Trigger warning: Sexual abuse, trauma, and suicide
I was raised in a loving and nurturing household. My childhood was hunky-dory and I remember myself as a bright and happy child, frolicking around in a carefree environment. I was pampered by a set of very loving and supportive parents. Alas, my protected bubble shattered, when at the age of 11, I went through sexual abuse and my life changed.
The incident led to repressed anxiety, depression, and lingering PTSD for almost a decade.
I was sexually abused at the age of 11
Considering I was just 11-years-old when the heinous incident took place, I was too young to register the gravity or impact of such a crime.
Revisiting the incident is still very painful. It happened about nine years ago, at an outstation wedding. I was sleeping alone in a hotel room, when the abuser entered my room and forced himself upon me. I remember distinctly how dark the room was. I was in a deep slumber and didn’t realize that someone other than me was in the room as well. I wasn’t able to respond or react, as I couldn’t escape or stop the person. I was left in pain.
While I did inform my parents immediately, for some reason, the abuse and its record got shushed. My parents didn’t want it to be made public or for it to harm my image in the society. Their response towards my trauma festered as a scar in the coming years.
Living with depression, anxiety and PTSD
As much as I tried to move on from that horrendous night, it kept coming back to me. Unfortunately, I was too young to repair the damage. I began to feel lethargic and fatigued all the time. Something as small as brushing my teeth became a laborious task. I withdrew from merrymaking, public engagements, and activities that I had found joy in earlier.
I failed to find any joy in life anymore. It was only later, in 2016 that I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and PTSD.
In the last decade, I made many attempts. I think they started as a result of feeling unhappy with myself. All the failed attempts were a call for help and desperation. I felt helpless and alone and I couldn’t dare to face the demon. I began to get triggered by even the mere mention of weddings.
I think, my parents untimely and apathetic response to my suffering was the nail in the coffin—I lost trust in anybody whom I considered close. The replaying of the incident, over and over again, left my conscious and spirit bruised and broken. I became quiet and reclusive.
A month ago I overdosed…
It was about a month ago when in a fit of desperation, I grabbed some sleeping pills—more than what is considered a normal dosage—and sent a picture of them to my friends. I was hopeful that someone might stop me from going further and taking such a drastic step. I was at a point in my life, where I was feeling like a burden on my family and friends.
Despite sending pictures and intimating them of the step I was about to take, none of my friends responded or tried to stop me and I ended up consuming all the pills. The next day my parents found me unconscious, next to an empty bottle. I was rushed to the hospital immediately.
My suicide attempt shook everyone up. It was finally accepted that I was dealing with something grave. After that unfortunate incident, my parents took me to consult a psychiatrist in Ranchi. It has been a month since I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and PTSD.
Reset. Restart. Heal. Repeat
It has been a month since I have been going to therapy. I am currently on anti-depressants. Though it has only been a month, I already feel much better and more in control. I know it is going to take some time before I heal completely and overpower the pain. It is an arduous journey to fall in love with yourself again. In a bid to get there, I have started doing yoga daily now, along with meditating and writing regularly in my journal.
My therapist has helped me quite a lot and so have the prescribed medicines. I do sometimes still get suicidal thoughts but now I remind myself of the value of life and the power it holds.
Even now, when suicidal tendencies overpower me, I reach out to my parents or the selective trusted friends who help to distract me and remind me of why I matter.
If you ask me, I think the only reason I survived that night was so that I could fight for every other survivor and the injustice done to them. After the abuse takes place, the abuser walks away with no guilt, shame or trauma but the survivor is left with a life of pain. I do hope my story helps other survivors take charge of their narrative once again.
Lessons learned and repeated every day
If my journey has taught me anything, it is that one should never stop reaching out to one’s friends. People cannot and must not exist in solitude. We must learn t rely on each other. Nobody should cope with trauma alone. A support system is a must, so not only am I working to make myself stronger but also finds those reliable souls who can be there for me.