Globally, more than 280 million people of all ages suffer from depression & anxiety. And since the start of the COVID pandemic, mental health cases have only increased. Being able to seek help & support while you are suffering with your mental health is a difficult, nonlinear journey. Those that are able to realize that they need treatment are courageous. That is why we have chosen to highlight some heroes & their battles with mental health illness.
Today our friend Lubna is explaining her mental health journey with us & the challenges she had to overcome to seek treatment:
“Having been diagnosed with depression was a shock to me. It may sound weird to some, but I had no idea that I was depressed. It was just a part of my everyday life. Life was hard, everything was ugly & disappointing. Nothing brought me joy & to me that was just the reality of life that I didn’t even question. It didn’t occur to me that my ideas were influenced by certain traumas I have experienced. At the time, it seemed like it was more difficult for me to do daily activities than others. It was more difficult for me to get out of bed, concentrate, & go to work.
Due to the stigma surrounding mental health illnesses, I didn’t even consider telling my family at the time. I thought it was something that I could fight on my own & I tried to push away anyone who sincerely tried to help me. I sought treatment & started taking antidepressants (SSRIs) & that is where the hard work began. At first the medication worsened my depression & anxiety. But every day I would remind myself that I didn’t want to feel physically tired & mentally drained anymore. I just wanted to be normal. I reminded myself that the road to recovery is not easy but that I will manage. Little by little it became easier to wake up in the morning, concentrate, & suddenly I started enjoying doing some activities again.
Overcoming depression has been & always will be my greatest accomplishment. When I first decided to seek help, I was terrified that I would become a brainwashed version of myself. I thought taking SSRIs or becoming more positive would change me. Depression has been my companion for a long time & I was so accustomed to it that I truly believed its symptoms were just a part of my personality. However, I realized that the real me has always been hidden & somehow oppressed by this illness. I would like to believe that overcoming depression helped me understand myself & the world more.
It also made me understand how important it is to seek help from others when we feel like the burden is too heavy to carry. My family & friends have been a great support for me. It was very difficult for my family to accept that I had depression & there were exceptionally bad moments. But they supported me as much as they could & in ways they know how to. Their support played an important role in my journey.
Now I am finally pursuing my dream of studying for a Master's degree abroad. Life hasn’t been easy on me & sometimes I feel the dark cloud slowly creeping back, but I’m proud to have learned to cope with my bad moments. I now know that I have the power to stop depression or allow it to overcome me.”