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Experiences

Melancholy and Me: Depression and the Power of Therapy

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

It was not something I felt like I was meant to have and it was not something I was prepared for. Nobody is. I was not capable of putting myself in the kind of armor that could protect me from my own self. It is a strange situation where your own mind becomes your worst enemy and you don’t even have the feeble resolve to fight for yourself, especially because you know that there is no way you would fight a battle like that and get out unscathed. But it happened and there I was, horrified at my own thoughts until my capacity to think became something I wish I never had and all of this went on till depression became an inseparable part of me.

From my own experience, I have come to realize that a lot of people have a lot of asinine opinions about something as fatal as depression. For the longest time, I thought that I was neither qualified nor equipped to form an opinion on depression or even use the word to describe how I felt because I had no intention of drawing any attention to it or making people think that I was trying to draw attention to it. It was one of the words that I was almost afraid of using, especially after being told to stop ‘pretending’ to be depressed all the time and to move on with my life. And the fact remains that life goes on but what was I supposed to do when it did not go on for me, no matter how much I tried? The immense sadness came in waves and consumed me entirely. I was stuck in an excruciating loop that I could not get out of. It became physically impossible to break the cycle that made me feel like I was decaying on the inside and then eventually on the outside, too. 

After an agonizingly long amount of time, I found the strength to really sit down and talk to someone about it. Thankfully, I was privileged enough to be taken to a professional. The diagnosis was made and it was something that I had already known but was too afraid of realizing. I was diagnosed with depression and I dreaded thinking about what would happen next. But I could finally rid myself of the guilt of ‘pretending’ because as it turns out, I never was. 

Coming back to the bizarre opinions that a multitude of people seem to have, depression is often something that is chalked off as laziness or is not even acknowledged because to some, an illness is only an illness if it is extremely evident. This is exactly the kind of thinking that prohibits people from truly expressing how they feel and pushes them to the edge. Nobody should be allowed to make anyone feel like they are not worthy of seeking the help that they need. People also often say that if others have it worse then there is absolutely no need for you to feel bad about your own predicament but what so many of us fail to understand is that sadness is not a commodity and not only a select few people should be entitled to feel that way. People should be allowed to feel their feelings without having to carry the burden of a futile justification.  

When I sat down in front of my psychiatrist and my psychologist, they never told me that I should not feel a certain way because there are people out there who have it worse despite of the fact that the psychiatrist probably saw so many people everyday who really had it better as well as worse. They never told me that I was lazy for not being able to get out of bed for extended periods of time. They never asked me to hurriedly reach the end of my tirade and never made me feel guilty about the fact that the world remained very, very dull for me and being positive was not something I had the strength to do. I wasn’t made to feel like a coward for having certain thoughts. It made me realize that at least professionals would never do something to make people feel invalidated about their feelings.  And so, I made a point to stop listening to unqualified individuals with opinions that were more destructive than helpful in every possible way. My treatment included medication and therapy, both of which I was very wary of in the beginning. But now I am glad that my treatment began which is why, I think that everyone should have the right seek help and get treated. 

 When awareness is raised about an issue like this, the severity of it often gets dissolved in the apparent fervor to normalize it. On the road to normalize mental illness, we sometimes mistakenly propagate wrong ideas. Whatever we do, either spreading awareness or helping someone in need, we should always keep in mind that our position is not interchangeable with a professional. Offering a supportive social network is vital but it is only one thing. The work of a professional can only be done by a professional, don’t fall for Instagram or Facebook posts that tell you that music or food can act as therapy. Therapy is therapy. And the statistical evidence agrees with me more than most people I know. It is always very sad to hear about someone who has succumbed to their mental illness. The right thing to do with regards to this predicament is to be kind always and talk to people when needed. The kindness of your words does not hold the power to cure someone but it most definitely has the power to make them feel better. 

And to those who are struggling, I promise it gets better. I still spiral every now and then but I certainly like to believe that I am better than before. It gets rough and ugly and it is so gutting at times but help is always available. Despite of all the ups and downs, you are worthy of getting the right treatment. You are worthy of living a wonderful life.

Anjalika Tiwari

Delhi South '23

Anjalika is a student of Kamala Nehru College. She is an ardent believer of the fact that inspiration can be drawn from anything and everything. A dreamer at heart, forced into the pragmatic world, she encompasses an adequate amount of research as well as personal opinions in her articles.
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