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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

Depression: Wounded Warrior

Do we as a community handle Depression as a serious issue?  

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  1. 1.

    • No
      10
    • Yes
      1


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Guest Sardar Moderator Singh

Gur Fateh,

I received this from a friend recently, the author is unknown, however he had asked for this to be shared with the forum.

Feel free to comment.

Gur Fateh!

Wounded Warrior: Battle Against Depression

I was The Man: single, 20-something and securely in my dream job as a journalist. But night after night, I would come back to my apartment, sit in the middle of my living room and cry. If somebody stopped by, I pretended I wasn’t home. If they called, the phone was off the hook. Later, when I would finally get to bed, I’d lie awake for hours and hours, then be too tired to get up the next morning. My fantasy: to get into my car, drive away and never return.

Depression had cold-cocked me. But this dismal scene, which reached its peak about three years ago, wasn’t my first bout. I can remember plenty of times over the years when I despaired for no particular reason. Back in high school, for instance, I’d written a paper for my English class called, “Is It worth It?” Several teachers, friends and family members complemented me on the writing, but I don’t think they picked up on the underlying pain.

In college, these periods of depression got longer. After college they got worse; and three years ago they became unbearable. That’s when I found myself holed up in my apartment sobbing like there was no tomorrow. The dark cloud of gloom would lift for a week or two and then strike again. As I look back now, I remember feeling tremendous pressure. My work days often stretched to twelve hours. My answering machine was crammed with messages from people waiting for me to call them back. My family wanted me to come home for a visit; yet it was hard to get away, which made me feel like a bad son.

Guilt only intensified the strain. Our parents, who were still happily married after 40 years, raised my sister and me in an upper middle-class suburb. I was healthy, with money in the bank and a beautiful woman I thought I would marry. What did I have to be sad about?

It got worse. My relationship hit the skids and my writing slipped. I began to hate my job. Over and over I asked myself. Is this all there is? Is this what I’m going to be doing the rest of my life. What contribution was I making by covering a city council meeting or writing about a woman who had opened a plant shop? It used to be wonderful seeing my name in print. Now I didn’t care.

A second job as a medical billing specialist for a group of psychologists claimed even more of my time. It seemed logical that that would be the first thing to let go. But it turned out to be my saving grace. Initially, I had taken the part-time gig only for a couple of months to save up more quickly for a computer and to pay off some bills. But what I was learning about the human psyche and ended up staying on for more than three years fascinated me.

Patients would sometimes call, start talking about their bill and end up discussing their treatment. Or they would chat with me when their doctor was running behind. It was only through them that I learned that insomnia, irritability, crying spells and mood swings were symptoms of depression. It seemed odd, but in getting to know some of the patients, I began to understand myself. It was like looking into a mirror or listening to a tape recording of my own thoughts.

Up to then, I’d written depression off to weakness, something people had to find a way to face and get on with their lives. Besides, I figured, my ancestors had it a lot worse than I did. But I had to reconsider, seeing all these people—men, women and children—flowing through the doors of the therapists’ posh offices and freeing themselves of their deepest, darkest pain. If our people traditionally didn’t undergo therapy, which is what I’d always heard, maybe it was time for me to break with tradition.

I finally went to one of the therapists at the office. I told her about the tension and the stress and she told me she understood. For about six months, I had regular sessions with her. They were informal. She would sit in a chair next to mine and ask me questions about my feelings; help me see where they came from and how to deal with them so they didn’t cause me so much grief.

During our talks, I became aware that I was trying to do too much and be too many things to too many people. For a while she prescribed Prozac, which also helped me feel more positive about life; she gave me another medication for those sleepless nights.

The hypnotherapy was an important part of the process.

The fog of melancholy began to clear. I wasn’t nearly as lethargic and the mood swings and crying jags stopped too. People noticed. You look better and seem happier, they told me. Even my family, calling long distance, told me that I sounded stronger. For a time my relationship with my lover improved as I opened up to her and shared my fears. The pressures of the job? Not nearly as intense. That’s partly because I started putting myself first, which meant I no longer routinely worked twelve hour days at my newspaper. And I quit worrying about what other people expected of me. At first, some folks said I was being selfish, but they got over it.

These days when I get blue, I still give my therapist a call. And if I toss and turn with insomnia, which I occasionally do, I’ll take a Sominex or Ambien sleeping pill. But that’s not very often.

I did have a relapse recently when my lover decided to end our relationship. She told me she had some personal problems and didn’t want to be involved with anyone. I couldn’t understand it for the longest time and got very depressed. We are both routine-oriented people and I missed our standing Friday night date at her house where we ate takeout Chinese and watched movies. But through the help of friends and my therapist, I picked up the pieces of my broken heart and moved on.

I still find there’s a strong stigma in our community and therapy, particularly for brothers. Tell someone you’re seeing a shrink and they just may haul off and hit you with: “Man, you must be crazy.” But I think it’s just the opposite: Sometimes you’d have to be crazy not to seek therapy.

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I totally agree with this article and I think there is more than needs to be done to help young Sikhs deal with depression.

But what can be done? Anybody have some good suggestions?

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even i get depressed

but i try and do path and listen 2 kirtan

and in college its always boring

many people dont understand

i agree the community has failed to understand depression

no human can erase pain and suffering

only waheguru can

i often try and do college work when im depressed cause at least i know then that my college work is out the way...

hopefully god carries me through these times

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The problem we face as a community is that admitting that there is a problem leads to finding the faults and mistakes that caused it in the first place. And no one, especially the elder generation, likes to admit that they have gone wrong or take any real responsibility.

A large part of all of this is being torn between cultures and identities, and like the guy said "Trying to be too many things to too many people" (look at the post abt respecting ur parents for another classic example).

Basically i beleive that there comes a time where we as individuals have to draw the line, say "Enough" and do whats best for us. Sure, its a risk and it may not work out in your favour, but its better than suffering in silence like most of our people do.

I would say any support there is to be had will come from people of our own generation. But there is a definate lack of structured support there, and the stigma attached to depression will probably always remain. I think the problem affects a large percentage of our community but is often swept under the carpet due to the way we are raised, but something has got to give at some point.

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