Short Story by Dr. T. Nivethitha (Entry No. 16)
“The main purpose of life is to be happy”. But living with anxiety and depression, the main purpose of my life was to survive the day without breaking down. I was born and brought up in a toxic and traumatic household, all I could remember from my childhood were abusive words, criticism, unhappy and loneliness. Let me walk through the darkest days of my life. Being born as a dark-skinned child in the Indian community is always a shame to the family. I was always termed as an abomination, everyone used to compare me with my elder sister and wanted to create a huge rivalry between us for everything, but my sister was different, she never saw me any weak and loved me the same but others didn’t. I always felt that, “I am a proud dark-skinned girl and nothing can change it”. All I wanted to say is, “Not all parents are supportive, just because they gave birth to you doesn’t mean that you owe them your life or they have all the rights to destroy your mental health. Families can be toxic too, start normalizing it.” I had to go through a lot of hurdles and struggles. The most difficult phase of my life is the days that I am living now.
A little more rewind, I was diagnosed with severe depression about four years back after my relationship breakdown. All of a sudden, I started losing several pounds, there were endless nights of tears, most importantly, there was no one beside me to help me cross that phase, the people who I trusted to stay with me, walked away in silence. Later, my roommate understood my issue and convinced me to seek for medical attention. Being a medical student at that time, I was actually ashamed and scared to go through the treatments. I had to go through a lots of therapy, counselling sessions and medications. My social life was a disaster, instead of supporting me or understanding my situation, many started treating me like a mad person, my parents would mock me of my situation, so I stopped visiting them too. After about six months, I finally showed improvement by doing better in my academics and social life, I was back on my track. Things were going up and down for the next two years. Until a year back, I had to go through an issue, but this time I thought I was able to handle everything on my own without any help. But my mental health was deteriorating gradually. I was in my internship during that time, I wasn’t concentrating about myself more, I cried all nights, slept for 2 hours and woke up wearing a fake smile in front of everyone. I didn’t have the strength to burst out and I was trying so hard to stay sane. I didn’t get any medical attention. But I knew that things were actually getting worse.
A month later, I noticed swelling all over my joints associated with severe pain, I got a quick checkup and was later diagnosed with an autoimmune condition called the Rheumatoid Arthritis and now it’s been a year fighting with it. I couldn’t live a normal life like others anymore. Every morning felt like a battle, I had to fight for, the pain in my joints were excruciating, it takes minimum an hour for my rigidity to get normal after bed. I couldn’t hold my toothbrush normally, even peeing was difficult as my knee joints hurt. Normal routines have turned into a difficult task now, it gradually lead to frustration. I had severe plans about my future, I always dreamt of becoming a surgeon and holding a scalpel but now holding a kitchen knife to cut veggies is way too tough, my fingers will start to shiver if I put pressure to it. I became unemployed now, since I couldn’t stand or walk for long hours. My parents were actually of no support, they just let me down. I literally had no one to talk or cry to anymore. I stayed up all nights crying which indirectly flared up my condition, it was like a vicious cycle of pain. During all those bad times, I just wished for someone to walk through my door, hold my hands and comfort me. But it didn’t happen, so I stopped dreaming of such miracles. Slowly everyone drifted away from me, even my partner left telling that handling my frustration was tough and let me struggle all by myself. At times, I just look across the room, watching my mom in kitchen and wondered, I had the liberty to go, hug her and ask her for some emotional support but then the reality strikes. I knew that she was of no help. Since my medications were too strong, I always felt nauseous and kept vomiting though no one was aware about it. I gained several pounds during these days, and all I went through was body-shaming everyday. No one actually tried to understand my situation.
Even after enduring so much in my life, I had one strange moment that changed me, it was an evening as I walked into the hospital for my lab tests, all of a sudden I felt cold inside, I looked around the corridor, it was empty just like my life, I felt the darkest loneliness, I felt numb realizing that no one was there to support me cross this hard stream. That moment actually changed me, it gave me the thought that no one was there for me from the beginning and it was always me who held up tight and fought hard and came till here and wondered for what reasons should I be scared now. I questioned myself, “Why does this disease have to make me unhappy?” I realized that the answer was within me and I was searching it outside.
I’m struggling everyday but at least I’m surviving, I haven’t given up yet and I hope I wouldn’t ever.
I understood that, “Mental Health matters the most” even if it gets broken, eaten up or killing you, remember never to give up. There are so many people like me going through different hardships suffering from mental traumas, diseases, financial crisis, abusive relationship and doesn’t have any soul to look up to, I wanted to be that soul, I don’t want anyone else to suffer alone like me. I wanna be a ray of hope to many. I made this thought clear and now I’m doing better and I’m working on to settle up a tiny mental health organization very soon to help victims like me.
Remember, “NEVER FEEL ASHAMED OF YOUSELF FOR ASKING HELP. GET HELP BEFORE DEPRESSION SWALLOWS YOU UP”.
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