It has been a year since my husband passed away. He was a happy man. We were a happy couple. It shouldn’t be surprising since we had a love marriage in the early 80s. He was my handsome neighbour whose family had just shifted here. I was almost 18 and was about to complete my schooling. Our families were progressive and got us married when I turned 19. We had two beautiful children- both girls. We brought them up with a lot of love and care. They turned out to be academic successes, and their careers led them abroad, where they are currently settled.
My husband and I were looking forward to his retirement as a college professor. We had dreamed of visiting our daughters turn by turn while also ticking off other places on our bucket list. However, fate had other plans. About a year back, he experienced a massive cardiac arrest from which he couldn’t be revived. The last rites were done with the support of the extended family since the girls could not be there at that time.
I have always been labelled as a “strong” woman who managed her life efficiently. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising for people when I handled the situation with poise and completed all the rituals as and when required. In fact, I was the one who consoled many loved ones during that time. For the next two weeks, things remained busy, completing all the formalities. And then everything became quiet.
I slowly balanced myself and got back to my routine. My daughters returned to their homes as well. I did my morning walks, attended the local meditation group, and even joined music classes. Neighbourhood children would often come to my home to listen to stories. I was managing fine until one day, I started experiencing pain in my legs. Initially, I had thought it was because of some vitamin deficiency and consulted our family doctor. I was prescribed some multivitamins and painkillers. I even underwent a couple of tests to identify the cause of the pain, but there was no conclusive outcome. The painkillers only dulled my pain for some time, and then it returned.
“Why don’t you consult a psychiatrist?” asked my family physician one day. I had a hearty laugh. Why would I need a psychiatrist? I was fine. I just had some pain, and it would get better soon. Soon, the pressure started building up. Even my daughters were concerned that I wasn’t improving and should see a psychiatrist. Reluctantly, I agreed to meet one. He asked me everything in detail about my life, interests, relationships, moods, and health status. To my surprise, I was diagnosed with Depression and was prescribed some anti depressants. It was also suggested that I take a mental health assessment and get counselling. I was annoyed with the whole process because I knew I was not depressed. Anyhow, my daughters were after my life to continue psychiatric treatment. They even suggested that I consider online counselling for depression. With extreme resistance, I started with my sessions and medication.
My therapist at Samvedna Care was a young girl, probably in her late 20s. I was really skeptical if she would be able to understand me as there was a huge age difference between us. But she turned out to be extremely genuine and professional. She even agreed that even though she is much younger and has not had experienced life like me, but she was open to hearing me out. We discussed my life experiences, particularly those that held special significance. It was a wonderful discussion, which made me decide to speak to her again. As we moved on with my online counselling, I found out that I tended to suppress my emotions. It was something that I knew as well but never talked about. I felt that a personal part of me was being explored, initially making me very uncomfortable. But my therapist helped me move past my mental barriers and I gained better awareness about my own self. I was slowly coming to terms with my depression. I also realized that as my medication and therapy continued, my pain was reducing as well. I learned about myself a lot in the process. Samvedna Care’s counselling services helped me identify my coping style and helped me adapt better to life’s challenges. The whole experience changed something inside me. I felt lighter and happier. Today, I am living the dream me and my husband had envisioned. I spend my time visiting my daughters and going through my bucket list. Wherever my husband is, I feel he must be smiling upon me when he sees I’m doing alright.
Life has been a rollercoaster ride. But the past few years were an eye-opener for me. I have come to understand that depression not only means
- Low mood,
- Lack of interest in the things you once loved,
- Crying without a reason,
- Withdrawing into a shell,
- Feelings of loneliness,
- Loss of hope,
- Feelings of helplessness,
But it also means
- Physical pain
- Feelings of emptiness
- Irritability and anger outbursts
- Feeling that things around you are just moving by with you being unable to control anything.
As someone who has gone through the journey of depression, here is what I have learnt.
- Recognizing the signs of emotional distress is very important.
- The emotional support of your loved ones helps immensely.
- If nothing works, do not hesitate to take professional support.
So watch for these symptoms and seek help in time if you are going through depression. Many organizations like Samvedna Care can help beat depression with their expert counselling services. Samvedna Care has qualified and trained clinical psychologists, and they also provide online psychiatric consultations to treat depression.