My Life My Rules

We saw in the last article my friend’s journey prior to her failure in the 12th board examinations. She had become suicidal, but then chose to live. This is an excerpt of my conversation with her.

It was her sense of shame, her sense of being a disappointment to not only her parents, but also to herself that stopped her from fighting or finding solutions to her problems. Somehow, she could not shake this thought off. She knew, regardless of what others said, she was no fool. She knew with equal clarity that her parents would die a slow death if she committed suicide. They would never stop blaming themselves and seeing themselves as failed parents. No, no. This won’t do. She thought. She wanted their pain to end. Not give them lifelong suffering.

My friend looked at me. She said, the moment she thought the problem lay within her; she could not shake off the feeling that the answer too lay within her. She needed to recognize her feelings of shame, her ‘ego problems’ and find a solution to her challenges. She saw her problems as a series of links that made a chain/shackle. She decided to break it, one link at a time. She decided to prioritize her problems- see what she needed to address first- was it her parents and their relationship, was it her disappointment with herself, was it her failure...- clear 12th.Yes, that was it. The starting point. Every other emotion could wait or may be connected to it. So how to pass? She thought, I choose to keep my unhappiness on hold. I am going to focus on this part of my problem and that is it.

With that in mind, she first decided to change her stream and take an easier one - to just get out of 12th. She told her parents of her decision. They were just relieved to see her take an interest in her education, in life. She took Arts. And then life simply took a turn for the better. But gradually. And oh, so, so slowly!

I found it remarkable. She seemed to have employed quite a few techniques that we use in therapy onher own. She said she just stumbled on it. It was not intelligence, she said humbly, just a survival technique. But it was impressive.

She realized later; her first challenge was to identify what she was going through. Identify her emotions, her challenges, and her problems. She believes she did not go through it in a classic therapeutic manner, but she bounced from one approach to the other. But eventually, she chose to be her own critique. She chose to be honest and see for herself -what the possible solutions were to her problems. She did not find solutions for everything. But she did figure out one thing- our approach to our problems. She knew most problems would have some solutions. We just need to persevere and find it. But more importantly the choice to live and fight lay with us- in our approach to our problems. She said the external world will throw challenges at regular intervals or sometimes relentlessly, it is how we handle it, how we delink the shackles that help us to deal with it. She said, I made a choice- to live and I now see to it that I help others know that when everything seems dark, lonely, unbearable, and exhausting, they still have a choice, there are solutions they may not have explored.

I listened in silence and a few moments later, in admiration, as my friend, now a successful counsellor, took a call on the suicide helpline.

My Life My Rules Part-1
My Life My Rules Part-2
My Life My Rules Part-3

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