Articles Mental Health

When I was Diagnosed with Depression

It was a scary day, and a scary night followed. Different people might have different responses to being diagnosed with a disease like Depression.

My first response was Denial. Well, typical of me, I guess.

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When the doctor said I had depression, my next question was, “Do I really need to take antidepressants?” I know it might be similar to asking if it is necessary to breathe to live. It might be a basic and borderline dumb question but cut me some slack. I didn’t know what depression was, and I didn’t want to take antidepressants because I thought they would make me slow. And if they did, how would I ever write?

Out of all my supposed achievements in life, I have always considered writing to be my gift. I might not use big words or dazzle people with my use of obscure literary passages, but I believe I can connect with my readers. I can amalgamate my life experiences with the topic I’m writing on and bring forth a piece that resonates with the audience.

However, as enjoyable as it might be, writing takes a toll on a person. I am continuously thinking about at least five or more stories at a time, about moving them forward or bringing forth some improvement. In the back of my mind, there is always a doubt that I’ll not make it mainstream, and my pages will remain scattered in a dark alley far away from my readers.

With Depression, a new -and rather big- worry entered my life. A worry that after all those childish jokes about being crazy, I might very well be: worse, I might remain so. Most people consider mental diseases or their worst form ‘madness’ as a familiar yet distant concept which undoubtedly exists in a faraway world but not in their vicinity. Like them, I had built up a fictional and incomplete understanding of what it’s like to have depression or rather looks like.

I say ‘looks like’ because no movie in the history of filmmaking has dared to show how a mad person actually feels. Filmmakers show their own understanding of mental disease from an external perspective, failing to catch how a person suffering from the ailment might feel like.

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Fortunately, my doctor didn’t have any such misconceptions and cleared my doubts about what depression exactly is. He told me that depression, just like the common cold, is quite common -well not as common but still- and almost every person at some point in his/her life is depressed. The only difference is the degree of that depression.

Another doctor explained this in a very unique way. Our mental equilibrium, just like a weighing scale, is balanced through various bodily functions. However, when this sensitive balance is hindered and can’t be managed by the body alone, an external nudge is needed to help balance it. That external nudge comes from the antidepressants. This is quite similar to a fever, the only difference being that the body part affected in this case is the brain. And we all know how much of a taboo, ailments related to the brain are.

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