I’ve read at least a hundred articles about depression, anxiety and other psychological issues a lot of people face on a daily basis and how we, as a society, fail to recognise or see through the people around us. We also fail to provide any help or support and sometimes end up telling them their problems are not big enough to be depressed about.
I suffer from depression and anxiety. I reached my lowest point in life early this year, and am still recovering. I was diagnosed with psoriasis three years ago. The condition was under control due to treatment. For a work project, I moved to a new city for a couple of months and things went downhill. My lifestyle, pollution, and weather of that city slowly started worsening my skin condition. I couldn’t wear anything but full sleeve tops because apart from it being ugly and embarrassing, it also scared some people off. Eventually, my parents and sister forced me to come back home to renew my treatment.
I quit my job, went broke, and stopped stepping out of the house. My life revolved around medicines, constant reminders and shame. I killed my own social life, retracted in my shell and made excuses for everything. I was also told to lose weight for my condition, so I stopped drinking and adopted a healthy diet. Yet, nothing seemed to be helping my mental situation. I was still bottling up. Being vulnerable and appearing weak are the two traits that scare me the most. All my friends had always known me as the strong one, the practical one. They didn’t know this side of me until very recently and I was worried I wouldn’t be accepted.
In the last five years, I had never once stopped to think or live for myself. I was driven, busy and constantly making things happen but one day I had to pay the cost of ignoring and bottling up feelings from various life events and break ups. I had not dealt with a lot of emotions that I should have long back. When I felt like I was a hundred feet under the ground, repressed memories and emotions resurfaced to break the little pieces left of me. I realized I had been an escapist all this while and this time, escape was not a choice. I decided to suffer through those emotions to finally be able to let go of them.
According to one article, my current state is categorized as ‘high-functioning depression’ where everything in my life seems normal to others, even the closest, but there are moments when unknowingly something hits home and breaks me apart, like when I’m writing this. It’s taken me a lot of time and effort to reach this place to accept depression as a part of me. Social situations and new people make me extremely anxious, to a point where I have fled parties to be away from the crowd. Inevitably, I doubt everyone’s intentions and usually feel unwanted, uncomfortable and unsure. I have gone from making a new friend almost every day to hardly connecting with anyone.
My life feels like a long winter night with no hope for sunlight. Everything seems to fall apart just when I’m about to put it together. Confusing, self-loathing, self-doubting, uncontrollable chaos traps my mind with little or no explanation. One friend uses the tough love formula and the other listens, I need both. I can’t control it. All my over thinking is futile, and they all tell me to stop it, but I can’t control it. How do I explain that without making you think I’m over thinking? Some days I wake up perfectly happy with myself for fighting through till here and some days every face I see annoys me, small mistakes seem huge in my head, little criticism makes me question my worth.
As difficult as it is, I’ve found a channel to vent my pain. Thanks to one of my closest girlfriends, she prodded me to start writing. I find peace and comfort in my world of imagination and words. It helps me deal with the outside world better.
I had consulted a professional for help last year, while I was dealing with work, relationship, and family issues but this time, I didn’t. It made me seek help and let myself breakdown in the comfort of friends and family. A lot of barriers I had created in these relationships somehow melted away when I let my people in. There is nothing wrong in getting help, there is nothing wrong in being on antidepressants if your life is a constant downward spiral, it’s much difficult to live with it than using medicines. I choose not to and to live with what I am going through. It helps me stay grounded, reach out to people and I am not ashamed to feel vulnerable.
My multifaceted fight against psoriasis, depression, anxiety and self-doubt is not going to be over anytime soon, but I’m preparing myself to make it to the other side. The clouds will clear up. I won’t choke up every time someone mentions psoriasis or depression. The sun will rise.