When I was 14, I used to ask myself questions like “Who am I? Who do I want to be in life? Am I living the life that is worth living?” and many more. Those questions arose because I developed self-doubt. My friends, family members, and relatives persistently tried to identify me with something or the other. Phrases like “You are good at biology, you must be a doctor” or “You must study hard if you want to be an engineer”, “What is your ambition in life? Your goal? Your aim?” was everywhere. Initially, I could not understand why identification was necessary. As I asked my parents and teachers, they said that the quicker I decide what I want to do in my life, the easier it would be for me to achieve it. I believed that answer, based on logic. I started evaluating myself by taking one famous personality in every field as the ideal and comparing myself to them. I created an ideal self and started acting like that. As a teenager, I was such motivated that I believed that my life is something that I create. That was how I started finding my ideal self or in an appropriate sense, that was how I lost myself. Now the nature of life is such that it happens its own way creating situations that none could ever imagine of. My life changed since then. I met my boundaries and tried to push myself further. But the necessary support and atmosphere were absent. I grew up in a dysfunctional family with daily conflicts and negligence. Everywhere I went I was compared to someone better than me. I protested and asked “why are you all always comparing me to someone better than me? Why can’t you appreciate what I have achieved so far?” The answer was, “that way you will always try to be better, without being carried away by pride.” I got depressed and was left untreated. I developed addictions, became unsocial and abusive. All these resulted in poor performance in academics and had to lose one academic year. Physically, I was underweight, suffered from chronic indigestion, developed sleep disorders and mentally, broke, had no self-respect, I used to hate myself. I kept on trying to return back to normal living but I failed.
As adults, we efficiently hide our insecurities and feelings. No matter how broken we are, we are programmed to show strength to the world. That was the definition of mental strength I believed in till a friend came to my rescue. She was studying Psychology and quickly figured me out. I opened up to her sharing what I was going through. She provided me the necessary support and equipped me with tools for transformation. Now I live a fulfilling life and feel blessed. I am doing well in academics, have a healthy social life and feel good about myself. Depression is an illness that can be treated and better left to the professionals to handle. We assume that if we give it enough time it will straighten itself out but it only gets worse.
My message to those who are fighting depression is, take one step at a time, be patient, never ever give up on yourself and the most important thing, always smile when you wake up because you look beautiful when you smile.
[Author wishes to remain unnamed]