I’m a 6 Ft, Hefty Man, But That Doesn’t Mean I Can’t Be Depressed
The fear of being a social outcast is more now, since I didn’t expect depression to hit me again.
Being a third-world country, mental health is not one of our top priority problems, but it is a rising one and a serious one.
I want to share my experience of the journey battling depression and OCD, and shed some light on the problems I faced, which no one else should.
The first time, at the age of 20, when I talked to my parents about my depression and OCD, and about wanting to visit a psychiatrist, their reaction was not at all what I had expected. Belonging to a Jaat family from Rajasthan, I was the first person to raise such an issue in my not-so-open family. Besides they didn’t want anyone to know that their elder son has ‘gone crazy’. After five years of suffering, visits to psychiatrists, and almost a year of medication, I am back to therapy. Now I’m even more scared to tell my parents or friends about it.
That was probably the worst time of my life.
My girlfriend dumped me after I told her what I was going through. At first, she didn't want to accept that something like this can even happen, and after some talking she was a bit calm, but it was not over. A few days later, she started fighting with me and insulting me for being weak and stupid for believing I was ‘sick’. And one day she snapped at me, told me we can't be together and blocked me. At that moment, I really didn’t care much because I was already going through a lot. But a few months later, she reached out to me and apologised and informed me that she too had been diagnosed with depression. I wasn’t happy to hear this and I sympathised with her, but now I had the strength to move on and there was no way I would turn back now.
Suffering from depression is difficult. I lost my friends when I confessed to them about my condition. And suddenly, I was socially outcasted. This was the time when I needed emotional support, but all I got was cold looks.
Being over 6 feet tall and having a good physique also proved to be a problem causing peer pressure of presenting myself to the world as a strong and manly, while I was all broken inside. Honestly, being manly was the least of my problems.
Being a social outcast with no one to support you can be a pretty saddening.
My parents constantly questioned my decision of visiting a psychiatrist and taking medication. In our family, a person only visits a psychiatrist and is put on medication if they have completely 'lost their mind’.
Even now, I talk to my parents regularly, but never about my depression. When I told them I wanted to go for therapy, their first response was “NO, don't you remember what the meds did to you last time?” They just don’t understand.
But somehow I ventured alone through the rough seas of loneliness, depression and pain. The only person who stood by my side was my senior, who himself suffered from some sort of mental health issues in the past. When I was diagnosed, I was at home for winter vacation. When I returned to college, I was already on medication and I told him the entire story from the beginning, he just sat there and listened, and I guess that was what I needed the most. He supported me in every way possible way. He kept telling me to keep my head up and not be ashamed of myself.
We would talk to for around 2-3 hours every day (besides the 18 hours I was sleeping, this was plenty). We just chatted and it helped me a lot since I was a social outcast in my college and obviously my parents weren’t exactly the supporting type.
He is working with a PSU and I am still in contact with him.
After almost a year of medication, though I became dull, it suppressed my sexual desires and made me sleep up to 18 hours a day (due to which I failed in four subjects), I thought I was ready to rejoin the social environment. As expected, not everyone welcomed me with an open heart but some did and accepted me as I was and how I was.
With time, I became somewhat open about what I went through but being careful about telling not too much to someone, now I feel some of the symptoms returning.
I am more scared now because I am surrounded by a completely new set of people and I don’t know how they would react about this.
Last time, I was in my second year of Bachelors and now I am pursuing a Masters in IIT.
The fear of being a social outcast is even more now, since I didn't expect it would happen again. But now, I know it might, and I don't have the strength to go through it again. The guys in college know I vanish over the weekends for something, but they don't know it's for therapy and I don't think they even care.
I just hope that with time things get better and society starts to accept us and not stigmatise what can be as normal as catching a cold. I just hope no one is mocked for being emotionally weak or sick or sad. I hope society sees this as a problem rather than a subject for gossip or mockery. I just hope people suffering from this are not ashamed for what completely is not their fault.
(PS: I really hope therapy helps.)
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