I would like to share it with all of you. It’s my own story. It’s like a confession. So, let’s rewind.
It was 2012. Exactly 9 years ago. Back then, my life was beautiful. I was on cloud nine. Joyous after passing out with flying colors. I had completed my MBA. It was a proud moment for me and my parents. It was the time to step into the professional world and bid adieu to the wonderful college days. No more canteen gossips or last-minute project submissions. It was time to let go of the casual attitude of a student. The corporate world was waiting for a disciplined, hardworking, and mature professional. I was ready for the ride.
I vividly remember my last day at college. It was a sad moment. The moment was only reserved for final hugs and goodbyes. There were happy faces with teary eyes all over. With tears there was hope. Hope to make it big.
I too hoped that I would make it big. I was eager to prove myself. I was desperate to step into the corporate shoes. I was raring to go.
It was 6 June 2012, my result day. I scored 70% and I was an MBA graduate. It was a double delight for me as it was my birthday too. Yes, it was my 23 birthday. It was the best day of my life. What followed was something I could never forget.
Throughout my college days, there was something inside me that was troubling me. It was invisible but could be felt. It was as heavy as a mountain and as light as a water drop. There was an inner force that was holding me, pushing me, or pulling me. I was very much busy at that time so I ended up neglecting it. It repeatedly reminded me of its existence but I ignored it every time it came my way. With time, it got worse.
7 June 2012, the day after my 23 birthday, I was in my room. Sitting and glancing at the wall in front of me. Simultaneously, I was planning my next step. More than planning, I was painting. Painting my future with bright colors on life’s canvas. I was dreaming. I could see myself as a rising star in the corporate world. My eyes were painting all my crazy fantasies. The thought of having a bank account full of money was driving me nuts. I could imagine my parents being happy with my success, I was hearing all the claps and cheers applauding me. I was imagining giving a thank you speech with a trophy in my hand. And, proudly saying to myself, the future belongs to me.
The next moment I was gripped with something. The invisible thing that was troubling me in my college days was back. I could feel it. There was chaos in my mind. I was restless. I wanted to run. I wanted to hide. I wanted to escape. The feeling was terrible. That feeling triggered a million thoughts. All of them banging on the wall of my mind. Echoing multiple voices. Yes, I could hear voices. I started running. I closed the door. I closed all the windows. I jumped into my bed and hid under the blanket. I thought this would solve the problem. But, nothing happened. I was helpless. I could see myself surrendering to this invisible monster. I allowed it to give me pain. I knew something was there inside me. And, it was killing me slowly.
I shared this with my friends but they ignored my plight. My family too wasn’t interested in knowing more about the problem. Every detail I shared was falling on deaf ears. So, it was useless to discuss it with anyone. I knew I had to battle this myself. My career, my life, and everything associated with me came to a halt. I was confined in my room all day. There was enormous pain, guilt, and tears. I had to wrestle millions of thoughts every second. I could see life slipping from my hand. More than physical it was a psychological problem. My body wasn’t affected by it. It was the mind who faced all the music. I ended up isolating myself. I rarely went out. Whenever I stepped outside of my home, I could sense a force walking with me & gripping me, and eventually pulling me back. All the voices echoing in my mind would tell me to return. As a result, I would rush back home and lock myself inside. This continued for many days. There was no will to live. There was no hope either. I thought this would kill me soon or I would end my life. But, there was a glimmer of hope. The desire to see myself succeed in the corporate world kept me going. The candle of hope was still burning inside me. I was positive. I was hopeful. Moreover, I believed and backed myself. I kept motivating myself and believed all this would end soon.
I decided to take charge. I was an internet-savvy person. I took my laptop and started searching for things related to my problem. I was shocked to know there were millions of people like me. Some more research into the topic led me to the term mental illness. I figured out the problem. Now, I was damn sure that I was suffering from a mental disease. It could be anything. It could be stress or anxiety. Panic disorder or mood disorder. Bipolar disease or schizophrenia. Or the giant and popular among them, depression.
I figured out the problem. The next step was a proper diagnosis. I consulted a psychiatrist. The world came crashing down the moment I was told that I was suffering from depression. It was the least I could expect from life. I was totally devastated. I cursed my life. How could life be so unfair to me that too in such a crucial stage of my life? My professional journey stopped even before it began. Everything was in jeopardy. There was chaos and mess everywhere. But, I decided to fight. I was advised complete rest for the next four weeks.
I wanted to fix this immediately. I came home and kept pondering when this would end. But I was firm and eager to kill this before it killed me. I was positive and was ready to do anything to transform my life. I wanted to leave this terrible feeling and terrible days behind. I wanted to blink and forget this experience as one of my nightmares.
Leaving my fantasy world, I landed back in reality. I embraced reality with all the love. I accepted the fact that the transformation process is a long process and it would eat up many of my precious days, or months or years of my life. I needed a break. I had to slow down. I was required to stop before starting again. The next few months were painful. But I was enjoying the pain. I was finding pleasure in the suffering. The transformation began. Transformation to change. Transformation to improve. Transformation for being better. Transformation to induce the energy, positivity and at last the necessary fuel to move your life: Hope.
My lifestyle needed a complete overhaul. I had to change my habits. I had to change my attitude and behavior. Moreover, It was time to remove the casual attitude and induce some discipline in my life. Before I was too messy and disorganized. The present situation demanded an organized individual. Sleeping on time, eating on time, and doing every other critical activity at a dedicated time. The situation demanded a physical transformation too. And most importantly, I needed peace of mind. And a healthy diet and sound sleep. And some physical activities that made me tough helped me in overcoming my fears.
I started meditation. After waking up, I used to meditate for 15 mins. The next uphill task was to trekk. I fell in love with trekking. Every morning, I went trekking at the nearest hill from my home. It was a thrilling experience. Trekking contributed immensely to my transformation. It made me tough. It changed my mindset. It helped me grapple with all my fears and mental health issues. I would suggest trekking to people who are suffering from mental health issues. Start trekking and see the transformation. Meditation helped me in countering my negative thoughts. My mind now had a balance of both negative and positive thoughts. I developed a habit of reading. I started reading more and more. I stayed away from isolation and the virtual world. I was more in the real world. I met and communicated with different people. The negativity was vanishing from my life slowly. I was happy. I was smiling. The hope was back. I saw the bright future again. Though it took three years, the transformation was miraculous. My life was back on track. The terrible days were over. Though life is unpredictable and no one can imagine what could happen next. I’m not saying life will be easy and a safe ride next, but the terrible days gave me the strength to fight. It gave me the courage to survive. Moreover, it made me realize that life is like a coin. Like a coin, it also has two sides, one side good and the other side is the bad one.