It was a week day. My 9-6 had been stretched to 9-9 and I managed to get home only for dinner and some Netflix on the side. I remember really enjoying the meal that night. Some fried fish and dal with rice. Within an hour of reaching home, I was already stretched out to fake sleep till I actually fell asleep. That’s when I felt my phone buzz. It was my baby sister. ‘Probably another dinner invite’ I thought to myself and placed it face-down. But the buzzing didn’t stop and I wasn’t sleeping anyway, so I answered.
It was my Aunt on the other side.
“Baby, please don’t make a noise and wake your parents up. And please don’t tell them after the call.”
“What happened?” I asked
“He attempted suicide. He was taken the hospital and is now at his home but he isn’t answering my calls.” Sighs, “Can you please try calling him? He never ignores your call”
“Sure, Aunty. I will call you right back.”
But what the hell was I going to say to him? He answers my call and then what? Do I ask him why? Do I ask him if he’s okay? Do I ask him what he did? Or do I ask him all of that. I sat there hugging my knees and staring at his contact for seconds that felt like hours. Then I called and I was so sure he wouldn’t answer my call as well. I was hoping he wouldn’t because I didn’t know what to say. He didn’t. I took a minute before trying to call my aunt back when my screen flashed and buzzed with his name. My hands were ice cold as I answered.
“Hey, kiddo” I said.
“Hi, I was sleeping, sorry”
“Oh. Are you okay?”
Am I dreaming, or is he pretending? Do I seriously have to be the one to bring out the issue!
“I don’t know, I heard something”
“Guh. I’m fine. I just don’t want to be a burden on anyone”
Clearly, this needed more attention than a phone call, especially when I had no idea what to say.
“Burden on whom? Do me a favour and go to aunt’s place tonight. I will meet you there after work tomorrow”
“I’m going to tell them you’re going over okay? Bye.”
Having been of absolutely no help to him. I lay there scrolling through blogs on ‘what to say to someone who tried to kill themself’ for the next five hours. I read some that angered me and some that made me tear up but at the end of it I was able to form opinions of my own on this situation.
“People who kill themselves are cowards” I read somewhere. People who kill themselves are cowards? But then why am I terrified of the thought of death? I cannot imagine running a blade through my wrist or jumping off a building or hanging myself because I think it is painful as fuck. Not because I don’t want to die (we have all wanted to die at some point) but because I’m afraid of the pain.
And what if I survived the jump but shattered my bones and lost the ability to walk? What if I survived the blood-loss but now every movement of mine is supervised by my family. I can’t lock doors, can’t stay home alone. What if i survived the overdose but now my body cannot function normally? I am afraid I’d have it worse if I didn’t die after trying. So I honestly think if someone has managed to do it, battle all of these questions and go through with it, he or she was really brave. Because it is not fucking easy for sure.
But hear me out before you roll your eyes.
Then comes the family. What have they done to deserve this? This is ruled out if the person has a terrible family. But I don’t and he doesn’t. So why not try talking to them first? Reach out to family and friends. Get the help you need. Because walking into a room to find your family dead is the worst thing to put a person through especially when you didn’t even reach out to them.
Wasting precious time. You don’t just decide one day that today you’ll kill yourself. The thoughts slide in over a period of time. They cluster up till it’s so dense, you can’t think of anyone but yourself and the need to end it all. That’s when you become selfish. So start at the beginning. When there’s still enough space in your mind to take in opinions of people who matter. Get the help right then.
At the end of five hours, I had this. I had no other information on why or what he did but at least I knew what I felt about this. I got dressed and went to work. There I got calls from several family members asking me what he did. NOT WHY. I felt disgust as I told them I didn’t know. These people clearly didn’t care for anything but some gossip to get their boring lives going. Eventually I could see how little family he had who actually cared about him. I felt lonely for him. Wrapping up early at work that evening, I headed to my aunt’s place where he was.
If anyone reading this wants to talk or reach out for help, please send me a mail and I’ll try my best to help you. If you’d prefer talking anonymously these are the helplines in Bangalore India
Anyone blogging on this issue, please make sure you include your local helplines in your post.