How did I slip into depression?
I was super-sensitive to every emotion, irrespective positive or negative. I didn’t know where to draw the line.
Positive triggers like success, appreciation, love, took me all over to the moon. And the negative forces of failure, criticism, hatred, left deep bruises on my mind. Success made me feel like an invincible winner, while the failures, the biggest loser.
My ability to feel emotions strongly was a boon in my lovely childhood and teenage days. That’s because the situations back then triggered positive emotions. I didn’t know the meaning of negativity, leave apart feeling it.
But after then, it was a complete turnaround.
It was not a tragedy or a loss. Nothing major happened, but it was just a gradual accumulation of negative emotions, which turned my life upside down. It was such a slow process I never realized till I drowned under the depth of countless thoughts.
What led to my downfall?
It was that vulnerable age I was standing in the outset of an uncertain future. I had no answers to my question- What Next?
It was the early twenties —dreams and ambitions like every other, with an upbeat to pursue the best career.
But every beat was falling flat. I was unable to find the best walk ahead. This dilemma lasted for unusually long, and I felt insecure for the first time.
My alter ego sunk to the all-time low. I stopped loving myself, and others. Suddenly, everyone looked hostile. It was the phase when instances provoking negative emotions completely outnumbered the ones fuelling positive emotions.
I was losing my self-worth as the negative thoughts attacked my vulnerable mind in unison. And the hole was dug too deep for my mind to breathe, and it submerged under the countless thoughts.
I was down and under and finally fell prey to depression.
I consulted a doctor (precisely psychiatrist) who prescribed the conventional antidepressants. Those pills comforted my mind initially, but never did I realize that it was the dawn of worse things to follow.
Alcohol lured my mind to elusive happiness
The antidepressants, after a while, had stopped soothing. The freshness of mind had turned into an impossible dream.
Not finding shoulders to lean on, I got lured by Alcohol’s friendship offer. It accompanied my lonely nights, promised me a fairyland every night but pushed me to the bleak reality every subsequent morning.
I diluted alcohol for some time, but within no time, it started diluting my potent self. My poor mind was as helpless as a lamb in the hands of a butcher.
It continued for 2 long years… the same hungover morning giving way to alcoholic nights. From a soulful being to a feelingless creature, I was losing everything. And if it would have continued, I couldn’t write this soulful note.
A twist in the tale
Alcohol could have been my last chapter but destiny had something else in the store. Jaundice infected my liver those days, giving way to the need for mindful eating and drinking. And yes, neither antidepressants nor alcohol was on the menu.
The upcoming days were the worst, making way for the best experiences of my life.
The first few days of quitting medicines and alcohol were a walk through the hell. My mind was a tragic wreckage of a crashed airplane. Yes, so severe were the side-affects when my mind had hit the rock bottom.
It was that time when suicidal thoughts had starting playing hide and seek. I almost turned feelingless. The trauma continued for almost a month.
But as they say, only the worst phases can teach you the best life lessons. It was the time for my revival.
The boon in disguise was I reduced to a mere zero. I had touched my brink, and couldn’t sink further. I had nothing more to lose.
The best thing about a knockout was it provoked a do or die attitude. I promised myself that I was neither starting the anti-depressants, nor the alcohol again.
I had to get rid of my mental wounds. I was resolute to find my purpose of existence. I was determined this time to go all-in trying every way I have read and heard.
A couple of failed attempts of revival
- Physical Exercise? Worth a try, I thought. I started and continued for about three weeks. But it never took off. It had a positive impact on my physical body, but it didn’t soothe my mind. Maybe I was asking too much too early, but then yes, that’s how impatient I had become. My mind was still bleeding profusely, and to fix it was my priority.
- I did seek advice from my dear ones, but it didn’t work either. The possible reasons: Either I could not express my suffering, or they could not comprehend my pain. Whatever the case, my tear-soaked words didn’t deserve to trespass ears. I cannot call them guilty, but yes, I will always blame their ignorance.
This may intrigue you to imagine the mental health awareness back then, a decade before. It has not changed much. Even today, this untouched facet needs gravity.
Coming back to my battle, reviving my happiness, and restoring my mental health had become my life’s motto. It left me with two options- Kill or Cure.
How did I beat the blues?
I shall beat the mind demons one day, I yelled at my lower self day and night. I was all over the mighty google.
I couldn’t gather much but found one suggestion in common in a majority of the articles — the vitality of meditation in shaping mental health.
I gave it a conscious try, starting with conventional mindful meditation. To be honest, I dozed off irregularly in my initial sessions.
But I continued, as I also read that patience is the key to reap the benefits of meditation.
It worked! I accidentally explored the euphoric effects of meditation.
My mind released happy hormones like never. Yes, it was a once in a lifetime experience to taste that feeling, which in one word was magical.
Gradually, the mental locks had keys, the mysteries had answers, the blockages melted down. And I could sense the opening I was striving for.
My higher consciousness took control over my restless mind, and I was loving its directions.
Introduction to diary writing
With too many negative thoughts inside, the first direction from my conscious mind was to vent out the accumulated garbage decomposing my mind.
And guess what, it hit the bull’s eye. I started from scratch to scribble my raw thoughts in a diary gifted by my doting wife. I used to carry it everywhere, and made sure I flush out my every unsaid feeling in that diary.
Wow! It was like chemo curing cancer.
Soon it turned into an excitement to vent out every emotion and feeling. It was an ultimate respite to my deteriorating mental health.
The duo of meditation and diary writing pulled me out of the rut, and I revived back to a healthy and happy life.
My lessons learned
- Life struggles are not lone battles, and it’s human to feel sad and negative time and again. Let us accept it than to fight with it.
- Self-love is an independent quality, and we must refrain our tough times to seize it.
- A single negative thought is powerful enough to attract many negative energies. We need to identify the cause and cut the cord immediately.
- Just like physical health, taking of mental health is vital. We must start talking about mental health, and spread the awareness.
- Alcohol is an elusive stress buster. It can never substitute the real essence of happiness.
- Meditation is the natural healer of the mind and is the need of every individual to make it a daily life practice.
- Transition process to a better individual is painful. But we must keep enduring to make ourselves worthy to live our dream life.
“I’m stronger because of the hard times, wiser because of my mistakes, and happier because I have known sadness.” ~Unknown