One night as I lay awake at 3: am, it dawned on me that I had lost myself. I had been living an endless nightmare for months now, walking down the dark tunnel of depression with no foreseeable light at the end. I was sick, angry, sad and always crying for no apparent reason.
My friends did not understand what was going on, I was the craziest, funniest and happiest girl they knew. But what they didn’t know was that the happy-go-lucky person they knew was just a hollow echo of a person I pretended to be, that the girl was just a figment of my imagination.
My family concluded that this change was something all adolescents go through, blamed the stress of my studies for the frequent crying fits and conveniently comforted themselves by stating everything was haywire because of the mood swings every teenager faces.
The urge to cut myself wouldn’t let me go to sleep, and as tears rolled down my cheeks soaking the pillow muffling my cries I realized I needed help. And I needed it now.
But speaking out meant getting taunted. ‘Yeh sab draamey hain, dimagh kisi kaam mein lagaao. Faaltu khayaal hain sab.’
Speaking out meant not getting understood. ‘Arrey yaar chill, aisa kuch asli mein thorri hota hai.’
Speaking out meant being scorned at. ‘Sab kuch hai iskey paas, nashukri ki bhi hadd hoti hai.’
Speaking out meant your plea for help got lost. Speaking out was not even an option.
And so the only other option was to get the razor blade out from under the mattress. To watch as the silver slowly sliced through the skin of my wrist. To watch the first drop of red fall. To finally feel the pain that somehow made sense.
To take their own life, to actually accept the fact there’s no such thing as a silver lining and that their life has been nothing but a failure has to be very difficult. One cannot even begin to imagine the turmoil they face in that moment, the battle taking place inside them, destroying every inkling of hope, eroding all sources of happiness and pushing them too far off the edge.
Some are strong enough to make it and strong enough to conquer the demons fighting against them. But others take the leap, never to return. You may call them weak, but the fact of the matter is that they have been strong for too long.
Depression is more common than we imagine. Not every person who laughs, smiles, is successful, has an envious bank balance or is in a loveliest relationship is happy. A lot of people around you, a lot of people who might not speak about it at all, who might not show it, seemingly normal people like you and me, are actually completely broken from inside, their minds shattering into a thousand little pieces everyday.
These people are fighting a strong urge to give up each day, all alone. These people who’re surrounded by crowds, surrounded by people who claim to have their best interest in mind, by people who tell them they love them, but most importantly surrounded by people who have no idea that depression is a real thing. So, these people cry themselves to sleep every night, alienate themselves and lock themselves in dark rooms. And when all of this fails, they try to find peace in the only little hope that is left, death.
And this is why we need to talk about mental health. It’s high time we address it just like we address any other physical sickness. It’s imperative that we talk about it so that more people feel comfortable in speaking out and getting the help they require. Just the reassurance that other people understand what they’re talking about is great help. It take only a moment of impulse for depression to kick in and people to ‘give up’ and forget the pain they’ll inflict upon themselves and those who love them.
Don’t cut people off for being moody and angry suddenly. Instead, talk to them. Help them open up. You don’t necessarily have to have a solution for everything. Just be there to listen and wipe their tears. Just be the assurance they need. Be the light at the end of their tunnel.