By: Aaraksh Siwakoti
Depression is an unseen monster, but unlike the ones hiding under your bed it is not in your imagination. It doesn’t discriminate and has no sympathy for you. We all deal with trauma in our lives differently but you can’t foresee this coming. When it hit me, I was blindsided.
I hate depression and everything associated with it. Being depressed had alienated me from all my friends, took away my ability to love, destroyed my self-esteem, made my home a prison cell, and it turned me into a borderline alcoholic.
Even with its destructive ways, one thing depression could never take away from me though was my will to live — even if it came close.
Three years ago I was a different person. I was happy and upbeat, very sociable, and kind. I was madly in love with the girl of my dreams, my high school sweetheart. I had proposed to her after graduation — she was my absolute everything.
At the time I was working a great paying job, I had an apartment that wasn’t the size of a bathroom stall, and friends that were always there for me. My life, it seemed, was on the right path.
This all changed on my 21st birthday. I had just come home from work to a very quiet apartment, which was odd because usually the TV was on in our house or music was always blaring out of the stereo.
As I made my way into the living room I noticed that there were packed bags by the bedroom door — I didn’t give it a second thought.
She was sitting on the couch, arms crossed and deep in thought staring at the coffee table. I sat down beside her, moving closer to ask what was wrong, but she didn’t answer. I tried to hold her hand but she moved away. I kept at this for an hour to no avail. That’s when my heart began to sink into my chest. After about three minutes of complete silence she turned to me and said, “I’m leaving you.” That was it. Those were the last words I heard from her as my mind went blank.
I could feel my heart break as the words came out of her, my head was spinning and I couldn’t make out what she was saying while she picked up her bags and left through the front door.
It was as if everything fell down on me. The debris from my once solid life crushed me. My only solace was the liquor cabinet.
Now, I know people handle heartbreaks differently and deal with certain pitfalls in their lives in their own way but for me the only solution seemed to be at the bottom of the bottle. I didn’t know it, but I had started on my path to becoming depressed.
Drinking away your problems is not the best solution but this is where the monster comes in. It makes you believe the negative things that you are doing are actually helping you, but in all honesty they aren’t.
A bottle of whisky was not what I needed but I drank it anyway — vodka and blackouts followed. I spent the next week on the same couch where she had left me.
A concerned friend would visit me here and there to tell me everything was going to be okay, but I didn’t believe him. No soothing words or any amount of alcohol could fill the hole left inside me.
I decided that maybe I just needed a change of scenery, just to get away from all the bad memories. So I packed up a few belongings and left for Halifax, where one of my childhood friends had recently moved.
I couldn’t actually tell you what Halifax was like because I hardly ever left the house. I can tell you it was not as cold as Ottawa and that everywhere you went was uphill but that’s all. The monster had followed me to the East Coast. I didn’t last long there.
When I came back home I practically barricaded myself in my room. I stopped taking phone calls from friends and even stopped talking to my parents. This lasted for almost two years. I finally saw a shrink, at my mother’s pleading request, who prescribed me anti-depressants and told me I was clinically depressed. I disagreed.
I threw those pills away as soon as I got home. To me, I wasn’t sick and there wasn’t anything wrong. It was the monster talking again.
I was alone but not by myself. I thought about suicide constantly; it seemed like the best way to rid myself of feeling the way I did, but there was always a little voice in my head that told me to keep going.
I was close — man was I ever close — to just ending all my misery. But something happened; I had a change of heart. A spark went off inside me, giving me hope to change where my life was headed.
If I could go back and tell myself something, I would say that life is going to get so much better — just don’t quit. Friends, family, happiness, and love will all come back again, don’t give up hope.
I wish everyone who is going through or might go through what I did could have the same voice telling them to keep going because it’s so hard not to give up.
Looking back, my mistakes were not seeing the psychiatrist sooner, not taking the pills and not talking about my problems with the people who cared about me. It was difficult for me to talk to my friends or family because of my Hindu culture and how I was brought up but it didn’t have to be that way. There are always people who are willing to help you out of any bad situation; it just takes personal effort to get to that point.
What worked for me might not work for anyone else but it still shows you that there is always a way out. You can’t stop swimming to the surface just because drowning seems easier.
Fighting depression isn’t easy; you may never get away from it. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stop trying. If you do, you’re letting depression take control of your life. It’s a monster you should be afraid of, but one that you can defeat if you have the will power and support to do so.