*Content Warning = Content maybe triggering and contains information about depression.

Major depressive disorder can be difficult and at times the lows feel like you are stuck at the bottom of this huge cliff constantly trying to climb up but keep falling. In 2015, I was diagnosed with major depression. While in an episode it gets exhausting to keep up with life and school. I love school but just getting to class became a huge unachievable task. One time, I took a shower, got ready for school and then went back to sleep. Just doing that took so much energy and knocked me out. There have been numerous times while in an episode I spent consecutive days in my bedroom with lights off and blinds shut isolating myself. I did not want to be lonely, I wanted to be alone. Depression is dark in my experience and you lose yourself. Hobbies and activities become a lost interest. At times your best friend is spicy Punjabi food and Gulab Jamuns. It is really easy to lose friends because you do not know how to act “normal”. But, that’s the thing for me depression had become my normal. I was unable to meet people’ standards and bottled-up myself just so I can appear well in front of everyone. I started to play a happy character, who had everything together and going for her to my best extent. But, nobody actually understood how difficult it really is. It isn’t easy to put a smile a on your face, think positive, not judge yourself. It’s difficult to not think about failure all the time, especially when you are a perfectionist. I was on and off probation and even at a point in my five years of university had to withdraw. During the first years my biggest goals were to just write exams and pass a class. I took a small course load, at times just doing one class a semester and max maybe 2/3. I still remember be made fun of for not having a full course load and “not understanding” how difficult school is because I did not know what it meant to be in 5/6 classes. I started to look down on myself and all I would wish for was being able to do as many courses. I started to compare myself with everyone, from school to my body, everything I compared. And once you go down the rabbit hole it is hard to pull yourself up. Depression isn’t easy, it is challenging and demanding a constant fight between you and your brain.

I realized, I was done, the chain needed to be broken so I could be happy with myself. I got through it and I am on the path to graduating in August. The best thing that ever happened to me was that doctor who spent an extra five minutes at the walk-in clinic with me. Instead of just sending me along my way with a doctor’s note, he asked me to fill an inventory test for depression and referred me to USTAT. That is where I met my therapist and psychiatrist. Over these years, them not giving up on me and helping me through obstacles and teaching me skills built me and my path to life. I would have dropped out of school and became a lost soul, but my therapist’s faith in my potential when I had no hope for myself has kept me going and even kept me alive.

I know it can be difficult to ask for help, trust me, sometimes you come across many wrong people who misuse the most vulnerable pieces of you and trusting can be hard after that. But, remember in a basket of bad apples there is the one good one. And you never know who may change your perception of life and be the hand you need to help you get up from the bottom of the cliff. Talk to someone, let your feelings out, cry if you need to and not bottle emotions up. It lifts a huge burden off your shoulder. I had many people tell me to snap out of it, it took me 4 years to get on my feet and make peace with myself. Do it when you are ready and at your own terms.

Here are some crisis lines to call when you need to talk to someone.

Other resources are the Student Counselling Services at UVic or even going to a family doctor and getting a referral.

And in case of emergencies going to the Emergency Psych Ward can be helpful too.

At the end of the day just remember to put yourself first. It may seem “selfish” to people around you but it really isn’t. Being healthily selfish and prioritizing yourself is the best step in life.

Have a marvelous time and hope you enjoyed reading this!