Opening up to the world
Shivi Verma’s journey through depression, near suicide, and ultimate triumph over both is inspiration enough for those who are battling life’s setbacks
Last month, in an interview on a well-known YouTube channel, I was asked how I overcame chronic depression in my youth and if the thought of suicide ever seduced me? This was the first time I was sharing my struggles with depression and suicide on a public platform.
Answering the first question, I said that I was able to overcome depression solely because I had stepped onto the spiritual path before depression rose its ugly head in my life. As a result, I could piece the puzzle of my life together and realise that years of negative self-talk and beliefs had culminated into this situation and that it was a mental ailment, not the reality of who I was. I had gained the knowledge that the Universe bends to human will and determination, and if I decide that I want to overcome depression, it will happen one day.
I used to tell myself that my real Self—my soul—was whole, complete, and happy, and depression was an affliction of an unwell mind, and I was not my mind. I had learnt to create a gap between myself and my mind, and would often distance myself internally from the intense negativity that the mind was mired in. I kept talking to God, telling Him that I wanted to win this battle, and I would not give up until it happened. I knew all along that I was bigger than my problems and nothing was impossible if I decided to put my mind to it. Yet, this was not easy. Often, I would be engulfed in pain and hopelessness. I wanted to escape from this unbearable suffering which nobody could understand and empathise with.
Once, on an impulse, I decided to end it all and went to the river bridge to jump to my death. However, as I looked at the placid waters of the river, inviting me to its soothing embrace, a thought flashed through my mind: No matter how much I tried, I could never escape from my trials. If I died today, I would have to be reborn somewhere in another body to complete my journey and fulfil my life purpose. Furthermore, I would also have to go back and cover the entire journey I had undertaken so far once again. All this was not worth the effort. I hugged the picture of Sri Krishna I had taken with myself and came back.
From then on, there was no looking back. I held on and learnt all the life lessons that were embedded in depression. I prayed to Sai Baba fervently to aid me in my healing.
Soon, circumstances changed, and I came in touch with people who believed in me and my ability to recreate my life. I gave up my allopathic medicines and drank gomutra (cow urine) which eliminated every trace of depression from my body within eight months. Simultaneously, I pushed myself harder physically to do things which usually I was unable to because of depression. I believed that it was possible to be a winner despite my imperfections. All these things worked in my favour and, eventually, at 35, I was completely healed after a 10-year-long battle with depression.
No sooner had I finished my talk, messages began to pour in from all quarters telling me that I had deeply inspired and motivated the listeners. Most of them were happy to note that I had not shared a sob story and that I was free of any sense of injustice and bitterness.
If my life has a purpose, I feel I am living it now.
Editor of Life Positive, Shivi Verma is a devotee who found all her answers in loving God passionately.
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