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Stories of Recovery

Meet people who have to share their stories – real life experiences in overcoming mental health issues of various kinds. Listen to how they never gave up, watch their battles and victories and read about their success.

It is possible to overcome the condition, all it takes is a little willpower and some help. You can find all the motivation you need right here. Watch real life testimonials of people who have overcome various types of mental health conditions and read inspiring stories of recovery.
Real Life Stories
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14 Dec 2017
Depression Diary
Life is not always the same when somebody finds himself/herself in the throes of depression or anxiety disorder. It takes unscheduled turns and one’s emotions are at doldrums.
Hi. My name is Nandita Singh, and this is my scattered story. Short broken excerpts from my life spent in school, at home, and now in college, that attempt to make sense of the chaos in my heart. I just wanted you to know that even when the world seems like it will swallow you up whole, always remember that you are not, and will never be, alone.
Read Nandita’s Diary

More Stories of Recovery

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“The Fight Continues”
Robert - a professor, shares how a childhood trauma triggered his depression.

My beautiful daughter who is 9, and my sweet son who is 6, come up to my room and kiss me before leaving for school. My son gives me a few extra kisses and a tight hug. My daughter quietly asks, “Papa, you are not going to college today”?

I am a professor at a private college. I had taken the decision to teach because teaching made me really happy. But soon I got into bouts of anger and anxiety and had a breakdown. The breakdown had nothing to do with my work. It was personal and I knew it. However, I decided to move on with life and pretend as if everything was alright.

I grew up on a farm. I used to hate the evenings, and I never really wanted to be inside my own house. The physical abuse and trauma my mother used to face was too much for a young child to handle. I used to get angry, But I knew there was nothing I could do but wait and grow up.

Things settled down as I grew up, but my anger never subsided. I could not calm down even though the scenario had changed. The suppressed anger that I had accumulated over the years resulting from witnessing the abuse my sister and mother faced never died. My relatives ridiculed me for being aggressive and short-tempered. They assumed that I got into a teaching profession because I could not find a corporate job.

During my depressive phase, I end up sleeping the whole day, not caring about my commitments, my job, and my family. However, when my depressive phase ends, I wake up in a different world. My children tell me, “Papa we love you, play with us, why do you sleep the whole day.” Watching them play makes me happy and I feel hopeful. My mother, my wife, and my colleagues console me, and that motivates me to go back to work.

I like living a simple life. I like teaching and spending time with my family. I enjoy simple things like gardening or taking my children to the park. I don’t know why these things happen to me. But I know I am ready to fight the darkness that is waiting to engulf me without a warning.

“Allowing yourself to feel your sadness is your best shot at getting better.”
A school-going girl shares her experience with depression and how she overcame it.

Depression is an important issue that needs to be addressed. It’s not a state of mind that you can change whenever you wish to. I mean, if that was the case why would anyone voluntarily CHOOSE to feel so miserable and hopeless?

I am a 17-year-old girl studying in a boarding school. In the beginning of my autumn term, I had these recurring bouts of sadness where I would feel like I was sinking all the time. I just felt hopeless most of the time even though everything in my life was perfect. I had grown up being completely honest about my emotions and I could cry freely. But all that changed. I could hardly cry anymore and I felt numb most of the time.

I wouldn’t have even realized what was going on had my friend not pointed out to me that I had really lost my appetite and suggested that I might be depressed. She forced me to go to the school doctor in front of whom I broke down and cried profusely. Everyone just assumed that I was overworked and stressed about academics and college admissions. I didn’t think I should correct them because I didn’t have an explanation for why I was feeling low and depressed.

Throughout this phase, I got the typical responses like “be grateful for what you have”, “you need to distract yourself”, “don’t lose focus” and “pull yourself out of this”, and this made me feel even worse about my helplessness.

Fortunately for me, this phase didn’t last very long. With mother and my mentor’s support, I realized that being depressed is a normal thing. Contrary to what everyone says, you can fight it. My depression was triggered because I had repressed certain emotions that I didn’t want to face. Sometimes I feel like allowing yourself to feel your sadness is your best shot at getting better.

“Identifying your weakness and strengths can be really hard when you’re going through depression.”
Tanya shares her story of dealing with depression.

Depression isn’t just about being sad. It comes with a lot of other factors that change your life in a simple way. But sometimes these changes can be life threatening. Because of my depression, I lost a lot of weight and developed an eating disorder. It was hard to deal with these changes and it changed me as a person. I remember I was constantly vomiting, eating less than 100 calories a day, and I would sleep 3-5 times a day because I was always tired.

You don’t understand why this is happening, but eventually it becomes a part of your life and you learn to live with it. But losing people, people who were close to me, people I met every day, is harder than I ever thought. I isolated myself, cried, went to hospital four times and even went to a mental health rehabilitation centre hoping it would make me feel better. When it takes a team of psychologists to help you get better, it makes you realize how sick you are. My calendars were filled with appointments with psychiatrists and I was reduced to someone who was simply walking in and out of hospitals every day.

The restless anxiety, the continuous nightmares, and the need for pain relief – it pushes you to do things you never knew you could even touch. I remember cutting, vomiting, attempting suicide and taking pills. The feeling is something that many people cannot identify. However, with the help of my friends and family, I could slowly build a plan that helped me become happier and healthy.

Even though I am not completely cured, I am a close to having a happy life. Identifying your weakness and strengths can be really hard when you’re going through depression. If you are going through depression, or any other mental disorder for that matter, please speak up. Talk to the person next to you and they will help you get better.

“Mind Your Head”
Tanya shares her story of dealing with depression.

It all began in October 2011. I had just recovered from multiple fractures in my arm which caused a partial wrist paralysis. That was great news, right? Yes and No. Immediately after my wrist recovered, I sank into deep depression. I had no idea what hit me. I didn’t think anything could be worse than the pain I had just been through. I was apathetic towards everything that was once very dear to me.

It began with not wanting to socialize and loss of appetite. I kept attributing the problem to perimenopausal symptoms. Even though I thought I was going crazy, I never once thought of meeting a doctor for the same. The irony of it all!

My husband who is a surgeon himself, and my friend, a doctor in the US, advised me to see a psychiatrist. But the main issue with depression is apathy and denial. I thought “I will deal with it on my own. It will pass. This can’t happen to me. After all, I had nothing to be depressed about!”

There are times when I feel proud of myself for not succumbing, for not caving-in to what my depression urged me to do, and for staying strong even when I knew I was absolutely broken inside.

WRONG. Anyone can be depressed. Because depression is not always a reaction to something external. Just like arthritis, diabetes or cancer, depression is a sickness that can affect anyone. You have to treat this. There are several biological factors that contribute to depression. There are professionals there to help us.

I spent five years hanging between sheer insanity and sanity, enjoying life and hating it, making friends and estranging them putting on and losing weight, living in fear of the next “episode.” Unfortunately, I was not aware of these symptoms. My husband survived my crying bouts and depression every single day. I have no idea how he did it. He was my anchor.

Then I started talking about it and meeting people who had similar symptoms. But I didn’t get any answers. That made me realize that not many people talk about it. Like it is a closely guarded secret. No one thought of the one god they could turn to – a psychiatrist.

My last episode was in May 2016 and it lasted for about 8 months. Somewhere in between, I developed anxiety and I even contemplated suicide. Instead, I decided to take baby steps towards recovery. I realized it was time to involve my parents. I couldn’t have done this without their constant support. My mother took on jobs that I couldn’t handle, my father cut out every single article from papers and magazines to educate me. My 10-year-old daughter gave me so much love and kept reminding me about my medication. Expecting her to understand what her mother was going through was very tough, but she was incredible and made me laugh in many ways. She was growing up. Miraculously I survived my depression and crossed over. But the fight is not over yet. There still might be ups and downs, but as long as there are ups I know there is hope.

My depression taught me one thing – that we are surrounded by people who love and care for us. All we need to do is ask. It is scary, but it is helpful. It taught me patience and perseverance. I realized that I was strong. So, talk – because someone is always ready to listen. You will receive all the help you need. Eventually you will come out saying three precious words and meaning them – I AM FINE.

“There are times when I feel proud of myself for not succumbing, for not caving-in to what my depression urged me to do.”
Anonymous Story

It feels like all your worst fears are engulfing you. All of them hit you one by one as you try to shake it off. And just when you manage to get these thoughts out of your mind, another nasty thought comes in to bug you.

I feel like my insides are writhing in pain. As if I am marooned on the darkest island on the planet, far away from civilization, people, and HAPPINESS. It feels like I am an empty chest with nothing inside. Depression has taught me the value of health, both physical and mental, and how it can shape your overall well-being. I know for a fact that my life is not bad. But I am going through an absolutely awful patch and it feels as if nothing in this world will make me happy. To be more specific, there were no external triggers that caused my depression. The things that make someone happy fails to me give me any joy and that is a scary feeling. Sometimes I feel it is better to die than to lead a life like this.

There are times when I feel proud of myself for not succumbing, for not caving-in to what my depression urged me to do, and for staying strong even when I knew I was absolutely broken inside.

This is when I realized my potential. Despite being scared and depressed, I managed to pull up my socks and put on a brave front in front of my peers and friends, not letting them even detect the tiniest trace of sadness in me. There are times when I have to force myself to laugh or smile when all I want to do is cry. There are times when I just want to wallow in my own grief and not even face the mirror, let alone other people.

You do not tap your feet or hum along when you hear your favourite song. You do not dress up or try to look good. Even a hug from your lovely parents or your support system does not elevate your mood. You are unable to see the positive aspects of your personality but your flaws are highlighted. You fall out of love for life and all you want to do is cry. This is depression.

It’s like being trapped in a dungeon full of never ending rooms. You escape from one only to land in another room which represents your darkest thoughts and fears, each far worse than the one before.

Eventually, you see a faint light, a light full of hope, love, positivity and happiness. But that light seems far away. So far away that even when you cry out for help but nothing works. And in the depths of your despair, it feels like you are in an everlasting rut with that faint light beckoning from a distance.

Share Your Story

If you have a story to share, a story that recounts the emotional issues that you or a close person encountered and successfully overcame, please click here to share it with us. It might just enable someone to know that they will overcome it.