It feels like I’m about to die, with a tight chest and an aching back. I struggle to turn my limp body to the side to catch my breath. I open my heavily-laden bloodshot eyes and reach for my phone in the overwhelming darkness. After several failed attempts, I manage to grasp it, and I press the power button, which sends out a dazzling flash of LCD screen light that burns my retina. I narrow my eyes against the sudden burst of light, as my pupils adjust to the sudden change in illumination. I struggle to make out the time from the screen. It is 3am. I let out a sigh of disappointment.
“I thought it was over, the night.”
That part of the day when most people sleep and relax their minds was the time I spent fighting demons.
Before you start screaming ‘Supernatural’, it’s not the demon you think. This demon doesn’t come, a grotesquerie of black robes, fang-like teeth, tapering claws and dark wings. It comes as your deepest and darkest fears, insecurities mashed up to make a perfect cocktail of anger, agony, sorrow, self-pity and despair. This demon has a name, and it’s called depression.
The first time I ever heard of depression, I thought it was some sort of mental illness for sad, old, white men and withered spinsters. I thought it was one of those words coined to give a name to something that is mostly irrelevant, something which had no effect on the general population.
How wrong I was.
It starts off as a thought, the thought of life in general, how things could’ve been, what I’ve achieved so far, what I’ve lost, where I’m heading. And suddenly, I find myself tumbling into a dark void, bereft of life and existence, where the whole world is naught. I feel a growing pain in my chest, my eyes burn, and I lose control over my thoughts.
Thousands of thoughts and images dart through my mind, fleet of feet, and every sound suddenly gets stolen from my surrounding. It’s like driving a very fast car down a busy road, without any control of the brakes, and you are scared you’re going to hit someone, but you don’t. Different emotions course through my veins and I scream within me to make it stop. But it does not stop.
It feels as though a dark cloud is hovering over me. I feel alone, lost, confused, helpless, and unable to do anything about the situation. Throughout the ordeal, anything and everything annoys me. My personal space becomes smaller. Friends and family become insufferable. I force myself to cry it out, but I can’t.
The thought of my future haunts me. I try to evade it, but it just keeps hammering till I let it in. I’m tormented with images of what the future could be, depending on the choice I’m yet to make – either marrying a woman I’m never going to love, just to satisfy my family and society, having kids, living my life on other people’s terms, being unhappy and also making an innocent woman unhappy; or getting out of the country and settling down with the only kind of human being I can love, a man. But then, I shall be burdened with the thought of all the people I will disappoint; my family will be abandoned and will probably never understand why I made the choices I made.
In the wake of these haunting thoughts comes self-pity. It starts whispering hurtful words into my ears. About my yet-to-be achieved goals, about my current job and its lack of fulfillment, about time in general and how fast the clock is ticking, about how I have no control.
Then sorrow and agony takes their cue, filling my mind with an emotional surge. I feel powerless, helpless and useless. I feel so little in such a big world, unable to make any impact, wondering if anyone cares what I have to say.
When I see a child with his father, or when a child places his/her hands in mine, it triggers something in me. For a second, just for a second, I wish I could make that feeling last. But it doesn’t, and I can’t afford to. That’ll mean destroying other aspects of my life. When I see couples together, that also triggers something in me. There is this momentary state of despair that pervades me. And then, it feels like looking at something you may never have.
I love fixing things. That gives me some sense of control, control over something, something I can make right, something I can make work again. It gives me a sense of fulfillment, and in that moment, its mine and no one can take that away from me. And I suppose this is why my depression is so pervasive, when I realize that my life is something I do not entirely have the handle on how to fix it.
In the end however, I am grateful for those moments when I am granted a reprieve. I am thankful for the time when the storm passes, when the cloud disperses, when I am enabled to return to my usual self, fun loving and happy with no care or worry in the world.
Written by Max