Depression has become so common and famous nowadays that we do not need a dictionary to understand what it literally means. I feel that at some point in our lives, we all have suffered from episodes of depression. Of course, the reasons would be different and so would be its intensity.

Being a Southeast Asian national, we face criticism more often. I had critical parents. Even after being a top scorer at school and with achievements in other curricular activities, my father was always overly critical. I was constantly bombarded with advice that I needed to be perfect and mistakes were not at all allowed. If I would laugh and play, it would give society an impression that I was not serious about my career and would also affect my grades. Only good grades decided my value and worth in society.

To maintain and enhance my so-called value, I started pushing myself too hard to increase my grades from 92 per cent to 97 per cent. To show the world that I took my studies seriously, I stopped my favourite activities like badminton, canvas painting and hanging out with friends. In short, I was asked to lose as a child and as a human being.

The whole episode affected me so negatively that I forgot I had the right to make my own decisions, at least those which concerned me. I started feeling completely unworthy and like an absolute failure in life.

Now, I am a married woman and I luckily married a great man. My negative childhood emotions still affect me sometimes, but thanks to my understanding partner whose love has allowed me to re-build my confidence, I have overcome the pain. If we can do something to change this sort of parental behaviour, children can grow up as better and healthy individuals.

- The reader is a homemaker based in Dubai.