It was a decision I had taken after weighing all my options. I knew that my husband would take care of our daughter and son. My parents-in-law and parents would support him and the children both emotionally and financially. I wanted to end it all.
As bad decisions go (and I had many personal ones to list out), this was the worst.
Sinking heartbeat, searing pain in my stomach, hazy distressed faces, screaming sirens, operation theatre—I saw none of this despite my cinema-soaked imagination but I did open my eyes 21 days after that fateful evening. My husband had left from office early and upon reaching home had found me unconscious and rushed me to the hospital.
As I learned upon waking up, my family and his had kept vigil ensuring my safety in the hospital. My children, too young to know what had happened, were sent away to their aunt’s for a while.
Nobody berated me nor did I get too many questions. It was as though we were all at a convalescence centre enjoying a wellness retreat.
A few days before I was to be relieved, my doctor walked in and asked me how I could possibly overdose on my sleeping pills unintentionally. That’s when the penny dropped. My family was burying this as a mere accident and the world would never know what had led a woman like me, a respected professional, a young successful mom to take such a drastic decision.
Ten years ago I was the big hope of my college, an achiever who came from a middle-class family and was meant for bigger things. I was also in a long-term relationship with a man who shared my dreams. I landed a plum job overseas and as luck would have it, my boyfriend found one too in the same city as me; we moved together after a quick wedding. We knew nobody else there but we were together. Bad decision Number One. However, it was all good till I gave birth to twins a year into the move. Bad decision Number Two. All hell broke loose. When the kids were handed over to me instead of feeling affection, I felt confused, disgusted and an exorable amount of hatred. I was an evil incarnate, I thought. These were my own children and here I was hating upon them. I cried every night for the first six months of their life. I couldn’t go back to work and just thought that I was an incapable human. The few times I tried to confide in my husband he thought the diaper duty and exhaustion were leading to these mood swings and he suggested I take a break from work. Bad Decision Number Three.
The more time I spent taking care of my twins the more angst started building up and all the while this was happening my doctor kept saying I needed to rest. She prescribed sleeping pills. My family away from me in another country said it will all ease as the kids grow up.
They hit their terrible twos. And I was at my wit’s end. I wanted my children to leave me alone and all I wanted was to shut out the noise.
That day my kids had been at their best behaviour but all I could think of was running away from them, my husband, and my family. I took an entire month’s dose of sleeping pills to end it all.
As I narrated to the doctor that I was just a bad person who needed to leave them all alone, she said I was most likely a victim of postpartum depression. And when I said I had googled it and it lasts only for the first few months of child delivery, she said that’s a mistake many women make. PPD can last for 3 years or even longer and that I should be seeking therapy. But before that, she said I had to tell my family and husband everything and let them know that I was reaching out. I was too scared to tell my truth to them and to allow the world to judge me as a bad mother. Whether or not they wanted to hear this ugly truth, I followed through on what the doctor asked me to do. My husband and family did not get it but they knew that I was in danger and so started the path to formal treatment. It was not just PPD but a long-standing case of clinical depression that had exacerbated after childbirth. I stayed in therapy for 4-5 years, relapsing, struggling to get back on the wagon and being away for long periods from my family. Today finally, I am off medication.
My husband and I have begun working from home (I rejoined during the pandemic), we moved back to India closer to our parents and friends and my children are now both aged seven. They call me the worst mom in the world and hug me the hardest.
I am a suicide survivor. And I say, speak to somebody, reach out for help. Life is too precious.
This is a suicide survivor’s story of hope and recovery. The letter has been published on the website with the consent of the survivor. The writer’s identity is being protected at her request. All thoughts and the writing reproduced here are her own. The survivor was abroad when this incident took place.
Suicides are preventable. If you need help or know someone who is suffering from suicidal thoughts, talk to a medical expert immediately or call the mental health rehabilitation helpline - 1800-599-0019. Identifying the signs early will not only save a life but an entire family. Remember, there’s always hope and things will get better.