In our endeavour to talk about depression, Cocktail Zindagi spoke to real people. Here are their soul-stirring advices and experiences.
On April 3rd 2017, Arjun Bharadwaj, a 24-year old boy commited suicide by jumping off the nineteenth floor of Taj Lands End Hotel in Mumbai. He had shared a live video before jumping off from the window of his room and in his suicide he stated that he was depressed. Depression has taken lives ruthlessly over the period of many years – what do we do top prevent such suicides from repeating? We talk. We listen. We learn from other people’s experiences.
Here below, people from different walks of life share their stories about the time when they or their loved ones went through depression. These tiny anecdotes are a myriad of emotions that not only offer advices to deal with depression but also offer the most important thing a person needs – HOPE.
Listed below is a chronicle of their stories,experiences and opinions:
ON FACING IT THEMSELVES:
Akash Bathija, 24, actor has an opinion to offer. He says, “The first word that comes to my mind with regards to depression would be helplessness. Because, you may not even know that you are depressed. Even if you have a hint, it is extremely hard to accept it. It’s way to embarrassing for people to accept the fact that they are depressed, and that they need help. It’s most advisable to visit a psychiatrist in such circumstances, but the sad part about our society is that we consider that only “mad” people visit psychiatrists. I guess our perception of depression amounts only to suicidal tendencies. Not many people know that there are various stages and levels of depression. Not every depressed person is “mad”. But every depressed person needs help.”
Abhimanyu Bhosle*, a 24 year old CEO of a start-up also shares his story. He says, “At one point of time, I was so depressed that I couldn’t see myself in the mirror. I had changed completely. The woman I loved left me giving fake reasons for the split turning me into a person I couldn’t recognize. I was in a foreign land, with fake friends, no money and no family. That is when I found out about the Semicolon project that helps people facing depression and anxiety. The best advices I got was to talk a lot to positive people, to indulge yourself in the things that give you pleasure and to love unconditionally no matter what.”
Ryan Agarwal*,23, who is a lawyer and an avid reader says, “Depression – a state I found difficult to admit and acknowledge. I kept on weeping until I became numb. I cried at the fall of the hat, the death of an ant and the arrival of a weekend. It can happen to anyone. I am still struggling with it. I felt I was at a distant shore unable to reach out to anyone. But I feel better everyday trying to cope up. I think I have passed the storm. I think my faith in God helped me.”
What has helped you?
“I have faced depression once. I felt nobody could help you out, you have to help yourself. If you try to look at the positive side of life, this feeling would vaporise in no time. According to me everyone should have basic knowledge of the symptoms so that it can be of help to your loved ones”, says Krupa Jani Shah,29, founder of social-zyka and ex-journalist. She adds, “I used to look at others, how can they be so happy? I hated them. But one day I discussed this with my nani-saas (grandmother-in-law). She was critically ill and on bed rest. She told me something that changed my perspective. She said, “My legs are in my grave, I have struggled my entire life and I still have no regrets. You have a good house, a loving husband, a decent job and great friends, what else do you need? Don’t let tiny reasons make you feel depressed.” That is when I started looking at life differently. And thanked God for all that I have. Life changed.”
“I lost my daughter to an accident three years ago. My life went downhill after that. I became suicidal, nothing mattered anymore. All I kept doing the whole day was to look at her old photos and videos and cry endlessly. In only a month after her death, I lost 15 kgs. I stopped eating, stopped going out of the house and stopped talking to everyone. Then one day, my husband forcefully took me out to a small orphanage. Looking at those kids – all who were the age of my daughter – made me breakdown. And then, I saw a small girl in a corner look at me and smile. That moment changed me. I realised that no matter how big a disaster be in your life, there is always something worth living for. There is always something, worth smiling for”, said Archana Desai*,38, housewife.
Aarti Rohan, 25, a professor and a photographer shares her experience, “The first feeling anyone undergoing depression gets is, “It’s over!”. Nothing feels good. I felt depressed when I tried to complete my project but couldn’t in the given time. People kept telling me that you can’t do it. I failed. But if at that crucial time, when I felt depressed, if people had supported me and told me that I could do it, things would have been different. I feel that to cope up with depression you need to open your heart to atleast one person in the world.”
ON THEIR LOVED ONES FACING IT:
Purvi Desai, a writer aged 35 says, “When my mother was diagnosed with depression, we were all stunned. We didn’t know what to do. I went ahead and asked the doctor whether my mother had gone insane. Fortunately, he was a good doctor and he explained the 15-16 year old me what depression meant. After that, me and my father had to take sittings with the doctor to understand and help in the treatment of my mother and to learn how to behave with her. The biggest problem is that people refuse to understand the difference between depression and insanity.” Further she adds, “The first word that comes to my mind when I think of depression is ‘hell’. In all the other diseases you can clearly see the illness of a person but this one such illness that demands screaming, “I have depression!” I think that more than patients themselves, their families need treatment because it is important for the immediate family to be able to identify depression and post that, be able to know what to do to ease the pain.”
Pritesh Patil, 25, a novelist talks about one thing that he found out from his friend who was suffering from clinical depression, “Depression is not as easy as ‘just getting out of it’ or ‘diverting your mind’ as people say. People who say, “Snap out of it!” are missing the point. It’s a cruel, insidious thing which seeps within you ans sucks your will to survive. It’s a battle that one must fight every day, every minute, every second to survive.”
Samyak Sheth, 21, a journalism student, says, “To see your partner in immense pain during depression is unbearable. Seeing someone close enough go through this is very difficult and to handle them in a highly comfortable, soft manner, lots of empathy and patience is needed. Sometimes it feels that life would give you one wish, you would just take all the sufferings away from your loved one. It is difficult to see them go through so much. It is about being strong not letting even the remnant of hope go away. You often wonder things like, what if something happens to her/him? What if I’m not enough? What if some professional is required? What if he/she doesn’t get out and is like this for the whole life time? But I feel strongly is that, whenever in life you are doing something for someone’s betterment the whole universe sides itself with you and destiny supports you. It is all in the willpower and in time.”
ON ADVICES TO SPRING OUT OF IT:
Amruta Pathre, 49, an entrepreneur and artist who also believes in social work says, “In our society people would look down upon you if you say that you have depression. It is a taboo and never taken seriously. Most people who are suffering don’t even know that they can be helped through treatment. There is no awareness. I feel the only way to deal with depression is by spreading widespread awareness, even in the rural areas to ensure that we can save lives, on time.”
“It took me a while to realize that depression is not a synonym for melancholy but an actual medical conditions. I think most people still do confuse the two. There are few pages on Facebook and Instagram that try and show the difference between the two and act as a support for the people who are going through the same. I think that’s a beautiful start. Awareness is well on its way, but there isn’t any harm in marketing the realities of the situation more. In my opinion it is also important to talk about what you can, as a family member or friend do to help the person. Because sure I know now what depression is, but to handle it to best of our situational abilities may not come naturally to the population in general or me”, says Priyanka Kamdar, 22.
Kinjal Thakker, 29, a fashion designer and entrepreneur says, “Being mentally depressed, destroys physical health. And then it becomes a vicious cycle – what to cure first, depression or physical health? What helps is yoga and books. Then comes communication and most importantly don’t judge yourself. What plays a big role is accepting yourself with love because self-motivation helps to a great degree. And it might not sound convincing but eating good food and drinking loads of water helps as well.”
These people have painted a rainbow of emotions and ideas that paint a complete picture of depression. Let’s vow to slide down to that end of the rainbow that is believed to be holding a pot of gold. LET’S TALK!
*Names changed on request
Photos via Visual Hunt