‘It would be easy, quick, peaceful. And the nightmare would end’

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A series on true experiences

SILENT BATTLES

Illustration: Samia Singh

YOU WILL BECOME dependant on them,” I was told. I vehemently disagreed. I believed that I was stronger than such addictions. I did not then know how strong and happy ‘they’ would make me feel.

I remember the tiny box that stored my tiny white, diamond shaped anti- depressants. It had a white lid and anyone spotted it was told it was to help my haemoglobin levels. Very few people knew the power of that box in my life. Even I took time to understand it fully.

Lack of sleep and a sudden drop in interest in my own life, a new-found sanctuary in my bed and my teardrenched pillow, and strong, vivid visions of me dying had forced me to see a therapist and a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist said and I remember clearly, “She is mildly depressed. This is a precautionary measure to help her to stabilise her mind.” I was asked to take an anti-depressant tablet a day for six months. And another tablet to help me sleep.

I remember that day when I was standing with my cupboard open and strips of tablets clutched in my hand, knowing that 10 tablets would be unhealthy for me. I felt broken and torn. The world had screeched to a halt. I just wanted the nightmare to end. It would be easy, quick, peaceful. And the nightmare would end. But something stopped me and I swallowed just two.

The voice of my psychiatrist would haunt me for days. I remember the smirk on his face when I had told him, “I will be fine. I won’t overdose, doctor.” I found some solace and escape in writing about all this. But the dark thoughts themselves never saw the light of the day. I was too ashamed.

During the course of my medication, there were some days of clarity and some days when I was just broken. Occasionally, I was able to convince myself that one tablet was enough. At other times, I let myself surrender to the want. After all, when did we ever draw clear lines between our needs and wants?

During the therapy sessions and visits to the doctor, my mind stabilised. I began to question and most importantly, understand my pain. The medicines magically replaced my dark thoughts with instant happy ones. Some days were rougher and I felt that more tablets would make them easier.

Those dark times haunt me occasionally. Sometimes when I am depressed, I see the black hole leading to oblivion that I used to be in and I am scared of going back there. It took me many months to see how important it is to safeguard my heart. Yes, it is a cliché but it truly matters how you treat yourself. Depression is a hole where nothing makes sense. You want to end it all. The senselessness and vapidness. It clouded my judgement and trapped me inside my sadness. The medicines brought me clarity and helped me make clear decisions. I don’t think I could have made it without the medicines. But I also learnt that eventually, the strength to fight back needs to come from within.

I think I have put the past behind me and become a stronger person. I hope I have. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish that I had the medication to help me battle life. Even today I am faced with situations that make me feel like I am on the onset of another depressive spell. But I constantly tell myself to be brave. That this will all be over. I don’t ever want to feel that hopeless again.

I feel sheepish sometimes that I have so much to be thankful for in my life and yet so often I let the little dark spots cloud over. I cannot ever tell anyone without feeling horrible that I have a tendency to be suicidal. I just smile and hope that I will never be trapped in that abyss again. Sometimes that’s enough.

Anonymous is 21. She is a journalist based in Ahmedabad.

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