Depression taught me how sometimes quitting is the right thing to do

Aaastha Bhansali shares her experience with depression.


“The black dog I hope always to resist, and in time to drive, though I am deprived of almost all those that used to help me…When I rise, my breakfast is solitary, the black dog waits to share it, from breakfast to dinner he continues barking…Night comes at last, and some hours of restlessness and confusion bring me again to a day of solitude. What shall exclude the black dog from a habitation like this?”

– Samuel Johnson

Mujer_De_Pueblo

I have been living with clinical depression for the past few years, and have realised that people with mental health issues such as depression have a difficult time dealing with it because of the stigma attached to the same. I have been asked to “snap out of it”, to cheer up, to think positive, to just ‘put a happy face on it’, as though I could control it. But the black dog exists, and one cannot shoo it away through sheer willpower.

I tried to “snap out it”. I decided to use my will power to overcome it, but I failed and ended up in a position far worse. I got better only after I sought medical assistance, and realised that it was not my fault that it was happening to me. It could happen to anyone, and one cannot control it. It is incorrect, and downright cruel to assume otherwise.

Perseverance can be Counterproductive

Lance Armstrong famously said, “Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever.” But when what you’re doing is soul-crushingly upsetting, quitting is a good decision, even though it may be deemed ‘impractical’ by friends and family.

I wrote the Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) when I was 18, and made it to National Law School of India University (NLSIU) – arguably the best law school in the country. Soon I discovered that I hated the law, and I was diagnosed with depression around the same time. I thought of quitting in my first year, but because being a student of the university almost guaranteed a coveted job with a fat pay check, I was convinced to continue by well-wishers. I decided to be a part of the race, even though I couldn’t care less about the finish line.

Ultimately, I quit in my fourth year, and though the future seems bleak, my depression taught me one of the most important lessons in life – when your heart does not beat for what you’re doing, it’s just not worth it, and the sooner you quit, the better. Your life is more important than being able to afford that trip abroad. Your ‘practicality’ and your persistence can make you your worst enemy in such situations.

Though my struggle continues, I have understood that I cannot micromanage everything, and that no matter how well thought out our plans might be, life is, and will always be unpredictable. The best we can do is live in the present and treat ourselves with a little more compassion, and stop beating ourselves up for not being able to meet the high standards set by our parents, friends or the society. After all, it’s just not worth it.

 

lll-logoSpeakYourMind is a special series on mental health by The Alternative in partnership with  The Live Love Laugh Foundation. Starting Mental Health Day, Oct 10th, the series will feature voices and expert views on issues like depression and anxiety disorders and how sensitivity and timely support can help people overcome them. If you have a personal story around mental health to share, please write in to editor@thealternative.in, and we will publish it in the strictest confidence.

 


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am a 23 year old girl still trying to figure out life. Though my depression makes it tougher, I am hopeful that slowly, everything will fall into place. I enjoy writing and watching movies, and my interests range from morbid ones such as Victorian post modern photography to reading the variety of self help works available today. more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am a 23 year old girl still trying to figure out life. Though my depression makes it tougher, I am hopeful that slowly, everything will fall into place. I enjoy writing and watching movies, and my interests range from morbid ones such as Victorian post modern photography to reading the variety of self help works available today. more

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