I want to write about something extremely personal that I’ve been thinking about writing for quite a long time. And everyone who knows me, knows how much I hate disclosing personal stuff and I’m not the type of person that can express and pour out their feelings easily to people. Maybe I’ll come to regret posting this for whatever reason later. But at this very moment, I’m choosing to do this because the stigma our society has towards mental health issues is just f**king stupid and makes coping with them even more difficult and if I can do a very small act to break the silence, even with just one person who might be struggling with what I’ve gone through, then it would definitely be worth speaking up.
The past 7 months have been the worst 7 months in my life. And by worst I mean the darkest days I’ve ever come across and all I can say is that it felt like living a nightmare. I’ve learnt the hard way what severe clinical depression feels like. I’ve learnt the hard way to never abuse the word ‘depressed’ in daily conversations because it is disrespectful to those who are really suffering from it. I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s an illness just like any other serious physiological disease and likely as intense. And to my surprise, it can come out of the blue too and when you least expect it. I never imagined I would experience such thing in my life at this age and with no reason. I never knew depression can hit you this hard and never knew how physically painful it is until I stepped into it.
It started last August and lasted up until February.
I started feeling gloomy and lost interest in almost everything in my life and I felt exhausted the whole day. I isolated and distanced myself from literally everyone around me except my family. I felt empty and completely numb. I felt burdened every morning when I wake up and thought to myself here is another day to get through. I had zero energy and I’d lie in bed for hours, maybe days. It was too hard to get myself to eat to the extent that I lost over eight kilos in a very short time. Days could pass and I haven’t eaten a thing and I wouldn’t even bother. It worsened as time went by. My productivity and concentration were ZERO. I couldn’t complete one single task and I felt stupid 99% of the time. I’ll leave it you to imagine how my academic performance was at this time.
I’d cry hysterically to random people I never imagined I’d cry in-front because I couldn’t hold it and pull myself together to get better. I didn’t even know what I was crying about but the tears just wouldn’t stop. I’d go for days without getting out of bed or leaving my Mum’s side. I’d go for days without sleeping one single hour. I’d shake when I start talking, presenting or seeing people. I couldn’t speak normal words to the extent that people made fun of how I articulate or hallucinate. I’d randomly find my limbs numb or shaking and my heart rate racing reaching 130 beats in a minute. The list goes on and on. And that’s when we knew I hit rock bottom.
None of my close friends know the intensity of this because I chose not to tell them. I chose not to share this with anyone. I was so ashamed to open up with this. Long story short, all I want to say is that it is okay to speak up. It is okay and sometimes necessary to seek professional help and it is also okay to take medication if your brain chemically and urgently needs it. It is okay if you feel so, it is something beyond you. It is okay, our society made it not but it is okay. I came to realize that is not something to be ashamed of. Not at all. Your mental state does not define who you are. It is something you experience.
Papy, thank you for whispering “hana you’re strong, you can do this” every time I was about to lose it, and thank you for reassuring me that you understand everything I’m going through. Mamy, thank you for trying every trick to make me feel better and thank you for keeping me going all this time. Thank you for every one who stood by me, pushed me, helped me figuratively and emotionally. Thank you to each and everyone (and they know themselves well) who never left my side throughout these 7 months and tolerated me being a pain in-the ass, 24-hours straight, and being the heaviest burden and the most negative person there was.
Thank you for everyone who listened and tried their best to help one way or another. Words can never do any of you justice and can never repay you. I realize now that I was super lucky in the grand scheme of things – depression is never easy to deal with, but it was less difficult for me than it was for some people because I was fortunate enough to have the social support that I had and that my body responded well to treatment. ( الحمد لله)
And to everyone going through a mental disturbance, depression, or any psychological discomfort, you are not alone. All I can say is that I was in the exact same horrible place and thought I’d never get out of it, but here I am living the happiest and brightest days of my life (الحمد لله). I desperately thought I’d stay stuck with that illness my whole life and that nothing and no one could ever help me out.
I hope that my story can at-least let you know that you don’t have to fight it alone. You’re strong, brave and you can do this. Never forget that. Never forget who you are beneath your mental illness and beneath all this mess. You are so much more than you give yourself credit for, I promise. Your brain is tricking you, please don’t surrender. Your heart has seen better days, and I swear to God it will see them again.