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This is the story of Diksha Bhatia and her journey while tackling clinical depression and anxiety. And this how she came out of it as a winner.
Someone asked me a few days back, “What’s your story?”
Honestly, I went blank for one whole minute. I had no idea what to say. I didn’t have anything pleasant in particular to tell, really.
All I could think of was the fact that I suffered from depression for about three years which actually felt like my whole life. But is it something you can tell a person easily? It takes a lot of courage, fighting with yourself, hours of overthinking, and looking at all the possible outcomes of what could happen before you tell someone about this part of your life.
My life had never been easy, from childhood to the present. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety when I was 21 and it went on till I turned 24. That’s three long years of multiple series of depressive episodes and anxiety attacks. Initially, I thought it was a phase and I will be alright. I felt ok many times, in fact. However, it kept coming back. It kept clinging to me.
I hardly opened up about it or shared my feelings, keeping most of it inside of me. It wasn’t because I was scared or ashamed but I always felt that not everyone around me had the capability to understand me or my emotions. Also, it is never easy to put something like this into words. Not everyone understands what mental health illnesses do to your mind and body. Yes, it affects your body as well.
It creeps up on you and affects your thought process. In fact, it starts to control it. It’s like another person inside you. Not a person actually, it’s a monster inside of you. It has its own mind, its own needs and wants. To fight depression and to come out of a dark place is to push back that monster constantly every day back to level zero. Trying to make it stop on a daily basis. It starts to feel like a competition with your own self every single moment. Can you let it win?
I have come across people who brushed it off saying it’s not real. I have been in a situation where a person felt ashamed and felt the need to hide that they were with me. I have had people call it a weakness to my face. I have even felt discriminated against at my workplace because of it.
By then, I had realized that going through depression and living with it can be as difficult as the circumstances that first caused it. Maybe even more.
I have a tattoo on my body which says ‘mukt’, a Hindi word which means ‘to be free’ because I considered myself as someone who has a free soul and is absolutely independent. It seemed right to make it permanent on my body.
However, I wasn’t actually living up to my own truth. This piece of writing is to make sure I do.
This article is to share a life, a struggle, and a story with the wish that it helps someone find hope just like writing it out is helping me. Somehow, this episode of my life has had a few positive outcomes as well. It might be hard to believe but yes, it teaches you a lot and gives a greater perspective about various things. Eventually, you end up learning a lot about yourself.
This is just me trying to tell you that it’s alright to not be strong every time because an illness cannot be classified by strengths and weaknesses. It’s alright to feel the way you’re feeling because it’s natural. There is no hurry and you can take your own time to kill that monster inside of you without losing patience. The battle only ends when the answer to, “Are you giving your best?” is a loud and confident “yes”.
So, when I finally replied to that person, I said, “it’s mad, you might actually love it!”