Side 1 : Hello Mom! How are you?
Side 2 : (Mother clears throat) I am fine, child. How are you? How was your day?
Side 1: (summarily ignoring the question) Why did you cough, Mom? Are you not well? What happened? Did you go outside today?
Side 2: I am completely well, child. I didn’t cough. I just cleared my throat before speaking to you.
Side 1: Tell me you are not lying Mom. Where is Dad? I want to talk to him.
Side 2: ( Father on the other side) Don’t worry child. I and your mother are perfectly fine. She is not lying. Trust us. Just take good care of yourself.
Side 1 : (heaves a sigh of relief)…disconnects the call, thanks God and prays for the well-being of his parents and family.
Sounds familiar? Each one of us go through these kinds of conversations daily. You might be on any of the sides, relations might be different but the essence of the conversation remains more or less the same.
We all are grappling to adjust with the ‘new normal’ lifestyle studded with challenges posed by the outbreak of novel coronavirus. These circumstances have taken a toll on each and every person’s physical, mental and emotional health. With additional woes, there are those individuals who didn’t get a chance to go back to their hometown when travelling was still a safe option. The underlying reasons can be work-related compulsions, financial reasons, unexpected imposition of ban on travel etc. ‘Privileged’ are those who are staying with their families in this tough situation. However, ‘Blessed’ are those who are staying alone and away from their family managing single-handedly almost everything in this duration. Yes, you read it right. I consider these people as blessed.
Most of these individuals are dealing with various scenarios for the very first time in their entire life which they never would have ever thought of in their wildest dreams. Be it struggling to cook for the first time, or struggling to get the essentials for home, or managing the extended office working hours while ensuring the basics are at place for survival etc. However, these are all external challenges. The toll is way more grievous on mental and emotional level. If you are staying away from your loved ones, you’ll find it totally relatable. Right from waking up in the morning, you keep on praying for the well-being of your family members. One call from your family at unexpected time shakes you to the core, various thoughts in your mind before you gather the courage to receive that call. This digital age is flooded with baseless information. All you need is one trigger that activates the never-ending chain of negative thoughts in your mind. What if I die due to this ruthless disease? I will never be able to meet my family. Who will take care of them after my demise? How will they manage without me? And the other way around also, What if something happens to them? How will I manage to visit them in this situation? How would I live without them? I had so many dreams and wishes to be fulfilled with them. My parents live in a small town where no proper medical facility is there. What is going to happen to them? Everything was so good sometime back. We all were together. You end up feeling overwhelmed standing on the verge of nervous breakdown. Somehow, you come back to consciousness and start to counsel yourself that everything is fine and things are going to get better one day. Each time you feel low and you bring yourself out of that dark place, without even you realising, you have already become stronger. Gradually and subconsciously your mind is getting trained to handle any unexpected and adverse situation all on your own. Your brain is getting rewired for the rest of your life.
Every time you see someone spending time with their family, you start to miss your family. Be thankful to God that at least you have a family; So what if you have to temporarily stay away from them. Some of you might be living away from your life partners due to some inevitable compulsions. In a way, it is good that you got an opportunity to realise the significance of your partner in your life, the extent of attachment and also the fact that you can’t live without your partner. Also, you’d have understood the strength of your support system when you receive calls from those persons who just want to selflessly ensure that you are doing well. If you look at the brighter side, you’d actually feel you are blessed. Always remember that your life is someone else’s dream.
If you try to probe the other side of staying alone , sometimes situations become too tough to handle while making your own way all alone by yourself. When I say staying alone, it also means feeling alone even when surrounded by people. Some are afraid of losing job or source of income, others are reeling under financial stress, some are struggling with broken or long-distance relationships, suppressing emotions with no one to talk to, no place to go, fear of losing loved ones, fear of uncertainty etc. These factors eventually lead to depression and sometimes even developing suicidal tendency. Some people opine committing suicide is a sin and is an act of cowardice which portrays weakness of the person. I categorically disagree with this notion. Please note that I am not encouraging or advocating suicide. Absolutely not. I do not agree to the opinion of branding those in need of help and love as cowards. We, as human beings, always tend to tie the knot of our life with some kind of hope; hope of achieving success in career, hope of getting married to the love of our life, hope of cracking that particular entrance examination etc. However, when a person loses all hopes for whatever reason, h/she decides to take this dreadful step. It is not easy at all to take this step. The person dies a million deaths before actually executing the plan. It is not easy to type “Ways to end life painlessly” in search engines with trembling fingers. When you hit enter, you’ll not get the “ways” you are searching for. The search results will contain all the suicide prevention helpline numbers and contacts of NGOs and various suicide prevention organisations. That’s how the search algorithms of the search engines have been designed. Hopelessly and desperately, you search with some other keywords. Finally, you get that one link which has something you wanted to read. You go through all the options and filter out the non-feasible ones. You might zero in one technique. Then you assess if that option is infallible and will give you guaranteed ‘result’ or not. What if the plan doesn’t work out? How will you face everyone? Then, all the good and bad memories with your loved ones runs as a flashback in the back of your mind. You cry incessantly while swiping the photos with your loved ones in your cell phone. You look at one of your photos and find it hard to believe that you could even smile. Deep down your heart, you want everything to be alright in your life. You want to go back to those good old times. You want to re-write that moment in your life which diverted your life on this path. You wonder if your life was really supposed to end like this. How can god be so merciless to you? You feel as if a sword is twitching your soul. You want to call your parents/friends and want to say, ‘Save me/Rescue me/I am dying/I want to live’. But you can’t. Exactly at this moment, if someone calls you and comforts you, rekindle the lost hope or if you reach out to someone for help at this moment, you’ll think multiple times before reaching this stage again. Seeking help at the right moment can redirect and elevate your life to a higher level.
Always remember that feeling low at times is absolutely normal. Crying out loud is absolutely normal. Seeking help doesn’t make you appear weak. Being independent is absolutely normal but it is not obligatory. Being independent must not become a burden. Humans or say, each entity of this nature and environment is dependent on one another. No matter how independent you become financially or emotionally or mentally, you’ll always have to be dependent on others in some way or the other. You alone can’t grow your own food, you alone can’t manufacture your own clothes, you alone can’t construct your own house etc. Looking at the very basics, to breath in fresh air, you are dependent on mother nature. The key is being dependent is absolutely normal.
Some people wear ‘being over-stressed’ as a badge. People take it as a matter of pride if they are over-worked. Some people are made to feel guilty for prioritising personal life over professional life. Remember that being over-stressed is not normal. Who said frustration, aggression are normal emotions? No. They are not. Living someone else’s life fulfilling someone else’s expectation is not normal. Bottling up your emotions is not normal. Over thinking is not normal. Being over-ambitious should not lead to your mental breakdown. Visiting a psychiatrist is absolutely normal. You are not meant to live a miserable life. You deserve to be happy.
If you have lost your job, reskill and upskill yourself and find a better job. It might take some time. Ask yourself, will you remain jobless and unemployed even after 10 years? Yes, if and only if you stop trying right now. Look at the bigger picture. This is just another phase which too shall pass. If you have problems in you relationship, work it out. Except blood relations, every other relationship requires efforts to make it work. Firstly, make yourself stable, work on yourself first and then figure it out. No one wants to stay with unstable person. Harsh and brutal but honest. If you are facing repeated failures in career, then persevere. If you are on the right path, you’ll get what you want. If you are not on the right path you deserve, you’ll be redirected to the path which is designed for you. One day, everything will make sense. Life has always been uncertain. So, why are are you afraid of the unknown and uncertain incidents? Life has never come up with a road map. Pieces will fall into right place eventually. Just be patient while you do the hard work and make rapid strides in the journey of your life.
If you are in a position to offer help, do not shy away from doing so. Look around yourself and see if anyone you can rescue. Your one phone call or one visit to their place can lighten up their lives forever. This might not hold any significance for you but for someone it can be a re-birth. Your attention, concern, kindness, empathy and compassion can save a life.
If you are in need of help, do not hesitate to ask for it. If your family members don’t feel your feelings, talk to your friends or get in touch with the organisations which dedicatedly work for the cause of suicide prevention. When you get the thought of committing suicide, you don’t have to kill yourself, you have to kill the thought. Never take any decision in temporary situation which can cause permanent and irreparable damage to your life. You are precious. Cherish your life, cross the hurdles happily. Persevere when the time is tough and you are vulnerable. That’s when courage and will power are required the most. Eventually, you’ll end up surprising yourself with your grit and you’ll prove it to yourself that surviving can be very beautiful and its worth the fight.
Stay happy. Stay blessed.