My name is Rukmani and I’m 24 years old. I didn’t think I’d make it this far.
The past 8 years of my life have been a roller coaster ride.
I’ve laughed, cried, persevered, fought and lost hope. I even considered ending my life.
For the longest time, I believed that I had nothing to offer this world. I was convinced that my existence was meaningless.
For over a decade, someone close to me consistently told me, ‘You are good for nothing.’
These words kept echoing in my mind. A few months later I believed him. I told myself that he was right; I was good for nothing.
I told the girl in the mirror that she wasn’t worth it.
Life has never been the same since then.
Every step of the way I’ve felt unwanted, a pariah, a reject.
My friends tell me I’m talented, I don’t believe them.
They tell me I’m beautiful, I don’t believe them.
They tell me I’m worth it and I break down; I still don’t believe them.
My insecurities continued to grow bigger and bigger with each passing day.
One fine day, anxiety and depression entered my life. I felt helpless.
I was scared. I didn’t want to hurt myself. I didn’t know what to do.
I felt lost.
Today, I’m used to this.
Huge waves of depression crash over me when I least expect it.
I have panic attacks atleast once a month.
I curl up into a ball of self hatred everytime a wave of sadness or anger hits me.
I learned to hate myself. It was extremely easy to blame myself for everything.
I found comfort and some twisted healing in projecting myself as the bad guy.
Everytime I had a panic attack I told myself the exact same thing – I’m not good enough.
I’m not a good friend. I’m not a good daughter. I’m not a good sister. I’m not a good person. I’m not good enough.
The monster in my head ensured I felt unwanted. It closed in on me. It made me gasp for air. It made my heart pound. It made up unlikely scenarios in my head.
I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t get up. I didn’t want to live. I wanted it to end.
I fell on the floor. I held myself tight as a waterfall of tears gushed out.
I felt broken. My carefully crafted world was broken.
I continued to cry.
I mourned the loss of myself, over and over again.
I picked up the phone to call my friends. I stopped just before I pressed the call button.
What if they were busy? What if they got annoyed? I didn’t want to involve them in my drama. I didn’t want to burden them.
I kept my phone aside.
The tears were overflowing.
I tried breathing exercises. I listened to music. I started exercising. I told myself it’ll be ok. I read my favourite quotes. I tried everything possible.
Nothing worked. I gave up.
You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness. ~ Jonathan Safran Foer
After an eternity, the tears stopped.
My heart rate went back to normal. I could breathe again.
I got up, went to the washroom and splashed water on my face.
I saw my reflection in the mirror.
I stared at her.
Her eyes were red, her nose was runny and her face was damp.
I whispered, ‘You will survive. You are ok.’
I continued to breathe, in and out, in and out, over and over again, until I felt whole.