Because a Diamond is Forever by Anushree Srivastava

Someone aptly said “You look at the scratch and completely miss the diamond”. To those diamonds, I write today.

On this Mental Health Day, I slithered my way to my blog, beaming proudly, to re-read some of the posts that I had written. For the uninitiated, I began writing about my adventures in the world of mental health issues a little over 3 years ago, when I realized that I was living a conventionally happy life, with a lovely circle of family and friends, an exciting job, and some definitive plans for marital bliss (that my then avatar believed was a tell-tale sign of a life going well) but was exceedingly melancholic still. If feelings could be represented using mathematical equations, my life’s equation would have been X= 2Y, where ‘Crying = X’ and ‘Smiling = Y’, because I legit cried twice as much as I’d smile. Oh, while we are at it, as a blast from the past, let’s not forget to make the math more complex by adding the dreaded “Limit X tends to infinity” as a working condition all day every day.

So, today I realized that it’s right when they say that we often look back at our younger selves and cringe when we see how foolish we could be. Ah, well! Like any other person who feels this silent tinge of pride at their accomplishments, I was hoping to read my past posts and fill my mind with nostalgia and a feeling of satisfaction for being among the first few people in my circle to break soil for a healthy discussion around mental health. Needless to say, I could not have been more wrong 😀

Seriously, why was I going on and on about how we can control our minds and how we must wake up with positivity every day? Trust me, while writing each of these posts, I was surrounded by a dozen paper towels that were wet from my tears and I had most likely slept for an alarmingly long time after finishing those posts on a seemingly high note. What you saw on your screens was a jovial girl with a fighting spirit to defeat depression while, in reality, I was wearing a tattered t-shirt with questionably long pajamas and carrying leftover Cheetos in the gradually-forming nest on my head. As writers, it is almost too easy to write about the rainbow shining out of our asses while actually being colorblind ourselves. I can describe the rains to you after having always stood under the shower all my life. Tsk tsk, my current self is experiencing some well-deserved impostor syndrome because just recently, there was a sudden surge in the readers visiting my blog and I’m now feeling second-hand embarrassment for my past self who felt like the Shakespeare or Javed Akhtar of recent times while penning down those half-baked pieces while eating ice cream made salty from the tears falling into its tumbler.

Alright, coming back to the current times, it has been almost a year since my last post where I had preached like a nun who was second to none when it came to sinning. I will still be generous enough to give myself credit for actually uttering loud cries of frustration in the form of those posts where I bared all with no inhibitions. A direct outcome of this was that I did manage to lift up my spirits, all thanks to each of you who read those posts and wrote back to me. The fact that you did not just click on that annoying thumbs up sign, but actually made an effort to write to me just made doling out those hollow advices so much more worth it. It served the one real purpose of social media- gaining validation, haha! But, do you realize how much that validation helped a lonely little (not by age, only by size) girl who was struggling so hard to calm her fist-sized heart (Biology 101, yo!) every time she was anxious about something or another? For those fleeting moments of joy, I extend a thankful hand. For the rest of you who did not reach out for some or the other reason, congratulations, this is your latest chance to do that and compliment me on my writing prowess and an inflated sense of being :D. Jokes apart, thank you for reading what I had been writing. You may not have written back to me but your IP address did increase my blog’s visitors count by one and ensured that my page did not have embarrassing statistics.

On this day, I’ll make another confession. I no longer believe that a mind can stop being depressed for good. Yes, there is a depressive state of mind that’s prolonged versus short spells of depression experienced from time to time, however, the art of unlearning depression is not something that I believe is out there. Why? Because once you’ve tasted poison, you recognize it by its faint odor. Even today, in my least depressive state, I often find myself faced with situations that lure me into that all too familiar darkness. On most days, I have a knee-jerk reaction to snap out of it by going into a hypervigilant state where I do anything and everything to distract myself and not go hippity hoppity-ing my way into the la-la land of depression. However, on some days, when I’m alone and not feeling too upbeat, I embrace it as my day of being depressed and allow myself to feel that feeling that I’ve been avoiding far too long. It can be scary when depression often starts to seem like this familiar place of solace where you no longer have to pretend to be happy for yourself and for others, and you can finally, even if just for a day, let yourself be consumed by the darkness and wallow in sadness. But, needless to say, I make sure that I always take these trips on a return ticket so that I’m not engulfed by this feeling for more than a day at a stretch. This may sound strange but, in a way, knowing depression has made me a stronger person with way more control on my thoughts and actions, likely because I KNOW what can trigger it and because of that I know how to avoid it. That said, my weekly dose of therapy helps in more ways than one.

In case you’ve been an avid reader of my posts, I hope you’ve lent a helping hand to anyone around you who has exhibited signs of prolonged melancholy. Know that you do not need to find ways to make them feel loved or supported, as long as you make them feel heard. You do not need to understand what they are feeling, you only need to hear it and normalize it by encouraging them to seek help, if needed. In these 3 short years since I first spoke up about my struggles with depression, I have seen such a tremendous growth in the degree of understanding showcased by everyone around me, it’s heartwarming, to say the least. Know that you have done your bit by acknowledging and accepting that mental health is as important as physical health. If there could ever be a community for those who have faced these struggles, on behalf of it, this would be me thanking you for being amazingly compassionate even though a lot of you may not really understand the core issues that plague an individual with depression.

With that, I close this post with a heart beating at a relatively normal rate, a mind looking forward to having a good day, and an overall state of being content and almost satisfied with this imperfect life. After all, our imperfections make us what we are, right?

Remember how someone said “You look at the scratch and completely miss the diamond”? To those diamonds, I write today.