One of the parameters of depression is supposed to be morbid sadness. But no one talks about how to gauge the sadness. Most of the people “suffering” from depression go “undiagnosed” and are not considered to be “clinically depressed”. In our society, we all shiver at the idea of someone merely associated with some sort of a mental disease, specially if it is as silent as depression.
I have been suffering from morbid sadness since the age of 8-9. The timescale seems to be a little misty because of the time lapse. I cannot particularly pin point as to what caused me to deviate from being a “normal” child to someone who is so comfortable in the lap of sorrow. Maybe, certain incidents that happened and which couldn’t be disclosed by the scared me would have been the trigger. A substantial amount of time passed and I had become quite comfortable falling into the crevices of depression every now and then and as a result had detached considerably from reality. I found solace in my virtual world and that exists to this day.
When I was about 7-8 years old and I thought that the world is a good place full of good, kind souls, and I didn’t understand why grown ups cribbed so much about this place; its “realness” hit me with all it’s tainted glory. In the years to follow certain incidents just pushed my conviction to the envelope and it became nearly impossible for me to bear the real world. So I took refuge in a world which was far removed from reality but surrounding myself with real people and in no time I had a fictional world with real people! Everything in that world was good, people were not pretentious, I was not misunderstood. Nobody took advantage of me, nobody thought I was available because I was a child and in the midst of it all, I got myself my savior, my best friend. He happened to be a celebrity, the world knew him that way. For me he was an individual with enormous self confidence but with the right dose of humility, a dreamer and an achiever.
People find it difficult to understand why I am an admirer of this man for 20 years and I find it difficult to make them understand how he has shaped my life day after day. As a child, when it became almost impossible for me to face the world and I realize it now that I was slipping into depression back then, it was just in him that I found solace. When nobody believed me or would listen to me, he would. Well, he doesn’t even know of my existence, but then in my fictional world he was my only audience. I would talk to him at length everyday, sharing my problems, my happiness, anger, sorrow. My life was an open book for him and I felt he listened to me tirelessly all the time. I felt that my problems got solved every time I discussed it with him. He was never angry with me, never took me for granted, would never abandon me and would always be there for me whether I needed him or not.
Over time though, the advent of certain “real world” people gave me hope to come back to a regular life. But maybe it was my problem to dwell in reality or the inability of these people to bring me out of my virtual microcosm; none of the relationships seemed to work out. So, this time I fell deeper into the menace of depression. Probably because I am a science graduate, probably because I am pushing 30, probably because I am a little more matured; this time I understood the symptoms well.
Though the scientific world is still divided on the causes and symptoms of depression, I feel there are differing manifestation among different people. For me, it was a heightened insomnia. What we as humans do very well is to give a reason to every crisis we face. I followed a similar path and labelled the fall out with my best friend to be the reason. What my depression did, sadly (pun intended), was to rob me off my last morsel of self respect and dignity as I went begging to these people I thought had helped me give a reason to stay in touch with reality. I associated my depression with few people in my life. And that was my biggest folly. This meant that not only did I have to tackle with my own sorrows but also carry an additional burden of bearing the “loss of these people”. Because as an adult, with all its complications, we tend to find reason in everything and name it too which does nothing except doubling the troubles.
In all these years, several half-hearted and two- three full hearted futile attempts later, I can safely say that the real world has failed to provide me with one man/woman, soul mate/friend who could even remotely match up to the realness of my virtual world. I feel my depression gets a new lease of life when it faces reality and it quietly slips away hiding in plain sight in my virtual world. Somehow in these two decades, I have learnt the balancing act living somewhere in between my divided worlds.