Yesterday I did the last session of our second social initiative, Written Gift. For the last 3 months I have been doing 3-4 one on one sessions everyday, for those who are suffering from anxiety. Today we designed a thank you post for all those 324 people who trusted us and participated in this initiative. Honestly speaking, I spent the morning feeling hopeful, assured & fulfilled. But before we could post it, I heard of Sushant. Just 3 mins before my Instagram live on the topic of anxiety. Like most people, my first reaction was denial. I didn't have time to confirm the news & I was secretly hoping that it wasn’t true. I was praying for it to be a baseless rumor. But then someone mentioned it again in the chat box and I sensed that gut wrenching feeling that makes your feet go cold, running through my entire body.
Sushant left us shocked, heartbroken and responsible.
Who are we fooling? What are we hiding? Who are we impressing? Did you also feel that numbness in your bones? That slight trembling sensation in your knees as you imagined what he would have gone through before concluding?
You and I know that feeling. We have all felt it in some or the other manner.
Mental illness is an epidemic. How long are we going to wait before we accept it? What else has to happen before we stop pretending and start claiming all our broken, mutilated pieces? How many Sushants do we have to lose, before we wake up and do something about it?
We are all trying to make up for the shattered foundation instead of fixing it. When did that happen? Foundation was supposed to be the robust, unshakable, firm base of the whole damn construction. When was it reduced to a creamy flawless spotless compact powder? Like every makeup tutorial - in real life too, we have all learnt to put a matching layer of concealer on our emotions. Hiding all our scars, hurts, wounds, shame and guilt, while rigorously layering it with a generous amount of foundation.
That flawless layer meant - Not dropping your garb. Not asking for help and suffering alone. Never showing your weaknesses. Replying every single ‘how are you?’ with a rehearsed ‘I am perfectly fine’ response, along with a measured smile that won’t give away the truth. It meant - Talking for hours about everything under the sky without letting anyone know about the real issue. The actual, fundamental, hurtful issue. Living like islands under one roof but operating from indifference and distraction. It meant - If at all, in an ungoverned weak moment, the truth escaped you; letting a friend, relative, colleague or even stranger see through your mask and catching the glimpse of your broken reality, then denying it, plastering it and concealing it. One more time.
My heart sinks when I speak with someone with ‘asymptomatic’ mental illness. No one really knows that they are broken. They remain functional in most parts of their life, keep doing the right thing, keep replying ‘I am perfectly fucking fine’ until one day they can’t.
Where are we going?
I am responsible for what happened to Sushant. You are responsible for it. We can’t deny our responsibility. We all have conformed to a fake life, where saying that I am broken is worse than being broken and not saying it. Being infected and not reporting it is better than suffering. Today with Sushant we have all lost a small part of our hearts. Please stop this circus. Please talk.
Please talk to someone, anyone. I know it is not easy. But is it easy to carry all that burden on your shoulder? Is it easy to walk alone? There is only so much that you can bear without anyone’s support.
If you think people don’t understand you, then you might be correct. Sometimes it is impossible to battle other people’s judgments and conclusions of you & no one seems to understand your perspective. In moments like these, dial a mental helpline number. Call a therapist. Join some group where everyone is speaking about their emotional challenges. Do you know that you can speak with people without revealing your identity? Do you know there are so many of us who are willing to do everything in our capacity to be there for you? Do you know that you are precious, valuable, irreplaceable just the way you are?
Please my friend, do not give up. Do not give in. Do not quit. Hold on.
Picture abhi baaki hain mere dost.
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