Photo by Tyler Meuter

I’ve finally come back. You may be thinking, “Uhh … you’ve been there the whole time.” But I haven’t. If you didn’t know me before college, “Hi, I am Vidya Iyer, I’ve come back and I’m so excited you finally get to meet me.” Me. It’s strange to finally, after so, so long, feel like me again.

The timeline is unclear, but I think I started to fade away and turn into the shell that most of you got to know upon entering college. Depression is a misnomer, or maybe our use of it to describe extreme sadness is just incorrect, because depression couldn’t even spare me the feeling of sadness. I was robbed of all feelings. I just remember that I would think I was having an off day and then another off day and so on and so forth until it became perpetual. There were times I wanted to repeatedly punch a brick wall just so I’d be able to feel something.

This feeling of numbness permeated into all aspects of my life. I confused this feeling with laziness because I couldn’t bring myself to do anything, and from the outside, I’m sure that laziness is what it looked like. I would sleep almost all day never feeling fully rested. Eating became a chore. You know, heating it up putting it on a plate, and then having to do the dishes? So I would eat a spoon or two of peanut butter out of a jar instead — if I felt up for it.

What I missed the most was being able to care — school, friends, life — none of it mattered, and that bothered me. I couldn’t bring myself to form thoughts and opinions on anything. It was like there was a filter blocking my mind — after a certain threshold it would just shut down. If any of you pick up the paper, you’ll notice that I haven’t written many editorials. Besides the fact that I wasn’t bothered with forming fully-thought out opinions, everything I typed would feel fake — my words were hollow and lacked passion. In essence, this made sense, when I couldn’t be bothered to take care of myself, what would enable me to care about anything else?

I couldn’t understand why this would happen to me. I am the luckiest girl in the world. I am constantly surrounded by people who love me — people who would give me the sun, moon and stars, if they could. But I felt alone because no one could understand the feeling of the ground falling beneath my feet while the sky came crushing down on me. I wasn’t able to  breathe and take in the moments around me because I was falling into a never-ending pit, like Alice, with nothing and no one to hold onto.

Just like it came, it went away. The scary thing is I’m not sure why, but I’m doing better. There have been days where I smile for no reason. It feels so out of character that I sometimes think I’m possessed.

I’m overjoyed that I’m able to walk and notice how green the grass is and how the sun bounces off the yellow flowers in front of Tech tower. I’ve rediscovered my love for learning and for the first time in forever I feel like I can breathe again. I think that some people take the beauty of everyday life for granted, but it’s not a mistake that I plan on making.

Life, regardless of all the ups and downs, is something that should be fully experienced. If you’re lucky to have never experienced depression, take joy in the anger that you feel, revel in your passions and don’t shy away from sadness. Not everyone can experience these things.

I am lucky to have just snapped out of my depression, and as such I have no profound or sagely advice to give if you’re experiencing the same thing. Snapping out of depression hasn’t changed things — life still sucks, people are still mean and shit still happens — everything is the same.

The only thing  that is different is that all the pieces of this jigsaw puzzle somehow fit together now. For the moment, I am enjoying being able to stand on solid ground because I am terrified that this feeling of freedom could be taken away from me any day and I could go back to being a prisoner in my own mind.

  • KWWilliams

    Depression, stress, anxiety…We are all touched by it whether it is our own struggle, or someone we know, especially at a university as demanding as Ga Tech. Speaking about it in an open forum like The Technique will help others. Thank you!