I feel suffocated today by my depression. I can’t breathe, I can’t think, I can’t do anything. Depression is like a dark cloud that hangs over you, and when it’s time to strike, it comes down to strangle you. You’re still breathing and seemingly alive, but in reality you’re just a walking corpse. And you know that suffocation, it prevents you from screaming for help. It stops you from crying out loud.

Depression is the dark, black monster that your parents warned you about. You thought it didn’t exist. You thought it wasn’t real. But it’s real, and it haunts you every day of your life. 

Exactly 1 year ago today, I was in college learning how to treat different mental health disorders. The dean of the pharmacy school was going to teach us these mental health disorders which made the idea of learning this topic all the more intimidating. But the first lecture happened, and I left the lecture feeling that it was the best lecture I’ve received in pharmacy school. She had a way of teaching such a difficult topic with ease and entertainment.

A few days later came the depression lecture. “SIG-E-CAPS” was the acronym she told us to remember what the signs and symptoms of depression are. SIG E CAPS stands for:

  • Sleep
  • Interest (lack of)
  • Guilt
  • Energy
  • Concentration
  • Appetite
  • Psychomotor activity
  • Suicidal ideation

Depression isn’t an easy topic to talk about. It’s not an easy illness to acknowledge and come to terms with. Quite often we throw around the phrase, “I’m depressed”, without truly meaning that we are depressed. Because if you’ve ever been depressed then you know just how difficult depression is to deal with. You don’t just stay in bed all day because you want to, but because something internally is stopping you from getting up and going about your day. You don’t feel this overwhelming sadness all of a sudden because something devastating has happened, but simply because your brain has decided that now’s the time for you to feel like shit. It’s so hard to describe why I feel a certain way or why I’m depressed to someone because in all honesty, there is no reason, it’s just the way my brain was wired.

How exactly does depression manifest itself for me? SIG E CAPS. I feel more sleepy, less interested and motivated to do things, an overwhelming feeling of guilt and insecurity, lack of energy, decreased concentration, increased appetite, slower movements, and yes, I have had my moments of suicidal ideation. So often people have said to suck it up and deal with it because this is what life is. How naive of them to say so.

I’ve been asked many times, why are you depressed? I can’t answer that question. I ask myself that question all the time. Why are you depressed, Komal? What exactly in life are you not content about? I’m content with each and every thing Allah has given me. Life has been, alhamdulillah, relatively easy for me. So then why are you depressed? Isn’t your depression just a sign of ungratefulness? I have been told those exact words before. I’m depressed because I’m not grateful and because I don’t believe, but those statements are false in every which way.

These things just happen, and while I can have months of me being relatively normal and content with life. There’s always that darkness at the end of the tunnel, just waiting to engulf me. That darkness is indefinitely long while I’m a part of it, but then slowly the tunnel moves toward light. I return to my usual self yet again, but if I’m being honest, that darkness will always be a looming cloud over my head. And so while it may seem like it’s gone, it’s omnipresent and suffocating, leaving me to wonder how exactly do I get rid of this darkness.