I had set my alarms for 4am because today is Monday and I have a long day and I hadn’t prepared for certain classes, so I thought why not wake up early and read up a bit. But when the alarm rang and I opened my eyes, I knew that none of that would be happening because there was a huge cloud of depression looming over my head. It was one of my bad days. But I still didn’t turn off all the following 12 alarms because I thought that maybe if I slept a little longer, I might be able to turn this day around.
Fast forward to 6am when I finally got off bed, prayed and did some basic stretches. I then made my bed and thought to myself that maybe I would make it to classes after all. The thought of a shower was still very much unwelcome inside my mind, so instead I walked to the kitchen and made a mug of coffee as I couldn’t fathom the thought of eating oatmeal, my usual breakfast during weekdays. But that’s how far I got. The more I tried to do anything additional, the darker the cloud got and before I knew it, I had started crying. And here I am hours later writing this post because I don’t know what else to do and neither do I feel like doing anything else.
I texted this girl in the same group as mine. Do I consider her as a friend? Yes. Is she aware of my depression? Yes. But does she understand the depth of it and the little ways it affects my daily life? No. So instead of being honest and telling her that I was having one of my bad days, I lied and told her that I wasn’t feeling well. Did I feel bad for lying? Kind of, but not really because despite the fact that we all are a bunch of medical students, a physical illness is better understood by them than mental illness, so as guilty as I feel for lying, I also know that this is the easier way than trying to explain only to be faced with suspicious expressions where in the periphery of their minds without doubt they’re questioning the integrity behind my words.
For months I had multiple bad days in a row and in a way I had got sensitised to it. But now I’m having a bad day after months and I feel guilty about it, I’m questioning my own self, doubting the integrity of my own emotions and I know I should stop. The posts on this blog are pretty much evident of the kind of days I’ve been through and yet here I am being suspicious of my own body and mind.
Moral of the story is that even if you’re someone who doesn’t fully understand the concept of mental illness, just be nice and understanding. Do your share of research if you know someone close to you is struggling and if not, just ask them how can you be of help. Don’t ever make them feel guilty for feeling depressed by throwing insensitive statements in their way, but that also does not mean that you keep quiet and make them feel ignored. The only thing I’ve truly wished in the past four years of being here is for the people around me to ask how can they help or if not at least make an effort to be nice and not throw snide remarks in my way for missing out on classes or parties or whatever it is.
Basically, try to be a decent human and create a safe environment for everyone and anyone struggling in your vicinity.