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I am depressed and under medication.

Like in many other places, in Nepal, too, depression is a taboo subject. People are afraid to talk about it, and I was culturally embarrassed to talk about my depression. When it first emerged, I tried to bury it deep within myself. Ironically, it drew me in tighter and pulled me down with it. I became afraid of life and began to wonder if every moment was even worth living. I sank lower, constantly thinking about ways to die. The people I loved and the pain they would go through with my suicide was the one small thread that kept me hanging. And I hung tight. I dangled like my life depended on that thread, because it did. 

Then, I sought assistance: from a psychotherapist, from my family, and everyone who believed in me. And I kept myself busy. I am still not completely out of it; it is a work in progress, a constant battle. I am working my way out slowly but I still feel guilty about a lot of things. I have hurt the people I love the most. I was selfish, putting myself at the centre while creating great voids in everyone else. Maybe apologies will never fill that emptiness, but I am slowly trying to accept that darkness and move forward. That is the only way out. 

With this series of photos, I want to talk to people about depression – about the times they were really low, and about the times when they felt life was not worth living. 

I want this to be an open discussion. I want to say that it is ok to be depressed, it is alright to feel low, it is fine to talk and share with others, it is ok to seek help. Because we are only able to rise when we lie lowest, most often with the help of someone who believes in us (and sometimes when we ourselves feel that it’s time to stand and move forward).

In the darkness within the light,
wishing someone listen to our silence,
we search within our dark shades
to find the flowers beneath.
The flowers shine bright, upside down
showing the stars on the grounds.
The dead slowly wake up,
among the shadows of alive!
Eyes wide open and wings spread,
we try to fly to the stranger horizon.

All photos by Nirman Shrestha.

If you, or someone you know, is in crisis or thinking of suicide, please seek help from a trained professional. Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation-Nepal (TPO) Crisis Hotline: 1660 0102005. Mental Health Helpline Nepal: 1660 0133666.

Nirman Shrestha loves talking about random mundane things with everyone he meets. If you are interesting, he will take your deadpan portrait. Someday, he hopes to open a gallery space where you can sip coffee, eat muffins, read books, look at the photos and talk about mundane things of life. Sometimes frames define him, other times he defines the frame.