How Depression (and a Bad Breakup) Taught Me to Love Myself
Just under a year ago, I was the girl who searched the internet, desperately seeking consolation for the mess I had become. My friends and family weren’t unaware of my condition, but they were unable to help. That was my fault; I wasn’t letting anybody break the walls around me.
College felt like hours of boredom. Home made me annoyed and agitated. I was left with nothing but a brain filled with negative thoughts. But then I met someone—someone who I liked. All of a sudden, I started to look forward to each day of college. He slowly became the reason I was surviving. Later it became clear that while I was finally breathing, he was just a ventilator.
Depression is a silent killer. I was dying from the inside. It’s scary because you never know when it will haunt you. On cold nights or on gloomy days, it hits you unwarned and leaves you paralyzed with sadness.
The end of winter brought me to the end of my relationship, and I was shattered. A broken relationship makes you question your value system, and my breakup was no different. It made me question myself so many times, too. I looked in the mirror every day and frowned over my curves, my big forehead, the bump on my nose, the myriad spots on face, my dusky complexion, and anything else I could fixate on.
Depression, breakup, and zero self-confidence—what was I doing with my life? I had to get out of my mind. I needed to be inspired by others and to learn to remove myself from this situation of self-denial. My only motivation was the hope that getting through this experience would make me stronger emotionally.
This started one day when I stood in front of the mirror and looked at myself. Only negative thoughts flooded my mind. I didn’t have the ideal body or a perfect face. But for the first time, I was finally trying to accept myself. I forced myself to see the positives. Each day after that, I tried hard to smile at my reflection and tell myself kind words. Sometimes it felt silly; sometimes it felt forced. But I started to prioritize me by taking care of my body and my heart.
A few months later, it actually worked. My curves bothered me less. My face was no longer a matter of concern for me. I learned that being a woman is not a curse after all. At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter whether you wear clothes that impress others or you dress up for yourself, whether you put on makeup or don’t, whether you choose to be with guys or roam around with your girlfriends, whether you are gay or you are not. We just need to accept this hard truth that we all are beautiful as it is.
So, what did my breakup teach me? Love yourself for those curves, for the dark complexion, for those pretty eyes, for those unruly locks of hair, for your long fingers, for the billion freckles on your face, and above all, for that undeterred smile. Life is short, and shutting yourself in the vortex of self-denial is no use. I can now confidently say that I am totally content with my body—because even if it doesn’t fit the idealistic frames made by people, it perfectly fits the frame of my life which is what matters the most.
A few months ago, yes, I was the girl seeking consolation for my mess. Today I am the proud girl who lived through this journey.
By Tanvi Divekar, 18