A Creeping Darkness
I was diagnosed with stress-induced depression in early January, 2016. Life had come to a standstill. I couldn’t concentrate on family or work. It felt as though my mind was enveloped by a cloud of darkness. Simple, everyday tasks like eating, sleeping, speaking, or solving problems became huge challenges.
The scary part about depression was how silently it had crept into my head. I had no idea that the symptoms I faced — being tired for no reason, being irritable, not being able to sleep, general confusion, and absent mindedness — were signs of depression. The other symptom I felt was the total loss of joy and peace.
All I remember is that I would hate going to the office because I wasn’t able to understand the requirements of my new role or the nuances of the business. Fear would constantly grip me. When I returned home, I’d be worried about losing my job and my source of income for my family. This made the situation even worse. Lying awake most of the night, my mind would be in a constant state of unrest, imagining all sorts of unreal situations. The lack of sleep made matters worse the next day. It was a vicious cycle.
The sorrow I felt had no outlet.
The reason for my depression wasn’t clear at the time. But now as I look back I see it was probably brought on by multiple factors, including the death of my uncle and his son in quick succession, to whom I was very close. The sorrow I felt had no outlet. Being a man, a husband, a father, and the only child to my parents, I had to be strong and get back to work for the sake of my family.
Around the same time, there were other challenges on the family front. My mother had been diagnosed with dengue, which can be life-threatening at her age. Around the same time, my mother-in-law was hospitalized and scheduled to go through a double knee replacement surgery. On top of that, I was barely a few months into a new job and the pressure to perform was very intense.
I started contemplating suicide, but the worry about what my family would do without me held me back. A dear cousin’s wife, who is a doctor, suggested that I seek medical attention. I met with a doctor who prescribed a combination of medicines that further aggravated my condition. This just made me more confused. Why was I getting worse instead of getting better?
A close family doctor then suggested I visit a psychiatrist. He heard me out and put me on a new course of medication. This doctor was very patient, and I was able to voice all that I was feeling. Slowly but steadily I started feeling better. The medical intervention continued for a few months until both the doctor and I were confident that I no longer needed it.
I discovered something I’d rarely experienced — acceptance.
About this time, my wife had become involved with a spiritual community and kept suggesting I go with her. Reluctantly, I went in order to appease her. I honestly didn’t see how these people could help. But after attending a few times, I discovered something I’d rarely experienced — acceptance. Being enveloped by a group of accepting people began to turn me around and I realized my true worth — as a person, a husband, and a father. Now I strive to make sure my children and wife realize their worth in my eyes.
If you feel stuck in the grip of depression, I want you to know that you don't have to journey through it alone. Depression often leads to isolation, but that's the opposite of what we need to break out of the fog of hopelessness. We need to reach out and talk about our pain.
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These struggles are difficult. If you’re considering harming yourself or others, please read this!