Thursday, November 30, 2023

This too shall pass


Depression is different for everyone. An open letter to someone who is travelling solo through the darkness as I write this.

Dear You,

I know it is very dark out there. I know you are scared. I also know that it’s hard to breathe. I know that you can’t see anything around you. I know you can’t feel the hand that holds yours firmly, as you stumble through the darkness.

It isn’t easy being where you are right now. I wish I could be there for you. I can’t. There are some journeys that you need to take on your own. This one is yours to go solo on. I know you. You are a tough nut. You will get through this.

Depression, panic attacks, anxiety aren’t the same for any two people experiencing them. I can never say ‘Been there, done that’ to you. What you experience today is unique to where you are today. It cannot be compared, dissected, analysed, be better or worse than mine. This is your truth. This is your current reality.

As you fly solo through this darkness, my hope for you is that you have Time. I hope you have time to be with yourself. I hope that you have time to do what you love to do. Over and over again. For hours on end. Until you grow tired and fall asleep. A deep, dreamless sleep.

When you can do what you love to do in the deepest, darkest, scariest moment, you are rekindling the fire of hope. You are being brave. You are standing up to your fear – on your own. One step at a time. One moment at a time. One breath at a time. With zero support.

I hope you find time to soak it all in. Time to soak in the darkness and the cold and the fear. Not to run away from them – there’s nowhere to run but to understand where you are, get a bearing of your surroundings, however endless they might seem.

I know it’s cold out there. I know you are tired to the bones, ready to crumble any minute.

Crumble if you have to. Have a complete breakdown, if that brings you peace. When you are down there, broken into a thousand pieces, spend time looking at each of those pieces carefully. Keep the ones special to you, discard the rest. What remains is what you get to use, to work on your next masterpiece: You.

There’s no pride in being perpetually strong. There’s no shame in crying out loud.

I hope that you remember that No is a complete sentence. I hope you know that it is not fair to yourself to smile and laugh when you are screaming for help on the inside.

I hope you know that it’s absolutely alright to leave it all and walk away. I hope that you know that you are not a coward for thinking of letting go. I hope you value yourself more than where you are now and how you got there. Where you go from here is all that matters.

I hope you know that this is your story where you are the author and the only character. Everyone else and everything else around is because you are where you are in this moment. I hope you find the strength to pick up the pen and write the plot for how this story will move on from this point onwards. I hope that you can write the story that’s fair to you – the only character of your story.

The sub-plots have taken centre-stage for far too long now. It’s time you come back into the spotlight because that’s where you belong.

What will the world say? What about all that you have done to get where you are? What about everyone and everything?

None of it ever mattered. None of it will ever matter.

This was always your story. This was always your truth. This was always your life to live and experience and cherish and to be happy with.

You get to decide what happens next.

This darkness is not something you can exchange notes about how to experience and get through. Yours is different from mine – to be honest, I am glad it is. I wouldn’t want you to go through mine. Neither do I have the courage to go through what you are going through now.

I want you to know that when you come out of this darkness, you will not be the same you who went into it. I hope you accept and love the new you once this trip ends. I hope that you don’t go searching for the old you or try too hard to fit into the cliched ‘new normal’ as a new you.

I want you to know that it doesn’t matter how long you stay out there – Time somehow loses its meaning when you are in the darkness. For someone walking by your side, it will be over in a blink of an eye, but for you, it may seem like forever. Two people can experience the same fragment of Time differently. That’s the way it should be. It’s a warm feeling of hope that someone out there, experienced life differently while you were solo tripping through the darkness. I hope you know that this helps put a limit to the seemingly bottomless darkness.

I want you to know that you don’t need to justify or explain your decisions and actions during your time in the darkness and more so when you come out of it. Remember that you are travelling solo. It is for you to decide which way you turn.

 I hope you know that it is alright to choose to seek help. I hope you know that just like the body, the mind too needs assistance from time to time.

I hope you know that you get to choose what kind of help and how much of it do you want – now while you travel solo and later once you are through it.

I hope you know that it is alright to not be understood or accepted by everyone – now or later.

I hope you know that it is okay to speak out about your journey – there is no shame.

I hope you know that this journey through the darkness is like a ride on the most insane rollercoaster ever designed. There will be times when you are at the top and the very next moment you are free-falling – into nothingness, with nothing to hold on to. As you fall, I hope you remember to look out towards the horizon rather than the direction of the rollercoaster’s drop. The horizon, however dark it may seem, will always have a sliver of light. You may not catch sight of it. But know that it is always there.

As you experience that fear, that feeling of utter cold and hopelessness, I hope you can remember that there is always a Plan B (or a Plan Z for that matter). All you need to do is to get off the highway at the next possible exit. It does not matter how long you have been driving, you get to choose when you want to take a pit stop or switch lanes or stop completely.

The choice is always yours to make – with no strings attached.

I know you will make it through. Yes, there will be scars. Yes, you will not be the same you that I knew from the years before. Safe travels. Although I won’t be there to meet you once you are back from your solo trip, I hope you know that I am watching out for you.



Also Read: Mumma’s promise

(Saumya Dahake is a full-time mom and a passionate writer. She worked as a Product Consultant in the corporate sector.)

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)


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