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Life is worth living

“It may get worse before it gets better but it WILL get better.”
– Debby Ryan

We live in a society that glorifies working oneself to the bone. It’s not uncommon to find people bragging about how much they’ve managed to achieve when all the odds are stacked against their favour – for doing all of the housework and more soon after giving birth, for holding multiple jobs while tending to a sick family member, for putting up with a toxic relationship while being productive, and so on.

These have now become social norms.

You must be aware of the expectations that most Indian parents have of their children:

– you must do well at academics,

– you must have a stable/well-paying job,

– you must know how to manage the household,

– you must do whatever is asked of you whenever it’s asked of you,

– you must attend all family functions and be a delight,

– you must obey your parents and elders no matter what,

– you must get settled by the age of 30,

– you must have kids, etc.

More often than not, kids don’t really get a say in how they go about their life. Let’s not get into the exceptions at the moment.

It’s not always feasible to please everyone all of the time. It can get quite overwhelming to stay on top of things all of the time. Some kids have a crippling fear of letting their family down that they put added pressure on themselves to be the person that their folks want them to be. They’d rather be miserable than deal with the aftermath of disappointing their family. Failures can be soul-crushing in cases such as these. What’s worse is that in times like these, people are met with taunts and ridicule instead of support which could potentially push one into the pit of despair. We may not notice it at first but, if left unchecked, said person could gradually be gripped by the clutches of anxiety and depression. We tend to ignore the warning signs cause more often than not we’re in denial of mental illness. We’d do anything to justify our stance:

You see an extroverted person suddenly withdrawing themselves from people, skipping meals – “They’re just seeking attention”

You see someone sleeping through the day – “They’re probably tired”

You see that their room is a mess – “They’re just overwhelmed”

You see that they’re no longer motivated to do the things that they otherwise enjoy doing – “Maybe they don’t have the time”

You hear them questioning the point of everything – “They’re probably having an existential crisis”

You see them suddenly lashing out at people – “They think no end of themselves”

The list goes on.

It’s normal to feel depressed every once in a while as long as you bounce back out of it. Like I said earlier, it can get overwhelming to keep up with all that is expected of us, all of the time. In times like these, getting a little help can be a lifesaver, whether that means getting someone to help out with chores and/or errands when you just don’t have the bandwidth or therapy to improve your mental health.  That gives you some time to catch your breath and recalibrate.

It is unfortunate that asking for help is highly frowned upon in a society like ours. Think about a young mother hiring a nanny, or a wife expecting her husband to help out with the chores around the house, or seeking therapy, I don’t think I need to mention the taunts that you’ll hear.

It’s always better to nip things in the bud, same goes for situations such as these. Just because you can get by doesn’t mean that you have to. A little assistance never hurt. Getting some help around the house while you don’t feel up to it, for instance, will help you recuperate and when it comes to your mental health it’s recommended that you see a therapist when you feel yourself slipping as opposed to waiting for an episode or a breakdown to occur.

If symptoms of depression are left unchecked, they could lead to an increase of suicidal ideation which can be tricky for laypeople to combat. Intervention by them could potentially cause more harm than good.

If you or someone you know struggles with depression or suicidal ideation, please seek help (visit http://www.aasra.info/helpline.html for access to the Indian Suicide Prevention Help Directory).

Till then, I hope these words bring you some comfort.

 “You will one-day experience joy that matches this pain. You will cry euphoric tears at the Beach Boys, you will stare down at a baby’s face as she lies asleep in your lap, you will make great friends, you will eat delicious foods you haven’t tried yet, you will be able to look at a view from a high place and not assess the likelihood of dying from falling. There are books you haven’t read yet that will enrich you, films you will watch while eating extra-large buckets of popcorn, and you will dance and laugh and have sex and go for runs by the river and have late-night conversations and laugh until it hurts. Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.”
– Matt Haig
(an author who personally struggled with depression himself and persevered.)


By Beverly Monteiro