My fight against Depression
By Tahir Hamid
It was whilst in South Carolina, USA that I experienced a nightmare that would leave me reeling with extreme depression and anxiety. During the fall of 1992, I had gone to Lander University, Greenwood, South Carolina for doing my Bachelors in Computer Sciences. Experiencing first class racism was what I got. Though not everyone was a racist but I felt unwelcome over there. It was a major setback for someone was not prepared for something like this. I was twenty years old at the time.
During the end of my second month of my first semester, I started experiencing severe chills, stomach cramping, haemorrhoids, gastero-ineritis and rheumatic fever. These symptoms would attack me at the same time and I felt scared. I went on many visits to the local hospital and my blood tests would come out fine. My lymph nodes got swollen and the pain in my throat soon entered my ears. I was sleeping for as much as fourteen hours a day. My eyesight became hazy. It seemed as if I may die and I was in the grip of intense fear and melancholy.
I called home from USA and talked for 47 minutes running up a bill of about a thousand dollars or more. My crying on the phone rattled my mom and she asked me to fly back. Meanwhile I had been taking so many medicines that I lost count of it. At night the severe cramping persisted and the pain in the chest and the cycling of my intestines made sleep difficult. I then played some Beethoven and Mozart compositions that would lull me to sleep. Meanwhile I was losing weight fast. By the time I reached Saudi Arabia, I had lost about 12 kilograms. I was also experiencing tremors and trembling.
It was in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia that I visited a French nutritionists place. She was also treating some Saudi Princes for different maladies. She diagnosed severe malnutrition and depression. I was first put on a detoxification regime and I had to drink onion juice and tomato juice for a week. Later on my diet was boiled vegetables, potatoes and lots of salads. Meanwhile I felt totally drained out. She also gave me acupuncture which helped me a little bit.
It was very difficult for my parents to understand about my psychosomatic symptoms. So once I came to Pakistan, I visited several psychotherapists and several homeopaths. My earaches, the swollen lymph nodes, my gastroenteritis and other stomach ailments were gradually healed. However the extreme anxiety, the shaking, and the fear associated with flying, with closed spaces and with panic attacks became a part of my life. My mother even went to spiritual healers thinking someone had put some sort of magic spells on me. They did not want to believe that their eldest son was mentally ill. My father did not want psychiatrists to put me on medicine. As a consequence, I continued to suffer from regular bouts of trembling, shaking and diarrhea. Meanwhile internally and mentally, I had a deep sense of guilt that persisted. At one point I had thought I was suffering from AIDs probably because I had sex with someone. My parents did not know about it. What my parents did not realize was that when you have severe depression and anxiety due to chemical imbalance, it is necessary to have medication and regular visits to a psychiatrist.
When hypnosis and reiki did not have any impact on me, it was only then that my parents turned towards a psychiatrist. I was suffering from severe mood swings and was extremely melancholic. So I was put on Resperil, Tegral and Seroxat. Within three months, I recovered from tremors, shaking, severe insomnia, the fear of flying, from travelling in closed spaces, from the obsessive compulsive disorder I had, from the constant bouts of diarrhea, panic attacks, etc. For me the medicine that I received from the psychiatrist were not pills but miracles of science.
Prior to my treatment, I had suffered from severe insomnia. And I could not sleep for long stretches of time. Even sleeping pills won't work at times.
Had my parents taken me to a psychiatrist at the earliest, I would have escaped the nightmarish life that I led for nine years. It would have helped me recover faster. I had died a million times during that time. Being ill all that time with the constant fight against different maladies that I was suffering from would have made life a lot better for me.
HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR DEPRESSION
1. Visit a psychiatrist as soon as possible and clearly tell him or her everything
2. A daily walk for thirty minutes with a friend/friends or your husband, mother, father, son, relative, etc. would help you
3. If you suffer from weakness or lethargy, take some multivitamins
4. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Drink a lot of fresh juice.
5. Drink Chamomile Tea.
6. Swim a lot. Floating relaxes you a lot.
7. Have a massage for massage invigorates a weak body and relaxes you.
8. See a funny movie.
9. Do some activity that pleases you.
10.Have group therapy by a psychotherapist. It can help you.
11. Pray to God and do acts of kindness and charity. Such acts please the soul and your heart.
12.Try to overcome your negative self-dialogue.
13. Learn some relaxation techniques and exercises. Deep breathing is recommended.
14.Be in the company of people who empathize with you and understand you.
15. Avoid those feelings of guilt and self-pity.
16.Keeping telling yourself you are okay. Yourself dialogue must be positive.
17. Avoid worrying because it doesn't help your situation.
18.Spend some-time in the company of close friends and in the company of nature if possible.