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.