Author: Parna Bhattacharjee
“WHAT YOU THINK, YOU BECOME.
WHAT YOU FEEL, YOU ATTRACT.
WHAT YOU IMAGINE, YOU CREATE.”
DEALING WITH MENTAL HEALTH AND TALKING ABOUT IT ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS. HOWEVER, WHEN I LOOK BACK ON MY LIFE WHICH IS WOUNDED AND SCARRED WITH THE MEMORY OF NOTHING MORE THAN AN ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE, I THINK THAT MAYBE THERE WERE THINGS I COULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY.
IF ANYONE HAD ASKED ME TO SHARE MY SCARS A YEAR BACK, I MIGHT HAVE LAUGHED AND AVOIDED IT AT ALL COSTS. HOWEVER, I AM MORE VOCAL NOW WHEN MY THOUGHTS ARE CONCERNED.
WHAT CHANGED? YOU MUST BE WONDERING.
WHEN I STEPPED INTO 2022, I DECIDED THAT I WON’T CARRY THE BURDEN AND DEEDS OF OTHERS. SO I SHED THOSE AND MOVED TOWARDS SELF-HEALING.
THIS IS HOW IT ALL STARTED.
The Reoccurring Symptoms
It started when I joined my middle school in 5th grade. Before that, I studied at a faraway school where I had to travel four hours every day since elementary school. We didn’t have a school bus so I traveled by auto (a common transport mode in India). Imagine a child aged 4 traveling 4 hours every day to a distant place to study. Hard to imagine, right?
So, my parents got me admitted to a nearby institution during middle school, where I also completed high school.
Guess what? The cycle started from day 1 in the new school. I was pretty popular in my earlier school and here I was no less than a clown for my classmates. My friend-making systems dwindled into fine dust here. Hell, no one was even ready to eat by my side because I brought an omelet in my tiffin during recess.
Can you believe this?
I was constantly ridiculed for my English. I preferred staying mute rather than getting laughed at.
Words can’t even describe what I felt during those years. That doesn’t mean I don’t have good memories. I have good memories too – teacher’s appreciation, fun during classes, recognition, prizes, and respect from my juniors but somehow when I think of school days, the negative elements override the positives.
Things were no different at home. My parents were going through a rough patch and being the eldest I guarded my sister against the constant fights that led to me falling more and more into a chaotic abyss of voices that slowly started taking over my mind.
Voices, which exist still to this day.
Struggling with Depression
During my 6th grade when I couldn’t take it any longer, I reached out to my school counselors who took care of me thereafter. I spent most of my free time with them. Afterward, my mum took notice of my constant decline in health conditions which were somewhat linked to my mental disturbance and sought professional help.
I spent time with them and took the medication prescribed by them, yet nothing seemed to help.
My academics took a toll, the fights increased; people either laughed or looked at me with pity.
That is when I decided to end it all.
Enough was enough. I am not going to take this shit any longer.
The day I took matters into my own hands, things started looking better. I refuse to suffer anymore. Though the scars given by others took the longest to heal, the process started 10 years ago.
When nothing helped, art became my companion, and books became my best friend.
My love for writing came out from the fire to fight depression. I became more conscious, didn’t try to fit in any longer as I knew that we aren’t all the same, learned to leave toxicity behind, and talked openly with my parents about what was bothering me. I stopped taking medicine because it didn’t help. Instead, I spent time dancing and taught myself about different cultures, languages, and historical significance.
I meditated and reflected on my thoughts rather than talking to someone whom I barely knew and who sat not to understand my issues rather than give me generic answers and ask me to groom myself as per societal norms and standards.
The Never-Ending Cycle
Even though 10 years have gone by, there are days when I struggle with mental health.
Simply by saying it’s a once-a-lifetime occurrence is a farce. It is very similar to your physical health. We have to remember that the same way we keep our physical well-being healthy, we need to make efforts to keep our mental well-being healthy too.
I want to conclude by saying.
The fight is constant – do not assume that any medicine or treatment can make the struggle go by or cure it completely. We need to constantly put in the effort to keep ourselves in check and our mental well-being healthy. Only then can we live a life worth it.