Being a student of psychology, mental health is an area that is close to me, both professionally as well as personally!
Hi, I am Sneha Ramachandran, a first-year Post Graduate student at the TATA Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), pursuing my specialization in Counseling Psychology.Here is something I have to share. It has been extremely tough for me and if it helps at least one person out there, I would feel the purpose has been fulfilled.
Life, it seems, is nothing if not a series of initiations, transitions, and incorporations.
Last year, in my final year of graduation I noticed the occurrence of my ‘lows’. It took me quite a while to figure out what was happening. That was the time when my symptoms of depression were clearly out there. My psychology professor (who is more than a best friend to me!) noticed the changes and was worried. But, I used to try and cover them up each time.
The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart, and all they can do is stare blankly.
Things started getting worse day by day.And finally, on 23rd March 2015, I called up and took an appointment with a psychologist I know, after my Dad’s Insistance. On 7th April 2015, I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). 9th April I celebrated my 21st birthday and on 10th April I began with my medications. This stands as my topmost turning point in life – Depression!
After my first semester of Post graduation programme, I had an awful week despite a short holiday. I had been facing sudden shivers, baseless worries, palpitations and frequent irritations. Another meeting with my psychologist and psychiatrist got me diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Anti-anxiety medicine has since then been added to my dose of Anti-depressants.
Never give up on someone with a mental illness. When “I” is replaced by “We”, illness becomes wellness.”
Had my parents not supported me and encouraged me to seek help, I would not have given my Graduation exams and definitely my admission into TISS would have stood cancelled. I had certain friends who not only stood by my side during my time of crisis but also came home and made sure that I studied well. These ones are and will always remain the closest to my heart.
Depression taught me a lot many things – how to assert and say a clear ‘no’, how to prioritize and know whom I want in life, how to fight and keep fighting as the battle is not yet over, how to face struggle and yet keep the spirit going so that I can at least take gradual steps in whatever I do. I learn each day. When I feel that I have learnt something every day, I feel more empowered.
It was such a turning point to find that I had a talent and I had something to contribute, somewhere.
That is precisely why I feel that Depression is the best thing that happened to me. I understood the value of Life! I am aware of what I am doing at a given point of time, I know who my real friends are, and I know things change with time and that my world of fantasy (which has already been shattered) may be broken further.
I do have bouts of self-doubt and dwell in feelings of hopelessness at times. But, I believe that at the end of everything, ‘this too shall pass’. No, I am not totally optimistic about everything the way I used to be, but I am progressing and I see this progress as an important part of me. I am still confused, many a times, trying to find meaning of my existence and what life is all about.
“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.”
All I know for now is that I need to learn whatever I can in these two years and work towards becoming a good counselor and try and empower other people’s life, just the way how I can now walk on the road of improvement.
Yes, medicines do work and seeking professional help has made so much of a difference in my life that I now feel alive after two whole years. I understand that there is a high amount of stigma attached to mental disorders. But, if we take baby steps towards understanding them and helping people by encouraging them to seek professional aid, we can do our bit of eradicating the long-standing stigma.
“What’s broken can be mended. What hurts can be healed. And no matter how dark it gets, the sun is going to rise again.”
There is a lot more that I can write, but it is painful somewhere. What I have described above is barely a part of what I have experienced. I really cannot find words appropriate enough to express my emotions related to my journey through Depression. Past is a place I never wish to go back. But, there is the present and the future ahead, and with them, there is HOPE.
You are not alone in this journey. All you need to do is take one step forward and seek help. Like you, I am just another human walking the everyday path of goodness and struggle.