‘Mental health over every damn thing!’

Depression is a mental hurdle that every human being has to endure at some point of life. Many people, might feel, but fail to acknowledge its presence. Many, unfortunately, get pummeled in the battle and perish. Zaara Zareen observes this situation and shows the light at the end of the tunnel. 

24296799_1452902778159866_7286364695563456741_nDepression. Just one word, which can be held responsible for sending in so many waves of sadness and frustration, in different dimensions. How does it feel like when it hits you, you ask? Your favourite song which you never get sick off, fails to have the same effect on you. That comfort meal which makes you feel all warm and hearty inside, that too, tastes like sand. The company of that person, who would make you feel at peace, makes no difference to you. You just unwillingly go on with your days. You seem fine to everyone too. But only you know how vile the world seems to you now. You might think people would take such a critical mental issue seriously, well, you are entirely wrong on this page. Most do not and unfortunately, fail to understand, or to even try!

The thing about depression is, it does not come in the form of despair and hopelessness only. If it gets worse enough, you will get severe anxiety and panic attacks. It is normal for a person to feel anxious or even get a panic attack before things like an important exam, an interview, a highly anticipated day et cetera. Even in my case, the first time I experienced anxiety in the worst form was during an exam back in my school days. My hands grew cold and numb. My brain stopped functioning. I had no idea what was going on and ended up wasting over half an hour just trying to keep my calm. Same goes for my first panic attack. It was before an exam I had pulled an all-nighter and consumed too many energy drinks. However, you know something is very wrong when you grow a tendency of panicking about doing normal day to day activities. Imagine living a life like that only to have people suggest you things like ‘cheer up’ and/or ‘it’ll pass’. People fail to realise that it’s not ‘just a phase that will pass off’.

Due to this very reason countless people take their own lives. They try reaching out only to be turned down like this. The rate of suicide has increased at an alarming rate over the past few years in our country, especially among the youths. If anything, victims of depression, if they take their life, even get judged even harder afterwards by being called ‘weak’ or a ‘coward’ or both. Suicides did not make much sense to me, growing up and facing the situation does. But one dreadful morning, the news of a dear friend taking his own life came to me. Suddenly a topic which used to feel distant felt the most real. Years have passed by since that incident and I still miss him, wondering how he would be if he was with us today.

However this road does not always have a dead-end.  For instance, going to psychologists or counselors can actually help to great lengths. As demoralised as you may feel to visit one, just the mere act of finally sharing all those thoughts, that you keep to yourself, with someone can be so emancipating. Psychologists make it their job to make you feel as comfortable as possible, which is very refreshing in comparison to letting it out to outside people who you might feel won’t understand the situation. In case of anxiety and panic attacks, professionals will recommend you useful exercises to calm your nerves. It will be a slow and steady progress but a progress nonetheless.

Having a trusted friend can also help immensely. I have had the privilege of having a best friend who always helps me by giving direction to my thoughts in times of despair. It is quite important to have at least one trusting friend close to you. It can do wonders if the person is a true well-wisher.

This fight is not going to be easy. You will constantly come across people who keep triggering your anxiety farther. They will not understand you and might as well use your anxiety for their advantage, but trying to help yourself is your best shot at dealing with these kind of people better. You will come back stronger and you will rise higher every time you rise up from situations like these.

A page on Facebook called ‘The Artidote’ is another place you can also resort to for some peace of mind. It is a page which is dedicated to talking about difficult thoughts with art. It is run by the founder, Jovanny Varela-Ferreya, under the creed ‘mental health over every damn thing’. It is one of my absolute favourite pages on Facebook. They also have an account on Snapchat too. There you can find people sharing their thoughts from daily lives, be it a sad or happy one. You can send in your thoughts too and if you are going through something difficult and reach out to the community, one person or the person will definitely respond. You feel a lot less lonely knowing there are so many like you out there, scattered all across the world fighting similar battles.

I would definitely love to be a lot stronger, at least mentally. But I am also so very grateful that I’m not where I used to be. I over think a lot less now, and I barely pay heed to people who stand as hurdles in my way. If you are fighting countless battles within yourself, know that you can win too. Do not let anxiety trick you into thinking you are less relevant than anyone. You are important. You are relevant. Even if you think you’re not, YOU ARE. Forgive yourself and be a little less harsh on yourself. YOU CAN DO IT.


Zaara Zareen is a student of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh.

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