No one knew about it because I chose not to tell anyone - Niharika Chaturvedi

No one knew about it because I chose not to tell anyone


Disclaimer: I write this after I accumulated all my courage to open up. I write this because a friend of mine found it difficult to comprehend that a girl like me had gone through such a phase. I write this on behalf of millions of other people who still are not ready to write about theirs. I write this because I am not ashamed of it anymore and am profoundly proud of myself for defeating it without the armor of medication or counselling. I write this because I want to share how I overcame it. I write this to represent people who find it impossible to acknowledge that they have/had depression.


I have been there, seen that, felt it, felt the ache, cutting through my soul. Felt the pain, the desperation, the feeling of loss, the feeling that something has died inside me. Writing this brings back some of the most awful memories but today these memories don’t affect me anymore. In fact, I am smiling write now, smiling as I write about the phase which I can, without any second thought, coin as the worst phase of my life.


The pain was so brutal and unforgiving, it seemed it was clutching my heart, grabbing it so tightly that I was not able to breathe. They say mental pain is almost like physical pain. And I was living this fact. I used to feel someone has stabbed my heart and tore it into pieces. Yes, this is exactly how I felt. Crying had become a second nature to me. Insomnia came next, dark circles around my eyes came after that. I used to walk a lot, for hours, aimlessly without any idea of where I was going. I used to walk, as if hoping to walk away from my pain. My ambitions, purpose, career, everything seemed blurry. Life seemed blurry. May be because of my “always teary eyes”. I used to cry myself to sleep.


I chose not to confess this, not to take psychiatric help. I always have been a secretive person, always good at keeping secrets, and I kept this as secret and decided to take this feeling of void to my grave. Not even my closest of people knew what I was going through. My mind used to keep asking one question, on a repetitive mode “why me?”. As it got worse with time, I reached to the lowest of the lows where I started questioning my life. Scary thoughts of wishing it would end soon. Still I couldn’t get the courage to ask for help. I had accepted that I will never be able to come out of this abyss.


It was almost 1 year since it got bad to worse. I didn’t even realize what I might have until one day I overheard some of my friends talking behind my back, something about them convincing and talking me out to go to a psychiatrist for help. And then it stuck me hard. Was I depressed? I googled the word “depression” for the first time in life. And was able to relate to almost all the symptoms (except for the self-destructive thoughts). Acceptance was the toughest. For days, I didn’t believe that I might have depression. I knew I had to do something, but “what”, seemed like the toughest question ever. I used to search out names and addresses of psychiatrists near me and used to stare at the names imagining how would I open up about the pain I was going through. I was not ready to share and speak about it. Few more days passed and I still was clueless about what was happening, still used to cry my eyes out, still used to sit in a dark room staring outside the window.


And then one fine Saturday morning, I looked outside the window, and it was raining. It looked so beautiful, I felt the rain washing the pain for me. For no reason at all, I felt exceptionally ecstatic. For no reason at all, I laughed out loudly, it felt weird. Not only because it was loud, but also because I had laughed after so long, I had almost forgotten how I felt like. I didn’t know if I felt superlatively happy because it was part of one of my mood swings or it was because of the rains but this was the day I felt fear and courage existing simultaneously inside me. Fear of losing myself if I don’t fight and the courage to fight back. I knew I had to do everything possible, to get out of this impossible void I had gotten myself into.


Distracting myself was the first thing I knew I had to do. So, I began with none other than Music as therapy.  I discarded all the sad cassettes and started using my walkman only for cheerful music. I started getting back to all the hobbies I had renounced completely. I started with singing and dancing. Singing was at number one on my priority list. I started singing in weird voices, to make myself laugh. Dancing at fast numbers, as if no one was looking. Yes, I was so desperate to bring back my old self. And it started showing some results. At least I started getting rid of my unusual and unwanted tears. Music always does miracles, trust me. In my case, it had started pulling me back from the dead.


Reading came next. I am an avid reader and reading was another hobby I re-ignited during this phase of getting back on my feet. I used to read the thickest of my books in a night or two. It helped me prevent worrying about myself and instead worry about the protagonist in the book. No wonder they say books are your best friends. Not that it showed results immediately, but at least I had started feeling sleepy at nights due to excessive reading.


I got rid of people (so called friends) who used to send me self-pity and sympathetic messages. I realized, they were just extra baggage I had to get rid of. And I did it without feeling any guilt. Not that they were bad people, but I knew that unless I get rid of them, I will never get rid of the past they all were part of. Trust me, it was a big relief and I felt lot lighter.


Yoga calmed me in a way I can’t explain. Although I always used to do yoga, I earlier had no idea on effects of Yoga on mind apart from my body. It was the phase I used to practice rigorous yoga. It worked wonders for me to begin with and it started soothing my mind in a way which was inexplicable.


But as time flew I again started finding it difficult to manage life. It was that moment I realized I had to resuscitate my ambitions as well and I knew how to do that. Changing air, water, house, street, place, job and people around was the last resort for me. This was the cusp of me getting rid of my depression. I left my job and the city I was living in and to be honest, as we drove out of that city, that was the first time ever I realized I had left my depression in that city forever. I knew I would never look back, and in that moment, I again had tears in my eyes, but this time, these tears were of pure bliss.


It took almost 1 year of my rigorous struggle in a new city, to find a new job and settle with it; and all my life’s effort to prevent myself plunging back into depression. This was also the time I realized that how I unknowingly was using the law of attraction to leave the city I didn’t want to live in. I used to affirm myself that I would be leaving this city by the end of a specific month. And guess what? I left that city by the end of that month, and with that I left all my sorrows and never looked back. I knew, I had done it, all by myself, knowingly and unknowingly, because I wanted to do it.


Today I open about my depression, but there are so many people who have it but it is never accepted by them or acknowledged by their family members. They live in a fear surrounded by social stigma, suffocating inside. I wonder why does it take a celebrity’s confession for people to acknowledge that it is serious and people with depression need support and love? Why is it so hard for people to comprehend the fact that it’s not a phase, it will not get over by itself? Also, people in depression are not doing drama.


Although choosing not to ask for help was not the right thing I did, but today I feel proud of the fact that I overcame it myself. I have reached to a point where I can laugh at my own depression. Not because I won and it lost. But because it is part of who I am today. It made me realize I can come through anything harsh. It made me recognize how strong I am. It was the reason I regained my identity, my ambitions and started my journey of finding my purpose. I wish everyone ever, going through such anguish, gets through this, and opens up to the fact that life is too worthy to be wasted for a person, phase, or event.


P.S.: I thank my depression, the inspiration behind this blog.

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Niharika Chaturvedi