When I sat down to write this story, the brief I had to follow, was simple. The story should talk about relationships, mine or otherwise. Where do I begin with what is essentially, my story, the story that I need to tell?
It all began in the year 2012, a day after my 47th birthday in July. I woke up feeling uneasy and restless.
As was customary, I rushed into the shower to get into clothes that befitted my current role. The trademark blue jeans with a shirt of sorts. Rolled up sleeves were a given. However, something was wrong. I stepped out a few minutes later only to burst out crying.
I still don't know why. I was the man who was considered the pillar of strength for the family, be it lighting pyres or otherwise. The man who never shed a tear, never showed emotion and yet, this morning shrivelled up to an emptiness that took years to overcome!
I was branded depressed, thanks to a well-known psychiatrist who decided to try his entire pharmacological repertoire on me. Severe depression, he said.
A week under his deadly potion and I was the proverbial zombie who lived only because his heart continued to beat.
It was sheer torture day after day for me as well as for my wife and my lovely daughters.
The best years went in hope. All my friends gave up on me, one by one.
My children held steadfast trying their level best to overcome their practicality and chose instead to believe in a better time, a better future and a healthy me.
Strangely enough, one woman stood firm right through this. I shouted, screamed, bawled and accused her of everything and yet nothing moved her. She hung on to the faintest thread of life that we call hope.
I hated her for forcing me to wake up and get out of bed when I didn't want to, speak when there was nothing that I could say. I hated every single comment that came my way be it from family, friends, doctors, whoever.
It was severe depression; I was being told repeatedly. I had to quit my job and the fat pay package only to brood all day long. Yes, the sedatives worked. I could sleep for a few hours. Waking up was a nightmare. A blizzard of thoughts would hit my brain every second and it wasn’t of much help that my brain had been numbed by the countless medicines prescribed to me. I firmly believe that those medicines were a serious error of judgement by that psychiatrist.
Such is life, I was told. However, better sense prevailed a year later and I worked with an outstanding senior psychiatrist who taught me what it took to live life all over again.
It took him 15 months to wean me off from the medication that I was addicted to by now: a deadly cocktail of anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, benzodiazepines and sedatives. It didn't take me long to figure out that I was grossly over medicated for reasons best known to my Pune specialist.
All I probably needed was a few days of a tranquilliser to handle my insomnia and stress. Yet it was too late to do a post mortem. The senior psychiatrist now had to handle my mood swings, my withdrawal symptoms etc. but he was determined to get me back on the road to recovery. I lost hope at various stages of the prolonged treatment only to be coerced back onto the road.
Looking back, I am only happy that this happened. It taught me respect; unparalleled respect for the woman in my life. Devi, my wife, who taught me what resilience meant, what prayers meant, what belief meant and above all, what love meant.
Love has no definition and it may never be deciphered and yet for me, love will always mean belief and faith in the supreme force that only positivity can harness.
Thank you Devi… I love you.