Hi, if you are reading this, you are not alone. I am Elvis, I suffered from Depression and this is my story. I want to tell you how I conquered it and why everyone needs to stop fighting and start talking.

It’s important you get to know me from the start of my life. I love programming and tech. It is my hobby and I don’t treat it as a profession. I began my career in the software industry many years back and I’ve witnessed its highs and lows equally. I’ve been through two major recessions during this period, both of which affected our Nation’s economy. Those who know how ‘Susegad’ (Lazy in Konkani) I can be also know that I suffered from lack of sleep and I would put up 2, sometimes 3 days without sleep. I also bore the brunt of excessive work and ended up developing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the early stages of my career. The initial signs of depression had already kicked in which I failed to recognize. I wanted my family’s financial condition to improve at a great speed but I failed…

The Dot-Com bubble burst, and so did my dreams in the year 2001. Software that could fetch me Millions was bargained for pennies by clients. We were losing clients at a great speed and hence we had to shut down. I began working for others, and after few mundane jobs I got introduced to the world of game development. I was finally going to do what I loved. I loved the idea of bringing in-animate objects to life and it was always my dream. I had vowed to do this in my childhood after playing Mario and now here I was. But, Murphy’s Law prevailed and I realised that I was under a lot of stress while working. I would work extra hours, burn the midnight oil, and kept churning out games. The industry was hit yet again in 2008 by another recession and that was Strike 2…

I was displaced yet again in my life and had to move away from Home and later from My Mumbai. Housing loan payments bounced and I started defaulting on payments. It forced me shift to another place close to the company but far away from home, further away from my newborn daughter and my dog (Max). My dog couldn’t bear me being away from home and sadly, passed away. I picked up another job in Delhi and kept shuttling once a month to Mumbai, but the recession was cruel. Payments got delayed, I saw many losing their jobs, there was no work, so I had to quit and return to Mumbai where I finally landed another job, only to lose it after a few years. I was without a job for almost two months and it forced me to borrow money from my friends. I had to stay strong in front of my entire family, especially my daughter, but I couldn’t help but cry when I was alone. When it rains, it pours. We had almost drained up all our savings and all we had left was a little cash. It was then that one of my old friends offered me a job and said that he would like to discuss a business opportunity. Taking my last Rs.500 note I booked a cab (instead of a train or a bus) to attend the interview and be presentable, only to realize that it was a ponzy scheme. I wasted the little money that I had in that drive to the interview. I felt betrayed! I had to make the ends meet somehow. But when a greater power strangles you, all you can do for survival is, struggle… and struggle I did. Finally, after great trials, I landed a fancy job in the city of Bengaluru…

Sony Signal, Bengaluru, India, Photo Courtesy: Dinker Gulati

I never had to stay alone before. I always had my family with me. Now in this new city I was forced to live alone, as if it was a punishment for crimes that I did not even commit. The only relief was when I was at work; where I made friends and found support. Fortunately my Landlord’s family was very caring and I think somehow, they understood my pain. The house in Bengaluru was nice, but the room was tiny and once I was back in it, I would go into my cocoon. The walls were always closing in on me. I would look at those walls and feel lonely and talking to anyone about this was impossible. Life was difficult. I resorted to drinking and eating excessively. I would eat a whole box of ice cream in one go. I began stress eating. I missed my family. Phone calls didn’t bridge the gap. I missed seeing my daughter grow up. This growing distance hit me and it hit me hard! With no one to talk to, I would turn dark inside. I tried to hide this self of mine. I’d crack jokes and appear lively in front of others. But there was a monster in me raging to snap…

I gathered up courage and decided to speak about this with my family and few friends. Speaking to my wife was difficult as I had taken it up to run the family and I didn’t want to appear weak, but it had to be done else I would be always away from my family. I finally decided to give up this kind of stress and find a job that would help me be close to family. Money didn’t matter anymore. I began hunting for a job back in Mumbai, preferably somewhere closer to home.

Finally, opportunity knocked at my door and brought me back in Mumbai.

While I was going through all of this, I found my calling at nULTA and I was back home in Mumbai, reunited with my family. My fight with depression ended. Gradually at nULTA, we tied up with iCALL for counselling services. Together, nULTA & iCALL help any person across the globe to combat depression, you finally have a voice that listens. I feel overjoyed that I was chosen to do this. I am overjoyed that my work is encouraging people to get help. I always believed in serving a higher purpose while developing software and this here has set me on the right path.

But a thought still scares me, what if I didn’t get back to Mumbai? What if I was always away from family… What if I did not talk…

Not everyone can get this lucky every time. Stress is hard, depression can eat up your life. Today I talk about it openly, hoping it gives courage to everyone who reads this. Courage to speak out. Remember, this is not a taboo, nothing to be ashamed of. It has claimed many a lives of great personalities and countless others like us. Casting all taboos aside I have opened myself up to you and accepted what has happened to me. Just like I did, I hope that you speak to someone about your problems, your stress as well.

If you are feeling sad or alone or depressed or feel like giving up, don’t worry. That is normal. We feel that way at times. You need to talk to someone who will listen. Talk to an old friend, Talk to Family, Talk to a qualified counselor, Talk and you will find Happyness again.