Life can be tough. There will be days where you feel like giving up but remember- you grow through what you go through.

Hi! I am Samiksha. I am a final year Engineering student and an aspiring artist. Here I am, willing to share my experiences with depression and anxiety over the past seven years. I am just 21 so saying 7 years makes me feel very old. But, that’s when it all started so I might as well be honest about it.

I don’t know exactly when I started to feel the discomfort but it was sometime around the last two years of school. It started when I didn’t even know what anxiety meant. Looking back, I now understand, okay that’s what it was. But what would a 14-year-old be anxious about? No, it wasn’t about academics or report cards. It was about me not being able to understand the people around me. People whom I called friends were the first ones to discourage me, ridicule me, and make fun of me for just being myself. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong. 

I kept myself busy by participating in all things possible, from dance to painting to sports. I did everything in school except having fun a child is supposed to have. I did have a good time by myself doing all these activities though. Being busy really made me happy because during that time I wouldn’t have anyone else around. The only good memories I have are from dancing on stage at the school concert. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I had bad people around me; it’s just that I didn’t know how to fit in. I was the school outcast. I didn’t understand that looks were a parameter in friendships. I had to hear ridiculous comments from my friends. I trying my best to be a good friend wasn’t enough. That’s the first time I gave up on the concept of friendship. 

I thought this nightmare would end once I finished school. But it kept getting worse every time I entered a new place. I always somehow ended being alone. I would prefer to be by myself than facing anyone. Being all by myself was really peaceful. I spent most of the time doodling. After feeling completely hopeless, I found comfort in colours and music. As time passed, I started searching for new things to learn to keep myself entertained. As usual, keeping my mind busy felt like the best solution at that time. This led me to take art seriously, pushed me to start my own art page and also encouraged me to take up workshops. I even started an online apparel store with an exclusive collection that I personally designed. 

I decided to grow. I did try to open up more. When I got into college, I was really excited to have a fresh start. I tried to make new friends. I was really looking forward to having a memorable college life like it is often portrayed in stories. But, it was worse than all the previous years combined. I had a different perspective of friendships and relations than people around me. It really affected me more than I could have imagined. I just couldn’t take it. I stopped going to college events. I stopped taking pictures. I just didn’t want to make any memories at that place. I would rush home after class and find something to work on.  

But it’s not easy to grow out of your enclosed shell. I used to get mild attacks when I was in 12th  but they became worse in college. I wasted so much of my time running away from people. My self-esteem went downhill exponentially. I would just sit and cry for hours. It would become hard for me to breathe. At this point, doodling wasn’t enough. So, I decided to go for therapy and it is hands down the best decision of my life. I can’t emphasize enough on how helpful and life saving the whole experience was. I learnt things about myself that never even occurred to me. I learnt to take control of my life in a very practical sense. I realized that I let people treat me in a bad and disrespectful way. When I say I let them, it gives me the power to undo it, to take away that power and do something about it rather than just complaining and blaming people. I would one hundred per cent recommend therapy. It’s really the best thing that happened to me.

I always have been advised to let go and trust me, I wanted to too. Even if I forget what happened, I can’t forget how it made me feel. Even though it has been many years since then, I am still scared. It’s still difficult for me to untangle the wiring in my brain. I know a lot of people, but it is difficult for me to call them friends. I am still trying, still learning, one step at a time to change myself. Therapy really helped me to have a different perspective on my past experiences. It will take time but I am still trying. To grow as a person, one of the most important things I had to learn was to love myself. 

The flip side of going through years of depression all alone was that it made me really independent to an extent that I feel extremely happy when I am working and doing things that I love, but I really get uncomfortable with letting anyone be a part of my space. Looking back, my habit of consciously doing things I am interested in, having multiple hobbies, talking to myself; have really helped me go through everything alone. If you have a habit of being yourself, if you are different, if you stand for yourself, there’s a price you have to pay. You might not always find people who understand your choices and you might feel lonely sometimes. But just keep in mind that this is all temporary. You will find people who get you, maybe not today, but soon.

When I was asked to write my story, two thoughts came to my mind. First, is it really worth telling my story? Is it really worth someone spending five minutes of their time on? And second, how will people react? Will they laugh at me, or they will ridicule what I have to say or will someone actually find something to take away from my story? It was really difficult to put forth my experiences so unfiltered, but I wanted to share this for that one school girl who might find it difficult to understand her emotions and feels guilty for being different, or that one guy who is still affected by his past traumatic experiences and feels uncomfortable with people around. I want to tell them it is okay. It is completely valid to feel your emotions honestly. I want to tell them to not feel ashamed of being more emotional than people around them. It is completely fine and completely human of you to feel this way. And most importantly, I want to tell them that you yourself have the power to put an end to your misery and no one else can do it for you. I wish I had someone to tell me this, so I want to be there for you. 

No matter how far you are, no matter what you are going through, I want to tell you that it is possible for you to feel better and to have good friends and to have good days by yourself. It is possible to find peace within yourself and it is possible to grow and evolve even through the hardest times of your life. Even if at this moment you don’t feel like waking up, it is possible for you to have the brightest days filled with love. Love yourself a little more; try to understand yourself a little better and everything else will become possible. To grow is to find yourself all over again. 


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