I am Shruti, a girl of 20 years belonging to Pune and a student of Biotechnology. I live with my family – parents, younger sister and grandfather. I have been suffering from depression, anxiety induced hallucinations and borderline personality disorder (BPD) for quite some years now. BPD is a clinical disorder which causes one to indulge in severe mood changes, self-harm and depression. I share my story here to help others who are going through a similar situation.
Let me share my journey with you. While I was growing up, my grandfather did not like me. He yelled at me for no particular reason. He often belittled and humiliated me due to which I was quite scared of him. After my younger sister was born, he often compared me with her, favoured her and let me know that I was not worthy of his love. This bothered me a lot earlier but a part of me became used to it as I grew up.
At school too, I was bullied, especially in 7th Std. As I already had self-esteem issues, bullying pushed me to a rock bottom. My grades suffered and my classmates pushed me further away. In 10th Std, I was quite stressed about scoring good marks in the board exams. Although no one pressurised me, I wanted to score good marks to feel better about myself. But this expectation began to stay very worked up because of this. I was quite stressed and began to have trouble staying calm.
In those days, I realised that physical pain lessened my emotional distress, at least for some time. After that, whenever I felt sad or upset, I began to injure my body – I would slap myself, hit my head on the wall or simply take a blade and slash my hands and legs. This worked for some days but then these incidents started intensifying. When my friends question me about the cuts, I would brush them off as minor accidents. I wanted someone to notice my cuts and offer me help – but somehow, everyone believed my lies and did not realise what I was up to. I was scared of telling them the truth myself.
The cutting incidents intensified with time. In some months, I realised that I could not stop cutting myself even if I wanted to. A blade cut had become like an automatic reaction to any emotion I felt. I was scared, I was worried, and I had no one to talk to. So, I turned to the internet. On the internet, I got to know there are others too who hurt themselves to get away from the real life pain. I felt a huge sense of relief when I realised that I was not alone and there were people who could help. Most of the articles urged me to talk to a counsellor to end this problem.
I was quite hesitant initially to talk to a counsellor. But one day, I did. When I first talked to the lady counsellor, I told her about my situation and that I wanted to become normal. I cried and cried, she consoled me and said that it’s alright and I would be able to get back to my normal self. In the forthcoming sessions, she pacified me more. She taught me how to handle stress in daily life. She counselled me for a year. She was there for me night and day. It helped but I still kept hurting myself.
Then, one day, when I was talking to my counsellor, she understood that I had a knife in my hand and could go too far. She asked me for my mother’s contact number. It was frightening, I knew I could kill myself if I cut the veins too deep but I had no control over my senses. I was shivering and simultaneously digging the knife deeper into my wrist.
My mother came rushing to me after the call with a counselor. Her face was white as a sheet. She was shocked but she took charge of the situation quickly. She took the knife away, hugged to pacify me and made me sleep. Then, she talked at length to my counsellor who told her about how she knew me and my self-harm incidents. She told my mother how she could help me overcome this phase. Since that day, my mother and my entire family have been very supportive.
My mother took me to a rehab centre where I met a psychologist and psychiatrist. I was put on medication and went to therapy every 15 days. I am developing some hobbies like singing which make me happy. I also try to talk to family and friends whenever I feel sad. After constant support of my counsellor and family for more than 6 months, I have stopped hurting myself completely. I have come a long way now and am much happier. I have realised how much sharing my pain has helped me overcome it.
I think there’s a huge stigma attached to mental health. I want to play a small part in breaking this. I want to ask people that if you are not ashamed of having a fever or chicken pox or asthma. Why is it that people are so ashamed of having depression and going to a psychologist or counsellor? I want to help people going through mental health issues. That’s my goal in life.
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