This is a guest post written by Navi Brar for the official blog of the Mental Health Awareness Project. The views and opinions in this post do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of those involved with the Mental Health Awareness Project. We are publishing this guest post in hopes that you may find it helpful or informative.
Depression has a different meaning to everyone you try to talk to about it. I think this is why it makes it difficult to understand or explain.
For me, it is the feeling of being completely alone, despite the fact of being surrounded by people that love and care about me.
For me, it is screaming at the top of my lungs in my mind but, telling anyone that asks on the outside that I am just tired, but okay.
For me, it is constantly trying to make others laugh because there is a slight chance, that I can maybe absorb their happiness and it can then be mine.
For me, it is the never ending emotions of never being good enough, no matter what others say or do to reassure me.
For me, it is how my days feel longer than 24 hours, and suddenly not having the power to get out of bed for the entire day.
For me, is is the varied emotions throughout the day, an uncontrollable rollercoaster I never signed up for.
For me, it is how frustrated I feel constantly thinking I am missing something, and then realizing that it is me, I am missing, and I do not know when I became this lost.
Growing up in a south Asian household suffering with a mental health illness was something for a very long time I kept to myself. I tried really hard to project an appearance of always having it together for the sake of “what would others say”. And only when I was truly alone would the stress of all that come down hard on me.
Up until recent years, I always thought mental illness only affects the people who go through this darkness. My sister wrote an assignment where she talks about me (her older sister) having a mental illness, and that is when I realized it not only affects you, but your loved ones as well. And the only way for the healing to begin inside is to talk and share what you are going through with everyone around you. Everyone is going through a tough time but coming together makes the healing easier.
Writing this piece and raising awareness for mental health is an ongoing process, and I hope that by sharing my story, someone is inspired to speak up as well.
I have been struggling with my mental health for years. Still an ongoing journey, but if by sharing my struggles I can help someone else, then I am definitely going to step out of my comfort zone and speak. In the poem I wrote (posted above), I speak about how difficult it can be to explain what it feels like sometimes, and then on the receiving end how hard it is to understand a feeling that you have the luxury of never experiencing.
By writing a piece like this, I hope to spark that conversation, so that if you are at a loss for words you can use this piece, or any other resource, as a way to help others understand what you might be going through, and that you do not need to suffer alone.
At times, it can feel like a spiral of nothingness that is very toxic. Depression takes you lower than rock bottom, to the point where you are looking up at rock bottom from the abyss of darkness sometimes. Having anxiety mixed in with depression only raises your heartbeat and floods your mind, not only with dark thoughts, but at an uncontrollable amount constantly. It feels like you are neither coming nor going, but your mind is set on going. With a destination unknown, but far away. Away from here and away from life.
Struggling with mental health makes you a different person, some are able to come out stronger than ever, and have changed for the better. And then there are those that turn for the worse. Just know that if you are struggling with trying to keep it all together, you are capable of getting through the dark times.
You are beautiful, even if your mind is telling you the opposite. The flaws you try so hard to hide, don’t; because all of that makes you entirely you. Remember you are not alone, and never have to struggle alone. Do not isolate yourself, but do take time to work on yourself, and learn how to love yourself flaws, crazy mind, and everything else.
You are loved, even if that love is not shown all the time explicitly. Take care of yourself. Make the most of the present moment and experience life to the fullest.