(1/5) Echoes of Her Shadows: Depression

(1/5) Echoes of Her Shadows: Depression


3 min read

Tanvi, a good friend of mine, had silently battled a decade under depression. Throughout, she maintained a jovial attitude and was known for her witty conversations, which effectively masked her inner struggle.

With much of ample efforts, she chose to express her experience with the world. While the names in this series would be fictional to protect privacy. The narrative would be in her own words & inspired by our discussions.

Her story is not just a personal account but a reflection of a larger issue often hidden in plain sight. Depression, a complex mental health condition, can often go unnoticed by even those closest to the affected individual.

Tanvi’s decision to speak up represents a crucial step towards demystifying mental health issues and fostering a more understanding and supportive environment.

Notes in her own words:

Back then, I pretended everything was fine because I didn't want to bother my parents. I made them believe I was fine, although I was struggling with sleep deprivation and feeling pretty terrible. I recognized that this wasn't normal.

I avoided therapy because I've been an overthinker since childhood and combining overthinking with depression can be a lethal mix. I was convinced that neither therapy sessions nor medications would have a lasting impact on me because I tend to overanalyze everything.

Additionally, the costs were prohibitive. Similarly, motivational videos and quotes didn't seem like a sustainable solution for me.

Depression is indeed a complex condition, not just a simple disease. It's an unavoidable and irreversible situation that can't just be overlooked.

The most challenging aspect of depression is that it cannot be diagnosed unless the patient is entirely open with the therapist about her emotions and experiences.

Many people dismiss issues like depression or anxiety, saying things like that didn't exist in our time!

But just like how smartphones weren’t around back then and are now widely used, new challenges and realities emerge. It may sound typical of Gen-Z to point this out, but it's valid.

Unlike physical ailments such as fever, where symptoms like increased body temperature can signal an issue, depression does not manifest clear, external symptoms.

It's similar to a slow poison, subtly affecting individuals without the obvious signs seen in conditions like skin infections or even cancer, which can be identified more quickly.

You might have heard people say that stress can lead to hair fall, pale skin or even disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycle, possibly leading to PCOS or PCOD. I can list 10 different causes for these issues which might confuse you: is it depression or something else?

Because it’s not just stress causing hair fall or our modern lifestyle’s impact on our eating habits... you know this already. So, pinpointing the exact reason for these health issues isn’t easy unless the person themselves speaks up.

They're often so good at pretending to be happy that you wouldn't even notice anything's wrong.

One in every 20 Indians or 5.3% of the population, was found to have suffered from depressive disorders at some point in their lives.

-2015 NHMS survey

Well, in this case, it’s the opposite happening, along with something called the missing tile syndrome, a tendency to focus on the things that are missing in our lives, rather than the things that we have. I’m not sure if you’ve ever felt this, but many people do.

At one point, I even thought I should opt for a frontal lobotomy, which disrupts the connections between the frontal cortex and the rest of the brain, particularly the thalamus. Doctors believed that doing so would reduce abnormal stimuli reaching the frontal area.

Such stimuli were thought to cause impulsive and violent behavior. The causes, the suffering and the after effects might vary greatly from person to person.

This series needs to be treated as the reflection of someone's personal journey, not as any medical advice on mental health or depression.