My struggles with depression and how I’m winning it
The first time I saw the signs in myself, I could not believe it. I felt guilty, I berated myself, I was ashamed at myself.
I think one of the earliest signs of depression that I remember going through was the first few years I spent in the city of Mumbai. I was new, and pretty much alone, and almost all the hours of the day and night were spent in working and commuting to and fro from home. I had no friends, and absolutely no time or energy to make or keep any either.
Somehow, the excitement and satisfaction of my work kept me sane, even though I could sense the first seeds of depression coming up.
The next bout of depression I had was definitely during the pre-natal months. I was staying in Delhi with my in-laws, while my hubby was in Mumbai. I was confused, anxious, scared and completely at sea about what I should expect, how the last moments of the pregnancy would be, how the birth would be, and most importantly, how I would turn out to be as a mother.
That phase too was somehow handled well with sheer will power.
I guess I was lucky.
In between then and now, which is almost a decade, I have continued to suffer from depression on and off, sometimes moderate and sometimes really really bad.
The next really bad bout of depression I had was after I had my second baby, which was about 4 years back. I never imagined I would go through post-natal depression, I, who was already a mother and had been through this all previously, someone who blogged and talked so much about healthy parenting and mental health issues, and was always telling other mothers how to cope with post-natal depression.
The first time I saw the signs...
The first time I saw the signs in myself, I could not believe it. I felt guilty, I berated myself, I was ashamed at myself. This cannot be me, I cannot suffer from post-natal depression, I know what it is, I know how to handle it. How am I not able to make it stop?!!!!
These were just some of the questions I would repeat to myself, refusing to seek any help, refusing to talk about it to anyone, out of shame, fearing I would be judged for being a bad mother, someone who was weak and buckling down under pressure of handling a newborn with severe colic.
But mums, trust me, it is not easy. And I am sure at least 1 or 2 of you will understand what I am talking about.
It took a lot of effort and courage for me to speak up about it, then to my partner and closest friends, and today here with all of you. Depression does have some very strong signs that should never be ignored, whether in yourself, or in someone else that you notice.
- Suddenly going quiet or extreme mood swings
- Bursting into tears at apparently no reason
- Refusing to pick up baby even if baby is crying a lot (in case of post-natal depression)
- Berating oneself
- Feeling too tired to get out of bed
- Sleeping all the time
- Not being able to sleep
- Feeling irritated when having to talk to others
- Avoid social contact
- No appetite or sudden increase in appetite
I am fighting it even now:
- I write about it
- I pen it down in my diary or just go on to my blog and write about it
- I put on my playlist and head out for a jog
- I sleep it off
- I dance
- I eat a cheat snack
- I work out till I sweat out all the negative feelings
- I speak to my friend and confess to feeling low and ask to catch up
- I take a mini vacation and head out somewhere for 2-3 days
Depression is real, and the tragic case of Arjun Bharadwaj, again highlights the importance of understanding those warning signs and talking about it. Please remember that depression is just another very serious health issue, just as any other. So please don’t stay quiet. Speak up, ask for help, offer help.
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