Name: Sakshi Singh
Struggling every day to wake up in the morning. Tying to smile when every cell in your body is breaking down with pain. It is a tough time when you are fighting depression and anxiety. We have always heard the saying “the happiest face hide the deepest sadness” and it is true, that people fighting depression has no option but to hide their sadness. Sometimes it is not even known to them when they are anxious and when they are depressed. It feels like crying, but you cannot because the world expects you to be happy and content all the time.
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I have been an extrovert all my life, talking, laughing and being loud is what describes me. Yet, you are never certain about what life has to bring. I was happy, living a carefree life which I was meant to and given. It was when I was in 12th grade; the pressure of performing well is not a secret if you are in an Indian family. I was never stressed; I knew that hard work was key to all my success and I would give 100% to everything I did. I also believed in not being a “book worm” so I involved myself in other curricular activities as well. In short, I was happy and had nothing to worry about.
At the dawn of 2015, my family suffered a lot of problems. I was the eldest who was away from home and could not do anything. I had my exams coming up and I could not mess it up. My marks would define my future, and it was “do or die”. Meanwhile, my family was suffering and breaking. In a life lived without fear and stress, it was the first time I could hear my heart beating fast. I did not know what was happening. My body was not responding normally, every morning was heavy, and that is when I knew depression and anxiety do not have symptoms. My pre-board results crashed, I scored way lesser than I used to. My teachers were worried and I had no answer to their continuous questioning. I had to pick up, get the strength. I had no friends because no matter how much I liked to talk, bonding was too difficult for me. I cleared my boards, and I topped my stream.
Then college started and a new chapter in life. I was quick in adjusting to a new place and a new environment. Past problems still lingered on. I kept myself distracted and soon saw taking charge in college. I was handling almost every other thing on the institutional level, teachers loved me, my peers admired the personality I had, but at night I would find myself crying in sleep. Each morning my pillow was wet with tears. And I had no clue about it. One day, while I was studying in my hostel room, my heart started to race, and I felt restless. This restlessness grew into short breaths and I could here too many voices in my head. I had no courage to get up and tears kept rolling down my eyes. My body was cold and I was shivering. My hostel mates calmed me down, held my hand and provided everything they could to help me out.
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When I was normal, I had no recollection of what happened. When my roommate narrated the story, I was shocked. She asked me what was going on, and I had to tell her. She told me that depression and anxiety do not have symptoms. They are only temporary if they happen once or twice, but it was 3 years since I first had an attack and it could get worse. She was scary when she said all this. I could not believe I was going through something, I normally used in fun to make jokes about.
I decided to change everything; I started to listen to people who suffered from depression and anxiety. From the scary stories, of people taking their lives, to how to get through a difficult time, I saw all. I realized changing a lot of things matters. Feeling positive, accepting that you are suffering, helping yourself change your living, everything counts. I started listening to motivational speeches; I started talking about how I felt, instead of bottling it up. I started including good eating habits and exercising in my routine. What was the result? I excelled the college and I was the overall best student of the batch.
I did not care if I made others happy or not, I made sure I made myself content. I spoke to therapists and took sessions. I realized that speaking your mind is the first step to get away from negative thoughts. I could not have done it if I did not have the support of good friends who made me realize what this was. As a child with working parents, bonding with them was an issue, but I tried. I told everything that was happening to me to my parents. My relationship with my family changed, it became healthier. I was happy, mornings were not heavy anymore, crying at night was not happening anymore. I was recovering, and I am still in the process. My message to everyone is, do not laugh or dismiss people when they say they are depressed. Help them! And to those who are suffering, keep defeating depression and anxiety, you can do it. Be happy, be healthy, and always remember, “Where there is a will, there is a way!”
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