The darkest nights produce the brightest stars

worried-girlAuthor: Bhumika Chhadva

A soul looking up for a few rays of hope, the mind in a constant search of peace and calm, the heart waiting to receive love and understanding, while the eyes are filled up with tears and the thirst to feel life: Such are the feelings of a depressed person and any person suffering from a similar mental illness.

That feeling of seeing yourself drowning and everyone else around you is breathing, that feeling of having a war within yourself, that feeling when sleep isn’t just sleeping anymore but an escape; feelings like these as many would say ‘exist in people who are mentally and emotionally weak.’ – these are the views that I oppose.

There is no such beauty and strength present in this world than the beauty of such stars who have fought depression and are presently fighting depression. When everything is going lovely in life, you can easily whistle a merry tone and smile wide from inside. But when life challenges you, that’s when you actually play the warrior; and even though everything inside you is tearing you apart, you take all the courage and force that smile on your face – that’s real strength.

The state in which depressed ones are increases because of the constant feeling of being ashamed since they have fallen apart and the need to rebuild themselves – this is where I actually see real value.

Though struggle walks in for them, what is gained from it is a real strength, compassion and wisdom. The newer version of them is better and enhanced. Pain that we see as their enemy and something not normal becomes their ally and true beauty.

There is nothing more terrifying than battling with your own mind every single day. It’s like your own mind has turned away from you and when you tell yourself “I am going to fight this”, your mind at that time may respond with a big no and make you struggle. In fact, it is actually the struggle which brings in strength. “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength” quotes Oprah Winfrey. If depression = struggle and struggle = strength, then why label and overlook these strong bright stars who need nothing but some acceptance.

For these bright stars in the dark night:

The idea of living a day in the world hurts. They do not want to face reality and stay in bed all day long, dreaming of a life in which they are truly happy. But, they still get up.
They want to run away from everyone. They don’t feel like talking to anyone. They don’t want you to ask how they are doing because they don’t have an answer for you. The very idea of falling in love or making friends scares them. What if you leave? What if you don’t understand them and mock them? But, they still talk.

They want to stop and don’t want to study or work. Not because they are lazy. Not because they don’t have dreams, but because they think they cannot do it, and lack the motivation to even try. They will tell themself to get up, smile and laugh and have a productive day. But it’s hard to be motivated when you can’t feel a thing. But, they still try.

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They may be depressed, but they are not weak, my friends.

When a family member, meets with an accident and gets an arm broken, we send them flowers, and lots of get well soon wishes. What about a person who suffers from mental illness? A mental illness such as like depression is often overlooked just because it’s invisible unlike a broken arm. It takes strength to accept that sometimes even your near and dear ones find everything normal and ignore your mental state. It takes strength to silently wish for support and constantly try to make people understand that something perhaps even you will not understand completely.

Depression and mental illnesses can happen to anyone of us. They are not a matter of personal choices. I say this because I have heard parents and friends of depression-driven individuals critically comment by saying, “You are this way because you want to be”, “Go, get up and do something with your life”, face life for once and stop talking nonsense” – this fuels more of sadness, anxiety and blackening of the mind.

Just as we cannot think to ignore a wound that becomes infected or one that does not stop bleeding, or a continuous and sharp headache, one cannot ignore psychological pain.

Emotional wounds must be given that importance which they deserve, because psychological distress requires a cure, and support to heal.

Let’s remember this: It is okay to be okay, and it is also okay to not be okay.

If we can reach out to someone physically ill, let’s try reaching out to someone who is mentally ill and needs support. Let’s:

  • Believe someone when they say they are suffering instead of shutting them off.
  • Hug the person and tell them they are not alone. Assure them you will fight this together.
  • Instead of just saying ‘Get over it’, take the assistance of a therapist or psychiatrist.
  • Never try to bring their hard earned self-esteem down by labelling them as weak.

Stars cannot shine without darkness. Realise this and stop labelling someone as weak. What we think and perceive in our view, is not always the reality. The reality is many times much different, much deep and full of scars, yet very beautiful and strong.

To all the ones suffering silently and struggling hard: Depression is not beautiful, but trust me, you are.

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