A Friend I knew once

reaching-out-helping-others

Globally more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression and at worst it can lead to suicide! (World Health Organization statistics)

“Another boring blog!” Some of you might already want to skip reading the rest of it; I might as well, until now.

Because until it affects someone we love, we don’t even know it’s there, it’s really not our problem, so why should we care?

It was May 7th, 2010, Akash’s 24th Birthday. My best friend, my confidant and one of the craziest, wackiest friends in the group we ever had. As the clock stroked 12, I picked up my phone and called to wish him.  I called him thrice to a dead tone, no one answered.  I slept thinking I might as well go to his place first thing in the morning and surprise him.

I woke up at 7 and switched my alarm off. My phone rang a couple of moments later. His name flashed on my mobile. I picked up and screamed “Happy Birthday”.

Momentarily silence and a stranger’s voice from the other end said “He is no more, he hanged himself!” The rest of the conversation is a blur, but it’s a morning that will never, ever leave me and that conversation replays in my mind over and over and over many times a week.

Isn’t it strange, how few short seconds can lead someone’s life in a whole new direction? One single incident in life can alter your own reflection; can change your entire perspective of life!

The horror of my friend’s passing hit me hard. The thought that all of those deep and meaningful conversations had now ended — that he had literally taken my secrets to his grave — shattered me.

As we tried to console ourselves, what bothered me was how a seemingly happy person like him can, do something drastic like that to his life. What could have made him do that?

Though no one could even picture the mental agony he must have gone through right before the moment he decided to take his own life, that suffocation, that mental block, that feeling of utter uselessness, that helpless feeling that he is all alone in the world, that cry of pain that no one, just no one could understand what he is going through.

I tried to picture his entire life now, trying to analyze could we have stopped him from doing that?

He lost his mother in a car accident a year back. He often used to tell us he was closest to her and her absence instills voids in him. His father was a busy man and he hardly get to see him.

Few months back, he failed to get admission in his dream college due to low scores and had to settle for another ‘low key’ college.

That did change him I guess; he stayed at home more, talked less, ate less, which he called ‘diet’. If he was with us, he would get drunk, not the one we all enjoy. That was different; he would just sit and drink glass after glass. Whenever we tried to have a conversation, he would just laugh and say we are being melodramatic.

I can never forget what he said once and now it echoes in my mind every single day. I was having an argument with him on his changed behavior and was forcing him to visit a counselor.

He simply replied “Being lost at sea was a comfort!” and walked away.

I called his father immediately and told him how worried we were for him and he agreed to take him to a counselor right after his birthday which was two days from then. Yes! the same fateful day he took his life!

If only, we realized the seriousness of the situation much earlier, if only we could have made him talk, if only he received help.

Instigating major, but necessary, change in our life can be just as painful.

It changes us all for better and worse but we have to realize no matter how bad it may seem, or how alone you may feel, others are always there to help.

 

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