Freedom from Freedom.

Fifth month of uni and I’ve already given up. I used to dream about the day I’d actually leave my house and become independent. All I really wanted to do was cook my own meals, decorate my own room, study whenever I wanted to without my parents constantly nagging me- typical teenager shit. Most of all though, I wanted to just have control over my life.

I can’t remember the first time I contemplated suicide. Thoughts like these are completely irrational and arise from no logical source. I used to just sit and analyse this- why do I feel this way? I am so privileged. Do I even have the right to be sad? I come from a country where mental illness is not even recognised as “real illness”. I remember a girl in my school committed suicide. I was naive and ignorant so I used to say things like ‘who would do such a stupid thing? She had so much to be thankful for. Did she not think about her parents?’

India has the highest suicide rate for 15-29 age group, about 35.5 deaths per 1000 people. This whole practice of constantly comparing your sadness and stress with others needs to stop.

Yes I have walked over London Bridge and just stared at the water. “15s of freedom if I jump now.” Is it selfish to just want to be free?

I have a habit of shutting people out. It sickens me how easily I can break friendships and relationships and move on, not feeling a thing. I built a barrier in my mind to protect myself from attachment. My whole childhood has been about moving schools, cities, countries so it was just natural to me. I’d hate the person I was becoming. I’d hate myself more and more as days went by, so depression never left.

At home I would press my face into a pillow and cry at night. I would sit and think but there were no reasons. I would get frustrated and angry and take that anger out on people around me. At age 18 I started isolating myself. I would not even go to school and bunk   lessons and just wander around. I would lock myself in a room. Sometimes I went days not eating or drinking and just slept off my depression. No one would know a thing. But the fault in that ‘solution’ was that we are humans, social beings by nature. Too much solitude is bound to drive you insane.

When my A-levels suffered as a result of my mental health, my confidence broke. I took that broken confidence and a false sense of freedom to university thinking that this would be where I create a fresh, new start. But I didn’t realise that I carried my demons with me. During freshers I got drunk and told a few people at the club about my depression, my family’s fucked up medical history. I felt relieved, like my mind was becoming lighter.It was just so easy to talk about your feelings when you’re drunk. I would go out a lot as it was a better alternative to sitting in my room and crying about my failures, about how much I didn’t want to be in that uni and about the opportunity to succeed that I had lost.

It got to a point where I would sit in my room and drink alone. I needed to get drunk to be able to sleep. I needed to sleep so I could stop suicidal thoughts from polluting my mind. I took up smoking because of the anxiety the series of missed deadlines were causing me. One night I woke up from sleep to throw up. I looked at my face in the mirror and that was it. I decided not drink away my depression anymore.

I tried turning my life around but when I didn’t drink I would cry uncontrollably for hours. Drinking was self-destructive but it was a short term solution and I could get at least some work done. One time I was crying in my bed for four days straight, I hadn’t eaten anything, I hadn’t drunk enough water and I was laying in bed with 40 ºC fever. It was at that moment I decided to call my parents. And I just cried to them on the phone.

I still have trouble accepting the fact that I am ill. I hide my depression behind my constant jokes, memes and shitty humour in hopes that somehow doing that would make it less real. But it is so very real and it scares me sometimes. I am scared of myself.

I don’t know if dropping out is the right decision. I don’t know if there were other alternatives. I just know for a fact that if I give my exams this year, I would fail myself again. And this time it could really break me. So here I am, doing what I do best- running away. But when you can’t fight anymore, the only thing you can do is run.

One day I will be fine and my smile will be genuine. I don’t know how much damage I’ve already done to my health and also my mind. I don’t know if this damage is even reversible. But death scares me. I am afraid to die, and I am sure as hell not ready. My ambitions are too big and I’ve come too far to give up now.

And to my friends and my family, please don’t give up on me.


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