Updated: Jun 29
Life is hard enough, even without a mental illness. But, when you are mentally ill and it takes everything to barely stay afloat, anything that life brings on, which it would have anyway, makes the going even tougher.
When the depression was at its strongest, I would hit the bed. The bed let me trick myself into pausing life and with it, the depression. I thought I was escaping the pain. Actually I was giving in…inviting the depression to come and hug me and become one with me.
Over the years, I learnt that the bed was a trap. My treatment focused on keeping me out of bed and in a structure, preferably outside home. Education, jobs, hobby classes, short term courses, making new friends, joining a gym, among other things, became anchors to keep me out of bed. I could barely keep up and almost always ended up quitting, but kept seeking out something to make me believe there is a purpose to my life beyond the suffering and lure me into leaving the bed.
However, being out and about also meant I was putting myself out there at my most vulnerable self. Be it job stress when I could land a job and hold it long enough, difficult conversation, or not having a job, crying spell in public or at a family function, study pressure or lagging behind peers, feeling out of place and much older than classmates, altercation on the road or minor accident, misunderstanding with a close friend or best friend emigrating, repeated ankle sprain requiring cast or breast lump removal surgery, auto immune disorder flaring up or ending up with PCOS, breaking up with my boyfriend or getting married…the entire range could send me into crisis mode...simply because I let life interact with me.
Every crisis came with so much force that my healing journey would get threatened. I would then want to stop fighting and declare it’s too hard and not worth it.
The feeling of having hit rock bottom.
Enter suicidal thoughts.
Sometimes, I reached out to my therapist on these occasions and asked for support to help me manage the crisis. Sometimes, I made things worse by retreating into a shell and not scheduling a session, losing precious time and getting to the point of giving up.
But every time, therapy helped me survive these setbacks and not lose sight of the fact that no matter how challenging life is with a mental illness, I don’t have the option of not engaging with life and people.
The therapist would slow down the pace of my therapy and let the storm pass, or if I could take it, make me understand how I was getting taken for a ride by the depression. At this point, the frequency of therapy sessions would go up. The psychiatrist recalibrated my medication to support me through the upheaval.
Like this, crisis after crisis has been managed over the years and I have continued to survive. I could not have done it alone. I am proud for having sought and received help.
I urge you to never stop asking for help. You are not meant to be doing this alone.
Disclaimer: Psychotherapy is extremely unique to every individual and CANNOT be generalized. This blogpost is merely intended to convey that if it helped me in some way, I recommend you consider it for yourself if you need to. Do not read into it with a personal checklist and think, oh this is exactly what I needed and this is how it will pan out for me as well. It doesn’t work that way. That is also why you should give it a shot. Discover your unique journey with it; your journey of healing will be so much richer with therapy.
Written by: Nishtha Indrasha