From Darkness to Light Day 6 by Arifa Sidhpurwala

This is Me… A derivative of darkness

by Arifa Sidhpurwala of An Aspirers Confessions

 

We may be miles apart, but we live in the same world. Our lives may be different, but somewhere, sometime, somehow our experiences are alike.

We all have our own little story that has led us into today. These stories collide and bring us together.

In that spirit, I’d like to share my story for all to know, and know that there is someone out there who is going through the same things as you.

I am an only child, coming from an Asian family. Born and raised with the best, by the best parents, in the best environment. But…

 

***

 

I have great parents. Hale and hearty, educated and with good values. They taught me all the good things in life. My parents are loving and protective people, whose lives revolve around mine. Like all wonderful parents, they always put my happiness before theirs. But…

 

***

 

Most parents with a daughter for an only child are neurotically protective, yet loving as hell. Mine are no different. I was raised under utmost protection, Nay, surveillance, would be a more fitting word (haha!).

Yet, they wanted me to grow into this self-sufficient, Powerpuff girl of a human being just as much. So, where at one point I was watched like a fragile flower, I was simultaneously taught to drive at the age of 11, fix minor electrical and plumbing malfunctions in the house, and trained to operate a gun just as much.

So, I grew up into an androgynous amalgam of savage, sensitive and serene. I take pride in being compassionate and warm-hearted. I take special credit for being the funniest and craziest person in most people’s lives. And I am more than glad to be part of the support system of most my friends; it’s honorable that they look upto me for advice. But…

 

But…

 

Behind every happy face, there is an untold story of patience.

 

I dwell in a dark pit, so deep and dreary that it smothers my soul. It’s a realm of isolation, heartache and tears, where shattered dreams, disappointments and missed opportunities reside. The walls keep closing in on me.

And when it becomes physically unbearable, I cry for help, praying to whatever entity is listening and watching me as I evanesce in my own misery, bit by bit.

 

But…

 

All this happens behind closed doors. The remnants of my pride lead me to a facade, behind which no one hears me.

 

***

 

This dichotomous little saga is a glimpse into my life; the life of a person fallen victim to depression. 11 long years of devastation, desolation and doom. It always stays in the subconscious, and attacks each time I am in isolation or inaction.

 

But..

 

I have somehow managed to live life normally, as best I could. I have over time succeeded in keeping it at bay and I don’t let it bother me.

My depression has over time become a misery-medley, comprised of not one, but many reasons. It’s most unfortunate that I had depression even before I knew what it meant.

I was always a bright kid at school. I managed good grades, took active part in sports in other extracurricular activities. Singing, plays, cycling and badminton were my best skills. A child who could do all that wouldn’t seem problematic right?

Coming from a family with a history of no mental illness or other psychological conditions, it never occurred to anyone that I might be fighting the dreaded battle.

Now that I look back with better understanding of my thoughts and emotions, and having studied psychology, I know where it all began.

Despite being one of the notable kids in class, I was pretty low-key; no mischief, no shenanigans. Yet, I was bullied in school. Sometimes it was about being lonely and having no friends, sometimes it was about being smaller than average and not being able to defend myself. To top it all off, if I complained, my teachers or parents wouldn’t believe me because the other kids would get out of it by lying.

So, even if I got locked up in a water tank (filled with enough water to drown me) and almost died, even if I got an injury lasting an entire month because a classmate hit me, even if a pedophile almost took advantage of me, hadn’t I run away and saved myself, apparently I was lying and didn’t know what I was talking about.

The paradigm of disbelief adjoined me as I grew older. It was as though whatever I said or did could never be the right thing. Everyone around me believed I wasn’t capable of taking any decisions on my own.

Whether it’s my decision to study advertising because I thoroughly enjoyed the challenges that came along, or my dream of living in another country and try and make something out of my talents, or my lifelong dream of studying journalism and ending up as a writer. I was always deemed inappropriate and wrong, so wrong that

 “You would never achieve anything of this sort, you are giving yourself too much credit for who you are. It’s too far-fetched for someone like you.”

Were the things I’ve grown up hearing.

In retrospect, every friend that walked out on me, every relationship that failed, everytime there was racial prejudice or jealousy, everytime I faced hatred or rejection, or everytime someone crashed into my car. It was always my fault.

Its ironic how your own family fails to become that “support system” that you’ve been desperately seeking all your life. I wish they knew that their words killed me a thousand times over each time I heard them out loud or even thought about them.

And after all this bigotry, if I’d feel resentful or heartbroken, it was obviously very unreasonably dramatic of me to lock myself up and cry, because I’d be gushing away a lot of gloom and negativity in the house.

The sheer ignorance of the matter and my family’s denial about my agonizing situation is a major debacle in and of itself. Moreover, the failure to home-diagnose the problem in due time (by myself or my family) was another bummer.

This haunting, equivalent-to-paralysis of a mental condition has had some repercussions on my life, dire enough to destroy me inside and out.

You wouldn’t know in your wildest dreams about my destroyed existence upon meeting me face to face; I am your cheery and chirpy girl-next-door, always ready to crack a joke and help people on the streets. And as much as every bit of that is true (no pretentions there), there is whole ocean of gloom gushing up inside.

Behind this happy facade, I have clammed up. No one knows what’s going on in my life or on my mind. I have trouble trusting people due to which I can’t confide in anyone with my secrets, no matter how important or emotionally devastating they are. I don’t share my feelings or emotions with anybody, thinking I’d be labeled as “too dramatic”

I have failed as a partner in relationships just as well. Despite depression, I have an organized thought process and a mature attitude towards relationship dynamic. I only know how to give out love and as paradoxical as it may sound, I just cannot hate; it’s a very strong expression and it takes a lot more energy than love. I’d rather give out love. Yet, somehow, my relationships have always hit rock bottom. I don’t trust anybody enough with my heart and feelings, thinking if I put my guard down and expose my vulnerability, I’d be taken advantage of and deceived in the end.

Even with all my trust issues lingering, all the times I did try and put my faith in fate, all those times I put my guard down and let someone in on my secrets and in my life to share and care, I was bailed on and left heartbroken to get sucked up further and deeper into this quagmire.

After my fair share of relationship crisis, I’ve now come to a point in life where I’ve officially accepted myself as a rejectee that Noone wants to/ would be able to cope with. Either that or I don’t know how to be a companion. Since depression is such a taboo, I’ve come to peace with the fair likelihood of never finding anyone with enough understanding and endurance to help me out of this.

 

***

 

With all my due faith in the overlords of delight and depression, I am at a place in life where I genuinely feel like I have to literally beg for every little thing in my life, be it my career’s big break, a shoulder to cry on, companionship, or a decent support system.

I’ve been a “one-man-army” for far too long. I’d had no siblings to begin with, the pressure of being an only child has been too much to bear. I’ve struggled with relationships (romantic and societal both), only to make them work, and the realization of loneliness became more vivid with each failed dynamic while growing up. I’ve taken all decisions on my own, with or without the consent of my family and confidante and I don’t regret a single one. Honestly, I am tired of doing everything on my own. Because the truth is, no one ever achieves anything alone, there is always a support system working at the back end.

Some people are just lucky to have all these blessings unasked for, I hope they are grateful for them and using them well. I wish I was one of those people too…

I’m not asking for much. I want moral support from people surrounding me, I want that extra push that helps me go an extra mile. I want to hear everything’s going to be okay soon. I want a hug. I want all this, to come out of the hearts, and the love within. If it is out of sympathy, then it would only alienate me further. I’d feel like I’ve failed to make my point.

 

***

 

I’ve always been a dreamer, a believer and an achiever. In this nauseating-roller-coaster-ride of a life, I’ve achieved way little than I personally wanted to uptil now. Coming from the darkest pits of depression, whatever I’ve managed to put up my sleeve was 10 times harder than usual.

I’ve miraculously managed to bag a degree in advertising, learn 4 languages (learning 2 more), been sane enough to pick writing as my passion and profession, lived in a country for 2 years and found my way around it from zero.

And amidst all this hoopla, I’ve undergone 2 surgeries, dodged a bullet, been in 4 car accidents, escaped a rape incident, gotten lost in a strange city during late hours in the shadiest of neighborhoods, witnessed 4 deaths in the family in 3 consecutive years, and I didn’t flinch once. Never shed a single tear and never panicked. Apparently, depression and heartbreak are a lot scarier than all this for us victims (oh and for Taureans too! Taurus Decan 3 right over here!)

In terms of feelings and emotions, I have trained myself to be grateful and optimistic; to see the good in life. The pain is there, sure. But, everytime I rise from the doomed ground of depression, I thrive on heightened empathy. Because I am a strong believer of the fact that if you want your own sorrows to fade away, help others out of their misery.

 

“Help others if you want to help yourself”

 

I’ve traveled to around 12 countries and seen the best and the worst in the world. I’ve been to cities big and small, met beautiful people, seen people cry, injured, heartbroken, even jinxed. And ironically enough, wherever I go, I get a lot of love from the strangers; shopkeepers, street walkers, cab drivers, waiters. Why? Because I smile and give out love (sounds so paradoxical coming from a depressed soul, doesn’t it? 🙂 ).

To me, this is the only cure, the ultimate therapy. It’s alot better to bring a smile to someone’s face or help someone out of their problems big or small, than to go to a psychologist, cry about my problems and tell them I am hopeless and I would never recover.

With all due respect to people who do seek consultation, I am sure their experiences must be a lot more traumatic than mine. And while there is nothing wrong with seeking medical help, and I admire the seekers and helpers altogether. Simply put, I have my own insecurities about seeking professional consultation, I just don’t think I can go through it without feeling worthless. Besides, I am already made to believe that I am over dramatic, stupid and can do no right. If I talk about therapy, I’d be beaten down to the ground even further.

At this point in life, I, personally, have a lot of pride to go to a consultant and break down in front of them. The day that happens, is when I lose all hope, all faith and all integrity.

Am I brave or are my emotions just dead? I don’t know…

 

***

 

No matter how terribly dismantled my life is or gets in the future, one thing that remains indestructibly intact is my dream, it’s the one that I hold most sacred and it will continue to be immortal, it’s all I have got…

My dream is to bear an undying spirit, that helps me to look back at life with no regrets, even though it’s been tough. I want to become someone influential enough to bring a change in this world through eloquence and that very undying spirit. I want to put it all out in the world for people to see and learn from. I want to be strong enough to help people get back on their feet if they are down.

 

***

 

In hindsight, I owe it all to the high highs and low lows of my life… The days of darkness and gloom, and the short and fleeting days of boom. For I am a derivative of darkness, hoping to shine through one day.

My days made me who I am. Sure, I am not the happiest, but at least I am trying.

I’ll go wherever life takes me. Because I still believe this world is big and beautiful. As long as life keeps surprising me, it’s all good. Although, I do desperately hope for life to be a little simpler, and a wee bit friendly to me… It’s time now, you know…

 

I break in

And shape up again

Because that’s what fighters do

 

There have been kicks

There have been blows,

But I don’t let it show,

Because that’s what fighters do

 

Within, a heart of steel has grown,

For I am stronger than you know,

Because that’s what fighters do

 

Every day, every hour,

I try

To turn the pain

Into power

Because that’s what fighters do

 

That is EXACTLY what fighters do. 🙂

 

 

 Arifa Sidhpurwala

26, Pakistani. Wandering and Wondering. Weird and Whimsical. Witty Wordsmith. Woozy without Coffee (All in love for alliteration).

She currently calls herself a progressive writer and an amateur voice over artist. Takes immense pride in entertaining people with comic word play. Loves to write for the common good. Wants to be known as “that crazy kickass writer girl”one day. Absolutely fanatic about makeup. Loves to collect books and coins. Wants to learn to play the Guitar but can’t figure it out. Cannot live without Coffee and music.

Blog: An Aspirers Confessions

 

Written for the From Darkness to Light event.  If you’d like to be a part of the challenge, find more information Here.   But first, leave a comment and let Arifa know what you think about her words, and be sure to visit her over at An Aspirers Confessions when you’re done.

 

22 thoughts on “From Darkness to Light Day 6 by Arifa Sidhpurwala

  1. I love the part about helping others. The best way for us to forget about ourselves is to bring happiness to others. But sometimes we have to remember ourselves and take care of ourselves as well and so I’m glad that you can at least talk to us here! As there are many of us together in this struggle. Thank you so much for adding your voice to the series. Though there are many of us dealing with the same issues, we all have our unique perspective and way for walking the path.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. Helping others is the most satisfying thing to me. And it’s a good feeling to be heard and understood for once. I’m glad I put my word out there for others to know. And I am here for others just as much. Thanks for urging us all to do this Sreejit. 🙂

  2. You are the most amazing person I have ever met, Arifa! ❤️ I had a lump in my throat as I was reading your words .. life can be cruel and unfair at times. I can not take back all the awful experiences you have had to deal with .. nor can I promise that there won’t be trials and tribulations in the days to come .. but I will quote George Orwell, a wise man who once said; “If you can feel that staying human is worthwhile even when it can’t have any result whatever, you have beaten them.” Thank you so much for sharing your story. ❤️

  3. For reasons unknown I read your bio before I read your guest post. I loved the way you wrote it and was eager to learn more about you. I really appreciate that you shared so deeply about yourself in the post. You are indeed a fighter… and you are a survivor.

    I like and agree with your statement “Because I am a strong believer of the fact that if you want your own sorrows to fade away, help others out of their misery.” You also said: “At this point in life, I, personally, have a lot of pride to go to a consultant and break down in front of them. The day that happens, is when I lose all hope, all faith and all integrity.” I hope the time comes when you consider the possibility that the day you seek help could be the day you begin another chapter of your life, a day that helps you regain or strengthen your hope and faith, a day when you begin a fascinating journey that leads you to light. While you would indeed feel all sorts of things you don’t want to feel, you would have the support you’ve never had. My own experience with therapy was a major part of my life journey, an amazing part.

    You deserve to receive the help you give to others.

    Thank you so much for sharing yourself with us. I wish you the best.

    1. Thanks so much Karuna❤️. The bio does contradict the nature of the post. Haha!
      Thanks so much for the kind words and support. I do hope to see better days sometime soon too, with or without therapy. But, I’m seriously considering what you said about seeking professional help and I might just do it.. Taking your word for it.
      I’m glad you found my story relatable. Much love ❤️

      1. I didn’t even notice that there was any contradiction. Your bio led me to believe you wrote in a creative and interesting way and you wrote your post in a creative and interesting way.

        I really appreciate your response. I wasn’t sure I should say those things but decided that it was important… because you are important. I am glad you are going to consider therapy. If you decide to do it I hope you know people who can help lead you to a good therapist! In Seattle some therapists will allow free “check them out” sessions. Those can be helpful in finding a good fit.

        I’m so glad you wrote for Sreejit’s Darkness to Light event and look forward to the possibility of connecting with you in some time or way in the future. I will have a post in this event too. ❤️

        1. I appreciate the kinds words in favor of my amateur eloquence❤❤.
          Every word from you is appreciated and valued. Because I know you meant well. Everyone over here does.
          I will be keenly waiting for your post. I’d love to know what you have in store for us.
          Much love ❤

  4. Most of my family members suffer from varying degrees of depression. I have navigated those waters myself many times throughout my life. I must say, the toughest part of your story for me is to hear how dismissive your family and friends have been. You remind me so much of my son, who suffers from pervasive and frequent bouts of depression… but who is also the most incredible, funny, smart, clever, intellectual, charming and inspiring people I know. Like you, he arises with a deeper empathy, stronger compassion, and more fervent determination to thrive and succeed after each episode. But the hits take their toll. My parents have been like yours… the buck-up and shut-up type of motivators. I cannot fathom conveying that point of view to my own child. Nothing hurts more than being willing to do anything and everything to help someone you love, and knowing there’s absolutely no way you can change what they feel. Not permanently anyway… Not at the depth of their core. Like you, he is pure light to me and those he encounters in life. I am inclined to believe that those who give off the greatest light in this world find it most difficult to find and retain the like. It is nearly an unequaled gift… which may be why it is all the more debilitating for one who struggles with depression. You are so easily and often let down by the universe’s inability to align you with like spirits. Some of us accept it and move on… which is neither easy nor early in life. I didn’t really find peace with my own sphere of injustices until my mid to late 30’s. Now, at 45, I must say I am rather indestructible. Knowing that evolution is possible, however, brings me little comfort as I constantly strive to encourage my 21-year-old. I cannot very well say, “Hey… no worries, love! In another 10-15 years, you’ll have a handle on all this pain and darkness. Yay!” No… can’t do that. But what I can do is share how proud I am that he has owned his circumstance and is acknowledging his need for help. He is fighting to keep this “condition” in perspective and in check. Depression does not define him… or you. I choose to believe that you are faced with this challenge because your spirit is powerful enough to overcome it and use it to relate, inspire, and empower others of lesser fortitude. Turning your “problem” into purpose is paramount, and your ambition to do so through service to others could not be a more admirable approach. Yes, it is sad when those who should be our strongest support base… well, just don’t get it. But it’s okay. Their own personal hang-ups are likely at the root of the disconnect. Fortunately, in our world of words, there is always a support base… just waiting to welcome another trooper in the fight. 

    1. Agreed to every word you wrote. It’s true that depression is neither easy nor for everyone to understand. Which is why most people choose not to talk about it. And like you said, victims of depressions are often more compassionate funny and inspiring.
      The urge to thrive and succeed remains intact and keeps growing by the day but the focus just isn’t there. This juggling game takes time to master.
      The story of you and your own is inspiring enough, based on whatever you chose to share with us over here. Its good to know someone out there feels what you feel and has their arms open for you. I’d love to know more about you and your family in some way and I want you to know I’m here to listen, even if we are worlds apart. Thanks so much for your insight. I appreciate everything about it. Much love ❤️

  5. There is a lot I want to comment on here, but all I feel compelled to say at this moment is “I see you.” 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story… which, like you suggest, IS therapy in and of itself.

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