Having narrated the happy ending and complete recovery; let me explore the history, background and the events behind my prolonged depression that affected my life so badly between 1992 & 2015.
I was born in 1963 on 12 August on a stormy night, perhaps an indication of the storms I would face in my later years. I was brought up by my father, who never let me feel the mother’s absense. We had an extremely strong bonding; far beyond and much stronger than the conventional father-son bonding. Being a motherless child* himself; perhaps Papa had a better understanding of my psychology during my early formative years.
I was also extremely close to my male nanny, Bauna, who loved me. Though he lived with me only till I was about 8 years old; we remained in touch until his death in 1980. His death was the first emotional blow I faced.
I completed my Engineering degree course in 1989 and have been working & living in different parts of the world ever since, mainly in the IT industry.
* My father’s mom died when he was just 2 years old and, like me, he was also brought up by his father (my Grandpa) with the help of a nanny and domestic helps. As for me, I did have a biological mother but she didn’t have any relationships with me. I don’t have any childhood memories of her that I could recall and cherish. Practically, I grew up motherless and was brought up by father who gave me the love of both father & mother.
Black Day: 16 Nov, 1992
It was on Nov 16, 1992 that Papa passed away. He was just 58. I was shattered. Though I was already 28; I was emotionally dependant upon him like a baby.I didn’t even have a partner that time. No shoulder to put my head on. That may sound quite feminine. But I never fit the conventional definition of masculinity when it comes to emotions.
Robert Burns’ Rescue
A few days after Papa’s death, I flew back to Dubai where I was working for an IT company that time. Tried to accept the truth and live a normal life. But, it was very painful.It was then that Robert Burns came to my rescue with his two lines:
Here’s a bottle and an honest friend!
What wad ye wish for mair, man?
Well, I had lost my friend but I definitely had a bottle. ‘What wad ye wish for mair, man? And, the bottle became my honest friend.
Slowly ‘water for life’ became an indispensable part of my life. I always enjoyed single malt on the rocks. But basking in the aroma, wafting out from the golden liquid, in a misty glass on a breezy evening is one thing; and reaching office, fully plastered, to attend an 11 AM corporate meeting is totally another! 🙂
1995: Search for Love: Papa in a Feminine Body?
Soon I realised that the bottle was not as friendly to me as it was to Robert Burns. I must find another solution.
A lost love can be compensated by another love only. Human love. So I thought. And then I started my search for a true love that would fill the vacuum created by Papa’s untimely departure. But I had set the bar very high for myself and my potential future partner. Competing with Papa’s selfless love was just not humanly possible.This near impossible search and the resulting disastrous relationships would keep me occupied for the next two decade, handling a life that was full of ups and downs.
1995 introduced me to my first partner, a nice East European lady, whom I met through a common friend in the aviation industry. We would live together for the next 12 years and have two kids.
2001: First Diagnosis. Genetic Monster
Having a partner did help a bit, but I still felt the emptiness in my life. By then, I had given up regular heavy drinking and drank only on weekends & during holidays like other regular guys.
Early morning of 2001’s Boxing Day saw me being carried to hospital after my almost non-stop drinking since Christmas evening.It was in the hospital that I was first diagnosed as having clinical depression. However, the psychiatrist was of the opinion that it was actually triggered and started in 1992 after the death of my father, and gradually worsened because of prolonged stress, lack of proper support network and treatment.
By the way, I have depression in my genes.So, basically this monster had been hiding inside me, waiting for the right moment to strike.
I was told that that my depression was bi-polar in nature, and accompanied by COD ( Compulsive Obsessive Disorder ) I was prescribed some MOAI antidepressant. I believe this class of antidepressants were popular at that time; in part of the world I was diagnosed. It was an ex-USSR. However, it didn’t work and the side effects were intolerable. so, I had to stop it after 2 or 3 weeks.
Herbal Treatment & Healthy Lifestyle
After that, I started herbal & natural treatment. Restarted going to gym and living a very healthy lifestyle. Actually, I’ve been going to gym regularly since my uni days, but had stopped after Papa’s death. This helped a lot in having more & longer “highs” and less & shorter “lows”. (Bipolar low & high periods).
2012: Another Breakdown. Another Anti Depressant
By the end of 2007, I had separated with my first partner and had moved back to India, hoping to get peace. I termed my moving back to India as “Moving Back to Den”. However, my “Back to Den” experience in India was just opposite of what I had hoped. I found myself in a new society; surrounded by strange people whose lifestyle, values, principles and thought process were totally different from those of mine. I found it difficult to adjust myself in the new environment.
During this difficult adjustment period, I got myself involved in a new relationship with an Indian woman in 2008. Despite being an Indian, I had never dated any Indian women till that time. This relationship gave me some emotional stability and relief that I desperately needed. The relationship also helped me understand the Indian social system and the way it functions at different levels of social ladder.
However, this relationship also failed miserably and I again found myself in a Psychiatrist office in 2012. This time I was given SSRI. But, I had to again stop it because of intolerable side-effects. It also started affected my kidney badly.
After stopping SSRI, I restarted my herbal treatment and increased my physical activities including weight training. All this had profound effect and within 1 year, I was again kicking. Got into one more relationship, again with an Indian woman, that also failed. But, this time I got back on track pretty soon.
Things were going very smooth until the horrific incident of 2015 – 2016. As I mentioned earlier, this incident proved to be a blessing in disguise in the end and changed my life forever, for better!