You woke up today with a heavy weight on your chest – a kind merely more than a dread – while feeling extremely exhausted despite a full night of sleep. You pushed yourself getting off the bed anyway because you can’t afford to succumb to your emotion; you have a well-paid job and everyone is counting on you.
And if you’re a Muslim, you woke up to pray fajr. You raised your hand for a supplication and perhaps read a few pages of the Quran but honestly, you’ve been distracted all the time. You’ve been thinking about the amount of work and responsibilities that you would need to face today; it has been overwhelming and you wish it would all just end.
End… The thought of ending is so scary to you but you’ve been longing for it so you wouldn’t have to deal with life anymore. It is more than just a mere reflection of death, but a wish that your life would just be taken away – soon. You don’t want to hurt yourself; you just feel indifferent with your career, family, and life in general.
You continue the day with a smile, masking your true emotions because you wouldn’t want to declare that you’ve been in grave sadness for the last couple of months – or years – to the world. It has become a part of who you are; you’ve lived with this unsettling anxiety and an endless inner dialogue that keeps telling you that “you are not good enough”. You’re so hard on yourself so you would feel “motivated” without even realising that it is harming you in the long run.
Socialising becomes difficult; you try to minimise interaction with people – out of fear of being judged and out of that legitimate fear: you end up feeling lonely. It isn’t like a ‘me’ time when you genuinely enjoy being alone but you just feel like no one can ever understand what you’re truly feeling.
You haven’t experienced any apparent symptoms; everything is subtle that makes you feel like you are not “qualified” enough to get help. The nearest help that you can find now is from the Internet. You’ve googled “am I depressed or just sad?” or “why do I feel so alone all the time? and have read stories after stories that you deeply relate to. It’s the only way to express what you’re feeling without having the fear of being judged and remain anonymous. You’ve come across “walking depression” or “dysthymia” or “low-grade depression”
Maybe behind that suffering, you know that you have a sense of pride that makes you feel like you don’t need help. Sometimes, you would get angry because you’ve had too much on your hands and wish that someone else would just take over some of your responsibilities. Maybe, you’ve had simmering resentment towards other people who are always so grateful and happy because you want to be like them to. You’ve tried, but you just keep falling back into the same gutter.
It’s all so confusing but one thing for sure is that you’ve had enough. All those people who you’ve acquainted through stories online ended up getting help.
Maybe you do, too.
For the first time ever, you fought your inner dialogue; you called for an appointment with a psychiatrist. You’ve never felt so brave in your life for finally getting help – after all those years of suffering quietly. God never forbade for us to ask for help; it is one of the ways to reclaim back your faith and hope.
Even if it was just a false alarm, at least you are getting somewhere rather than being stuck. It is better than repressing the emotions that have been holding you back from living – from being the most authentic you. It is time to feel happy, again.
Disclaimer: This is only a depiction of what it might feel like to have dysthymia – inspired by people who have dysthymia – and are not meant to be a guide of symptoms associated with dysthymia. Everyone goes through a mental illness differently – it’s safe and best to consult with a professional. Please do get help if something doesn’t feel right, even if it is just from your family members first.