Depression- Not Bad Luck
Story by Suhail Jaffer Pardawala
As a child, I felt judged. Working in television shows and being in front of the camera all the time made me vulnerable to high expectations. But I just wanted to be a normal kid.
As I grew up, there were days I didn't want to work despite my passion for it; but had to, due to prior commitments. I believe, all my fear of being judged and anxiety, was dragged into my teenage and early adulthood. I had to shift to Dubai from Mumbai, for work, in my early 20s. Life there was tough - the work pressure, the loneliness. But I never addressed it to anyone.
The frustration and anxiety kept building up in me.
When I turned 25. I had a very important bonding close to me. But because I was guarded by my feelings, I ended up ruining the relationship. Within the same week, I lost my job as well, as the company shut down. That truly felt like a nail in the coffin and all my aloofness built over years was shaken to its core and I completely shut down.
I stayed in bed staring at the ceiling or playing video games for 14 hours straight. There were times when I questioned the worth of my existence. I decided to listen to my best friend's advice and return to India.
My parents went on a pre-planned trip when I reached Mumbai. As I was all alone at home, things only worsened. I started indulging in heavy drinking and smoking, not knowing what I was angry about.
I was toxic with the people around me and I didn’t even know why; I couldn't stop! I tried getting full-time jobs but kept choking on simple questions and got anxiety attacks during interviews. Sometimes, I even bailed from interviews just because I felt anxious. That's when I knew I needed help, after putting it off for months.
Finally, I opened up to my aunt. She got me in touch with a psychiatrist. After a few tests, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I was suggested to go for therapy and was prescribed some medicines. Honestly, I was shocked because I always thought these emotions were bad luck, since it seemed like a long term sadness.
Initially, I found it tough, but things got better with consecutive sessions. I made a roadmap to achieve all the smaller goals in my daily life and pushed myself hard, to stick to it.
The medication helped me sleep better and therapy helped in improving my mood as it provided me with the tools and understanding, to talk to myself and open up to people during times of adversities.
I was taught to rationally analyze my situation and learned how to deal with stress, rejection and anger. I even relapsed once, but was told that it was okay. I started taking better care of myself although it wasn't easy. But I kept going.
And now, when I become anxious, I make a detailed mental map and condition myself accordingly, to be the person I want to be.
I am still associated with my therapist and go for group therapy sessions as an experiencer to share my story with other patients, so that it would be easier for them to share their story. I even got a job, which boosted my confidence!
Sometimes, I do feel my problems are smaller in comparison to others, but I realised that its necessary to take care of our mental health irrespective of its gravity. I don't know why seeking help for our mental health is so stigmatized. But I really feel that, for any kind of mental anguish, it's always better to talk it out rather than bottling it all up, like I did.