Depression or Loneliness

How I described depression before I got help

Photo by Joel Overbeck on Unsplash

In my wrong thinking as a child, a perfect choice was possible and every choice was final. Making a wrong choice was terrifying! I prayed frantically for help. Really, one choice can be followed by a different and possibly better one, but I couldn’t see that back then.

I climbed out of this trap in several steps. I don’t remember how, but I realized that there were always three options in all situations: I do this, I don’t do this, or I do something completely different. The third option could lead to something better than what I wanted in the first place.

Growing up, I was an only child until I was 14 when my brother was born. I had health problems too so I was alone a lot. I didn’t talk things over with other people.

Being alone is a condition that could be changed. Loneliness is an emotional state that need not be permanent. I could go play with and talk to other children or adults. I could choose to think differently about being alone. It would be years before I realized I could choose and the power of choice.

Nobody is alone. Even if I didn’t know the people I saw every day, they were there. I could talk to them. I could ask their opinions. Maybe some of them would understand things that puzzled me. Maybe they would be enjoyable friends. But I did not speak to them. I didn’t see my parents talking to others so maybe I thought I had to figure things out on my own.

When I got to school, I talked to my classmates and I liked to help them. I learned that God loved us. I was not sure how it felt to be loved but I loved God and that felt good.

Somehow I felt a connection to God. Even when I might not talk to other children or adults much, I had a chat going with God, and still do.

Loneliness can be a disguise worn by depression. I can look back on periods of months when I ached under its weight. Loneliness is what I called it then. Now I recognize it as depression. Had I understood what it was, I could have gotten help earlier.

The fields of psychiatry and psychology have largely developed through my lifetime. I can cut myself a little slack. The help available improved as I grew into adulthood. Getting help became more common and was not a reason to be ashamed.

I lost decades of my life to depression. Don’t do it. You don’t have to be sure that you need help. If you have doubts, go talk to your primary care doctor. There are lots of kinds of help available these days. You could talk to someone one on one. You could be in a therapy group. You could work with an art or drama therapist. You could learn mindfulness meditation. Medication could help you

When I finally went to my provider, I needed help with anxiety and depression. I didn’t want medication. I did want the mindfulness meditation class. People with severe depression, anxiety, with cancer that had spread, and pregnancy took the eight week MBSR program with me. I witnessed all of us improving each week. Some folks had taken the program years before but got out of the habit of using it daily so they enrolled again. I also participated in an anxiety support group. The leader had effective physical exercises to get the anxiety out of my body. It was liberating!

I learned a lot about myself. I saw some of my behaviors that kept me stuck and changed them.

Today on my morning walk I smiled and said hello to two people out walking their dogs. Cute dogs, nice people. Changing old limiting patterns of behavior is a good thing to do.

To read more by Aikya, click here.

Aikya Param is a licensed minister, a visual artist, and writer.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store