By Mandwi Singh (Author is presently pursuing PGDM and she is also a former journalist)
My encounter with a suicide attempt survivor
It’s strange how one can find intriguing stories in the unlikeliest of places and for me–this was one of them. While Anshika talked about how she overcame depression (or probably still is.) It inspired me to see how a young lady from the outskirts of Unnao dares to confess about her mental health issue in front of a stranger.
India is the most depressed country in the world, as per reports.
More than 300 million people are suffering from mental health issues worldwide according to WHO.
Approximately 7.5 % of Indians suffer from a major or minor mental health disorder, and out of this, a majority suffers from depression.
When a leading lady of Bollywood came forward to address the topic of depression and her struggle with the illness, many rebuffed it as fake or a publicity stunt for some pharmaceutical company.
People were not able to believe that how can a successful actor like her be depressed. What reason does she have to be depressed? She is successful, famous and beautiful, she can get whatever she wants what else a person needs in life?
But that is just a misconception.
Everyone is vulnerable to this mental health disorder.
There is still a lot of stigma surrounding mental illness and depression in India. People are still not able to understand it and label it as ‘being mad’.
While most people continue to feel ashamed and embarrassed about their plight due to depression. I was surprised how this young lady has no qualms discussing how she battled depression and survived a suicide attempt.
Rarely, people talk openly about mental health in urban areas .
This is the story of 20 years old Anshika Yadav from Unnao district, which has areas which are deprived and faces a lot of issues. I met her a while ago when I was working on a project under the rural outreach program as a part of the college curriculum.
As a young girl, she experienced altercations in family, penury, unemployment and homelessness—reasons enough to drive anyone to a dangerous place. But what’s commendable is her strength to come out of it to make a better life for herself and her family.
Coming from a very poor socio-economic background it was hard for her to make her family understand what she was going through. She is a first-year student of BA in a local government college whereas her parents are illiterate.
Talking about her symptoms–she showed extreme mood swings. She would have bursts of anger, unexplained and uncontrolled crying that would occur multiple times a day. She would stay in bed all day and showed signs of fatigue and would lack interest in doing any work.
Unable to understand what was wrong with her and unable to deal with parents nagging her for her behaviour—she decided to end her life by consuming kerosene.
After ending up in the local hospital, her mother understood that she needed help so she took her to Kanpur for further treatment.
Anshika was diagnosed with clinical depression and it was the doctor who briefed her mother about the condition and prescribed medication and therapy.
Although, she says that her parents still not fully understand how somebody can be depressed given that every household in the neighbourhood deals with the almost same problem as theirs, but they are being cooperating enough towards her now.
Her journey through the severe blues that she overcame has made her more confident and given her the courage to cope with life’s challenges. After completing her studies she aspires to become a teacher.