Interview Transcript

This is a transcript of an interview of a person suffering from depression. Respecting the wishes of the interviewee, their identity has been concealed.

Interviewer: Muhammad Shaheer Saleh (SS)
Interviewee: Anonymous (AN)

SS: Thank you for taking the time for this interview. I assure you, your identity will remain anonymous.
AN: Good. Let’s begin.

SS: What is depression?
What do you think is the most efficient way of dealing with it?
AN: It’s extreme pain, but also extreme emptiness. It’s not exactly
hopelessness, it’s more like you don’t care about your life anymore. You
just exist, and have no purpose. Everyone else is just going on with
their lives, you’re the only one who’s paused. It also feels like
someone leeched all the colors from your life and now everything’s
black and white. Sometimes it feels like you are floating, endlessly
without a purpose.  You just don’t want to do anything, like I said, you
just exist. You don’t feel like talking to anyone because
everything you do seems pointless, useless. And the worst part is when you
feel lonely. When no one understands you feel like no one cares or
values you. When this worsens, it feels like you shouldn’t exist, and
that is when the suicidal thoughts begin.
I don’t know the best way. I am trying to figure it out. People say
“The only person who can get you back on your two feet is you” but I
think talking to someone who understands helps. Someone who empathizes
with you, doesn’t pity you, someone who listens, and doesn’t treat it
like it is nothing.

SS: What do you think the society thinks of you?
Not you specifically, but people who have depression?

AN: First off, many people in Pakistan have this misconception about
depression. They call normal “sadness” depression which is why when
someone actually has depression they just simply tell you to “Get over
it” or tell you that “you’re being ungrateful”, and some even, instead
of giving support, tell you to “get out of this phase.”
And another thing. Since people don’t know what depression is, when
someone is actually depressed they tell you to go and pray.
If one has prolonged depression, people think they’re trying to seek
attention, or they are a pessimist. Some even start to doubt the
depressed person’s Iman. Some people also consider a person with
depression ‘weak’.

SS: How does that make you feel? When people fail to understand you?
AN: It adds to the hopelessness. It makes me feel so alone, and then I
feel like there’s no point in living if no one understands you, in
this world.
I can’t explain it really well right now. Can’t figure out the right
words but that above, sums it up.

SS: Why do you think this happens with you?
AN: Because, as a child, I experienced some things that I think weren’t
normal. My parents were aware but no one helped me through it, so now
that I am older, and the feelings have intensified, I feel like I am
of no value to anyone because my own parents didn’t do anything, so
why would anyone else help me, let alone understand what I am going