The onset of the disease was insidious. I completed my master’s degree in the year 2018 and everything seemed set. I was about to start my first job at a prestigious hospital. Initially I was not able to figure out what was going wrong; I had difficulty getting up from bed, I had started avoiding social gatherings and also suffered from severe constipation, and disturbed sleep. At the same time, I was enjoying my job, but sometimes I would suddenly have an emotional break down at the workplace.
I realized something was wrong and spoke to my dad. I immediately took an appointment with a psychiatrist for the next day. The day I met the psychiatrist and informed her how I was feeling.
You are going through a hard time right now. Allow yourself the space but remember that this is just a moment. Just keep going and don’t give up on yourself.
The following treatment was prescribed that helped me through this tough phase-
Medication was prescribed. Never miss your medication and never stop the medication without the doctor’s permission.
Counseling sessions were very helpful where she (the psychiatrist) listened, understood, and made me understand certain things in life. Never feel ashamed about your thoughts as they are a part of the human experience.
Journaling my thoughts on day to day basis helped me understand myself better. I cold make corrections to my thoughts, and get a sense of achievement. Small progress is valuable and worth celebrating.
Walk to the park – nature healing system. Felt so good and peaceful
Family support – When I look back, the most important thing I realised is that apart from the medical support I received, I am grateful to my family for the support and strength they gave me throughout the journey. At times they encouraged me to fight the boredom and at times they gave me space to recollect my thoughts and calm myself. They listened to me when negative thoughts were overpowering me and calmed me down. They never made me feel the stigma around mental illness. To date they still support me.
Nutrition – During this phase, I used to crave sugar-rich foods or spicy foods. Both have caused further damage to my health such as root canal treatments for teeth and gastritis. I was also gaining weight due to bad food choices.
The doctor’s statement completely changed my mindset “2 inch tongue won’t satisfy a 5 feet body”
After that session, I realized that nutrition plays a very important role in mental illness and took an appointment with a certified dietician nearby. Trust me the diet plan was very useful. They also suggested healthy alternatives to sugar cravings and maintaining weight. Here are the following tips-
Good carbs to boost mood – fruits, vegetables, whole grains, millets, and no refined flour or sugar
Omega-3 fatty acids – such as nuts and seeds; fish, olive oil, flaxseed oil, walnuts, chia seeds help you manage depression symptoms
Vitamin D – deficiency of this vitamin prolongs length of the psychiatric treatment. Exposing yourself to the sun in the morning between 8-12 helps a lot along with consuming food such as sundried mushrooms, milk, fish, and tofu.
Maintaining a healthy balanced diet plan is essential for overall mental wellness.
Conclusion – After a year and a half of treatment; I recovered.
Remind yourself of what you’ve been able to overcome. All the times you felt like you weren’t going to make it through, you proved yourself wrong. You’re more important than you think.
Nutrition and depression: implications for improving mental health among women – Pub Med (nih.gov)
Using journaling to help handle depression – Mål Paper (malpaper.com)
Recovery from major depression: the role of support from family, friends, and spiritual beliefs – Pub Med (nih.gov)
Author: Jayashree Bafna