I was 18 years old when the thought of killing myself first hit me. I was in a train, on my way to a wedding that no part of me wanted to go to. It was May 28, 2012 – the day my CBSE board results were out. There are no second guesses about why I thought of suicide. I, a person who always thought that these were things you only saw in the newspapers, was half convinced that a not-so-good class 12 mark sheet should be the reason I must die. I wanted to jump out of the moving train I was confined to.
Now, you may think that this was just a passing thought. But, no. I chose to study science in class 11 and 12 of my own will. I thought it was what I wanted (we barely know anything at 16). My parents never forced me, nor did anyone else. I was a scholar student and believed that this is what scholarly students do. And, I was so wrong.
Anyway, what I want to say is that it wasn’t just that one result that got me to the point of death. It was the two years of endurance, of being ridiculed by some of my teachers, of being told that I did not deserve the scholarly blue tie I wore that my school gave out for six years of consecutive academic excellence.
My thought was the result of me giving my all, of doing well, yet failing. Failing, not in the eyes of my family, but in my own eyes. It was my failure to not be able to prove how wrong my teachers were. The CBSE result showed that they were right, even though I knew that wasn’t true.
Why didn’t I die?
My parents have always been supportive of every decision I ever made. On that horrible day, when I was forced to look my result up in a moving train, I looked at the marks that flashed on my phone’s screen and silently cried. I wasn’t loud, I didn’t scream – there were too many people. I muffled all the feelings I had and just passed the phone to my mom. And, she didn’t say a word. She just wrapped her arm around me, while I sat there in disbelief.
After some time, I got up and excused myself to use the bathroom. Instead, I just stared at the train tracks, imagining how much it would hurt me if I jumped. Would it be quick? I wanted to die, but I wanted an out really fast. However, the thought that saved my life was that of my parents waiting for me to get back, but instead hearing about me jumping off. It chilled me to the bones and it still does. I couldn’t put them through that.
The days after were depressing. I was in a perfect set up (wedding time) in which my annoying rishtedaars (relatives) asked about my result and on hearing of my not so wonderful grades, began to pity me. They had come up to me and told me it’s okay, and I knew the ones who were faking it. I either wanted to murder them or suffocate myself and vanish (suicidal thought, number two).
I was just an 18-year-old girl dealing with emotions that I could not understand. I felt guilt, pain, numbness – all of it at once. I smiled at the cameras in the wedding and my parents thought I was handling it well. But, deep inside, I could feel my insides rip apart every day for those three days. A chain of suicidal thoughts followed that came with a lot of guilt. I wish I knew about therapy back then, but I didn’t.
Today I am 23, and I won’t say that I’m the best at handling my mental health. Yes, I run away a lot. I bury myself in work even on my days off – anything to keep my mind off of things. I blame myself for things I can’t control and push myself too much, sometimes even believing that if I don’t, I don’t deserve to sleep a lot.
I have a long way to go and fix myself. I write a lot, it’s honestly the only thing that makes me feel like me. And using my passion to heal myself is one of the best ways I try to get a little better at coping with my mental health issues. There are many situations from the past that creep up and kill the happiness out of my days. However, the goal today is to try to be better than yesterday, and to not be afraid of talking about the times you failed at functioning like a ‘normal’ human being.
I’m still looking for ways as I move forward. But what I do know now is that talking can help a lot too. What I know now, is that I am not answerable to anybody when it comes to who I am or the choices that I make, that I don’t need to prove myself to anyone. What I know now is that in my times of hurt, I have a support system that stops me from wanting to kill myself. And being someone who was so close to that decision, I think that’s good enough for me right now.