We live in a society which accepts a person who raped a 2-year-old, but outcasts someone who suffers from a stigmatized illness like depression and anxiety.
If you think, I am exaggerating then you might find my story unreal and my depression – a thing in my head that I need to get over with it.
Before you start judging my family, I want to put a disclaimer: they are the most loving parents one can ask for. But, like any other Indian parents, they try their level best to align themselves to the societal norms. Sadly, in the course to respect the norms, they shut their heart, eyes, and ears to my unsaid shrieks of seeking help and, left me all alone to fight the dark clouds of depression.
When I tried speaking to my mom about my depression and anxiety, she told me that it was all in my head and I had to “get over it”. It took my mom 2 years to finally realize the seriousness of my ailment and take me to a psychiatrist.
My father still doesn’t want to talk about it; because talking about it will mean he acknowledges that her daughter is crazy.
Sadly, my parents ensured that they provide me the best support to excel in education, sports, and other activities. But, they turned their backs on me when I told them that I was suffering from mental illness. They couldn’t accept the fact that, even after having such a luxurious life, I was having thoughts to end my life. They couldn’t find any explanation for my behavior. What Indian parents do when they can’t find an explanation? They pray. My mom started fasting for Thursday so that my planets get aligned and I start focusing on my studies and career. But, it never occurred to her that her support was the only thing that I needed in those dark moments.
Those dark moments lasted minutes to hours to days.
During those moments, I wasn’t motivated to do even the simplest tasks like getting out of bed. I had this constant thought of finding everything pointless and life aimless. People would look at me and find me calm, happy or at peace.
But the truth was, I was fighting with the voices in my head that won’t stop shouting out loud – kill yourself.
Anxiety had a different yet ugly face. It sounded like a voice that fed on my insecurities and kept whispering in my ears that I wasn’t good enough to live.
When you find yourself surrounded by people who put you down, you have a solution to distance yourself from them. But what do you do, when you’re the person who has raged a war against yourself.
What do you do, when you are your own VINASHAK. How do you distance yourself from your own self?
My parents would tell me that I’ll eventually overcome this fad. I did not blame them, because they never had the experience of living with the monsters that never sleeps. The monsters that never let you escape, that never let you win. But, I wanted to live irrespective of what these monsters in my head told me. So, I fought the battle with just one hope.
“On the days when dark clouds cover me,
The voices in my head make me quit,
I will hear my mama’s lullaby,
That winners never quit!”
And, one day it happened! My parents heard the news of a distant relative committing suicide. Doctors said she was under severe depression but no one in the family acknowledged it. They feared “log kya kahengey”. Hence, she gave in to the monster of depression.
My parents realized that what I was experiencing was not a fad and was an actual illness. They came running and hugged me. That day I promised to them and more importantly to myself:
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