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This is a story about the battle between depression and living. Anurag Khanna (name changed) shared his story with the members of Suicide Survivor India Project in August 2017. He is a 27-year-old business analyst in Bangalore; he is initially from Madhya Pradesh.
When he was just a 5-year-old boy his father got a heart attack and he lost him but her mother made sure that none of this affected him or his elder sister. His childhood was very simple and normal, like every other kid he had want he wanted. Until his 10th, being social and being loved was what he always cherished. He slowly became an introvert and he was having a hard time fitting with the people of his age as he never understood the idea behind sleazy innuendos and snide comments.
As he grew, he started understanding the meaning of certain things. When he was 11 years old his innocence and peaceful life was busted in such a way that it left him scarred for life. He was molested by a family friend and he understood it only later in life when he learned about sex and harassment. That guy knew he was wrong so he never showed up again in his life. In Anurag’s entire school and college life being bullied was a persistent issue. To deal with these incidents he had no role model but he found solace in the movies of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Sai Paranjape, Basu Chatterjee etc. Since then movies are an integral part of his relaxation regimen.
You know some kids have this lifelong pressure about doing something big for their parents, Anurag was one of them, and he wanted to do something for his mother. So, engineering was shoved down his throat - by society and by his own thoughts. It was his 2nd attempt, during the final days he felt under-prepared, the only thought that crossed his mind was “Suicide”.
At the age of 19, he tried to hang himself but he was lucky to be saved by one of his cousins. He was all blank at that moment, sometimes he felt the need to be heard and convey his agony. Maybe this is why he always kept the door open while attempting suicide. After the incident, his cousin took him out and offered him the opportunity to join his business. For which he said, “It helped me realize there were other ways to make a living. I am not saying competitive exams are bad but if that’s not your calling please don’t harass yourself because of it. There are zillions of other opportunities to build your career.’
He was quite depressed during the competitive exams’ preparation and after a very long time, after he read and understood about this whole concept of depression, he then realized that it is quite a serious problem a lot of people deal with but don’t reach out for any help. Before that none of the family members, friends or he himself realized this.
Later, he approached four psychologists and psychiatrists before he went on medication. He was depressed with his work life and had no idea where he was heading. In June 2017 (three months into therapy and counselling), the good vibes entered into his life. Soon he planned to quit his job (which he did in July), he then started focusing on his diet and health. For him, Deepika Padukone’s interview on her depression was the key catalyst which gave him the strength to seek medical attention.
Strong support is the most important thing one needs while going through depression. For Anurag, his mom, cousin and a friend were an immensely strong support system. His days were going fine but on some days, he would not feel like leaving the bed and would call in sick at work. Previously, there were days when he just felt like having only one meal a day, would try to avoid people, and isolate himself but support from his loved ones kept him going. It still does.
In his interview, he stated – “In terms of the future, I want to get a job where I am able to enjoy my work more often and set aside time for myself to pursue my hobbies just to keep myself going. I am looking for companies which fulfil my criteria. On a different note, I want to help people talk about issues related to mental health, and listen and help them out whenever I can. I have started asking people to not skip their meals and prioritize health above everything, and have reached out to people when I thought they needed help. I don’t feel suicidal anymore and I believe I am much more equipped to handle it now. And if I’m unable to, I know where to reach out for help. I have encountered pretty positive things that help me stay on course and not relapse.”
He also gave this beautiful message saying,
“Suicide is not the answer. Firstly, eradicate the concept of failure from your mind. You are better than you think; you just need to improve some things. It’s always about creating a happy life, which we all are capable of.
Here is a quote that I love - It’s a bad day, not a bad life”
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