Living with Depression


Living with Depression
by Shazde Asdola Mirza

One of the young “users” of this site keeps haunting others as outcastes and downtrodden migrants. He himself appears to have chosen a western name in real life (Mark) and a military title (Sargord) for his avatar. Perhaps those are his double escape-routes from alienation and helplessness. His resentment towards the migrant crowd is also very likely the outward projection of his raw anger towards his own parents and their choices in life. All of that shows how some of our kids will never be able to fully understand and forgive our situations and our struggles.  

When the Iranian Mrs and I left Iran 21 years ago, we were both like two fugitive inmates fresh out of the asylum – shell shocked, hurt and confused. I had been out of US for 10 years, but at least had some educational and cultural footing to stand on. She became like a lone tree cut from the stem and shoved into an unfamiliar ground. Depression loves those rootless trees.  

You hear about the D word, and you see the ads for it medication; but nothing prepares you for its full impact. It doesn’t hit you like a train, but rather in the fashion of a persistent and resilient darkness; it overtakes your world. An endless night which refuses any dawns and consumes all hope. The days upon days of silence, of uncontrolled tears, of never ending slumbers and shapeless misery.  

The running inmate in me felt trapped and threatened again – out of the penitentiary, but still having the remainder of its ball and chain bearing on the neck. After the first months of trying, I refused to listen; after long observations, I declined to see; after the intimacy was lost, I sought alternatives. My survival instinct kicked in and told me to keep my distance, even better, to build a fence … no a wall – to be able to move forward and gain what I had lost – to build what I had ruined during 10 silly years spent on IRI.  

She descended further and further into the abyss. Two years in the wilderness of consultations, therapies and voodoo doctors. Until finally, the pharmaceutical world blessed us with their brand new miracle: the Prozac. It was the difference between night and day! Those little pills broke her cycle of depression and inaction, and let her explore and study, play and enjoy – and yes, be ready to disperse the next wave of dark clouds, before they could gather enough vigor to conquer her spirit.  

Over the following two years, we became stronger, wealthier and wiser, but a third entity too grew in our lives. You know, emotional walls are funny things; once you build them, they gain a life of their own. While the two of us were struggling, one in the outside world and the other in her inner cell, the wall was building layer upon layer onto itself. Subconsciously, we were both providing the brick and mortar, from both sides of the divide – me partitioning not to be weakened by her misery, and she plastering to block my judgmental gaze.

So our story ended: two “successful” adult migrants and one insurmountable wall.


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more from Shazde Asdola Mirza

totally identify

by humanbeing on

(double posted)


totally identify

by humanbeing on

this was a bullseye account of what i am going through now. with no objective excuses as you had. i am like both you and your wife parallel processes and a wall inside myself, as well as with my near and dear.

i do not have the courage to go the medicinal route, but perhaps i shall show this blog to the relevant party and we'll learn something.

just goes to show that exile, uprooting, culture shock only add to difficulties people born with a silver spoon also have.

thank you for the beautifully written (will not say 'entertaining') piece. 

thank you more than you can imagine for sharing so openly and bravely. you may have changed more lives.


Thanks Shazdeh

by Mehman on

For sharing this revealing and  valuable memory of inner struggle against depression caused by migration, change of environment and social pressure.

Darius Kadivar

Courage Mon Ami

by Darius Kadivar on

Thanks for Sharing this so bravely Shazdeh Jaan,

We have all been through this at some point in our lives. But as pas-e-pardeh said it below the good thing once out of the tunnel is that best is yet to come ...

Take Care,





by pas-e-pardeh on

shazdeh jan, cheer up! On to San Francisco we go!

This is a wonderful story.  Stay with it. 

Multiple Personality Disorder

Excellent piece of writing!

by Multiple Personality Disorder on

Made me remember my dark days.

maziar 58


by maziar 58 on

thanks shazdeh.

what a nice way to open up without closing or breaking anyones feeling.

we may all need that prozac !          Maziar


shazdeh, a most heartfelt piece

by gunjeshk on

This is one of the most heartfelt insightful pieces I have read here. Shazdeh, thank you for your candor, your humanity and most of all your vulnerability. May we all find help in bringing down The Wall.

Since I am a mixture, let me share that my American relatives. especially my grandmother (first generation Irish-American) helped me to see how 1st generation is usually loathe to embrace anything "old country," trying to assimilate and gain acceptance by distancing themselves from their parents roots. So if your children seem out of tune with you and your wife's wishes for them and resist the home culture, don't fret. 2nd Generation supposedly reverses the trend, accusing their parents of being disinterested sell-outs.

the person you refer to in the beginning of your piece, who is known to log on here and apologize for the unforgivable, seems be an  weird little creative wrinkle in the old self-hatred that we sometimes see here.  i feel for him but I can't condone his back-breaking bend-overs to compensate for something that outwore idealism long ago.


Dear Shazdeh,

by Monda on

Thank you for sharing your joint struggles with Depression in such lucid words. Having read hundreds of descriptions of abandonment, survivor's guilt and emotional defenses among immigrants - your blog touched me too, profoundly.  

I truly appreciate your humanity and generosity in sharing your perspectives of the most common condition among our generation.  I do hope this creates some awareness in our young ones that: Adjustment of our generation to our new life, far away from Home and support -- taught us more than They know.

I wish you and your Mrs. much strength in honoring but surpassing, the walls you have shared.  



Shazdeh jan: On the fourth

by vildemose on

Shazdeh jan: On the fourth or the fifth reading of your piece of poetry I have only this to say:

 May this wall of resentment between the two of you be shattered to pieces with forgiveness, grace, and radical love and light for the real healing and coming out of the 'rabbit hole' starts from the act of giving the gift of forgiveness to yourself and others.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Mahatma Gandhi

Hoshang Targol

شازده جان دمت 

Hoshang Targol

شازده جان دمت گرم که خیلی با حالی و رک و راستی  . یکی دو بار مطلبت را خوندم و هنوز هم جای خوندن داره. یه  مقداری منو یاد کتاب :  Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness از نویسنده آمریکایی William Styron انداخت. ایشون نویسنده کتاب Sophie's Choice بود . که شاید فیلم شو دیده یا اسمشو شنیده باشی.  وقت کردی به این کتاب خاطراتش نگاهی بکن شاید خوشت بیاد.  دمت گرم و سرت خوش باد.

Maryam Hojjat

Thanks Shazdeh for

by Maryam Hojjat on

sharing very personal story with us.  It is a hearfelt story.

I also went through depression when I came to US by myself and was struggling with it in graduate school.  Finally, it became very choranic that made me very out of touch with reality during stressful Hostage Crisis.  It was when I had to get medical help and one of this miraclous medicine for chronical depression helped me.  It was as though pouring water over fire and I returned to a funtioning person quickly within a week.  Thanks to progress in medical science.

I wish all Iranians in IRAN who suffer from depression would get professional help and help themselves by taking these wonderful available medications.

Homan Mohabadi Ebrahimi

From Depression to be Lively

by Homan Mohabadi Ebrahimi on

Thank you for this remarkable heartfelt blog. I just found a poem by Dr Saadat Noury that may interest you and the readers of this very informative Website. It is about From Depression (Afsordegi) to be Lively or Sarzendegi

 ای روزگا رتیره و آ لوده
افسرده از مشقت_تو با شیم
آزرده از قساوت_تو با شیم

جوشیده آرزو که چه آسوده
جوینده ی شفقت_تو با شیم
سرزنده از طراوت_توباشیم

دکتر منوچهر سعا دت نوری

Source: Poem 137: // 



Thank you, Shazdeh

by Rea on

Thank you for being so human. So fragile and courageous at the same time.

Lot of us have gone thru it.


دلی‌ شکست و صدایش در همهمهٔ آدم‌ها گم شد..


I have read this piece several times and with each read and reflection, I see more similarities in how most of us have struggled inside, to make sense of the new and strange surrounding outside....

What makes the coping more difficult is the often absent support system.... not the support from the groups, doctors, etc... but rather from our own countrymen....  We share in each other's "shadi", but avoid one another, like "jozami", when the need is the most and suddenly the belief that people who speak our language, and share our culture and background, will catch us if we are falling (at least emotionally), is shattered and we become the bruised and bloodied bird against the mirage of the glass door taken for the clear passage....

Perhaps we are all so preoccupied with our own struggles, perhaps we are so busy trying to blend in, and perhaps we don't want to be associated with the stigma... I don't know what it is, but most of us (Iranians), no longer feel the same compassion for each other, as we used to, and that hurts more when you are most in need of a " ham zaban va hamdel".  

 Thanks Shazdeh, for sharing what many of us are hesitant to..... I feel like I have known you for a long time.... 



by Souri on

A very intelligent and heartfelt blog!

That definition of the "emotional wall between two close persons" was indeed splendid! Sometimes you show a remarkable capacity of analysis the very important things which usually go unnoticed for the rest of us. Thanks for sharing.

Masoud Kazemzadeh

Thank You Shazdeh

by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

Shazdeh jaan,

Thank you for this powerful blog. You are one of the most decent members of our i.c community.





I can relate

by pas-e-pardeh on

thanks for sharing

Shazde Asdola Mirza

با تشکر از محبت شما

Shazde Asdola Mirza

See you all, next weekend.


Thanks ...

by Khar on

Depression is often ignored and/or over looked in Iranian culture, thanks for shining the light on it!

*Shazdeh Jaan keep on writing Aziz*


Thank you sweet Anahid.

by vildemose on

Thank you sweet Anahid.

Anahid Hojjati

Dear vildemose, I try to find that video that I wrote about

by Anahid Hojjati on

Dear vildemose, when time permits, I will look for that video and maybe I will write more about this subject. However, if on IC, there  are friends who are both an artist and also therapist, their views will be interesting  to know.

ebi amirhosseini

شازده جان,وزیرالوزرا , !!

ebi amirhosseini

Your blog had the effect of a dozen Prozacs on me.

Pir shi aziz!.


Ebi aka Haaji


Anahid jan: Couldn't agree

by vildemose on

Anahid jan: Couldn't agree more. You might be onto something here. I'd love to read more about it if you stumble upon articles/programs/podcasts, please post them in a blog. Thanks.

Anahid Hojjati

Issue of manic depression in artists needs to be studied more

by Anahid Hojjati on

Dear Vildemose, few days ago, I was thinking about issue of the prevalent thought that many artists had or have manic depression. Is it possible that these artists were wrongly labeled so? at least some of them. Could it be the case that as avante-garde people, they had great ideas and excitement to bring these ideas to society only to be ridiculed or not favorably received by society. Therefore, this caused them great pain. Later, people looked at the life of these artists and called them manic depressive.

Few months ago, there was an interesting video circulating in facebook about this very subject which tried to say that no artists are not manic depressive. In any case, this is a fascinating subject that could use further study and in a different light. After all, if a therapist is not an artist, he/she cannot really know how mind of an artist works.


Dear Anahid

by vildemose on

human conditions have been brought up by happy, upbeat people. However, sometimes, it is the depressed ones who take action to get rid of what is hurting society.

Astute observation. So true. Many of the world's greatest poets, writers and artists, painters, scientists,  have suffered from depression and bipolar disorder but they are usually the avant- garde/pioneers in the field.

Shazde Asdola Mirza

سپاسگزاری از دوستان، به مدد مولانا

Shazde Asdola Mirza


بشنو این نی چون شکایت می‌کند

از جداییها حکایت می‌کند

کز نیستان تا مرا ببریده‌اند

در نفیرم، مرد و زن نالیده‌اند

سینه خواهم، شرحه شرحه از فراق

تا بگویم شرح درد اشتیاق

هر کسی کو دور ماند از اصل خویش

باز جوید روزگار وصل خویش

من به هر جمعیتی نالان شدم

جفت بدحالان و خوش‌حالان شدم

هرکسی از ظن خود شد یار من

از درون من نجست اسرار من


در غم ما، روزها بیگاه شد

روزها با سوزها همراه شد

روزها گر رفت، گو رو باک نیست

تو بمان، ای آنکه چون تو پاک نیست


Thanks for sharing Shazde

by divaneh on

This must be one of the best pieces that I have ever read in IC if not the best. I was very touched by the sincerity and depth of your blog. We are all battling the depression to some degrees in the strangers land but it's so painful to see some of us fall victims and get trapped in its ugly hands. Thanks again dear Shazde.

Anahid Hojjati

Thanks Shazde for sharing. Depresed people can do good too.

by Anahid Hojjati on

thanks Shazde for sharing. I also want to make a note that in US, there is too much talk of happiness and sometimes people want tosay that they are happy and this is looked upon as a sign of strength. However, some events in a person's life and some events in society are truly depressing. An example is events of last summer in Iran. If people looked at pictures and news which came from Iran and did not feel sad/depressed, then in my opinion, there is something wrong with them. Also many depressed people, can do good for humanity,. Lincoln was plagued with depression. Many people assume that advances in life and human conditions have been brought up by happy, upbeat people. However, sometimes, it is the depressed ones who take action to get rid of what is hurting society. Again, thanks for sharing.

13th Legion

"Life is a very overwhelming experience for most of us”

by 13th Legion on

Salam Shazdeh Jaan,

Thank you for sharing your story, we can all feel a bit closer now, for we come from the big tribe and there are millions of us out there ;)

My first experience with this dark beast was at the age of 15 (1980) when I left the newly founded IRI

Alone and with no family the first year as a stranger in a strange land with no hamvatans around at all the first 2 years was a pretty dark time, especially at the young age of 15 and straight out the warm loving “ zar varagh” of the Persian family and culture into the bosom of the wild wild west and the feeling of abandonment in a subconscious way still haunts me today ;) the 2nd big wave came about 4 years ago  when due to a mixture of economic and mid life crises reasons I moved from the land of sun to the land of rain, leaving geographic roots and  old friendships of 20 years and moving to a completely new environment can trigger major depression followed by the economic depression that rained on us all, 2010 was one of the darkest periods for the depression brought along a new friend called Mr. Panic attack which was a whole new dark experience on its own ;) but hey, they say if it doesn’t kill you it will make you stronger.

Thanks to some mild anti depressants and educating myself on the roots and remedy’s for panic attacks, positive  reinforcement, spirituality, yoga and faith, I am still trucking on and keeping faith in encountering better and brighter experiences of hope, joy and love around the next corner.

I also find that when it comes to depression being Persian is not a big help, I kind of find depression and sadness to be imbedded in the DNA of our culture, although beautiful our traditional music is often sad and you can see in our history of cinema I find Persian movies to often start with lots of dramatic drama and too often have sad endings! But I also think as immigrants we have developed the potential to shake some of that gloom off ;)

As a dear friend once sed “Life is a very overwhelming experience for most us”

One thing we know for sure is that everything is in a state of constant change and nothing lasts forever,

I hope that you will keep on trucking on in the same fashion, positive reinforcement, spirituality, yoga, faith, associating with positive people, eating well, having passionate sex when we can get it, seeking to further understand our human nature and relationship with the universe and the way we think with no doubt has a great impact on the way we feel.

I also wish that with time, love, compassion, tolerance, compromise and patience we can break the barriers that puts distance between us and our loved ones.

In hope of better and brighter days for us all.

You are not aloneJ


X III Legion