For the uninitiated, this is mental health awareness week (14-20 May).
This is the personal joke I only share with myself that– growing up, if I ever have had an inkling about these life-long inner demons, I’d have studied psychology.
If you’re not living under a rock, you must know that depression is spreading like an epidemic worldwide.
In a country like India, where discussing mental health means sweeping it under the carpet, it is tough to talk about your depression openly.
Especially with parents (personal experience #1).
Indian parents of the previous generation equates deteriorating mental health to personal failure (yes, a sweeping generalization).
And oh, they have the ready-made cure for you –
i) getting spanked/yelled at (when you are small) and
ii) getting married/popping out spawns (when you are big)
In case you are a long-sufferer of depression like me, it’s imperative to say that seeking professional help is a must.
If you are from India, then research well before making an appointment with a therapist.
There are many loonies out there posing as therapists (of course, they have that piece of paper) but would muddle with your brain further(again personal experience #2).
So first step: visit a counsellor.
Then create your own coping techniques.
I’ve been applying the following methods for few months to stay sane and the result is impressive.
1. Walking (as a form of exercise)
Earlier, I’ve tried hitting the gym but after few days, lost motivation.
This happened to me thrice. Now I find the idea of jostling with others in a confined space kind of claustrophobic. And it shoots up my depression more.
Instead, walking feels much more rewarding.
Though Indian roads are not particularly favorable to have peaceful, casual walk- without getting bumped or getting your foot stuck in a hole, I follow this routine minimum three times a week.
Moreover, walking gives me a purpose about-
a) connecting with fellow earthlings in real life, instead of virtual, and
b) a direction that- I am now out of the home and need to go back there on time.Thus creating a sense of discipline.
Both of these (perspective and sense of direction) get messed up when you are depressed.
2. Getting out more
Being someone who works from home (and damn lazy), getting out has always been a chore for me.
Added to it, the toxic habit I imbibed from childhood and unlearning now (“good girls don’t stay out late“)– had been one of the deterrents to me from being an outdoorsy person.
These days, I’m breaking it out one baby step at a time. So it’s attending a play one weekend while rummaging through the second-hand bookstore on another day.
Believe me, being in outdoor when you are not living in a land with sparse population is a headache.
To find silence-you either have to
a) choose an expensive cafe, sip onto that damn cappuccino while burning a hole right through your pocket, to read few pages or catch up with friends or
b) wander mindlessly in a centrally air-conditioned mall.
Getting out in order to clear out your jammed brain-space needs planning.
So good luck with that but please stick to it.
3. Exploring western classical music
2018 marks the first year in my life in discovering the fascinating world of western classical music.
Songs with lyrics don’t attract me much anymore. Rather, giving an ear to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons or Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata helps me to calm my extra-strained nerves before hitting the sack in the night.
Some days, I don’t even need to pop my prescribed sleeping pills.
Do Yourself a favor and subscribe to Halidon Music channel in YouTube. This is the proverbial goldmine for me to dig out the best of classical music.
Who else would’ve introduced me to Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite which I’m listening on loop right now?
Here’s the link.
Have you ever suffered/are suffering from depression?
What personal techniques do you follow to tame the beast?
Do share with me.