The first time I realized my dad wasn’t like other dads, he sat straight up in bed, wide-eyed, and started screaming: “WHO ARE YOU? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”
I would later become a smart aleck, but at the time, I was three, maybe four, so I didn’t respond to these questions the way I might now: “Hey, if anyone should know, it’s you.”
A moment before, I had been watching Sesame Street on the edge of my parents’ bed. My father was napping. He’d been sick for the last couple of days, so he’d stayed home from the office that day. It must have been late, because my mother, who also worked, was home. I think it was spring or summer, because it was still daylight out.
Or maybe it was a weekend in winter. How can you totally trust a 35-year-old memory? All I know is that when I remember that day, it happens in the evening. In the springtime. And my father is still there, still alive, shaking me by my tiny shoulders and yelling.
“WHO ARE YOU? WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?”
Downstairs, my mother hears the commotion. She shouts up the stairs, “Bruce? What’s wrong?”
The reedy tremolo of terror in her voice gives my father, deranged, another vector than the small, shivering child he was shaking in his hands. (Did he know I was a child, let alone his child? Was he that far gone? Another answer I’ll never know.) He erupts from the bed, hurling me into the corner, and by the time I have picked myself up from the floor, the bedroom is empty.
I follow him into the hallway, sniffling. I feel the overwhelming guilt of the toddler, whose heart crushes itself under the solipsism of his newness. Whatever is wrong with my dad, I must be the cause. Yet I have no real idea of what it is I could have done.
I woke up feeling strange and empty. My hands were shivering, my mind wandering and I was feeling extremely restless. I could feel a sense of loss; it felt like I had lost a limb even though I hadn’t. I could see the dark end approaching and couldn’t imagine life after. I would stare endlessly at my computer screen counting seconds to pass by, and each second felt like an hour.
I suffered an abortion. At a time, where I couldn’t even comprehend childbirth, I was asked to abort a child. And the man responsible for it chose to walk away as per his convenience, citing that he was too young to be a part of the trauma. I went through both the physical and emotional effects alone. I couldn’t even understand why I was mourning the end of a relationship, crying over someone so irresponsible. The day after the abortion I felt like an emotional wreck. The following day I was empty, sad and numb. I was told that I would be out for eight minutes and I would feel only a little discomfort afterward. They lied. It ruined the next 3 years of my life. The man who said he loved me for 6 years, bailed out on me because he was too scared to commit. I couldn’t even absorb what happened.
Slowly I suffered from low self-esteem. I grew cranky, irritated and socially awkward. I had nightmares where I was forced to see my baby being ripped apart in front of me. I would lock myself in a room and cry all day. I would sleep not wanting to wake up the next day. I wasn’t a coward but I wished I could erase all the pain from my life permanently. I was embarrassed to share my story with anyone as I felt guilt and shame. The day I decided to give up and end the pain in my mind, a voice in my head directed me towards seeking help. I read up online and visited a therapist, with no expectations of getting better. I was sure that nobody can help me. I found myself sitting in the room with a lady questioning me and my choices. I sat there, adamant to not utter a word. She waited patiently. I left without saying anything, but the silence pushed me to go back. The second time I was with the therapist, I poured my heart out. I spoke without a filter and without the fear of being judged. That was the best decision of my life. She helped me set realistic goals for the future and helped me identify and channel my emotions positively. I was hesitant towards medication at first, but slowly started to feel better.
I am in a much better place now and I am glad that I have learned to cope with depression and take it in my stride.
am Dr.Chaarvi Murari and I’m a dental surgeon. I struggled with depression for over four years. Fortunately, my family and friends have been very supportive in helping me overcome it. Here’s a snippet of my struggle:
EMPTY, Time runs by
At the glimpse of my sight
But, I stand still
In Fear what is coming next
About which I am clueless
Praying for a future where I am fearless
I push myself to be strong…
Every night seems like the last
Waking up to a dull sun
Listening to a song I can’t hear
Sleeping with a baggage which I can no longer bear
Pain, loss, agony… Yes, it is here, it is now!
People say failure is relative
But they don’t know, when it strikes you, it becomes superlative
Losing the zeal to put my heart and soul
Life has endless possibilities but I don’t know what exactly is my goal
Trying to prove my worth every day
Hiding what is not to be shown
Keeping a smile up and burying my wrath
Putting all my pieces together just to show that I am not torn
Standing with hundreds of people but still feeling all alone
I know they won’t understand and now I don’t want them to
Can’t explain myself to everyone, everyday and every time
Can’t put it on anyone else when I know that the curse is mine
Now, that loneliness has become my solace, darkness seems divine
But I know somewhere in my heart
I will have a future of glory and might
As it is only a shattered glass which shines like stars holy and bright
I have struggled with bipolar disorder, anxiety, nervousness and depression, since I was a little girl. These mental issues have been my enemy for the past 35 years or so. I always thought that I would win them over. Little did I realize that they would also end up putting up a strong fight against me. However, I have gained strength to manage and cope with it and hope to do so, for the rest of my life.
I was just about 10 when I stood cowering in the corner of my room, shaken from the beating I was subjected to. I looked at the adults in the house, for help. I failed to understand why I was being punished. I knew that I had been bothering my parents and was different from my siblings. I harboured guilt for hurting everyone around me with my unusual behaviour. But, there was a lack of awareness about mental health issues in those days.
I was nervous and used to tremble with stage fear during my performances. I was confident and an extrovert, but eventually transformed into an introvert and a reticent girl. I thought that I could win over the world, but grew up into an adult believing that I was less than ordinary. I compared myself to my classmates who I believed were talented and worthy.
I was paranoid about exploding under the impact of my emotions. Shouting and screaming without any apparent provocation was normal for me. To contain me, my parents beat me mercilessly. However, I believed that they were not in the wrong either. I considered myself as a stigma to the family who contaminated their prestige with my irrational behaviour. I was unable to comprehend as to why I behaved the way I did.
Despite getting admission in a management course from a prestigious institute, I considered myself worthless. I suffered the guilt of not being able to live up to my father’s dream of becoming a doctor.
At the age of 21, I got engaged and eventually married the guy my father chose for me. I broke down completely as I could not express the affection I harboured in my heart for a boy in college. I never considered myself worthy of his love although sometimes I observed him to be taking keen interest in me. He was curious about my unusually quiet nature. I felt undeserving of his love.
I struggled with maintaining my relationships. I failed to foresee that my mental issues are going to wreck havoc to my marriage. However, the universe ended up being kind to me. I was blessed to be married to a gentle and understanding soul, who was patient and empathetic towards me.
However, my in-laws kept constantly taunting me, which triggered the depression again. I attempted suicide three times in a span of 7 years and went through intense therapy and medication. The doctors informed me that I was suffering from depression and bipolar disorder. My husband supported me through the struggle, completely. He rushed me to the emergency ward past midnight. He stayed up all night just to make sure I was fine, in spite of several suicide attempts.
There are innumerable days in a month when I sulk in my bed refusing to wake up. I take my medicines and choose to lie in bed all day. However, I am still hopeful and I am waiting for the days that will be bright and cheerful. I have lived an incomplete life so far, but believe that everything is going to change for the better and that these dark clouds will eventually let the sun shine through.
I was a fun loving college student who was living on my own, away from family. I loved hanging out with my friends and was very happy. However, suddenly, life took an unpredictable turn. Something didn’t seem right, the spark was missing. I would cry myself to sleep every night for months together and wake up with swollen eyes. I created a home under my quilt. I suffered from stress and anxiety. I refused to show resilience for some inexplicable reason. I was too scared to be happy. I chose to be sad. I would break down into tears very easily. This also resulted in loss of appetite and weight loss. It also made me physically weak.
The worst feeling is when everything seems fine, but you’re still not okay. I couldn’t comprehend why I was feeling this way. After struggling for almost 8 months, I decided to acknowledge my fear and seek help. I shared how I was feeling with my parents. That was the first step towards getting am in much better place now. However, I’m still looking for the lost spark and hope to be happy again, soon.
“You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.”
- Elizabeth Gilbert