The worst of extreme depression is a perpetual fear that something bad is going to happen and worrying about how you will ever deal with it. At some point that fear becomes so damn unbearable that you start feeling that it is easier to escape from the fear before it comes true. Just imagine, a fear of something that hasn’t happened, something that might never happen is enough to make someone end his life. Now think about how real that fear is to him, how absolutely terrifying, that he is ready to forget about all the good in his life and succumb to this fear.
My perpetual fear, much before I was diagnosed with depression, much before I even moved past the threshold into losing grip over my emotions, has been of losing Hari to death. Long hours of no news from him, taking much longer to reach home after he has started from somewhere all lead to a very mild, but very real anxiety which starts in the pit of my stomach, that he has met with an accident and left me. I have successfully kept this anxiety under control almost always, although there have been times when I started grieving for no reason and crying. When Vedu came into our lives my fear changed to losing both of them to death and being left alone to live a life of complete misery without them. Thankfully, I am nowhere near having that fear claim my life.
But there are times when I have flashes of disturbing images of both of them reel through my head. There are nights when I struggle to sleep because the moment I shut my eyes, I see the fear take form and present to me pictures of what I dread the most. There was a night when no amount of trying to distract myself worked. It went on and on in my head and at some point I drafted a lengthy suicide note in my head, a note to leave behind if Hari and Vedu did leave me behind and I had to take the most drastic step to join them. At that point, I jumped up from bed, walked up and down the room and told myself repeatedly to snap out of it. I did, somehow.
Yesterday when I got the news of the death of Balabhaskar, the renowned musician, a week after the death of his two-year-old little girl in the car crash that changed their lives, leaving behind his wife, Lakshmi, still unaware of the tragedy that awaits her, it jolted me to my core. I guess it was slowly building up from the time I got the news of the baby girl’s death. But his death pushed me to a complete breakdown.
It was my worst fear coming true – only, it was coming true for someone else, someone I don’t know, someone I have never met or talked to. But for the period of the breakdown, it was happening to me. There was one part of me that was grieving for a great, young, humble musician who had brought happiness to all the people he had touched with his music and with his amazing personality. There was another part of me that was grieving for a tiny sweetheart who lost her life even before it started. But a huge part of me was grieving for Lakshmi, the wife and the mother. By grieving for her, I was somehow grieving for myself too as if I had lost my soulmate and my baby. I understood from talks with many women that most of them felt the same way at some point; at least they could relate to her so much. That empathy was so strong for me that I was her and she was me and I was helpless. I kept crying my heart out all day and all night, trying to pretend that I was fine and failing miserably.
Now that I am pulling myself together and moving past that intense episode of breakdown, I tell myself that what I fear the most is still only my fear, that I will no doubt carry within myself always, even if I don’t let it take over my life. But for her, it is the truth that she has to face, she has to accept and she has to live with.
Dear sister, I will pray every day that you find the strength to deal with it and not give up on life. I am truly sorry that at least for a little while I wished you could join your beloved. Because even though I have my insane reveries, I know in my sane moments that life has to go on, come what may.
Also published on Medium.