Hey everyone, welcome back to the second iteration of my new series, Clinical Depression & Me. In this series, I share the stories of real people who are living with clinical depression and how it is affecting them.

Today, I share the story of Ami Lad, a young girl from India who has had to go through a lot of hardships at a very young age. Her story is one of courage, acceptance and determination to fight her own demons.

When did you first notice some changes?

Mental illness has changed my life in a lot of ways. Majorly, things started to change when I was in 9th std. There were a lot of changes in school environment, at house and it was also the time when my mom was diagnosed with depression and was on medication. I understood she was struggling a lot with something, but that’s it. I didn’t know what exactly it was.

I was already facing difficulties and the kind of absence and all just led to me isolating more and more. Then, even 10th std. passed with all these difficulties in studying, catching up with the syllabus, lesser and lesser concentration making things really hard. Also, to add to this, I also went through a period of online sexual harrassment/blackmailing, asking for nudes, forcibly having to sext. It took a major toll on my mental health. I supressed all this pain and acted as if things are fine. [Author’s note: In recent weeks, online harrassment of teenage girls has become a major media issue after conversations on a private Instagram group were leaked.]

A certain kind of sadness had settled upon me after all this and I almost stopped opening up to anyone. Also, I never noticed all these things then, I was like maybe I’m not putting enough efforts. But my mom did notice some changes. And after 10th boards got over she told me that she would like take me to her psychiatrist because she feels I need some help.

When did you decide to seek some help?

This idea was totally meaningless to me at that time ‘coz I never thought that yes I was having a hard time and it would be okay to talk to someone about it. I straight up disagreed.. then somehow after a week I did agree to go on the condition that we’ll just visit once and see what the doctor has to say, and take the meds if you think that what he says makes sense. And that how I went to the psychiatrist for the first time, 25th March ’16 (I can’t forget it) I was 15 yrs old.

I was diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety and OCD. And ever since then a lot has changed. I never thought how doctors could be so sensitive and supportive and how it is a safe space for anything and everything. I slowly started to trust him and knew that I can open up more and I didn’t have to be “all okay”. I started sharing things, my feelings, my struggles. Turns out, my problems hadn’t increased suddenly, I’d just not known and acknowledged them before. And yes it is a tough thing to do. But it’s worth it.

How has the journey been for you?

Since day 1 of visit, I started medication, and till today , I’m on it, without a gap of a single day, it’s painful, definitely because at such an age, having to take medicines like each and every day is a thing you need to commit too. The journey till here has had a lot of ups and downs. There are extreme situations and sometimes just numbness. I’ve had suicidal thoughts, I’ve harmed myself multiple times. But I haven’t given up.

After 10th, I went for Science (PCM), studied for two years, failed, cleared 12th from open university in the drop year and now I’m in Fine Arts( preparatory year almost over). All this with depression, panic attacks and my own struggles always there. I won’t lie, there has been so much of pain in these years, but still, I could make it till here. And that’s something that matters.

A lot of people do really understand and support me, but a lot of them don’t, including my family. But my parents have been the best support. I’m so glad to get that. Currently I’m 19, and along with the psychiatrist, I’m also seeing a therapist/psychologist since 4-5 months and it’s been really really helpful. My journey hasn’t ended yet. But neither have I given up. I’ve reached here, I’ll reach there too.

To anybody who’s suffering/in any pain, I want to tell you, reach out, ask for help if you can. Don’t suffer silently, you do not deserve any of that pain. You can dm me too. And to everyone, pls pls listen without judging or advising to anybody who needs someone to speak to. Trust me, there is a brighter side and even though I’m not there yet,

I can still feel the light. 

Ami Lad, Writer

If you would like to share your story, get in touch with me!