Monday Truclusions – Overcoming The Struggles Of Depression

Monday Truclusions - Ashwin Karthik Caricature

The journey has grown tiring,
Being in the line of firing;
Every step is beginning to hurt,
As the heart is feeling burnt!
Every eye seems so cruel,
Love is no more a foil.
Once there were stars in these eyes to entice,
Now the light of the dawn pricks at my eyes.
Each day when the sun does rise,
I sell myself for a price;
Life now seems demented,
Now I live with a soul that is dead!
Her footsteps now I hear
The one, now is so dear,
I beg of you, my love, on me take pity
And hold my hand in reality
I am waiting for you to take away my breath
Come to me, O’ my beloved, Death.

Hello everyone, wondering why this week’s Truclusions began with a sad, depressing poem? Well, I shall answer that question soon. But before that, I wish to apologise to you, wonderful readers, for not being able to write my Monday Truclusions last week!

The poem you read above describes feelings that many people who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses experience.

April 7th, 2017 is World Mental Health day, and hence, I would like to dedicate this week’s Monday Truclusions to all those immensely brave people who have gotten their lives back on track after battling severe depressions. I’d also like to honour those who are trying their best in this regard.

Navigating The Turmoil Of Depression

Life is such a roller-coaster ride, we never know what it will bring us. One moment could make us feel incredibly low, and the next could bring immense joy. It is this unpredictability that life is all about. But yes, it gets difficult to handle the pressure, the twists and turns that it creates at times.

Sometimes, we succumb to these pressures and feel a vacuum and a lot of negativity around us. Today, I wish to tell you the two stories of two people who fought their way out of depression. Both of them sought solace in their passion, and it helped them fight the emptiness that had taken residence in them and created a void.

One is a world-renowned celebrity, someone I have always looked up to as a writer. She dropped out of school at the age of 17, while trying to deal with the challenges that life threw at her. She lost her only source of support – her mother – at 25. At 26, she suffered a miscarriage, and at 29 she was a divorcee going through severe depression. Despite circumstances, a baby girl came into her life, but as she was unemployed, she often had to rely on the generosity of others to provide for her.

Tired of life at the age of thirty, she decided to commit suicide, but an inner voice told her that she had to live for her child, and that she had a greater purpose in life.

Finding Comfort In Her Passion

That probably was when the transformation began – she decided to write a story for her child, and channelized all her energy into something that turned out to be extraordinary. She began to follow her passion for storytelling. However, success, even in this field, didn’t come easily to her. She was rejected by countless publishers.

But she didn’t give up and, finally, at 31, she published her first book and by 35 she had 4 books to her name and was named the author of the year. By the age of 42, she sold 1 million copies of her new book on the day it was released.  

She had created a character that was worth 15 billion USD. Who was the character? None other than the boy who lived. I don’t think you need any more clues to guess who I’m talking about. Yes, it was Harry Potter and the author I am talking about is J.K. Rowling.

Did you ever imagine that such a successful author would have to go through all that misery? It was her faith in herself that didn’t allow her to give up.

Rising Above Adversity

The other story I want to tell you is of a dear friend. I was introduced to her through my cousin. The more I get to know her, the more I appreciate her attitude towards life.

She requested that I not call her an inspiration or an achiever, but I am sorry, Ranjana, I can’t help but do so. I am not saying she is an inspiration because she has a kind heart or the attitude to serve or because she dances like a dream. It’s not even because of what she will achieve in future. I leave that for the world to see and find out for itself.

I want to tell you about the courage Ranjana has shown by accepting the situation she was in and triumphantly overcoming it. Now, she is also playing an active role in helping people going through similar situations. Let me tell you how it all began:

In her twenties, after completing her masters with flying colours, deservingly finding a well-paid job and sure of her bright future as a classical dancer, Ranjana was faced with an unexpected hurdle. It all started with diarrhoea, which she blamed on the junk food she ate. But it didn’t subside even after taking medication for a month.

To worsen matters, diarrhoea had found a new partner in breathlessness. Medical help was finally sought and she was asked to monitor when she felt the urge to visit the washroom. What triggered it?

Ranjana observed that whenever something new was being explained to her at work, when she received an email from her bosses or when she had to interact with strangers, she felt the need to use the loo.

She was finally diagnosed with a rare condition called irritable bowel syndrome. As it was a new term for her, she googled it and read the information available online.

Battling Sadness And Loneliness

She was saddened to discover that the condition had no cure and can return even after treatment. The sadness soon overtook her and turned into deep depression. She felt that quitting her job was the only solution. This made her feel lonely and useless.

Her greatest passion, her dance, began to seem arduous and like too much pressure. Each time she failed to meet her dance teacher’s expectations, she broke down.

She soon began to hate her own body. She could do nothing but stare at the wall and was regularly being called lazy. When nothing worked, she felt like she needed to quit. By September 2016, she started having suicidal tendencies. It was then that she realised that she needed help. She also recalled that the doctor who treated her for IBS had warned her that she could be prone to depression.

However, her self-denial was strong enough that she didn’t pay any heed to his advice. Finally, her psychiatrist’s diagnosis of depression led to a breakthrough.

She was brave enough to accept her ailment and the treatment required. Constant counselling from the psychiatrist helped her recover. She discovered more about herself and realised that she didn’t need to be the best, she didn’t need to be ranked first in everything she did, she didn’t have to understand something the very first time she read it. She didn’t need to be a perfectionist. All she had to do was to enjoy what she did and be happy.

Today, Ranjana works at White Swan Foundation and helps people recover from depression. Imagine that – a person who has gone through something so painful has become strong enough to help others recover from the same feelings of hopelessness.

Don’t you think we should play a role too? If nothing else, at least spread awareness about the subject?

Liked reading this? Then you might also like to read Monday Truclusions – Experiencing Ubuntu, An All-New Theory Of Relativity!

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Ashwin Karthik is the first quadriplegic cerebral palsy student to bag an engineering degree in India. In spite of having his share of misfortune that affected all his limbs since birth, Ashwin is blessed with a positive attitude and an undying spirit in life. He is a very talented poet and loves tackling impossible challenges. Ashwin has 3 role models in life- his mother, Sachin Tendulkar, and Stephen Hawkings. Currently, he works in ANZ as a Business Analyst, strives to bring awareness for an inclusive society, and wants to achieve at least a fraction of what Sachin has done for the spirit of his countrymen!