Technically, I am not blogging at the moment, since I am working on my book. But I just couldn’t let this day pass without putting something down here.

For the last hour, I have been tweeting about #WorldSuicidePreventionDay and was wondering how I could say something that would help someone else.

Then, it struck me that if I could post an extract from my WIP here, it may help. As you may have guessed by now, I am working on a book dealing with my personal battle against depression & bipolar disorder.

So, if what you read here can help you or someone you know, then that would make my year.


(This is a first draft and needs tons of editing, but sharing it for the benefit of those who may be in the throes of depression)

On the days when I felt that life was not worth living anymore, I would withdraw into a moody silence that distanced me from everyone in the house. Over time, my mother began to sense these delicate moments and would quickly put in a phone call to M or P. Both of them lived not too far away from my place, so getting to my house would take them under 15 minutes.

And they did. On the dot. Every single time.

One or the other was always available to come and talk to me, joke with me, pull my leg about our college crushes and the goof-ups we endured at the teachers’ hands. Very carefully and strategically, they would veer me away from the suicidal thoughts and keep me engaged with moments of rib-tickling laughter, warm and comforting hugs and huge dollops of sanity in my partially insane world. We avoided any reference to my being ‘mentally ill’ or ‘clinically depressed’, because, to them, our memories of one another always dominated everything else.

M would recall the time that we had attended that cultural festival together in Delhi and how a group of us would giggle helplessly each time a particular song was played. P  would make me break into peals of laughter as she recounted the variety of colourful phrases she had used on the other motorists on the road that day. She always did have a fascinating vocabulary, that one!

Earlier attempts to harm myself had terrified my mom , enough to ensure that I never stepped out of the house unsupervised. When M and P came by,we’d go for a walk in the local park. As I sat there, with the wind playing soft caresses on my cheek or the sun gently bathing my skin, watching the birds chirp and the people walk around, I would forget that I was going through a traumatic and life-altering illness. For those thirty minutes, I was free- free from the choices that I had made, free from the pain of disappointment and liberated from the shackles of the mind-altering Bipolar Disorder.

Gratitude seems like a very inadequate term for what I feel when I think back at that entire period. Literally speaking, I owe these people my life. Support of any kind is so crucial to the recovery and recuperation part of mental illness. Whether that comes in the form of a loving parent, a trusted friend or an understanding spouse, it is invaluable when it is sent and received.

It takes very little to change the way the world thinks about something. We can do it with love, patience, compassion, forgiveness and unconditional acceptance. Take it from me. Were it not for the grace of my parents, my family and my friends, there is no telling how much longer I would have been in the abyss of depression, bipolar disorder and near-suicide.

Chances are I’d still be there, waiting for someone to hold out a hand and pull me out of the cavernous pit. Or maybe I wouldn’t be here at all.

62 thoughts on “Reach out today #WorldSuicidePreventionDay

  1. How did I miss reading this? That was a wonderful extract. I am looking forward to good book. I am sure it will help many. How lucky you were to have so much support. I know a few who will not be allowed to seek treatment may because of the stigma. Always respect the fact that you share so much of some really difficult memories so that someone somewhere will benefit.

    1. Thank you, Rachna 🙂 This was written two years ago. Can you believe I have yet to finish editing the first draft? What has been keeping me back? I will never know. Perhaps it’s time to work hard and get it out there. I think the time has come. I am ready.

      Thank you so much for your support. It means a lot. Always 🙂

  2. I know this wasn’t easy to write, bit thank you for sharing this. I hope people understand how important support is from family and friends. Go glad you had your mom and friends.
    Keep writing. I am sure many people will benefit from your book. Love!

  3. Ok, I had left a comment but looks like there has been a technical glitch.
    I’m very glad to read the excerpt from the much-awaited book, Shailaja. If anyone had any doubts about the quality of the end product this excerpt should silence them. And, I’m also aware of how difficult it must have been to come forth so candidly about a personal experience. Much strength to you and best wishes. Also, I’m standing in the line behind Aparna 🙂

  4. I was under depression for two years due to head injury. Depression is a common symptom of head injury but people around me aggravated my condition. Struggled hard to come out of it. Am awaiting to read your book.

  5. I have also gone through something similar. And maybe one day I would be able to write about it too. Glad to get an opportunity to read an abstract from your upcoming book. Waiting for the release. All the best. You’re one very strong and inspiring woman. <3

  6. Glad to see the excerpt of the much-awaited book, Shailaja. I had no doubt of how well you’d be capturing your emotions in the write-up and this reading did not, even a bit, betray that confidence. I’m much aware too of how difficult it must have been to pen it all down so candidly. Much courage to you and best wishes. I’m standing in the line after Aparna, OK? 🙂

  7. I am so glad that you have such wonderfully supportive family and friends, Shailaja. 🙂 Not everyone has that. But soon they will have a book, your book, in which I am sure they will find solace and hope.

    Writing about a painful experience can’t be easy, but I know it will be worth it. Stay strong and write your heart out, dearie. We are here for you. Always. 🙂 <3

  8. You are an incredibly brave lady to share your true experiences and am sure your book will inspire many more people to come forward and take ownership of their situation in life. You are so lucky to have been blessed with a wonderful family! Wish you every luck with the book project.

      1. I can see that your strength comes from being a part of such a wonderful support system that comes from your family. Stay blessed…we can all achieve the impossible when we have loved ones standing by us through thick and thin. I have recently recovered from a major surgery and have been fortunate to have my family give me incredible support through my most difficult moments, so I totally understand. More strength to you and your ‘quill’ 🙂

  9. It takes so much courage to share these things and I say this because I know how our society is…Thank you for doing this and always remember your blogging family is right by you side should you ever need them.. 🙂

  10. I too was into depression.. That too during my pregnancy… At one point when things went too much bad in my life.. N I was totally broken .. I almost wanted to attempt… But somewhere down my heart asked me to wait for one another day., this changed my life to better.., now I m more independent and a happy mom of a beautiful daughter .. Hugs to u.. Eagerly waitin to read ur book

    1. That sounds pretty bad, Shilpa. I am so glad you decided not to take that drastic step and are around today, to share your thoughts and your glorious life. May you always be blessed. Always <3 Thank you for sharing this and I hope the book will live up to your expectations.

  11. Shailaja. it’s courageous on your part to share and your parents made the best decision by being alert. It matters a lot. There have been testing times like that, I’ve faced it..wanted to kill myself because of sheer boredom. I’d love to read your book. What it’s all about?

    1. I am so sorry to hear you felt like killing yourself, Vishal. How terrible! Never ever hesitate to reach out if you need help. I promise to listen. Really.

      The book is about my personal battle with depression, bipolar disorder and the lessons I have learnt from it. Hoping that it will help other people going through the same thing.

  12. It takes immense courage to share a painful experience. Glad that you had a great support system and looking forward to read your book, Shailaja!

  13. Thank you for sharing, Shailaja; for your courage and strength. Our family has “been there” and we lost a loved one to suicide. Cannot stress the importance of shining the light on this topic. Blessings.

    1. I am so very sorry to hear that, Susan 🙁 How very devastating indeed. We have lost family too, but not very close ones. Still hurts and is horrifying. The what-ifs and the regrets can plague us for a long time and only with love can we come out it. Thank you so much for always reading and always being there. I am sorry I am not more regular these days when it comes to returning the visits. Love and hugs to you <3

  14. shailaja, it takes a lot of courage to just put a piece of yourself out there for everyone to know… and for doing just that, here’s a tight hug… you are right, identifying that there’s a problem, having loved ones with us, and believing that things will be fine could just to the scales in favor of life…

  15. I’m not sure what to say, but I want to say something!
    I hope your sharing this helps someone out there.
    Good luck with your book. I miss reading your Yeah Write submissions!

    1. Anu, I am so grateful for you and everyone else who visits. I miss Yeah Write too. More than you know. But, since it would be unfair of me to write and not visit the others on the grid I have decided to take a break from blogging and focus on the book, in the hopes that it will help more people out there. Don’t worry. Will be back soon, I promise 🙂

  16. It’s wonderful that you decided to share this today, Shailaja. Such a powerful reminder for how we can truly be there for another. I’m so glad you had your Mom and friends.
    I wish you the very best with your book project. I hope it hits the stands soon – many people will benefit from it!

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