Trigger Warning: Depression pervaded my body like an epidemic. It went on spreading to every limb and weakening them as if beyond repair. I started finding peace in death and torture in being alive. I attempted suicide more than three times to get rid of the pain that was breaking my thinking ability and conscience into millions of pieces.
But today, which is a few days after my last suicide attempt, I thank Universe for not letting me succeed in drinking the potion of death. I thank my parents for being undeterred support in my worst times. I thank my friends, though few, for picking up my calls in the middle of the night. I thank my colleagues for being constant support throughout my struggle.
But there is one regret that is stuck in my throat like a lump that I want to blurt out. While holding me in her arms and wiping my tears, my mother said, “Beta tum shaadi kar lo. Ek partner hoga toh depression se easily fight kar paogi” (You should get married because if you have a partner you will be able to fight depression easily)
Yes, there is a need for a support system and partner to fight out depression or any mental health disorder. And as I said before, I am thankful for all the support I received. But does the need for a partner alone is enough to justify marriage? Should I marry someone just because I am alone? Should I forget my choices and let my insecurities take the decisions for me? As Bollywood actor Vidya Balan says in her movie Shakuntala Devi “Why do men always want women to need them?”
Marriage in our society is majorly seen as a necessity. It is seen as a medium through which women can seek empowerment, whether it is financial or social. It is always considered the best option in a woman’s life, not her education, her career or success. Outlined by these conceptions, my mother too wants me to choose the best option available for my betterment. But dear mother, if marriage is not my choice, how can I be happy in one? If I feel empowered as a single woman, won’t marriage be detrimental to my evolution?
I am not judging those women who choose marriage to be happy. But the important thing here is choice.
If a woman chooses to marry, then marriage can be a medium of empowerment. But a marriage that doesn’t involve a women’s choice is nothing but fetters of feet.
Also, how are parents so sure that after marriage a woman would be happy? Reports suggest that married people are affected by mental health disorders much more than unmarried people. Every sixth case of suicide is of housewives in India as per the NCRB report of 2018. Then how, dear mother, can marriage be a sure shot solution to my depression?
Beta Shaadi Kar Lo: Dear Mother This Is Not The Solution To Depression
Moreover, by suggesting marriage as a solution to my depression, my mother undermined my pain as something that I inflicted upon myself by not wanting to marry. She made me feel guilty for being opinionated and choosing not to tie a knot as yet.
But dear mother, my depression is a medical condition that needs medical attention. It is not an outcome of my opinionated nature.
Just why is it so difficult in our society to be an opinionated woman? Why the freedom to opine is blamed when opinions threaten the menagerie of harmony in family and society? Do you know, dear mother, that only 41 per cent of young Indians seek support for their mental health issues? Shouldn’t you be proud of me for being one of those?
Dear parents, I am really happy that you are supporting me through my struggles. Not every daughter has that luxury. But don’t draw your feet back by imposing things in my life for which I am not ready.
Views expressed are the author’s own.