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Beyond Barriers

Published: Thursday January 22, 2015 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday January 22, 2015 MYT 7:03:41 PM

A woman battling depression finds hope in the darkest of days

Learn to recognise the signs of depression, and act before it is too late.

One of the most unbearable things about depression is when it gets to a point where living becomes meaningless. Imagine waking up every morning hating the fact that you are conscious to face another dreadful day. 

There were days when I didn’t want to get out of bed or do the things that I would normally do – like washing up and going to college, but there were worse days when I simply wished I was dead.

On the surface, things were fine. I may not have the perfect life, but it was far from disastrous. I grew up in a middle-class family, and later left home for university where I excelled and made friends with the cream of the crop in class. So how did life become bland and meaningless?

I had lost my purpose in life, my reason for living. Depression had sapped every drop of hope that tomorrow would be better. Though I seemed to be doing fine, my soul was falling into a bottomless black hole.

Success in life does not always translate into a meaningful existence. That is why we are often shocked when someone who has so much going for her, chooses to end it all. This doesn’t mean that they do not have anyone who cares; it is just that depression had warped their perception to a point where they felt trapped.

We all need to know that there is an end to something that is hurting us – and if we cannot comprehend how it is going to end or get better, the world can become a very scary place to live in.

We often wonder how some individuals can go through the most trying circumstances, while others give up on life when they encounter “bumps” along the way. Reality is such that often-times certain losses reflect the loss of something much deeper than its surface value.

Once I found myself close to the edge when my friends weren’t interested in me anymore. This rejection went beyond friendship. I had allowed them to destroy my identity and self-worth, and that hurt the most. 

While others in my situation may be able to move on and find new friends, I felt as though I would never be able to find friends again. It took me years to learn not to allow my identity and self-worth to be determined by what is temporal.

Relationships are crucial in defining meaning in our lives. For the average Joe, relationships are mostly mutual and equal, that is, you support one another. However, for someone who is clinically depressed, relationships are often lopsided because they feel needy all the time.

I’ve lost many friends in the past because I was too needy. It took me a long time to learn to build friendships which are balanced and mutual. We cheer each other on and build one another up.

I have learnt to recognise the signs. When I see myself getting increasingly isolated, and life becomes uninteresting and meaningless, I know I need to muster the courage to talk to someone. It need not be face to face. Even a text message can help.

Each time I took that first step, a huge burden was lifted off my shoulders. Keeping a secret is no easy feat. I have learnt to rekindle my passion for life. Now and then, I make a conscious effort to break away from my troubles and just enjoy the beauty that life has to offer.

I think about the things that once made my heart skip a beat, and try to revisit them. I have learnt to laugh at myself, too. In this result-oriented world, it is so easy to lose joy in what we are doing.

I have found hope in the darkest circumstances. I have found comfort in knowing that no matter how bad things may seem, God has good plans for my life – plans to prosper me and not to harm me. I pray that all those who are hurting may come to find that same hope, that blessed assurance that has restored my soul and given me a reason for living.

Beyond Barriers is a platform for sharing and raising awareness on disability issues and any chronic medical condition. We welcome contributions from readers who have a disability or any special needs, caregivers, advocates of disability groups, or anyone living with any chronic medical condition. E-mail your stories to star2@thestar.com.my. Contributions which are published will be paid, so please include your full name, IC number, address and contact number

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Hope lives: Learn to put your troubles aside, and enjoy the beauty around you.

A woman battling depression finds hope in the darkest of days

22 January 2015

Learn to recognise signs of depression and act before it's too late.

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