Living a mentally and physically balanced healthy life is a colossal task. Many people have penned accounts of the challenges they go through while suffering from depression or any other serious mental disorder. But hardly ever anyone depicts his or her ‘success story’ of treatment.
Some prominent figures such as the late Princess Diana and Catherine Zeta Jones have battled depression. Depression, I believe, is an illness of sensitive people and not the selfish ones. Unfortunately, since mental health problems are reckoned as stigmas, even educated people, particularly in Pakistan, do not talk about such disorders. My life from a reporter to a writer changed altogether after I came out of depression. Last year, my beloved father’s sudden death shattered my life. Despite knowing that death is a reality, I always hoped he will return. I was depressed before his death.
My husband insisted that I see a psychiatrist, and I am grateful to him for this suggestion. Since I started taking anti-depressants, my life changed altogether. I tried to take interest in dynamic activities of life including reading and writing. I focused on things that could give me little pleasures. I spent my weekends with friends and tried out new dishes. I attempted to make every day at work a productive one. I wrote stories and features and vented to my feelings by means of words.
But, while doing all this, I was asked not to discuss personal experiences in the media. Why not? If an educated person will not write about taboos, then who else will? I have not only suffered a lot but have also observed sufferings all over the world. I will keep on talking about the pains I go through. This emotional and mental anguish never fades away until one seeks treatment. I thought of fighting with those who create unhappiness in life and walk away scot-free. I overcame depression and now I am living a balanced and content life. It is better that we seek professional help to make our life a happy one as a happy person can help others make happy. We are blessed with life to lead it with an aim and not to be depressed and disappointed. It is a pity that treatment for depression or any other mental disorder is expensive in Pakistan. The government needs to allocate more funds facilitating provision of free medicines to those who cannot afford them. Let’s work together to heal up each other’s pain and make Pakistan a bright and healthy nation. As they say: no health without mental health.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 8th, 2014.