A 23-year-old smiled, looked into the camera, said his goodbyes, left letters for friends and family, and jumped to his death. He died, leaving behind endless questions, to which there are no answers. Soon enough, people will go back to their lives and forget the incident. Only the loved ones will be haunted by a memory and the never ending guilt-ridden “What if?”
A word that was always in existence, yet seldom talked about. Mental health is still a taboo in our country. A place where for every little physical disease, there is a mother with her ailment and a father who is ever-ready to carry you to the doctor, surprisingly the same loving parents are clueless and even repulsive at the mere mention of mental disorders. We are a place where a visit to the psychologist leads to people calling you a ‘mental case’, and then them being downright unapologetic about it, to the extent that is nauseating.
Then why are we weeping, when a 23-year-old jumped to his death?
Why are we questioning that how could he be so relaxed, make a video, eat bacon pasta, say goodbye and then jump off in the hope of meeting everyone on ‘the other side’?
Didn’t we know that something like this would happen to him? How would we? When he came to us with those anxieties, we were quick to waive it away and say, “It is just a worry, we will figure it out.” We were the friends. We were the first ones to say, “Just come home. Good food and family cures everything. Depression and all are terms created by the rich. It does not affect middle class people like us. No need for doctors when you have a home to come back to.” We were the parents.
Whenever he tried to hint that something was eating him up from inside, sapping away every ounce of hope and happiness, we thwarted him.
Whenever he tried to hide those fears behind the smile, we were sated confidently that he has got over whatever bit of an anxiety he had. We smiled and forgot everything, but he did not, neither did fate, nor did karma. And finally, he bid adieu when he could not keep up the facade.
Why are we weeping for a lost life then?
We, as a society have failed a young life and a bright future today. What could have been a journey full of brightness and hope, was brutally cut short because we were so blind. When and how can a person finally convince that he or she is suffering from depression, which is nothing short of cancer for the mind and heart?
It starts with worries, turns into anxiety, grows into the deep-rooted depression, which finally plunges one into the doom of suicide. And it is then that one wonders, what if we had curbed it at the first stage itself? Would the person be there right now, right beside us, then? But by then, the questions are all futile, for we will never get the answers.
Ask, and ask again, and keep on asking, “Are you okay?” These three words, and a hug to indicate that you understand, is enough to pull a person deep into the tunnel of darkness, out into the light. And if that does not work, leaving them behind in despair to fend for themselves is not an option. It is high time we understand that depression is not just a term to be casually thrown around to express ones state of sadness, because sadness is nowhere close to the deadly disorder that depression is. Treat it, fight it, and recognise it. Depression thrives and survives amongst us, we have to end the monster before it takes another life.
We have lost a young soul to the monster. Let us not be apathetic towards depression any more. Let us fight back.
Cafe Counsel is here to help the teenagers on issues like peer pressure, societal pressure, career and relationship issues leading to untimely anxiety and depression. Reach us on firstname.lastname@example.org or chat now.