WHERE’S THE GOOD IN GOODBYE?
This is a real event from my life recently. The intention to write this is coming from deep regret and personal loss. The intention is to raise awareness for mental health issues and how important it can be, to support a person who is going through a state of depression, anxiety, delusions, psychosis, emotional dysregulation and so much more that we do not really understand.
I belong to a joint family from India. We were 16 people who lived together as a family under one roof with a single shared kitchen since my childhood. It might not be something you relate to, but I am telling you this because it is relevant for you to understand the circumstances, in the context of the recent event.
We were 10 kids, from different age groups, who grew up together, eating, studying, watching movies/ sports, cycling together, celebrating occasions, birthdays, festivals together, late night excursions as teenagers and making memories of a lifetime under that one roof for about 20 yrs.
As we grew up, one by one, we all started going our own ways, as expected in a normal family. I got married and stepped out of the family home, after my education as a medical homeopath was complete. My cousin sisters went to study and subsequently work abroad, one of them in Paris, the other in Australia, another in Amsterdam, another one in Bangalore, and then the last one in Ireland. My brother, being a lawyer, went to Bombay for a while for work and so on and so forth.
We had this ‘STAR KID’ amongst us, and we all knew it since the time he was born. He was the creative one. He was someone who would remember entire songs and prayers since he was 2-3 yrs of age. We would calculate the no. of songs at that time, and it was easily over 50 even at that young age! He would sketch a portrait of a person with his hand if they were just sitting right in front of him at about 4-5 yrs of age. He was the brightest student in his class, obviously and would be at the top with such ease, that it would leave us amazed.
Then at about 12-13 yrs of age, he started getting inclined towards music. Now, all his attention was on the guitar, and the way he taught himself the guitar in 1-2 yrs, and the class of music that he started composing and singing, was his next great achievement. He would literally practice his music 15 hrs a day on an average and was completely consumed by it. He could not continue his education, despite all the efforts of his parents and sisters. He started performing all over the country, made his band, made friends, and we thought, he was following his passion, his dream, and what else can be better, right?
All this while, from a very young age, this special child was suffering from anxiety and depression. He was struggling with suicidal thoughts while being in school. But he was coping with it. He would be normal with us, doing everything normally on an everyday basis. He was someone who would not even touch alcohol when he used to be performing at clubs. But after we all went our own ways, whilst still being in touch of course, his issues started escalating. He started having issues with friends and relationships. His band broke up and he had a disappointment in his personal relationship as well. Drugs further complicated his issues manifolds. He would remain in his room, mostly, with his multiple guitars and other instruments. He would sleep in the day and wake up at night. Everything started falling apart.
He came down with severe mental illness and psychosis, right before lockdown. He was severely delusional and had acute episodes of psychosis and hallucinations. He was taken to a rehab facility forcibly by his parents, and he was in and out of rehab twice after, during the next 2 yrs. He was started on anti-psychotic medication along with which he detested but it was forced into his system, as being the need of the hour. His mother was with him 24 hrs. a day, as we were all scared that at that point in time, he could do anything!
All of us, whilst being aware of the situation, basically did nothing productive. We would try to connect with him occasionally. When he would not respond, we just carried on with our business. We were too busy in our own endeavors to really do something actively about the situation. He would sometimes talk to his sisters on video calls briefly and sometimes not even come out of his room, to meet anyone for days. He would post on Instagram incessantly on certain days, calling out people who he thought had wronged him, or making one piece of music after another. He would cry at night like a child, hugging his mother.