The Battle With Depression

So this is something I’ve been dealing with most of my life. I don’t know if it’s a chemical thing or a personality thing or what. When I read Eat, Pray, Love, and Elizabeth Gilbert mentions that her therapist said that she would battling depression on and off for most of her life because she has a tendency towards it, I was like “Yes, that’s literally what I felt like I’ve been doing”.

The American Psychiatric Association provides the following definition for depression:

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

The funny thing for me is that there usually isn’t a huge cause for it. I’ll be wandering around just doing what I need to be doing and suddenly, I will realize that I’m just not feeling like myself anymore. It’s not like some big event always causes it (although that has happened as well). It almost feels like a bunch of little things that stack on top of each other and when I look up, I’m under the weight of all of that stack. I end up feeling like no one gets it. I end up resenting people for not understanding how I feel. I end up feeling like I’m a hole that I will never get out of.

I remember feeling that way when I was younger but I didn’t realize what it was. I’m really good at continuing to put one foot in front of the other so I would just keep doing whatever I was supposed to be doing (school, work, etc.). I think when I finally visited a therapist for when I had it really bad is when I learned to recognize it for what it was.

It comes and goes. I’m in the middle of trying to pull myself out of it right now. The best thing about recognizing it and beating it is that once you do it one time, you know you can do it again. It is tiring. It is overwhelming. But it is possible. I’ll continue to put one foot in front of the other and find love and happiness where I can. I’ll find help where I can because I know that it’s not possible to do this entirely by myself either.

The American Psychiatric Association also says that:

Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.

So if that’s you, please know you aren’t alone. There are a lot of us out there and we work hard at finding contentment and happiness. It’s not an easy battle but it’s one that is worth it. So get help, talk about it, do whatever you need to do to fight it. Because I promise that not being depressed really does feel good.

Why Don’t We Talk About It?

I met someone who was telling me about her journey to have her children. She was open about it which she mentioned was unusual for an Indian person.

She wasn’t wrong.

Why don’t we talk about it? I’m not just talking about things like miscarriages and infertility but also other things that we think are embarrassing or that we will be judged for in the Indian society.

Why should we be embarrassed? So many people go through things such as depression, therapy, divorce, miscarriages, in vitro fertilization, difficult births, and having a hard time adjusting to being a parent. The list goes on and on.

Why shouldn’t we talk about it? I’ve personally been through quite a few of these things and I try to be open about it because if my experiences can help one other person see that it’s normal to feel like this or go through this and it helps them figure out how to make themselves feel better, then it’s worth it.

We keep worrying about being judged by our community or society but seriously, what the hell? Who cares if some aunty talks about the fact that you had trouble getting pregnant? I promise you a fair number of the generation before us also had the same problems. So why do they believe that not looking like the “perfect” person is a bad thing?

As I said in Emotional Awareness- Yes, It’s A Real Thing, mental health is important. And as a South Asian Indian, we hide from our feelings. We try to play off that everything is always okay. Everything is not always okay. And most of us probably understand that even though we don’t share it. It’s a good thing to be able to recognize when you aren’t okay because recognizing that is a step to helping yourself.

It’s okay to not be happy 100% of the time. It’s okay to go through things. It’s okay to have physical and emotional health problems. And talking about it gives you a chance to finding a solution. It also gives you a chance to find a support system to lean on. None of these things makes you a worse person. None of them make you a weak person. Acknowledge and own what you are going through. Once you do, no one else’s judgment matters.

So let’s talk about it.

Emotional Awareness- Yes, It’s A Real Thing

Have you ever met people who have no idea why they are acting the way they are acting? They don’t seem to understand that actions have a cause and effect. They act and react according to instinct but never take the time to really think about the why.

I touched on this a little bit in Emotional Abuse…Let’s Talk About It. Emotional awareness isn’t something common among South Asian Indians. We haven’t been raised with the idea of mental health.

For those of us who have finally figured out that mental health is as important as physical health, it took a long time to get to that realization. For me, in particular, it took a lot of going through problems and changes to understand that this was an important aspect that I needed to address if I really wanted to be happy. I had to face that this was a real thing. My mental health was something I had to take care of continuously.

Because I finally faced myself, I started self-analyzing so that I could understand why I acted a certain why at certain times. For example, I used to be super jealous in my previous relationships. I just reacted to the things that would happen. After the end of one of my relationships, I finally took a look at how I was acting because being jealous is seriously no fun. I realized that it had to do with my personal insecurities. I had (and still have) a hard time believing I’m worth anything to anyone. The only difference is now I understand that this is something I need to work on as opposed to my partner. I understand now that I should not be putting this on someone else. It helped my relationships that followed after.

I take the way I feel about myself very seriously. It’s easy to blame unhappiness and a lack of satisfaction on the world around you because it’s difficult to look inward. But most of the time, we can control how we feel and be able to change it if we just took the time to understand where our feelings came from. We can have a better understanding of ourselves and how we react to the world around us and give ourselves a chance to really feel good about our lives.

Even if it feels like you are on top of the world, being emotionally self-aware is a good thing. It’s always good to know why you act the way you act. Maintaining your mental health should be as important as maintaining your physical health. Give it a try sometime.

 

 

Get It

I want to be really good at just one thing. I want to be known for at least one thing.

Let me explain to you where this came from. Everyone has their thing. I follow enough people on social media (and honestly, in real life as well, because as we all know, social media is a little bit of a fantasy world) to see who have hobbies or careers where they are living it up well. They have made something they enjoy into something that they can really live for.

I want that. And while people who know me might say that I am also doing that, it sometimes doesn’t feel like it. It could be that time just travels so slow so it’s hard to see things changing as we are going through them. And one day, I’ll wake up and realize that I have been doing exactly what I wanted to be doing. But it’s frustrating right now at this moment.

I constantly tell my kids that they have to learn patience. It seems as though I need to learn it as well.

Do any of you ever have a reaction when you think about what you want to accomplish? Lately, when I think about this one particular dream I’ve had since I was a kid, I get this immediate negative reaction where I can’t even think about it because I start getting anxious. Trying to analyze the feelings makes me anxious as well. It’s like I already want to believe I can’t achieve it. It’s a horrible way to feel. And I give my usual excuses on why I will fail at it. I don’t have enough time right now, I have other priorities, how would I even start, etc.

I want this feeling of accomplishment, like I set out to do this big thing and I did it. I’ve done it before with other dreams so there’s no reason why I can’t do it again.

What are your dreams and/or success stories? What have you accomplished that you’re super proud. Please share and let me live vicariously through you and inspired by you.

The Itch To Change

I’ve gotten comfortable. I have now fallen into my stay-at-home mom schedule with a set of responsibilities and I’ve become comfortable. My biggest challenge is literally just to find a way to get dinner done before I have to leave for the gym since the time I go is dinner time for the kids.

I know I should be proud of raising children and taking care of my family and etc etc etc. But I can’t shake this feeling that I’m meant for more.

The last time I had this feeling, I changed around my whole life. I left the relationship I was in, my job had just laid me off, and I had just finished my MBA. That’s when I met someone who became my business partner and together, we developed a really great dance show. It was great. It was exactly what I needed at the time and it brought me a sense of fulfillment and contentment.

I have that feeling again. This time, I don’t think I need to make any major changes. I love my husband and my kids and the life we have created. My husband and I have also started teaching dance as a side business and are loving it.

That itch is still there though. I’m not sure what it means or what I should also be doing. I know things I’ve dreamt of but I’m not sure which ones are meant to come true and which ones I really want to pursue. I don’t know if I have the motivation to really figure out what it is that I need. I don’t even know which ones are realistic.

Have you ever sat on the edge of something you know will change you? I don’t know how to quite describe it. I’ll know it when I see it. And afterwards, I’ll be like “Remember when I was talking about this? This is how it happened. “.

To quote The Little Mermaid “I don’t know when, I don’t know how, but I know something is starting right now.” (It’s stuck in my head. Thank you, children of mine.)

 

I Don’t Like Overly Enthusiastic People…

…especially if it’s not real. I feel you can tell if someone is totally BSing you. You can tell if someone responds to something and it just seems like they are saying what they think is expected of them.

It seems like, at some point, a message was sent to the world saying that if you like something, you must be overly enthusiastic about it. I don’t know if it’s just social media driven or in general. You must be “obsessed” with something or it has to be “amazing” or it is the “best” thing you ever saw.

Seriously?

Where did reality go?

Sometimes, clothes are just clothes. Sometimes, a story is just a story. Sometimes, things are just “good”.

What is this image that people are trying to portray? Why do they feel like they have to 1) respond to everything and 2) absolutely love it? Doesn’t doing this diminish the value of what they are saying?

I’m not talking about kindness or positivity. I think those things are necessary to cultivate in real life. I think it’s possible for a person to be kind and/or positive without all the BS.

I’m just honestly talking about the over-the-top responses that things in this world receive sometimes. Sometimes, I have trouble believing what someone is saying just because their answers seem fake and just something that people want to hear.

In my opinion, real answers (or no comments if you aren’t going to say something kind) are better than fake. Otherwise, how can I trust what you’re saying?

If you can explain this to me, I’d love to hear.

Is It Really Just “Teasing”?

I watched a couple interact a few days ago. There was a lot of “teasing” or as I’d like to call it “putting each other down”. Whenever they spoke to each other or about each other, it had to do with correcting each other or mentioning what they other person didn’t know. They seemed comfortable doing that as well. It made me wonder if that’s just how they communicated. It also made me wonder if that’s how they spoke to each other in private or if this was the case all the time.

I feel like I used to be like that at least in public. I didn’t know how to interact with someone I was in a relationship with. It was like, if I was nice to the person in public, I put myself in a vulnerable position. If I put my significant other down, it made me the stronger, more dominant person. Honestly, I don’t know exactly why I did it. But I do remember doing it.

After enough failed relationships, I learned that being vulnerable isn’t the worst thing in the world. People are built a lot stronger than we think. It’s hard if the relationship doesn’t make it but with the right help and work and time, we will get past it.

It taught me that I’d rather be vulnerable but be nice to my significant other. Putting them down doesn’t make me a better person. Teasing them doesn’t make me a stronger person. If anything, the opposite is true. Being good to them makes me a better person. And if I treat them with respect, then I’m treated with respect as well.

So what is it about these types of relationships and communication? I’ve seen it enough. Is it a form of affection? I don’t feel like I’d be very happy if someone I trusted with everything constantly made fun of me.

If you’re in this type of relationship, could you let me know what the deal is?