by Anusha Surathkal
It’s high time people understand what a person with depression and anxiety goes through.
Mental health is and has always played underdog among illnesses for years. People have this misconception that mental illness is a foul destiny, not something worth to be treated or discussed. The basic understanding of mental hygiene is flawed. Misuse of words like mad, mental, psycho …etc has planted false belief among us that mental health is a taboo. Resulting in, not being able to share one’s thoughts, feelings, and outbreaks with their families. Fear of being judged, being labeled lunatic, being not understood adds a lot of pressure, resulting in temptation for suicide. It’s time you finally see things from the perspective of a person dealing with anxiety and depression.
As I have lived with my own share of anxiety and depression, I would like to share a few thoughts and feelings of a person dealing with the illness. Yes, it is an illness. ( Disclaimer: this piece of information is just an atom part of the topic, a tiny approach to screen some real dealt thoughts.) Firstly, there is no such thumb rule that only failed people are going to welcome the illness. Anybody and everybody has equal chances of being prey to anxiety and depression.
It is the basic fundamental foundation of any mental illness. What is stress? Stress is baggage gifted by society and yourself, specially curated for you. You are accompanied by a lot of pressure and worry. A feeling full of nervousness all day all night. Things like,
- scoring well,
- making money, establishing a great career,
- maintaining relationships,
- opening about your sexuality,
- making friends,
- meeting deadlines,
- withstanding the outgrowing competition,
- the expectation from people all around,
- expectations from yourself
- And many more
These are just a handful of examples leading to stress. In most cases, Stress is accompanied by fear. Fear is a feeling of nervousness gauging towards alertness. A boon to living beings, to alert ourselves when in danger. For example, back then, humans loafed all day around in the forest. But the moment they heard a tiger growl nearby, they would instantly fear and sense danger. Fear of being feasted by the animal would alert them to run back home. But mankind these days has created this fictional world of money, power, rules, and lifestyle, that fear has 3 taken a huge leap and is attacking us from all possible directions. Our ancestors never really underwent anxiety or depression. They never prepared for the future, were content with daily hunts, and only had fear of death. These days, our pacing life and hunger for an easier and better life, has given birth to these illnesses. Fear of losing, fear of falling, fear of failing, etc develop in small stages. And the outcome of one’s own fears gives rise to ANXIETY.
Now, what is anxiety? Anxiety is that state of mind where performing day to day activities seems strenuous. The amount of fear and stress has been built to a point where dealing with everyday situations becomes a task. Let me share a few possibilities,
- when in anxiety opening the cap of a water bottle is a puzzle, you tremble.
- Running down the stairs is harder.
- Panic attacks give regular attendance.
- Unexpected and instant communications are stressful.
- You prefer people to rather shut their mouths.
- Your heart thumps so high that you go deaf on the noises around.
- Some start fumbling as well.
- You welcome unwanted thoughts.
- Breathing was never this difficult.
- Your energy drains faster than bullet trains.
- And the list goes on…
Anxiety lowers your confidence level. Because the minute you realize that you are not functioning as your normal self anymore, you feel like a failure. You become so conscious about your conduct, that you start putting efforts to fake normalcy. These traumatic fillers keep growing rapidly. When you start realizing that your actions are no more under your control, you start losing hope. And that’s when you encounter DEPRESSION.
What is Depression? A mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in daily activities. He/she will be tired of putting efforts and feel rather useless and unproductive. Not all depressed ones have severe anxiety, but they are ultimately cousins.
- Most of the extroverts shift to being introverts/ambiverts, some fake being extroverts as well.
- You don’t feel like waking up to a new day,
- you don’t feel excited anymore.
- You get comfortable being sad.
- You sense nobody in this world would understand you.
- You feel lonely even though there are hundreds of loved ones around
- You start having major breakdowns every now and then. Nobody including you can reckon your next breakdown.
- You feel you are being stabbed right in your chest and the pain just deepens.
- Major mood fluctuations (you can’t tolerate Pmsing jokes every single time),
- you are occupied with grey and dark thoughts most of the time,
- you have an insane appetite. You either gobble everything in your kitchen or just go on a hunger strike.
- your sleep cycle acts crazy. you either become a slumbering cat or a night owl,
- you constantly feel weak and in need of energy, restlessness is your base.
- you certify yourself ‘WORTHLESS, USELESS, HOPELESS’.
- you realize you could concentrate and memorize better before.
- you start feeling empty.
- you find death better than living with the dark thoughts for the rest of your life, ie suicidal thoughts.
No, I’m not dramatizing. These are a few and the very basic feelings of a depressed person. And the reason for negativity caused could be anything. We can’t really figure out what exactly causes depression. It’s different to different people. But the very fact that depression is a process and not a sudden malady, it’s important to identify and get treated before reaching its zenith.
DO NOT PANIC!
If you just realized or are already aware of being victimized to anxiety and depression, keep calm. Do not worry. You are not alone and can surely overcome this.
- Do not hesitate, accept it. It’s okay! You will get through this.
- Talk it out, write it.
- consult the psychiatrist. You are your priority, so don’t consider the stigma around.
- Avoid palpitations. Try to keep your heart rate lower, do things which calms you, you can meditate, listen to your kind of music, pet animals(personally this has helped me a lot).
- start talking to yourself, because your instinct understands you the best and gives the right advice at all times of need.
- Reach out to your loved ones. Do not think twice, just go for it. Venting out is very important.
- If talking to your family is uncomfortable, You can try venting out to complete strangers who are willing to listen.
- If you are unable to do a task or a chore, it’s okay. Do not blame yourself. You’ll get better at it.
- Switch to better eating and sleeping habits. Quit alcohol and caffeine. Please be nice to your body.
- Also, exercise daily. Your body and mind will thank you for this.
- Indulge in self-care.
- I’m sure your doctor will recommend more and better ways to refrain from depression
People who have not encountered any of this, congratulations. But it’s the responsibility of every single person to pay heed on your loved ones every now and then. Now that you know how a person with anxiety and depression feels. if you sense your friends or family undergoing this, just stay around. Do not advise, just listen. They want to be heard, not to be rectified. Help them without being pretentious. Accompany them to doctor visits and keep things casual. Show genuine love and care. Watch your words, it does make a lot of difference. Make sure they feel comfortable and can confide in you anytime.
Let’s make this world a better place where kindness and hope rules. And for the underlying Stigma on mental illness?