For years, I had been suffering and done too little about it. I would come up with every excuse possible to avoid being vulnerable and confronting these issues. I knew that things would not magically get better, but I was afraid of my own shadow and too scared to do anything about it. I was also becoming more self-destructive and didn’t see a way out; nor did I want a way out as I felt I had nothing left that I cared about.
It got to a point where I couldn’t leave my bed even to do something as simple as walk downstairs and wash the dishes. I was almost catatonic. I couldn’t hide the severity of what I was experiencing from my family either, and finally my mum intervened. She dragged me to a psychologist to get the help I so desperately needed. I was now 20 years old.
It was during my first session with the psychologist that I found out I was severely depressed. Even after all I had been through, it still came as a shock. I saw depression as something I was stronger than and thought it was embarrassing for a man to fall victim to such a thing. But this feeling very quickly turned to relief as I was shown examples of people who had been through similar things and had come out okay at the other end. I began to understand why it was happening to me, to be able to own up to my story and then start to move beyond making plans about how to make changes.
I found this incredibly liberating. When you’re in such a state, often no amount of reasoning or logic will change your mind. You feel so overwhelmed that the thought of facing the future is simply untenable to you. I felt like my life was over and so riddled with emotional pain that no words could describe what it felt like. Now, it really scares me to think back to those times where I had e l i lost all hope. But equally, I’m thankful that I experienced them and am forever grateful I have such a close-knit family and friends who love me. I know now that if I hadn’t experienced all of this, I wouldn’t be able to develop the same level of empathy for others who were suffering.
It also taught me to never judge, to always listen and never compare two situations. Everyone has their own story, and everyone’s suffering is relevant under their given circumstances. The key is taking action before things become bigger and bigger problems.