“Can you hear us?”, I heard a voice that felt very distant.
It felt like someone was waking me from my deep sleep. The only thing that I wanted to do was sleep. But that voice sounded unfamiliar. The smell in the room also felt unfamiliar. I was wondering where I was?
And, why it felt so heavy to open my eyes.
As I opened my eyes, I realized I was at a hospital. It didn’t take me too much time to remember why I was there. I was there because I had experienced the weakest moment of my life.
I had a moment when Suicide felt the only permanent solution to my temporary problems.
At this point, I know what all you must be thinking. You must be thinking that I’m a coward to commit suicide.
But, I’ll tell you what is real cowardly? Treating people so bad that they want to end their lives, rather than being with you!
Before you judge me or my decision, I would like to share who I was and what I became in the last 6 years of my marriage.
I was always a bold, outspoken, straightforward and carefree person with one life mantra – Live & Let Live! Despite belonging to a family with a rich background, I always believed it was important for anyone to be financially and emotionally independent. That’s who I was!
I was on cloud nine as I got engaged to a man who was not only well educated & settled, but also a lovely human being. I started my married life with only one desire – to be loved and cared for. My life seems to be going perfectly, the way I planned.
But as they say, nothing is perfect!
A happy marriage has three key ingredients: memories of togetherness, forgiveness of mistakes and a promise to never give up on each other. Sadly, within the first few months of my marriage, I realized that mine didn’t have any of the three. The list of compromises that were being expected from me seemed to be endless.
It seemed I was never going to be accepted by my husband or his family.
But in India, a broken marriage is such a big taboo that we, women, are trained and pushed to compromise as much as possible. And that’s what I started doing. I forgot who I was and started living the way people expected me to. This not only broke my confidence but also made me non-existent in my own eyes.
I was forced to leave my job as we had to shift to a new location. The only thing that I valued in my life was financial independence. And immediately after moving to the new city I put all my strength into finding a job. Sadly, I was discouraged from getting back to my career, and being pressurized to conceive early. Every day I would be told stories of people who were facing issues entering into motherhood.
I caved in and agreed to start a family.
As soon as I entered motherhood, I lost myself to the new mom. When I needed my husband to support me the most, he started showing a very different side of his personality – the side that only desired to control me or to make me feel so dependent on him that I couldn’t take any decisions of my life on my own. This was the time when I first realized how naïve I’ve been and understood the true intentions of my husband.
Day after day, he started finding flaws in every small decision of my life.
Things from what I wore, to what I cooked, to what I said – everything was judged and rated. Everything I did or said, was rated on the scale of 1 to 5! This constant judgment impacted me so much that I lost my confidence. I became so indecisive that I stopped going out of my house alone, I stopped buying clothes for myself, I stopped saying things that I wanted to say! It felt that whatever I do or whatever I say would be wrong.
The misery didn’t stop there. With constant judgments and pressure, I started putting on weight. I stopped looking at myself in the mirror.
Because whenever I saw myself in the mirror, I could only see a woman who had no dreams, no desires, and more importantly no hopes.
Then one day, my best friend came to visit me after many years. She was shocked when she saw me as she felt I was not the same person anymore. She started talking about my past and reminded me of who I was – smart, bold and confident. And, right there started a fire lit up within me – a fire that forced me to think who I was and who I wanted to.
After spending a lot of days trying to solve my internal conflict, I decided to stand for my dignity, pride, and honor. I spoke to my family about getting back into a job and building back my confidence. But to my shock my own family belittled me. They couldn’t understand my new found need to be a professional.
They said “Achha Kamata Hai, Bada Ghar Hai, Aur Kya Chahiye? He provides you with all the facilities and the only thing he expects of you is to be a good housewife, who respects him.”
My friend was blamed for my feelings and I was asked to break all ties with her. Why? “Kyunki Woh Tumhe Bhadkati Hai” (Because she makes me the rebel)
But this time, I refused to give up on my dreams, my hope and myself. I promised myself to fight for it. Who knew at that point, that this fight would lead me to the point that I might agree to end it all with few pills.
I was trying to stand up for myself until one day, my own father taunted me for not respecting my IITian husband. That was the lowest I’ve ever felt in my life – his IIT degree carried more weight than my sufferings in my parent’s eyes.
As they say, when you don’t have anyone to support, you need to find support within.
And, that’s what I did. I started focusing on my struggle to be financially independent. I started a small business and quickly started getting orders. But, my husband felt I was ignoring my house responsibilities and started abusing me.
Then one day, while my husband was on his regular abusing spree, my son standing near the door got so frightened that he peed in his pants.
At that moment when I saw his face all covered with fear, I lost hope and desire to be anything or anyone. I felt I failed myself as a daughter, as a wife, as a daughter-in-law and most importantly, as a mother. I was tired of fighting with the world. Suddenly, nothing felt important. I had lost the battle.
That night when everyone went to sleep, I tucked in my son and kissed his forehead. I sat there looking at him for an hour and then came back and sat in the hall. Suddenly, I started sweating profusely, my hands started trembling. My whole body was shivering and I couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I couldn’t think clearly.
And, the only thought that kept coming to mind was – The only way you could save your kid from going through this trauma is by ending your life, by committing suicide. In those moments, it felt the most selfless act of LOVE – the biggest sacrifice a mother could make!
21st July – 7:02 AM – Hospital Room No – 252
I opened my eyes and the first thing I saw in that gloomy hospital room was my 3-year-old son sobbing. I called out his name, and he came running to hug me. He was crying uncontrollably, and I kept kissing him. I felt so ashamed of myself, that I had hurt him so much and had set such a bad example for him. Because in life you can’t give up. You fight and you fight hard till you succeed. Suicide doesn’t take away the pain, it gives it to someone else. And, in my case, the burden would have been transferred to my kid.
At that moment, I chose to live. I decided I’ll live and be a fighter. I’ll not only achieve my dreams but I’ll raise my son to be an achiever as well.
To all the women reading my story, I can say only one thing.
Don’t feel that you are a coward or weak if you are fighting your demons. Sometimes giving up seems to be easier than to be on the battlefield. But the minute you think you should give up, think of the reason why you held on for so long. It could be your parents, your husband, your kid, or just yourself.
Just remember that face and you will find the power to say – ”This isn’t how my story will end.”
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