Trigger warning: The following article contains content about suicidal thoughts.
I am a psychology student, and I don’t understand people. What they want, what they think, why and whom they blame. Ever since this lockdown, things have become more complicated. Family, work, productivity – I feel undervalued in my overworked existence every passing minute.
“I don’t get why people your age suffer from depression? You have food, shelter, friends. People in Africa are dying of starvation. They should be dying by suicide every second, shouldn’t they?”
I don’t have an answer to such foolishness. These are the very same people who felt it was a “personal loss” when a celebrity recently died by suicide. Questions like this send me spiralling.
Four weeks ago, I googled painless ways to kill myself. A series of articles and helpline numbers flooded my screen that spoke of dealing with depression and mental illness. But if you scroll enough, you’ll find relevant articles. After reading, I searched for a bottle of carbon monoxide on Amazon. However, I lost the energy to go any further.
A week later, I googled ways to kill myself instantly. My chest hurt with pain that wasn’t new to me, but it was just as excruciating as the first time – like a million ants biting the beating chambers of my heart. Once again, helplines flood my screen. If I wanted help, I would’ve taken it. But I didn’t. I made a mental note of whatever little relevant information I could find.
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Another week passed, and not one day has gone by without me looking at myself in the mirror and feeling worthless; without looking at shards of glass as just glass, and not pointed edges. Not a minute has passed without arrows of doubt, worthlessness, shame, guilt, whys and hows; not one laugh has escaped my lips without screaming inside of me, “It feels suffocating in here”.
Yesterday, a friend told me that she needed help; that living feels like taping a pillow to your nose so you always have to breathe from your mouth.
As a student of psychology, I felt obligated to help. I send my friend a list of psychologists who provide their services for free.
How long would it take to actually dial those numbers myself? But I don’t.
Helping other people is more important, isn’t it, I muse to myself. But as the ‘real world’ thinks, unless there’s something inside of you that the microscopes can see, there’s nothing wrong with you, is there?
I didn’t want my friend to go through this. I also didn’t want her to ask for help from someone who talks about mental illness like it’s a toxic relationship – all they do is speak, not act.
I continue sending numbers to all my friends in need of help and encouragement. Along with that, I continue watching Gen Z choking, drinking, smoking and living a life so high with a heart so low that life loses all the shine, dreams and promises that it claims to come with.
For now, I struggle between a vision to change the world and a dying, strangled motivation that seems to whoosh out of me every chance it gets.
Here I am, a psychology student, ideating death and depression, just like a thousand others who do the same, while claiming to help others by telling them, “Keep living, it won’t always be so overwhelming.”
Aashna Agrawal is a first year psychology student at LSR, who believes that change begins with love and kindness.
Featured image credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel/Unsplash