Fighting Depression and other Appurtenances of Failure

When you are good, and know that you are good, but don’t seem to be getting anywhere in life despite all those qualities and the sweat on your brow, it hurts. Naturally. It’s probably worse when you see so many less deserving people barging ahead, doing so much better for themselves – making it to the cut-off lists in prominent colleges, landing themselves up in the right jobs, earning heftier packages, maybe even proving luckier in love – while you have ‘failed’ to get there.

Not surprisingly, the jaws of depression – which seem to hang permanently open in today’s world – claim quite a few of such souls every day. True, it is a simpler affair when you have a flesh and blood enemy in front of you to punch but, when it’s such an intangible-abstract thing as destiny throwing a spanner in the works, how do you fight back?

Yet, the feeling of liberation and victory emerge from exactly that – conquering circumstances and trampling over failure, or what we perceive as failure. Unfortunately, in India especially, we are always all too quick, all too eager to label people as failures – right from lower kindergarten days. The huge stigma associated with the word is quite enough to keep most people terrorised throughout life. Truth be told, the whole problem with us is that we don’t allow ourselves to fail often enough.

What does failure mean anyway? It does not mean you are incapable of doing something; neither does it mean you will never get anywhere simply because you haven’t got there yet. All it means is that so far you have not done something right. Or maybe this particular time, you didn’t make the correct choices, think properly, plan ahead, or deal with a situation as you should have done.

Ninety nine per cent of the time people overestimate their problems, and underestimate their strength. Strength is not always about bashing someone up. A lot of times it is about maintaining your sanity in trying times. It is about endurance and patience, and lying low till the storm has passed. It is about going silently with the flow. It is about picking up your pieces, putting yourself together, and moving on. Sometimes, it is also about not allowing yourself to turn suicidal. If you don’t respect your life, no one else will.

So, to begin with, allow yourself to fail. Think of it as an opportunity to take a breather, step back, think things over, analyse, and re-plan. Perhaps you need a different perspective.

Your past does not necessarily determine your destiny. What you do from this moment onwards will. Learn from your ‘failures’.

Exercise. Depression is often known to be a cause of obesity. If you cannot wake up early morning and do all those painful twists and turns, never mind. Do what you enjoy most – go for a walk in the park or lock yourself up in your room, switch on the music, and dance in front of the mirror for ten minutes. Do it every day. It works!

Look good to feel good. It’s not a cliché; it’s the truth. Dress to kill at all times, and you are bound to feel much better about yourself.

Keep the company of people who make you feel great. Say a firm no to all negative emotions, vibes, and conversations. Say to yourself, ‘What if depression causes Cancer? I refuse to be depressed!’

Do what you are best at. Play a game you are confident of winning, hit the drums in an orchestra, or write a bestseller. Just do something that makes you happy and boosts your self-belief.

Count your blessings. Yes, another cliché you must learn to respect – you are still better off than a million other human beings.

Look at the brighter side. Every cloud has a silver lining; behind the cloud the sun is shining.

Lastly, always remember: nothing in the world is permanent, including this storm or impasse. This too shall pass. The only thing that’s final in the world is death – and you are not dead yet!

Divya Dubey

Divya Dubey is the publisher of Gyaana Books, Delhi. Turtle Dove: Six Simple Tales is her first collection of short stories. Her other short fiction has appeared in literary journals such as Out–of-Print, Muse India, Kindle Magazine, Urban Voice 4, and New Fiction Journal (forthcoming). She has also written for The Hindu Literary Review, Hindustan Times, Indo-Asian News Service, Pravasi Bharatiya, All About Book Publishing, Book Link, The Publisher’s Post, Chicken Soup for the Indian Couple’s Soul, etc. She writes a column for, and occasionally conducts lectures on publishing and creative writing. She was shortlisted for the British Council Young Creative Entrepreneur Award, Publishing, 2010.