The Aftermath

Life after depression is a silent revolution that takes place within a person. It is so pleasing to watch a life ahead of the darkness, you’ll enjoy the good days, learn from the bad ones. Be a part of important occasions, being available for sharing, being physically and mentally present, looking forward to the future and loving what the universe is preparing for you, Looking in the mirror and like what is seen there.

The core of mental well being is striking a balance of emotions. We’ve discussed how depression is an illness that makes your brain sick. The symptoms, the journey, than survival. 

What happens next?

Every illness is considered to be negative, frowned upon as it affects the normalcy of the functioning of the human body. The difference between the illness of mind and the illness of the body is that it affects us in a completely different perspective. Physical illness gets rid of toxins from your body once in for all. Or after a series of medicinal attention. While mental illness opens a door to self-awareness. It forces you to learn a lesson, take a chance, try new things out of your comfort zone. It teaches us a lot. Although it takes an awful lot of you and replaces it with something much more bigger and different, what happens when the depression finally does leave you? What happens when you finally heal? What does it feel like to find the light at the end of the tunnel?


Well, all of these questions are hypothetical in nature. You are never ‘healed’ from mental illness. However, things start to get clarity, people suddenly become approachable. Someday, you’ll wake up and just feel better. You’d want to look good,  wear new clothes. The days after depression are extremely odd. After living in a mindset of ”I don’t deserve anything I have and I want” for a very long period, this will make us doubt ourselves, the self-doubting again lands us in the vicious cycle of ‘Am I good enough for this yet? ‘

And for a split second, it’ll feel like you’re spiralling back into the person you used to be during the depression. Here’s the thing about recovery, you’re never fully healed. It never truly leaves you. The way things feel will change, they will become more optimistic and open for learning. 

Fear turns into ‘things I can get better at if I practice more’. Insecurities change into ‘Yes, I look this way and I can control over it to an extent by eating healthy, keeping myself hydrated.’ Self-doubt turns into ‘I was able to get myself through something as exhausting as depression, I can handle this too’. Frustration and disappointment will turn into ‘I can do this one step at a time.’ 


The process of healing, as a matter of fact, is not linear. The ups and downs are sometimes extreme. The extremes will make you want to lock yourself in your bedroom for a day or more in order to avoid social interaction, Mental breakdowns in a random sequence that don’t really have a prerequisite reason or purpose. The balance of emotions plays a vital role here. On some days, you’ll feel numb.

It’ll drag you down to a point where you’ll feel like you’re back to square one, but this is the exact same moment you need to understand that looking back only means you’ve come ahead.  Let’s not worry now. 

There’s hope, there are new beginnings awaiting. And it’s your time now. 

Step out, Breath. Be.

The Quest for the Silver Bullet

“Depression resembles a vampire”. The statement sliced through the cacophony of noises clouding my consciousness and conquered my attention. Like a beagle who had just got a sniff of a bone, my eyes lit up and darted across the room towards my best friend of many years, imploring her to explain what she meant by the statement. “I feel depression sucks hope and happiness from its victims just like a vampire would suck blood”, she continued. The people around, myself included shared their thoughts on the comparison but the conversation soon moved on to other topics. Somehow, the comparison she made stuck in my mind and my attempt at writing this is an effort at crystallizing my thoughts as to why I found the particular analogy interesting.

Vampires, ghosts, werewolves and other paranormal beings appear in the folklore of many cultures across the globe and are a part of our collective social conscience. Despite modern advances in science and education, belief in the supernatural remains as strong as ever with many surveys showing that a majority of people profess belief in some form of the supernatural. Many theories abound as to how and why humans as a species tend (and want?) to believe in monsters. One interesting viewpoint is that these beliefs are an irrational response to legitimate fears that imbibed in our ancestors a cultural aversion to places and situations which represented a real danger. For example, it is very likely that large aspects of the legends of monsters which roamed forests at night evolved as a result of early human’s fear of nocturnal predators. But as time passed, the creative wonder that is our minds concocted increasingly eerie and frightening versions of these myths and legends. As with every strong cultural belief that has stood the test of time, it involves a combination of fear and hope. While the “fear” aspect of the supernatural legends needs no explaining, the “hope” aspect is in the form of methods that true-believers could use to dispel these monsters. Some examples included garlic being used to ward off vampires. In fact, one object, in particular, has been so widely used in legends as a defence against the paranormal that it is used to denote a specific, failsafe solution to a problem – the silver bullet. In folklore, a bullet cast from silver is often the only weapon that is effective against a werewolf, witch, or other monsters.

With these facts in mind, my friend’s comparison of a mental health issue to a supernatural entity becomes more credible in my opinion. One of the major impediments to mental illness is denial. Just as people choose to ignore the mountains of evidence against the supernatural since it challenges their deep-set beliefs, very often people dealing with issues of the mind refuse to acknowledge that they need help. Similarly like the monsters of legends, paranoia and insecurity are just irrational reactions to legitimate grievances that we do not wish to acknowledge. However, the one similarity that I find most striking and the one that this article is going to largely deal with is the belief that there exists a silver bullet – a magic cure.

From my own experience, while I refused to actively seek out help from people in dealing with my depression, I clung to this fairy tale idea of a silver bullet – one single incident, person, belief or action that would help me overcome my inner demons. At my most desperate moments, my search for the silver bullet became an obsession. This obsession for immediate, painless redemption latched itself into anything that my mind could interact with. Family, friends, God, self-help books, that award that I always wanted to win, that dream job – the list went on. Like a chain smoker who convinced himself that he would quit the next day, my transformational healing was just around the corner. “If only I won the competition, I would gain my confidence and people would befriend me. “, “I just need to pray hard enough and one day, I ll awaken enlightened”, “If only I loved my friends, they would rescue me from my insecurities”. These were the thoughts that fuelled my paranoia as I spiralled further into the depths of anxiety and depression as each and every entity that I thought would redeem me did not. My blind belief in an external agency that would save me only further alienated me from the ones I cared about. My obsessive need for reassurance that they would pull me out spurned irrational thoughts of insecurity and fear which played havoc with the way I dealt with people.

Perhaps the most enlightening realization that I have had over the past year when I finally decided to reach out and seek professional help is that there is no silver bullet. My belief that one person, thing or event could single-handedly provide me with a new breath of life was badly misplaced. It turned out that defeating with depression wasn’t a quick, painless glorious moment as I had envisioned but instead a long-winding, sometimes messy affair which required commitment from my side and determination to face my darkest fears myself. And while it might seem counter-intuitive at first, the realization that my redemption did not lay in a single object was immensely liberating. I was able to be much more rational and level headed in my relationships with people and my expectations about events. It helped greatly with dealing with my anxiety and identifying and observing irrational thought patterns and I can confidently say that I have become a much happier person than I have been in a long while.


Looking back, I can see why I wanted to believe in a silver bullet. It took responsibility and agency for dealing with my issues away from me and helped me live a life of denial and self-hate. Perhaps, it also tied into the fantasy novels that I read which fed into the idea of war being won with one masterstroke or by a legendary hero. Who wouldn’t have been awestruck by the thundering roar of the brave cavalry galloping into the battlefield, trumpets and all as they swoop in to smash the armies of the bad guys to smithereens? It makes for great literature and gripping movies but does not translate well on a real battlefield. The wars in our world are won by engaging in long winding pitched battles, using strategic retreats and by soldiers fighting on in smelly trenches winning territory in agonizingly slow increments. It might not be glamorous but that’s just the way life is.


I would like to end with this quote:

“’Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were heading for the shore.”

  • Ray Bradbury


When it comes to mental illness, the silver bullet may paradoxically be the realization that there isn’t one. I have stopped my quest for the silver bullet, have you?

  • BloodRaven

The Longing to Belong

There are some days when I don’t see the point in anything I do. 


Some days where I still feel the tired drag of my bones and the slow yet constant thump of my heart and I know that it’s going to be “one of those days”. And that’s alright. I’ve learnt how to cope with them. To learn to ask for help and seek support and take it easy till I feel better. And on those days I think, is there really anyone else going through what I’m going through right now, right this instant? I mean through all the 7 billion people of this small planet, there has to be someone who feels the exact same way I do. Right? 


Humans have always thrived in being part of something bigger than themselves, in being a community. Whether it came in the form of religion or political views or just something as simple as living with the same area code, we’ve always longed to be a part of something. And that sense of community with no doubt makes us stronger. 


The same, I think, is true for mental health as well. A word of encouragement always sounds better coming from a person who has been through the same thing once as you are right now because you know that they truly understand. And to be very honest, don’t we all want someone like that for us? 


It is not easy to put yourself out there and be vulnerable to everyone and be open to talk about your mental health issues. It took me the longest time to accept that it was okay to talk about it, that there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. And talking about it to confused faces that would not take the time to understand at first was embarrassing and terrifying. And I didn’t do it for a while and kept it to myself like I always did. But then when I pushed myself to take that chance again, one day, one of those confused faces actually turned out to completely understand. They shared their experience with me and was so relieved to know that they weren’t alone in feeling that way. 


[Image source: Pinterest]

And that made it all worth it.


Now I don’t feel terrified nor do I feel embarrassed for letting me run my mouth about issues when no one understands them. Because I know what it feels to long to belong. To finally feel like you are not alone. To finally know that this is okay and that there is nothing wrong with you and that you shouldn’t feel ashamed of yourself. 


[Image source: Pinterest]

So, this goes out to you as well, the one reading this. If you feel that anything you say could help another person, then do it. I know it seems terrifying but even if one other person feel a little less left alone, then it will all be worth it. 


Everyone longs a little to belong. And together we are always stronger.

Sunday-ing and taking ME Times

Warning: Use of derogatory terms in writing. 

Fast moving world, this is how I picture it in my head. The busy streets of New York, hundreds of people walking past the Times Square with caffeine in one hand and their mobiles on other. Nobody knows where the person right next to them is headed to, they walk together in total sync for minutes and then turn to their own directions and part ways. Nobody has the time to pause, to reflect. Sometimes it is scary to realise that every passing second of your life is the first and the last time of its occurrence in this version of reality, in this lifetime. Waking up every day, there is always a routine of activities ahead of us that we do throughout the entire day. School, college, work, home anywhere we go the schedule holds us hostage. 


At the end of the day there is very little time left for ourselves. So, every dawn a voice deep down inside of you encourages you to do better today than yesterday. This voice is unique for everyone. One day it says be kind to others, the next day it says be kind to yourself.

It’s bitter sweet that we don’t live alone in this world. There are people, many people around you. Some make it easier for your voice, while some seem very hard to understand. And it’s natural for us to judge them. If you’re lucky, you’re right a couple of times but you know-Maybe the girl with the “social butterfly” status, who is currently with her 6th boyfriend whom you call a ‘slut’ misses the one true love that happened to her, her first love. Maybe the boy who doesn’t know how to talk to girls and is always with his books needs an 85% to continue his studies with a scholarship to support his widowed sick mother. Maybe the girl who starves in the name of dieting for the so-called ‘boy attention’  has an eating disorder that doesn’t help her gain weight but saves herself pizza every weekend. Maybe the guy who doesn’t hang out with the “Stud-gang” is suffering from stage 3 lung cancer, so he rather stays home writing the novel he always wanted to finish.  Maybe the boy who broke up with every girl he was ever with had a mother who left him for another man when he was just 4.  You know, just maybe.


Our job isn’t to fix anyone around us. Every person you meet has a different perception of you, you are bad in someone’s stories and good in others. Somehow we equate our self worth to others perception of yourself and thrive to make it perfect without accepting the fact that it is going to change anyway. 

Self-worth is not your list of achievements, in many dysfunctional families there are comparisons of the siblings involved, one might be smart while the other might be smart in a completely different sense. Pointing people out for their flaws isn’t going to help “change” them and we ought to realise this.

We often think we need to take ‘breaks’ or ‘pause’ or ‘unplug’ only if a very tight and serious schedule was a prerequisite. I mean it is not entirely our fault, we assume our self worth to be equivalent our productivity level and our list of achievements. So, I’m here to tell you. It might sound hideous to a regular person about why anyone would deserve a break if they didn’t work hard enough but a depressed person, takes their entire energy to wake up from his bed and is left with nothing for the whole day.


Mental breaks are essential. Necessary to reboot yourself, cleanse your system, do relearning of your patterns. A few ways to do this creating something from the learning. People resort to painting, drawing, craft making, writing and journaling, creating music, cooking, exercise and more.  Always find something that makes you forget the world for a minute and do it with love every time you feel the need to do it.


Happy ME TIMEs to you!