Living with Depression in +62
In Indonesia, mental health issues are topics often regarded as taboo to talk or discuss about. Similarly, discussions on sex and LGBTQ topics are often discouraged. In the past decade, people with mental illness disorder were often locked and chained up in the cage at the backyard (pasung) or estranged from the family because people with mental illness disorder were considered “disturbance” for the community. Fortunately, the awareness on mental health issues in Indonesia for the last few years has been increasing since now there are many communities as well as campaigns on social media raise the discussion on mental health issues.
Despite such change, the stigma and discrimination toward people with mental illness remain. Mental illnesses often are misunderstood and minimized to a single symptom.
For instance, depression is more than a mere sadness. It’s real. It has affected thousands of people and could happen to kids, teenager, young adults, adults and even the elder regardless of their gender and social background. Mental health is very important for everyone because it is a vital part of our life. Mental illness may lead to bigger social problems, such as unemployment, broken families, poverty, drug abuse and in some cases, it triggers suicide behavior. It is important for all of us to be aware of this issues, educate ourselves about the topics and do not ignore the symptoms if you are suffering from mental health issues . Talking to to someone you trust about your feelings or getting help and get diagnosed by a professional would help you recovering from mental health problems.
I know it is not as simple as I say. Most times, we are scared to talk about this. Most people in our society are too easy to judge others and dictate what they think is right, without thinking about it thoroughly. I want to share my experience as a young adult who struggled with anxiety disorder since I was a young age. I came from a poor “broken family,” when I was child, I used to get bullied by other kids in my school. Even the teachers bullied me because I am different from the other. Not only in school, I also get bullied in my neighbourhood, When I am home, I know it should have been the safe place for me. But I do not find it here. I do not get enough happiness or warmth from my family. My parents often impose their will on me – they told me what to do, what to wear, what is wrong and what is right. They do not care if I like it or not, they do not understand that I am different. Finally, when I was fifteen, I left home, At the time, I do not know what was wrong with me, I am an introverted person and I do not know anything about life, Living all alone in the city without any skills and education.
Year by year I spent my time working hard by myself, I am such a curious person who love to read, draw, and learn something new everyday. I researched about what I am feeling and I found out that I had an anxiety disorder. Nobody told me that. I diagnose myself.
Working almost everyday and being busy has helped me to get distracted from my depression. However, sometimes work triggers my depression too. So I decided to do something different, treat myself better, give myself some time to relax and appreciate myself. It was not easy for me because I am also struggling with my social life. I cannot get along with anyone. Mostly I enjoy everything just by myself. It is not easy for me to trust anyone in my life because of my past and my childhood trauma. It has affected me until now, I used to have the same dreams about my past when I was at the class room and being bullied. It was weird. It looks like part of me is still trapped in the past and would not let it go.
Sometimes I feel lonely and I need a friend, but I just could not find one. I used to think I do not need anyone in my life but I was wrong until I met someone who helped me filling the emptiness in my life and helped me through the phase of my life for a while.
When the pandemic due to the spread of Corona Virus came like a wrecking ball and has ruined almost everything, it scared the life of me, Moreover, with everything I see on the media, it messes with my head – I cannot control my anxiety; it hit me like a wave.
To ease my mind, I decided to unfollow some Media/news and some accounts in my Instagram. It did something different on my routine and it worked.
My Anxiety has ruined my life. It stopped me from growing my skills, doing my thing and affected my relationship with my friends and family, even though I know that most of them are toxic, so I did not regret it.
I was born in a big family who lives in the same neighborhood but I do not see the family members that often – only during big event at least once a year when I am home. I hate it when we get together because they mostly ask about what you got, when will you get married and compare people indirectly with others all the time. I do not know if they understand about my feeling when they ask such questions. I also wonder if they do it on purpose.
The last nine months I do not have a “real” job and most of the time, my depression came because of the situation. It was the worst time in my life. I have been locking myself up in my room for a couple of months, I am not taking care of myself, I have been losing my appetite, MIA, and being a jerk to everyone around me for no reason. They were wondering and asked me “wtf is wrong with you? Please grow up!” Deep down, I just want to reply “suck it,” to them.
I wish someone would have asked me differently, like “how’s your feeling?, are you okay? you want to talk about it?” Duh.
I am sad and lonely most of the time. I do not recognize myself in the mirror and hate that reflection of me in the mirror.
The worst thing is I have this feeling all the time when I am feeling down, I want to stop everything. I want to feel free and stop fighting the demon in me, because I am tired, I cannot do this anymore, I just want to shut it down this never ending situation.
The next day, I see myself again in the mirror and ask “what do you want? If you want to die do it now, why wait tomorrow.”
But I know the answer is no. I do not want to die, I am too cute to just be gone like that and realized that there is something I want more than ending this cycle, I want to be Happy. I never know and feel what real happiness is like, but I believe it is dollar bill y'all. Haha. All the time I was fighting and distracting myself from my anxiety, but recently I realized that the anxiety and depression lives with me not against me. Therefore, I am learning to take control and not letting them take over my life again and make peace with myself.
I am still fighting my demon to stop telling me things that are not true, stop making me feel small, unworthy and to love myself more than before. I am coming out as a new person with different color, bright and beautiful. Only after that, for once in my life I feel more confident and comfortable with myself.
For you who feel like you are alone in fighting this, what ever you’re problem is, please stay strong and stay alive. Do not be so hard on yourself, give a time to rest and try to explore your feelings even more.
It is okay to ask for a help, and it does not mean that you are weak. Instead, it is making you more human. I am not going to say that you are not alone because sometimes we are literally alone and sad and that sucks because no one could help us except our self.
This world can be so cruel and not fair to all of us, and it is okay to feel sad or mad. We are not perfect and will never be, but at least we try.
And I believe I am going to laugh about this someday.
No matter who you are, where you are from, whether you are poor or rich, religious or not, gay or straight, black or white, we matter. Please educate yourself on the issues, end the stigma and share the awareness. If someone you know struggling with depression, you could ask them nicely, tell them if you care, support them, be a good listener and do not judge them.
May you have a bright minded 🌈