The Art of Living with Depression

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In Pakistan, it is better to sink deeper and deeper into the abyss of depression rather than seeking any professional help from a psychiatrist. As in our country, there are many stigmas attached to psychiatry and psychiatric patients.

What people don’t seem to realize is that brain is also an organ, just like heart or lungs. So if we consider heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes are socially acceptable sickness, then why isn’t mental illness given the same status? It too involves an organ (brain), receptors and hormones.

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Even an educated person lie about having session with a psychiatrist, just because of the shame it will bring on their family.

These are some of the factors that hinder the person from seeking help and thus falling deeper and deeper into the clutches of depression.


If you were to see an actual representation of depression it is something like this. It is an evil demon that makes you question everything. Suddenly, you are not perfect enough.

You can’t seem to do anything right.

You become a constant disappointment for the people you love.

You tend to end up hurting your family, friends.

You detach yourself from the world.

In the end it's you and your depression alone in a room, and your depression staying true to its nature and promise, “for better or worse, till death do us part.”

Depression is a terrible punishment. You don't have fever, or symptoms of any disease neither reports to make people worried for you. It is just a solitary experience, a room in hell with only your name written on the door.

It is very dangerous. Dangerous to an extent that it becomes scary for the person suffering from it. The darkness is pitch black. The grief overtakes life, and there’s no way out of it.

You cry on something, you cry about something, you cry for something. But this monster known as depression makes you cry about nothing.

Your heart hurts like somebody is stomping over it with heavy boots, you can’t breathe, every beat every breath makes it more and more difficult.


As a result, you end up taking extreme measures to feel nothing or maybe even a fleeting moment of peace and serenity. You cut yourself. It is completely wrong on so many levels but has anyone ever thought that what drives a person to actually have acquired the courage to cut themselves, to deliberately give themselves pain. Imagine that you are walking blindfolded in the water, and you don’t know where you are going. You just know you are going deeper. That’s what the build up to cutting feels like. You have no idea where you’re going. Depression has blinded you. All you know is that you’re going deeper and now keeping going until you drown. You want air, you want relief, and you don’t want to be drowning anymore. Now imagine the relief that you will feel when someone pulls you out of the water. That’s what cutting is a relief. Relief from all the insecurities and imperfections. So that what is cutting like? It’s relief.

You can’t just ask someone to stop cutting, it’s not easy. It is also like any addiction we develop and stopping isn’t even an option for the other person. All you can do for them is just simply be there for them and hope that next time they choose to pick up a phone call of yours instead of picking up a blade.


Butterfly project has been started to help the people. It consist of simple rules

  1. When the urge to cut your arm is strong, instead take a marker and draw butterflies on your arm.
  2. Name each butterfly after a loved one, who wants you to get better.
  3. The butterfly must fade off naturally.
  4. If you cut your arm before that, then you’ve killed it.
  5. If you have more than one butterfly, cutting kills them all.
  6. Another person may draw them on you. These are special butterflies so take extra good care of them.’

This project is raising a lot of awareness and helping people in need and especially for those who won’t ask for it.

Cutting is dangerous, and we totally condemn it. But soon when the intensity of pain increases a person tries to look for other alternatives, which proves to be lethal.

The person starts having suicidal thoughts to end it all for once. To have just ignorant bliss, no more cutting, no more depression, the eternal peaceful sleep. People believe that the person who commits suicide is cruel and selfish, but is this really the truth? Isn’t it crueler to drive that at such a stage where death seems like a better option than living?


Those people need constant love and support, no matter how much they push you away or build walls around them. It time that we realize that Depression is a sickness and give it its necessary treatment. You need to realize that anyone can be suffering from depression; it doesn’t matter if you are the happiest person alive you can still be depressed.

If even one of you reads this and realizes that it's not your fault and it's OK to seek help; if one of you encourages instead of discouraging a person wanting psychiatric help, we will indeed witness change.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” _Margaret Mead

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