Why do some deaths affect us more than the other?
Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide has sent shockwaves across the country. It is being said that he killed himself because of mental health issues. He was apparently in depression and was under medication. He was a bright student, an astronomy enthusiast, a reader, an actor, a good human being and a good sportsman as well. He was someone who could do anything, if he set his mind on it. Maybe he was aware of it. Maybe the way his acting career charted out was beyond his control and that helplessness affected him.
I really don’t know.
I am not a Bollywood crazy person. I don’t follow actors and their lives on news and other social channels. I am not in awe of the glitzy world. All my knowledge about Sushant Singh is based on the articles that I have read about him post his death and yet his death affected me.
Maybe because he was very young.
Or because of his boyish charm and a smile that was extremely genuine
Or maybe the fact that his last post about his mother was a reckoning to me that in future my child could also end up being on such crossroads and I might not be there for him.
Yes, that could be the reason.
I don’t know what life has in store for me and my kids in the future. I pray with all my heart that my children do not find themselves on such a crossroads. But if they do and cannot talk to me I want them to read this open letter.
My Dear Child,
I love you. Over and above anything that might be happening in your life right now, remember that your family loves you.
My child, life is tough. It is full of competition and lost opportunities. Success and failure are transient. You are not. Love yourself first. Remember that you are important and immensely valuable for your family. You are a unique human being, your talents and knowledge are unique – all you need is the patience to unravel it and believe in yourself as much as we believe in you.
Mental health is a big word and I might not be qualified to talk about it. However, if you ever stumble and think life is meaningless, remember these things that I am sharing with you today.
Your family and friends are your biggest strength
My dear baby, I wish you the world and I want you to soar to new heights and achieve all that you dream. As you chase your dreams and taste freedom, you might go far away from us. However, remember no matter how far you are you will always have a nontoxic nest tucked away which will be your safety net. You can come back home and just lay low or laze around and do nothing. We won’t judge you. The world is changing too fast and I might not be able to say ‘I understand how you feel’ but you will always find me by your side and say ‘I am there for you’.
Don’t be afraid to share, thinking we might get mad. We say things only to those we care. Remember your family will always have your best at heart. Please take the time to explain your point of view, we promise to listen. Remember if you ever say ‘Mom I am afraid’ I will be there to support you as you walk those dark lanes.
As you grow, I would want you to collect genuine friends. Not just fair weather friends but people who have the guts to stand up to you if you are wrong. Make your sibling your 3AM friend. Also have at least one friend who will stand by you rock solid. There are friends whom you meet regularly, share pictures on social media and talk and celebrate. Then there are friends, whom you call infrequently, not remember to share your success stories; but will be the first to know you are in trouble. The one friend whom you call and he/she says ‘What mess are you in this time!’ Find them and keep them safe. Listen to them when you are doubting yourself.
It is okay to ask for help
Today, the world is talking more and more about mental health. I am happy and I hope the trend continues. But I don’t know if it will be important in a world that you grow up in. Even if it is a taboo or not something that you should talk about to safeguard your profession, I would urge you to ask for help. Seeking professional help for mental issues might be a life and death matter. I want you to choose life every time. Nothing is more important than you. The clichéd quote ‘ You are a somebody to the world, but for somebody, you are the world’, fits perfectly here.
You are gifted; don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise
My child, always remember you are gifted with a unique set of qualities. Do not fall for false praise but don’t listen to those who doubt you either. There are many things that you will learn from experience. Not every decision you make might be right. But for every single failure there will be 100’s of tiny successes that make life worthwhile. If you start doubting yourself and your gifts, you might want to take a break and step back. See the larger picture and I am sure you will find a way to rectify things.
The world is full of opportunities – think out of the box
At times even after giving your 100 % a few things might not turn out the way you want it. It might not fall under the success category, but remember that the world is full of opportunities for those who seek it. World is an old wise soul that has something for everyone. Think out of the box. Look for opportunities where no one is looking. Remember everytime a door closes, there is a tiny window open somewhere. All we need is a vision to find it. Believe in yourself. It is never too late to pivot and change.
Success is not a fixed measure, contentment is important
Everyone has a different perspective when it comes to measuring success. What is success to you might not mean the same to others. It is okay! I want you to think if you are content, success can come later. If people tell you or you start believing that you have been a failure, think about those who smile the moment they see you. You are not a failure to them. I want you to be content in your life.
Don’t let others’ measures hamper your mental health. Work hard, give your best and always strive to be a better person, but don’t run behind someone else’s definition of success. If you can sleep peacefully at night, feed your soul with charity and hobbies, provide for yourself and your family – You are successful.
You cannot keep everyone happy
Don’t decide your worth based on someone else’s scale. I will tell you a fact ‘No one in the world can claim to be liked by everyone. That is just a silly myth which should be torn to bits.’ Not everyone will accept you for the way you are. Surround yourself with people who are genuinely happy to be with you and who believe in you. The rest can have their opinions; you just don’t need to hear them.
Express Gratitude for the opportunities you received
Remember not everyone is born with the same opportunities as you. Everyone has a different struggle which eventually shapes their outlook towards the world. Be grateful for the opportunities that you received. Be grateful for a healthy body and a sound mind. Be grateful for the kind of education and career opportunities that you got. Be grateful for the friends and family that surround you. Finally, be grateful for the life that you have. There are millions in the world who barely survive. Asking help for mental health issues does not make you weak. Support others and also ask for help when needed. I want you to be grateful and remember that every day is a new life and a new opportunity. Just hang in there, this too shall pass.
Finally, I know it is easy to say things but very difficult to imagine what a person battling mental health issues might feel like. There will be things beyond your control and you might think the easiest way to ease the pain is by giving up on life. Please remember that this is not true. What you want is for the problem to go away, for the issues to end and for the pain to stop – Not your life. Take a break, learn something new, or rediscover a hobby. Cooldown and heal. You can always come back stronger to fight the issues. It is never too late to start fresh.