A realisation that changed my life forever
There was a time in my life when I used to wake up feeling like there was this heavy weight on my chest. I didn’t want to leave my bed, dress up, and go to college. I kept pushing my roommate away when she asked me to accompany her to the dining room. I spent my days alone, staring at my phone, hoping for it to ring.
Waiting for a message from that one person I knew wouldn’t text me back.
I was losing weight. My hair was falling out. My professors had asked my friends what was up with me: why was I missing so many classes. They tried to reach out to me, but my phone was full of missed calls, unanswered messages. I was falling, and I didn’t know how to stop. My skin looked so pale, random strangers on the street stopped me to ask if I was okay.
I told them I was. But that was not the truth.
My ex-boyfriend and I had been together for three years. We had shared every happy memory, every life lesson, every new discovery of our life in that time. And all of a sudden, he had abandoned me to walk alone on a path we had promised to walk together forever.
I was devastated.
Don’t blame me. I was only 21. He was my first love. With him gone, I felt lost, like my entire life was meaningless, like I had no purpose left to go on. Days felt meaningless and nights only meant I had to keep avoiding people till they stopped asking questions and left me alone. I felt that if only I could talk to him one last time, send him a single message, maybe I could change his mind.
If we could meet just once, maybe I could make him love me again.
One day, I was walking back from the bathroom to my room when I felt I couldn’t breathe. The walls around me were closing in. There was this intense pain in my chest that made me double up and fall to the floor, curled up in a ball. I was gasping for air like I was underwater. Tiny stars were popping in my vision. I clutched my chest and started sobbing, I didn’t know what was happening to me.
This is it, I thought, I am having a heart attack. I am going to die.
I am lucky a few of my friends and hostel-mates found me and took me to the institute hospital. The doctor was very kind to me. She prescribed some pills and told me I had just had an anxiety attack. She also told me to see the counsellor twice every week.
I got back to the hostel, took the pills, and slumped back into my bed. But, my friends wouldn’t let me skip the prescribed counselling sessions. I dragged my feet to the counsellor’s at first, but after a few sessions, I actually enjoyed spending time with the kind lady with a warm smile. I told her my story and she asked me some very pertinent questions that made me rethink the way I was living my life.
Opening up to her was like letting out a breath I didn’t know I had been holding.
It wasn’t quick, my journey towards recovery, and there is nothing glamorous about it. It involved a lot of crying, two more anxiety attacks, lots of pills, and sessions with the counsellor that slowly dwindled from twice a week to once a month. It was slow and painful, but I did it. I didn’t forget the boy I loved, but I made peace with the fact that he wasn’t coming back.
It was heartbreaking, but it was okay. I was okay. Without him too, I had my friends, I had my academics, I had this bright career ahead of me, and most importantly, I had my poetry.
What realisation changed my life forever, you ask?
Well, it is this realisation that you cannot let your happiness reside in another person.
People will come into your life and change it forever, but that does not mean they will stay. A kiss is not a promise and a hug is not a contract that they will be with you every step along the way to solve your problems. They might love you, but that is no guarantee they will “fix” you.
The truth is — no one can fix you but yourself. No one can make you taste true happiness unless you allow yourself to.
Waiting for someone to make your life better is futile. Wanting to make someone love you is equivalent to screaming at a wall and hoping for it to talk back to you.
In this journey of life, you are your own champion. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.
So, go on, fall in love, quit that job to pursue your passion, go on that trip you had always planned for, call up your parents and old friends and tell them you love them — be yourself, make mistakes. You will fall, you will stumble, you will be crushed under the load of cars and trucks oblivious to your presence. But you have to pick yourself up and put yourself together. For if you don’t, no one else will.
Remember that no one in this world owes you happiness but yourself. The sooner you realise that, the better off you will be.
Stop expecting another person to be your knight in shining armour and take your happiness in your own hands. You can be a queen (or a king) without anyone else handing you a crown.
This is the realisation that changed my life. I hope it will help you too. :)