Depression is real

Depression…..

A word which is thrown about in today’s age of left leaning liberal millennialism as if it means nothing…..
Does it ?

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I was sitting one fine evening looking at the rain pouring down, the drops smudging the dust on the windowsill, looking like tears cascading down the glass pane…..Johny Cash was crooning out Hurt in my ears and I was reading the Color Purple by Alice Walker. I looked up to see the beautiful sight in front of me, and cried. Spontaneous, sudden…..unexpected. I wiped my tears away to prevent someone from knowing what had happened. Seems like a routine situation save doesn’t it ? I thought so too. Till I couldn’t go back to the book. Because my mind kept racing back like the prodigal son it was to what had just happened. Trying to decipher why it had happened. And why I decided to hide it. Looking towards the rain splattered outside….I tried to figure out….Why ?

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real 

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I was depressed. If I told people I was….They would ask me to ‘suck it up’, ‘grow a pair’ and other such phrases which people throw around without a hint of knowing what the consequences are. I was told to know my life was good and hence I should not feel entitled to depression. I was told I am loved and I had no reason to be hurt…..that I was just a spoilt little brat. I wasn’t. You see, Depression like most things do not go away with entitlement. It is hurt. No, not like a pin prick or a car crash or even like cancer. It is the indescribable feeling of an asphyxiating child being pushed inside an empty grave while all he tries to do is figure out the one last soliloquy he needs to sing to give his life meaning. That didn’t make sense ? Neither does depression. It is the feeling where you feel crushed and helpless, but you do not know why…..

I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar’s chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here

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Next time someone tells you they are depressed, do not ask them to stop whining, do not presume you can help them…do not patronize them. Hug them. Let them know that the day they feel like ripping their face off in agony…..they can run and come to you. Hug you. Cry on your shoulders…..let them know that in a planet of over a billion people, they can turn to one. Trust me, the pain, the agony, the smoldering fire of madness which cannot be rhymed or reasoned with…all they need is the solace of a comforting fellow human. For the warmth of a human heart is the medicine to anything, while the jeers of human wrath is the ever present conservative hand shutting a person down. Let the depression sink in. Let it stay. So do you. I didn’t figure out the reasons for the tears yet….I never needed to. Loving friends and family ensured I finished my book in peace and enjoyed subsequent nights of torrential downpour in all it’s natural beauty. Depression is real. Not a social media whack, not a rich person’s perpetual whines…..It is a issue affecting the human psyche. In today’s fast paced world….We all have been depressed sometime or the other. And a depressed person needs support. Not antagonism. Support. Because depression is real. It is a red flag, an incessant drone at the back of the human mind…..Depression is real.

And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

– Soumyajyoti Bhattacharya

Image Credits : Google Images

The Smile

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A smile is just another kind of lie
A practiced mask behind which we hide
We laugh, we grin with a bright face
Behind which are things we’d rather erase.

It is merely another falsity
A mocking oath on the altar of travesty
The curve of a lip hides, more often than not, pain
And suffering rather than joy, endured disdain.

What exists behind a smile is quite varied
Maybe a depressed soul to whom we pay no heed.
“She’s smiling, she’s all right ” is what we think
When in reality, she’s broken, barely balanced on the brink.

It could be someone you think you truly know
The happiest one, the loudest, though
Behind the stage curtains something else lies
Silent screams, razor cuts and bloodshot eyes.

She appears perfectly content and happy
But the cracks lie under the surface unseen
Her fractured thoughts and hopeless cries
For someone to notice her, to save her, to try.

“I’m fine, I’m okay,” she protests when you ask
Simply words- the feelings within to mask
She’s out of control, both abuser and victim
Everyday fast approaching her own requiem.

Look past that glimmering smile to see the scars
That lie on her heart and body before she falls too far
For some steps once taken, certain opened doors
Cannot be closed and may mean she is forever no more.

So be more aware and be more kind
For you never know what wounds you might not see but may find.
Us sad folk are not so easily seen
For we wear smiles of blood and shattered dreams.

– Kaavya Karthikeyan

Image source :Fanpop.com

Depression

I woke up today,
with an heart almost broken,
Bleeding tears through every crack left open,
My soul feels ice cold, and there’s voices in my head,
Silently screaming all at once,I don’t know if I’m alive or if I’m dead,

Everyday feels worse, I can’t keep my eyes open,
Everytime I shut them down, nightmares awaken,
I feel pain and I feel numb, paralyzed but shaken,
Hateful eyes spitting venom, my safe places all forsaken,

Will anybody miss me? Will anybody care?
Will they even notice when I’m no longer there?
I feel invisible, I’m choking on myself,
My mind feels claustrophobic like it’s crushing on itself,

It’s hard to go to bed, and It’s hard to wake up,
Like a dog without his bone, I feel lost and all alone,
I want somebody to know, I want somebody to care,
But I’m too afraid being judged, when I leave my feelings bare,

All my tears feel like acid, My voice is always broken,
I just want to see, a Human Being being human.

Just another cut, Just another scratch,
“What’s that little mark?” “No, that was just my cat”
Just another excuse, Just another lie,
“You wear bracelets now?” “Just fashion, why?”
Just another tear, Just another scream,
“Vishal, were you crying?” “No, Just had a bad dream”
It’s not just a cut, or a tear or a lie,
It’s always just one more, till the day that I die.

– Vishal Muralidharan

Sound and in Peace

Happy, cheerful and ecstatic
That’s how one would describe her
With eyes that are very dramatic
Oh she’s beautiful, no one would differ

Teachers love her, that’s for sure
She possess every quality, with which one can lure
She’s everything, bright, intelligent and savvy
In short, everything for which one has to envy

Most popular kid of the school,

That’s no doubt

Never misses on schedules,

Works with no halt

 

Everyone is bound to love her

That’s what you think

Dark is her past, fate and life

Thoughts fly off in a wink

 

As usual, for school she leaves

Down with a sense of grief

In the campus, Rinngg… She hurries

Face changes, with a smile in a brief

 

Oh make up! Such a wonderful tool

Covers flaws up

Oh so beautiful!

Deep inside, is the bitter truth

 

She reaches home all tired,

Goes back to her dull old tone

This is not how she was wired

People all around, yet, she was all alone

 

She goes to sleep

Sound and in peace

The heart that is clustered with emotions

Sleep does not come in ease

 

She woke up

Emotionally dead

She tried covering it up

Couldn’t, she went ahead

 

Never was anything the same for her

Nor did she feel it could be

Monsters from within, tearing her apart and crushing her

Flashes of all the things she did not want to see

 

Incidents happened, one over the other

Isolated she was, no one seemed to bother

 

“Oh she’s just sad, she’ll be alright”

“Attention seeking drama queen”

She did hear them all right

She felt bleeding in and out, from her cells to her spine

 

She goes to sleep

Sound, but not in peace

Her monsters laughing at her every leap

Frightened she woke up, it all came to a cease

 

“Will I ever be loved?

Will I ever be cared?

Will the torturous trauma ever come to a stand?”

She cried as she lost all hope, the only thing she had

 

A moving dead corpse

A body with no soul

Heart beating fast in fear, like a racing horse

Inside her, just one big hole]]

 

She kept everything trapped in her.

The past for her is not just any bygone

All crumbled, giving it back in a blur

And she refused to let it out to anyone

 

 

She goes to sleep

Neither was she calmed, nor was she in peace

Her neurons stretch with emotions taking every leap

It went out of hand, to bring it to cease

 

 

Pain and agony clutches her tight

Tired of choking she loses her mind

Her eyes move from left to right

If only she could unwind

 

 

A hurricane storms inside her

Silence, not a single murmur

She’s lost and drifted probably forever

Like a volcano, she erupts in tears,one, two, three and another

 

 

She wants to sleep

Sound and in peace

This time forever

To let her pain cease

 

 

 

Pills pop in

Her neurons go fast

Heartbeat goes down

And she fell down at last

 

 

She goes to sleep

Sound and in peace

All her pain comes to a cease

Chaos and trouble kept aside

Towards heaven, her soul shall stride

– Gayathri Krishnaraj

Image Source: Astranat(DeviantArt)

For a Friend

What goes through people when they decide to take their own lives ? I would never know….. I have never been there. I would never want to either. But I know something else. Grief. Grief of losing someone you cared about. Grief of losing someone you wish you knew better. Grief of losing someone you wish you had spoken with one last time before there was no more time left. Grief of losing the joyful soul of a friend untimely to the perilous hands of death. Death by suicide.

Gourab was a jolly young man. I remember my initial impression of him as the guy on whom was attached the stigma of having an year back in school. However, I would want him to be remembered for anything but that now. He not only overturned his educational problems by working hard during the time I knew him, but also always did it with a smile. A smile which made me happy. Made probably everyone he knew happy. Little did we know the happiness was hiding something far more painful than anything we could even fathom. Gourab wasn’t the first friend I had lost in my school life. I had lost another friend named Soumyadeep to leukaemia. However, this was different. And far more painful. I do not know if any philosopher has made any analogy to link age with emotional distress and pain; however, I know it for a fact that an analogy is not too far off. Or it was just the fact that Gourab’s suicide was out of the blue. Shock has that lingering memory which claws at you, asking you how things could be different. Was I close to him ? I do not know about others, but from where I am from, you do not study in a class for two of the toughest of your adolescent years and not be close. From analysing our favorite club Manchester United together to the time spent playing football after school, from playing hand cricket all through boring Chemistry hours to meeting up and discussing movies at uninteresting tuitions, he had been a quintessential friend during those years. Moving to SRM did bring a heavy toll on my social life with my friends back in Kolkata, for in trying to settle in within a culture shock and catching upto engineering I had been guilty of ignoring the people I loved the most. And that included Gourab. Two years of studying engineering passed by in a breeze, I settled down in my new life and with new friends, till a friend called me up on that fateful day to tell me Gourab had committed suicide. I would be lying if I say I ever expected something remotely similar to happen. I didn’t really know what to do. I was not shocked, not sad…..I felt nothing. I attended class as usual. Went about my day….till it was lunch break and a friend expressed gratitude for me sharing my food with him. That is when it hit me. The abyss of having lost a friend. The feelings reverberated in me till I could hold it no more. I cried. Long and hard. I didn’t know why, or what even really brought this, I just did. Gourab’s death brought me sadness. Sadness which passed but for moments of passing grief on specific days of the year. His death brought me misery which accompanies the shocking misery associated with losing loved ones. Even that passed. What didn’t pass was regret. Suicide is not accidental or biological, it is the result of constant crippling psychological trauma. And I could have been a better friend, maybe even tried to find out if everything was okay. All those busy school fests, I could have taken an evening out to call a dear friend and ask him if he was doing fine. Catch up on our shared anger at Moyes’s mishandling of ManUtd. Tell him how engineering is sapping the life out of both of us. Tell him, “Chill, It’s a burden we both are sharing, and it’s a burden we can split between us”. Explain to him by telling that ” Don’t go friend, this world is tough, and one less friend is one less shoulder to cry on when the going gets tough.” Maybe even offer my shoulder for him to vent his grief out on. Like a brother. But why would I ? Gourab was always happy, and psychological stress is hardly a problem. Till this world’s refusal to see a problem for what it is was too late, my blindness to a friend’s misery was perpetrated to an extent where it didn’t see through a facade. And when the facade fell, so did a dear friend.

Gourab is no mere friend, brother, son lost to suicide. He is one of many martyrs, who have cleared the clout in our minds surrounding mental stress and psychological illness. I will never commit suicide, and I ensure I checkup on everyone I love, telling them that they are loved, ensuring that they know they have some place to go to in order to vent, not lose it all in inevitable death. Suicide is as real a threat as HIV or Zika, but my friend taught me it can be fought……together. I loved him like a brother, and wish his soul peace. More importantly, I wish him gratitude. He left me a life where I knew that nothing could be more important that people close to you, and they could have demons like you, but far more terrifying. I will be there for them. I am sorry I couldn’t be there once. That is my demon, and I am fighting it. This is not an eulogy, it is a letter acknowledging something I have never done. Dear friend, thank you for being there, thank you in life and in death, and thank you for leaving me with a wonderful touch of perspective. And know, I miss knowing that every night I go to sleep, you are safe in some part of the globe. Goodbye dear friend. I promise I will not let what you taught me in life and in death go to waste. I promise.

– Soumyajyoti Bhattacharya

Image Credits : Google Images

Recognizing the warning signs of Suicide in people & helping them

 

According to the WHO, on an average, one person commits suicide every 40 seconds.

Suicide is a complex phenomenon and not an illness in and of itself. Suicidal ideas and attempts are important to look for and evaluate. Unquestionably it is hard to predict who will attempt suicide but, it is possible to characterize the risk aspects keeping in mind that it is a risk and not an absolute prediction.

Some of the common predictors of suicide are persons undergoing extreme/ acute emotional distress of any cause. This could be symptoms of depression or other psychiatric disorders, there could be acute changes in interpersonal relational status, any acute loss/ change in financial status. This is the one characteristic that is most obvious to outside observers who could be friends, family or well wishers of the individual. This is a time when all those who care for the person suffering could express their support by “Just being there”.

Hopelessness as a thought characteristic is significantly associated with suicide. This is basically a sense of there being no future for the person. This could occur in the context of again life stresses such as a breakup, financial losses. Persons experiencing hopelessness may appear listless, not interested in looking towards the future – even towards the immediate future – not wanting to go out, dejected and saying as much.

Substance abuse whether alcohol or other drugs especially increases the risk of suicide in individuals. It has the ability to impair a persons world view and make things appear more bleak than they are.

There are other risk factors that are associated with suicide attempts including a prior history of suicide attempts or self injurious behaviors, family history of suicide, exposure to suicide in a family member or significant person, and exposure to physical or sexual abuse. These factors may increase the possibility that the person experiencing distress currently is at a higher risk of harming self.

So, what can any other person do to help their loved one?

Families and friends are scared of hearing the word suicidal in the context of their loved ones. Rather than jumping to conclusion that they need to be taken to a psychiatrist/ counsellor, the easiest thing that can be done is to be there for the person in distress. This would involve just being present, letting them know that you are there to help if they need and most importantly there is someone if they want to talk.

The sense of having someone nearby who cares for them has a significantly soothing effect on individuals.

A patient, non-judgmental hearing of the persons woes before asking the question “How can I help?” will also go a long way in helping persons put their current problems in perspective. This would enable them making better choices in the form of not harming themselves. Finally before closing, it would be helpful to finish with a sense of hope in the form of saying something like “If there are problems, then there must be solutions and we can find them together”.

-Dr. Shiva Prakash

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Note from the LonePack Team:

People who’re going through a tough time find it difficult to ask for help. It could be anyone from our silent classmate, to the girl we sit next to on the bus.

Can we help show our peers that the world is not devoid of hope anymore?

So reach out to them, and write them a message. LonePack will publish them all on their Facebook “Wall Of Positivity” on Sept. 10th, which marks World Suicide Prevention Day.
Send in your message and share to keep the chain of positivity going. Do join us in spreading some joy and showing some support to the people who need it.   

So, tell me, did you spread some positivity today?

-The LonePack Team

Image Credits: flickr.com

Take Aim

For the past few months, I’ve been predominantly in the concave downwards parabola of my life, wondering where exactly did I go wrong.

Luck, fortune, opportunity, everything seemed to slip away from me. I kept telling myself that things will be better, they did become so, but the dragon of despair soon destroyed any vestiges of my floaty happiness.

Reduced to a monotonous life of assignments and tests with rather unfair outcomes, my soul became troubled. The pressure mounted so much, all types mind you, parental, peer and college. And yet, I refused to become depressed. After the Great Depression of 2008 (more on that in a separate post), I refused to trouble my body with stress, forced myself to sleep well. In spite of that, this semester has made me push myself to the limits.

Letting my mind fight it all alone, because my pride wouldn’t let me confide further to anyone, I became a bit moody, bit more self-pitying, bit more sarcastic and a teensy bit defensive. I became addicted to Facebook and messaging and TV but wasn’t enjoying it at all. That was so because I would only relax when I couldn’t do work anymore and my mind would still be on it. Or worse, it wouldn’t be and I would go on a guilt trip.

Today, at the fag end of the semester, I received news that my previous semester grades have been reviewed and moved up.

The clouds just seemed to disappear all of a sudden, it seemed like a good omen. In retrospect, I looked extremely silly in my head. Yes, the pressures were immense but that was simply the struggle of the caterpillar. Now almost freed from class labs, I finally have time for myself, to delve into my Pensieve.

And that is exactly what I have done. Somehow, writing gives me a clarity like nothing else.

I suddenly saw the light at the end of my tunnel and I’ve decided to be the butterfly chasing the sunbeam and it has taken aim.

-Sowmya. S

Note: This post was initially published on the personal blog of the author (http://thegreatindianstoryteller.blogspot.in) and has been reproduced with permission

-Photo Credits: blogtraitim.info