This year in the month of April ‘The World Health Organization’ decided to celebrate ‘The World Health Day 2017’ with its theme as ‘Depression: Let’s Talk.’ And for having suffered.. NO…having fought depression myself last year I realized that I was not alone in my struggle against it. According to the data available on the WHO website there are a total of 350 million people worldwide who have been fighting depression. And if you’ve been following the newspapers you’d have realized that depression is on the rise like never before.
I remember when I sunk into depression last April; those were the worst three months of my life. From being someone who had always been unapologetically herself I became someone I did not recognise at all. From someone who was never afraid to do anything… I became someone who was afraid of life. Of things falling apart. I felt like a coward. A word I never thought I’d use for myself oneday. Because when you grow up worshipping the likes of Atticus Finch, Jean Valjean and Thorin Oakenshield.. You can’t ever feel like a coward. Because then it would be like letting them down, and a fangirl can’t do that, ever. But I did that. I let everyone down. I let my family down and I let myself down, all because I gave up hope. That’s what depression does to you. That’s what it did to me. It took away all my hopes and my dreams and my ability to see at the bright side of things. I lost sleep and I lost weight. I became weak in my body and mind. I stopped reading books and I indulged in self-pity. I spent nights crying myself to sleep. I could not see the road. You know, getting lost on the road is fine… but not seeing the road at all is scary. I had a crisis of faith and I suffered from low self-esteem. This was also the time when the National Eligibility Test’s results were out, and I’d cleared it and I remember it did not really affect me. I could not feel happy for any of my achievements. Engulfed by despair, I felt horribly lonely and I was scared of my life, or for my life? I don’t know which.
You know, sometimes we bank on a dream all our lives… and when that dream starts falling apart, things go haywire. No matter what we do, things keep falling apart… and sometimes there’s nothing we can do except sit back and see them fall apart. So having reached this point in my life I realized something. Coming to the title of the blog. Plankton. For those of you who don’t know who these beautiful things are… They are these tiny microorganisms that live in the sea or rather float on the water. These pretty organisms are further divided into different groups most important of which are the ‘Phytoplankton’ and ‘Zooplankton’. Phytoplankton are the primary producers in the sea, they produce their own food through photosynthesis and release oxygen during the process where as zooplankton are plankton that feed on phytoplankton and are food to larger marine organisms. If these were to go extinct in the sea, the entire marine food chain would break down and not only will the entire marine economy collapse but crisis of food shortage will escalate like never before and to make things worse the world will run short of oxygen. Who is to say the oxygen you just breathed in was not given out by a phytoplankton floating far away in the ocean? We’ll be doomed without them. So whenever someone asked me what would I have liked to be if I were not a human, I’d always say Plankter(which is a singular for the mass noun Plankton). Because they are so tiny and yet so important that an entire ecosystem depends on them. If I said, life on our planet depends on these tiny things, it would not be an exaggeration. For they are just as important to the planet as are the trees.
Coming back to the title of the blog. So when I was battling depression I realized that I was not a plankter for a reason. Because most of these organisms are incapable of horizontal movement. They float with the ocean currents. They can’t help themselves move but I could. I can. We as humans have this beautiful ability to help ourselves. So I decided to trust my life and I decided to help myself get out of depression. I even sought professional help and I’ve never been ashamed to admit that I underwent therapy and that it helped me. I decided to look for the road no matter how far it seemed. I decided not to give up on my dreams. I decided to hang on.
The journey back did not happen overnight. It took time, but I am glad it happened. I brought all these small changes in my life, I started yoga again, I started writing this blog, I got rid of all the things that were pulling me down including people. I lost my tolerance for all things shallow and fake. I stopped setting targets and started letting life happen to me day by day. Hour by hour. I stopped stressing on ‘why me?’ and embraced a ‘Well, well… this is what I am in and I have to get out of it as soon as possible.’ I became an ‘I sometimes read a newspaper to someone who panics on not finding The Hindu in my house. I became interested in History and International relations. I started reading about different cultures in India and around the world. I started having an informed opinion on issues that were important to the society, to the country. I started reading about other people’s struggles and I found inspiration in the most unlikeliest of places. Most importantly I found my road back. I have not reached my destination yet but I feel blessed to be on the road again.
When I look back I see how I was surrounded with an abundance of loving and caring people who wouldn’t give up on me no matter how hopeless things seemed. Thank you for standing by me. I love you. ❤
Oh, and this blog was supposed to be published on 7th of April i.e. on World Health Day but I’ve been crazy busy until this last week so here it is. I wrote this blog because I keep reading about depression cases every few days in the newspapers and I know how difficult it is to get out of it. So dear reader, I hope you don’t ever have to go through depression in your life but if ever you do, or if ever you see someone fighting it, always remember, ‘There is always a way out. Always.’ You just have to look for it yourself because your friends, family and therapist can do only so much…it is only you who can help yourself. There is no shame in admitting that you need help. . Sometimes all you need is someone to listen to your problems. Just listen. Plain listen. Talk to someone you trust. Someone who you think will understand. Half of your problems end there. And the rest, remember you are not a plankter, YOU CAN HELP YOURSELF. Give yourself a chance.
No, it’s not going to end without a proverb.
No matter how dark the night, the dawn will break. 🙂