Watching ‘Dear Zindagi’, had me at a belated realization how I had a conflict with my mind.
Generally, I’m a cheerful person. Then, there was a time when it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t happy. It was pain, heartache and anguish. It was tough to exist. It was a struggle – to crawl out of that sinkhole of sadness, anger and depression. Yeah!! Depression – me too! I was a sufferer too. But then I fought hard to come out of it. I didn’t like what it was turning me into. I wrestled myself through those days. ‘Depression is like a war, within you – you either win or die trying’. I did discuss my ‘depression stage’ with couple of my close friends who just countered me “How can you be depressed? You are always happy!” I was…and I am now…but there was a glitch.
Six years ago, when our mother passed away, I saw an entire family coming to a halt. Our mother was the pivotal element of everything. She was a responsible daughter, a concerned sister, an intuitive wife, an over-protective mother, an introspective mentor. She was everything. Not having her in our life was out of question for us – at least for us, her two daughters, me (22) and my sister (17) then. She spent her last days in the ICU. She was unconscious for the last three days. She did open her eyes, but didn’t respond much. And she left us in her sleep. We never got to say goodbye.
During the three years, before her death, when she was diagnosed with a terminal disease (breast cancer), I didn’t respond much then. When my family went through an emotional rollercoaster ride, I threw my young adult tantrums, ‘not to worry, this is like any other disease. We can cure it.’ I wanted our home to function like we used to. I didn’t want the fear to take over me, albeit the fear that our mother was dying. I ‘built a wall’ around my heart and I stood strong for everyone. Over the three years, we tried all sorts of treatments but nothing saved her. Our mother was really strong, she fought hard against the disease, but at the end of the day she surrendered to death.
On the night of her death, everyone asked me to ‘not to cry’, ‘be strong for your father and sister’. Seems like a fair suggestion for the ‘others in the family’ to decide that I, being the elder one, suppress all my emotions to support my father and sister.
In the months that followed our mother’s death, we went back to our daily chores. But losing her wasn’t easy. I was in grief. I was NOT ok. I knew I was not being real. I plastered all my real emotions with a fake smile. I laughed and shared some great moments with my friends and family. But on the inside, I knew I was crushed with constant numbness. I looked in the mirror; I was not the same happy- go-lucky girl. I was rude, worried, stressed and ate a lot. I had problem with my friendships. I didn’t like anyone leaving me. I didn’t trust anyone. I was literally crushing my grief inside me. I was depressed. I craved for attention. But for my family, they saw how strong I stood.
There were nights I sat alone in the dark and cried; there were nights I stared on my dark ceiling; there were nights I scrolled through the contacts list in my phone, but never bothered to share my problem with anyone – not even my sister ( I never asked her, how she was!) or Mr.H.
In between of my mind living in a swamp of grief, I got married to Mr.H. I was happy, but I was worried all the time. I didn’t want my depressing state to affect my marriage. I knew I needed help. But my ego never allowed me to visit a shrink or someone of that sort who can really help.
Mr. H has always been there for me. He is my buddy. He knows. Without asking me what my problem was, he helped me get through it. He knew I was piling up my emotions. One day he said that I cried in my sleep and repeatedly called for my mother. He asked me to straighten up and admit how much I missed my mom. All these years, I suppressed my emotions inside trying to be strong. That made me weak and vulnerable. Eventually I realized, how our mother wanted her girls to be in their life. She raised us to be strong, supportive, loving and be independent no matter what. She made us promise never to lose self-respect and ‘always be you’ and ‘love thyself’. Yes! I am my mother’s daughter. I didn’t want to be stuck in the tar of depression. I started to express my emotions, instead of keeping them bottled up (I had even taken up the #100dayshappychallenge). I am good now. I am happy now.
Overcoming depression is a constant battle. I am not saying it’s easy. It can be suicidal. But I strongly believe that there is and will be a ‘Mr. Jug’ (SRK from the movie) in your life. That person can be anyone – your shrink, partner, friend – anyone!! Everyone needs help and if you are able to help someone to take their pain anyway, that’s the best thing that you can do with your life. Spend time with them, talk about their feelings, without faking. Hug them, take care of them, and be there for them. It takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it.
There are days where my horrifying depression tries to sneak back into my life, but I have learned that I can cope with and I can fight back. You know why?! Because our mother taught us to love and celebrate life. It’s all about loving your life – love you zindagi!