Rise & Shine

Swetha shares how she coped with depression after being hospitalized

I was a 26-year-old successful HR Professional with lovely parents and was engaged to a doctor. I was getting married soon. And the suddenly the coin flipped. A mere congestion, cough and cold led to a medical echocardio test which revealed that that I had developed a huge clot in my heart. It was either surgery or death. Surgery meant 50% chances of survival and 6 months of bed riddance. Moreover, the doctors were still not sure about the extent of the clot’s effect on other organs and cosmetic issue to survive with a 10" scar.

My world turned upside down and I could feel the panic attacks coming in. I still remember the first one. The night before my surgery on 13th April 2008, I held close to my mother and slept. The surgery went successfully and I was able to defeat the 22-cm clot rolled in the chambers of my heart. But when I opened my eyes still I knew it was not the end. The clot had affected my lungs and I was breathless and had to be on oxygen support. Initially there were friends, relatives and colleagues but slowly there was no one apart from my family. The feeling panic & anxiety came again. It was like feeling restless, getting doomed, sweating, gasping. Earlier, it was once in two days then it became many times in a day. I used to hold my pillow, close my eyes tight, waiting for it to go away, but it had become like a continuous thing.

Finally, I was out of hospital but still on bed and the days of my misery were going on and then one night I realized that in my childhood when I used to get scared my mother’s arms gave me all security I needed. I decided to confide to my mother and family. The panic attacks reduced and it was quite peaceful.

Next day I woke up confident. I switched on my laptop and understood all about my medical condition. I called up the doctor and I realized that I can be fine. And when the moment came I called my mother and made her sit down and listen. She hugged me and said that whenever I get these attacks I should chant "Om" and call her. I did the same. She understood my situation and took me to a psychiatrist, who in turn prescribed me some basic medications (since I was already on other medications). The panic attacks reduced and I started to stay happy. Come September 2008 I was on my feet. I lost a lot that was temporary (fake friends and relatives, job, fiancé) but gained something permanent- confidence, love of my parents and life.

Cut to 2015, I am now a Director with a MNC, happily married to a someone I love, with same set of genuine and loyal friends, my family and the memories of those panic attacks. Many of you may be facing such situations, but in my experience please share with whomsoever you are close to and never ever shy away. This is a disease – and just like any other – it has to be treated. Don’t shy from visiting a psychiatrist if required. Take prescribed dosages, do meditation, say no to alcohol and smoking. Live Healthy. Rise and shine every day. Rise and shine!

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