Depression or Loneliness

How I described depression before I got help

Aikya Param
3 min readNov 11, 2019


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…



Aikya Param

Rev. Aikya Param is a minister at Oakland Center for Spiritual Living in Oakland, California, a published author and visual artist.