So it all started about 7 months back. “What?” is what you might be wondering. It was this bout of sadness. I tried to pass it off as a regular PMS except that this phase refused to pass long after my period had got over. The story doesn’t get over yet. I realised that I’d lost my appetite, my interest in reading, talking to others, and pretty much everything that I used to love. It was hopeless, you know: I couldn’t focus on things and would feel overwhelmed all the time. All that I’d want to do was lie on my bed the whole day. Too bad, you gotta work five (thank god!) days a week to pay your bills, my friend. And that – my friends – is how I (unintentionally) fucked myself.
In the middle of one fine day, I realised that I’d been feeling uneasy since the morning. I rushed to the washroom – I mean who would want to puke on their desk? It was a weird feeling – my heart was racing, and my fingertips had become cold and numb. When I stared at my reflection in the mirror, I could see driblets of sweat on my forehead. I tried to take breaths but calming down didn’t seem to happen. I waited for my heart to start beating normally, and it did, after a few minutes. This wasn’t the last time that it happened either.
What’s worse is that I could not even sleep properly at nights – I’d wake up every hour or so, and cry. I’d go to work and cry. I’d sit on my couch, stare at the TV screen (like in those movies!) and cry. I’d stare at the ceiling and cry. Every fucking day. In the process, I did a very typical Aquarian thing – I ended up shutting my close people out. I (drastically) reduced the frequency my interaction with my colleagues as well. I used to avoid speaking because I could not talk for five minutes without ending up as a sobby mess. And I needed to have my shit together.
One day, a colleague noticed me and I explained the weird feeling to her. She told me that it could be a panic attack and that I should go see a doctor. I did as was told and went to see a doctor. He asked me a few questions and prescribed me some medicines. I thought that everything would get fine. It only got worse. Staying in office till late (by finding solace in work), trying to cultivate a hobby, keeping myself busy weren’t of any help. I even reduced my caffeine intake and yet continued to have episodes of panic attacks.
One day, the episode lasted for 40 minutes and I went to see the doctor again. Alone, this time. He asked me questions and I gave candid replies. Then he asked me, “Are you suicidal?” I replied, “I just don’t want to wake up in the morning.” Breathing had become a pain. Even though I’d lost a few kilos in these months, my body felt like a huge weight to carry. It was so intense that merely recalling this is making me choke. Very kindly, the doctor suggested me to consult a psychiatrist as it was a case of mild depression. I refused point blank, and left his clinic.
I was all like, “Depression?” – are you fucking kidding me? What the hell do I have to be depressed about? I have a well-paying job that I love, a loving family, a much coveted independence, and loyal friends. I have no need (and no right, according to some people) to be depressed. Yet in spite of having it all, I was not happy. Going to a shrink was out of question. You see, the mere stigma associated with a “psychiatrist”, and “depression” in our society is so high that I refused to do anything about it. I still stubbornly believed that it would go away even though 4 good months had passed by then. Even worse, I could see a few people in the office concerned about the change in my behaviour (and I don’t blame them) but I couldn’t do anything about it.
But you know the beauty of life?
Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it can. And just when you think it can’t get any better, it can.
– Nicholas Sparks
We always have people in life who don’t give up on you even when you’ve given up on yourself. So one day, my friend gave me a call to scold me for not keeping in touch. Now, I couldn’t say, “I don’t feel like talking to anyone” without being interrogated. But your good friends sense it, you know. They always do. Result: I told her everything. I cried. Again. She was surprisingly patient with me and told me something that I’d long lost faith in. She told me, “Everyone goes through this at some point of time. I’m there for you.”
And that – my friends – is how I started to unfuck myself. If you’ve been through this, be proud of yourself. If you’re going through it, remember: This too shall pass. It’s not possible to be happy all the fucking time, okay? You’re trying hard, I know. I would like to suggest you a few things while you keep trying to unfuck yourself:
- It’s completely okay to not have your shit together. You’re a human, after all. Besides, everyone goes through this phase at some point of time. It’s a cycle – from fucking to unfucking.
- Find a culprit. Try to find out its cause. Take a pen and paper and scribble down the problems.
- Everyone needs help (even those Marvel superheroes). It was actually after talking to my friends that I realised how much I needed this. Yes, you’re strong and can handle your shit. But there’s nothing, I repeat, nothing wrong in seeking help from others. In fact, it’s her and another friend who were there for me even when (I’m sure) I wasn’t all “sunshines and rainbows”. The people close to you will believe in you, stand by you, listen to you laugh like a maniac and sob like a baby – that’s what makes them so special.
- Know when to seek professional help. If you’re really not comfortable about talking it out with your friends, visit a doctor. It’s their job to listen to you and help you out.
- Don’t completely rely on medicines. I was prescribed some anti-depressants too but I avoided them as much as I could.
- Meditate. Meditation helps you relax and will help you with the sleeping trouble. You need proper sleep for your brain to function properly.
- Take a break. My (concerned) colleague suggested me to try working from a different set up or just take a break. I turned it down saying that it will pass. Don’t do that. Take a break from your daily routine. I’d suggest you to go somewhere you don’t know a lot of people because that’s the last thing that you need right now.
- Get rid of the negative people. Be merciless and cut them off. Negative people will only bring you down. There are also gonna be people who will judge you and say that you’re not trying hard enough. Show them first your middle finger, and then the exit.
- Cry. Fuck everyone else. Just let it out. Everyone cries, so what?
- Channelise this emotion creatively. Try to paint or write down your thoughts – you don’t have to show it to anyone anyway. Believe me, you won’t be disappointed.
- Think positive. This is lame, I know. But the thing is, in this phase, you feel unwanted and unloved. You’ll feel isolated even though there are people who care about you. Hang on to the positivity as hard as you can.
It’s not an overnight process. You could come out of it in maybe 30 days or even take months. What matters is the intent. You gotta fight this hopeless feeling with a strong will to get out of it. Me? With slow and steady steps, I’m getting there. You’ll start loving the mornings soon too. 🙂
NOTE: To those of you who know me: I understand that you might want to reach out to me and express your concern. As much as I appreciate it, I’d rather you let me because it’s absolutely fine and just a part of evolving as a better person. 🙂