Looking for the Light

How does it feel for an optimistic person to suddenly step into a lane of darkness? How does it feel for someone who is used to being cheerful to suddenly start falling down a dark pit of sadness?

It’s terrible and scary. Well, that’s how I started feeling back in 2015. I had always been a happy smiling child, good in academics, trying out different extra-curricular activities in my free time. But things started changing once I reached my adolescence. The happy kid realised how drastically their world had changed. To be honest, it wasn’t a bad change overall but it was sudden enough. I wasn’t exactly sad about it right when it happened. But I felt my thoughts becoming heavy with the flow of time.

I might be a cheerful person, but I have always been an introvert, a wallflower maybe. It took a lot for me to open up to anyone. I knew Maa was my best friend but at the same time, I saw her battling her problems. And with the changes in our family, I saw her genuinely smiling after ages. This was undoubtedly the greatest reason I didn’t mind when our relatives drifted away and our family equations changed. I knew Maa was happy and that was the most important thing for me. She is the most important person in my life and will always be so.

But while our relatives started showing their real faces, I began seeing the true faces of my “friends” at school too. I didn’t know how to handle anything back then. I thought everything will fall back in place on its own and I just had to keep quiet. So, I ignored all the irregularities and pretended things were normal. Now I realise how wrong my thirteen-year-old self was.

Being quiet and bottling up all our feelings is the worst thing we do to ourselves. We think burying our emotions and pretending to be happy on the outside will make all our problems vanish someday. We are always told that if we hide all our pains behind our smiles, we will turn out to be the strongest humans. So, I buried my troubling thoughts deep inside me in an attempt to forget them. However, I failed. The sadness only grew over me instead of disappearing. And I almost stopped smiling.

It was then that I realised that indeed it takes a lot of strength to smile and be happy while battling our pains and sadness, but at the same time, we need to know that it is OKAY TO CRY. It is okay to break down into tears sometimes. It is rather necessary to let out your emotions when they become too heavy. We are not obliged to smile and be happy always. Sadness is an emotion just like happiness and needs to be expressed with equal ease. Crying doesn’t make you weak. Seeking help and support doesn’t make you weak. It makes you stronger.

I tried to open up to my friends. Instead they drifted away and this scared me even more, pushing me over to the dark side again and reinstating my belief that I couldn’t share my feelings with anyone. I hated myself for being sad even if there was no event reason for me to be so. I hated myself for wasting time and sitting in my room, staring at the ceiling all day with the lights turned off. I tried telling myself there were people out there who were going through more troubles and hardships. But nothing helped. I just wanted someone to tell me that my problems were valid too, although I couldn’t figure out a valid reason for them myself.

Having been there, this is the first thing I want everyone who is reading this to know — All your problems are VALID. Your sadness might look ridiculous and illogical but they are not. Whatever you are feeling is valid. Also, you need to know, whatever you are going through you’re not alone. There surely is someone who will listen to you and be there for you. I am not saying this someone is always among your real-life acquaintances. This someone can be anywhere. For me, it was an online friend. They stood by me, came back with the most soothing replies even after I burst at them unnecessarily. They were the first ones to stay back and help me appreciate myself.

It took me two years to trust someone again and open up to them without the fear of losing them. This step wasn’t easy. But it wasn’t impossible either. In the meantime, I tried to be a bit kind to myself and love myself. This was the hardest and is still in process. I realised loving myself wasn’t an all-or-none thing. When I began losing faith in people, I resorted to studies and music as my solace.

Bangtan Sonyeondan, popularly known as BTS, helped me the most to regain my confidence and inner peace. When I was busy tearing myself apart, they brought back the light of hope. These seven humans were the first ones to tell me that I was still cared for and they became my ‘Magic Shop’, my comfort zone. They taught me that the dark cold winter was not for always and the season is bound to change; I would only have to hold on till the bright warm spring blooms again. Their “Love Yourself” message saved thousands of lives around the world and I was one of them.

They were my angels and I am sure you all have your angels too. Even if you don’t know them yet. Hold on till then. Be a bit less hard on yourself. It’s tough loving ourselves when all we receive is criticism for everything we do. I have not achieved it fully either. I am still trying to accept certain things about myself. I still fail to convince myself at times that some people care for me and will be there for me. But I try. I try each day. We all need to take baby steps for walking before we start running. And I want everyone to try too.

For years I had thought people whom I met in real life never really cared. I was made to believe that they are only here for competition and will do anything to drag me down. I had experienced being left-back and ignored once someone’s needs were fulfilled. Such things had broken me apart a lot. I had no idea people would genuinely want to stay by me even after knowing my rough sides or seeing me ugly crying. But today, I have my university friends too who made me believe in real-life friendships again.

The other thing which helped me in my growth process was to be kind to other people. I tried to be there for my friends across the internet and heard them out even if I couldn’t directly help them. Their struggles showed me we are all in this together. I don’t exaggerate when I say we grew together. We shared our painful stories and promised to hold on forever. We assured each other that we will be there. These might not be my longest friendships yet, but they are the strongest. Same goes for my real-life friends. We listen to, and assure each other. It’s all in the love and kindness. I have seen how kindness heals one and motivates them to do better. That is the only key. TO BE KIND. To the ones around you, ones you love, ones you don’t want to lose, ones you care about, ones you don’t know but feel like they might need help, ones who are trying to see the light again, but most importantly to yourself. Start trying to be kind to yourself. It’s not easy and you might take a long time to utter even one kind sentence to yourself in the mirror. But try. Don’t give up your attempts. And one day, I am sure you will discover the beauty and strength you hold in yourself.

What we need most in this process is hope. Remember the sun will always rise at dawn. If you don’t have the sun, you have the moon. If not the moon, you still have the stars. It’s all about trying to see the light. Not always can we see the light in ourselves. And that’s why it is okay to seek help. It is okay to go out and ask others to help you to cope up through the darkness. Asking for help can never make you coward or weak. Instead of speaking up for yourself, wanting to heal yourself and looking for ways to be happy again show how brave and strong you are.

Remember, healing is a journey. Just because we can’t see our brain, that doesn’t mean that it cannot fall sick or doesn’t need care. Let’s be a bit careful towards this vital organ of ours and normalise taking care of it too. Trust yourself and always keep on looking for the light no matter how dark it may seem. And, most important, keep expressing. Open up. Talk. Show.

Reveal to Heal!

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Diya Mahato
Diya Mahato
3 years ago

Ahona, I love you. And I’ll be by your side till I go to my grave. You’re a ball of sunshine and I’m very proud of you.

Rusha Chowdhury
Rusha Chowdhury
3 years ago

More power to you, girl. Healing is indeed a very tedious process and drains you in the initial stages, but if you can stick to it, it’s worth it. I am so proud of you that you’ve come this far. I look forward to see you grow more💜 here’s to healing 💜

Aanandita Dhawan
Aanandita Dhawan
3 years ago

You wrote so well, thank you ❤️ Kudos to you for coming up n sharing your journey, it’s not easy I understand .. beautifully expressed .. I wish we all get over things we don’t speak about 🙃