Its been sometime since I last posted, I was waiting for an important site visit to get over before posting it. That is what my next blog will be, which should be up next weekend, my trip to Dhaka, Bangladesh, However, this time I felt like writing about a campaign being run by two of my favourite actors, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles (from the show, Supernatural) called ‘Always keep fighting’ and what this campaign means to me personally.
The ‘Always keep fighting’ campaign was started by Padalecki in April of this year I think, in which through represent org. he helped collect funds (through sale of t-shirts) and spread awareness about depression. He also shared his story about losing his friends to depression and himself suffering from it a couple of years ago. I don’t remember the exact number of t-shirts he sold but I know he broke the record for the maximum number of t-shirts sold in a represent org campaign.
The success of the campaign led to him joining forces with his co-star and ‘harnessing the power of the fandom’ as Ackles calls it; to launch a round 2 of the campaign. For this campaign, both the stars put their mug shots on t-shirts and bags etc. and the money was put into a trust fund, which would then contribute to various charities that the boys believe in. This campaign was started with a goal of selling 1000 shirts, but I know they ended closer to 60,000 t-shirts!!! The campaign was so successful that people actually demanded a return of the campaign for a day (1st May 2015) so that those who had just got their paychecks could buy them as well.
Yes, an extremely large part of the campaign was the power of the fandom (SPNfamily) but I strongly believe this campaign touched a chord somewhere with the people.
When I first heard of the campaign I was happy that someone was speaking about it, and sad that one of my favourite actors had to suffer from this problem. This campaign resulted in a lot of people talking about their battle with depression and that got me thinking about my own as well.
During the second campaign I had been extremely tempted to purchase a t-shirt, but in the end just couldn’t justify the price to myself (40 USD or 2500 INR). I actually felt really bad that I was unable to support not only two actors who I adore but also a cause that was important personally. However, I realised that even though I couldn’t contribute financially to the campaign, I can do my part by sharing my story. Of course, it took me a couple of weeks to gather the courage to talk about it in such a public space, so bear with me.
I am a very moody and reserved person, and am prone to a lot of thinking, this has often resulted in me getting upset over absolutely nothing and taking a few days to get out of the funk. Of course, this has not been helped at all by the fact that I come from an unstable family environment. My family for years struggled financially, with us coming close to bankruptcy and depending heavily on relatives. Add to this my father’s eyesight problems and the fact that my parents don’t get along at all, it is safe to say that I have not exactly lived a charmed life so far. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and my life and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but circumstances make it very easy to fall into a negative head space. However, despite this, I have mostly been a happy person and a large part of that was courtesy my mother and my dog, Buddy.
I have always been an animal loving person, and this little angel above became the personification of that love when he came into my life 15 years ago. In 2000. my brother (who was six at the time) and I were given the responsibility of taking of a white ball of fur, who grew up to be the handsome boy you see in the photograph above. In the 13 years he spent with us, he became our little brother and my parent’s third child.
I am someone who is fiercely protective of the ones I care about, and Buddy was always on the top of my list. I am also someone who is practical and knew that as a dog he wouldn’t as long as I would and was likely to die a very painful death. Ever since he turned 10, I used to pray to let him go in his sleep whenever he did leave us, so that he would not have to suffer. However, about 3 years ago I was horribly disappointed, Buddy spend the last few months of his life in extreme agony, and finally died of what we suspect to be prostate cancer. We finally had to put him down almost three years ago, because we just couldn’t bear to see him like that, as in the end he lost his eyesight, his limb function and bladder control.
It is safe to say that those few months of my life were the worst, and that day is a day I would gladly erase from my life. I had always known that his death would hit me hard and would probably destroy me. Which is why I was caught off-guard when I seemed to be able to function after it. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t happy or in a good head space, but I was there, I was able to go to work, I was able to function normally. Some people at work actually went on to ask me if my dog had really died, cause I didn’t seem really upset and I remember being shocked when I laughed at something just two days after we buried him.
What I didn’t realise was that just because it hadn’t been as dramatic as I had thought it would be, didn’t mean it was any less in its intensity. My head space was also not helped by the fact that this time in my life was also one of great change overall, as just two months ago I had finished my education and moved into the work environment, where I knew no one, and no one knew me. Suddenly I was surrounded by strangers and was left without my support system.
On the surface I was fine, I threw myself into work and excelled at it, I laughed and joked around and was seen overall as a good employee by my company. Internally however; was a different story. I didn’t realise this at that time, but I shut down in a way. I barely spoke, and when I did, none of the earlier cheerfulness was visible. But of course, since I wasn’t crying or contemplating any drastic steps, I never realised that something was wrong, I just continued living. I of course, changed a lot of things about myself, I stopped watching a certain type of movies (heavy on animals), I changed the route I took to walk from my home to the bus stop (same one I walked Buddy on), I never went past where he was buried and I stopped going out of the house unless it was for work. I started sleeping very deeply and for long periods of time (I was always a light sleeper before this, alert for any movement from Buddy at night) and gained about 13 kg in the span of 18 months. I also never talked about it, Buddy’s death was a no-go area for everyone who wanted to remain a part of my life, my friends never really asked me either, so I guess they knew me well. Yes, a lot of this, also had to do with my job and the fact that I suddenly had a very sedentary lifestyle, but I somewhere lost the will to enjoy life I suppose, I was merely existing.
However, like I said, this snuck up on me rather stealthily and I when I finally realised that I needed help, my reaction was that its been 2 years, of course I am still not disturbed by that!!!!. How wrong I was. The realisation that I needed help came one day when I caught myself biting my hand. There was no reason for it, I just put my hand in my mouth and bit softly. I continued doing this for a few days, gradually increasing the intensity of it, testing to see how much I could take without breaking skin, how long would the mark last, at some level I just wanted to feel something.
I won’t lie, there was a time when I considered ending it. I had always argued that I would never do it because I would not do that to the people who loved me, but then I found myself arguing about whether it would matter or not. If there is no God, and no afterlife, how would it matter if someone suffered because of me, since I would never know! so it was ok, I mean what was the point in going through all this, if I was just gonna stop existing one day. I eventually decided that even if I wouldn’t exist, I still couldn’t put my loved ones through that.
Around this time, one of my friends also lost her mother suddenly. When we went to meet her, she talked to us for a couple of hours, telling us what happened. That is when I realised, I had never done this, I had never shared what I felt with anyone. This was also when I was slowly realising just how much damage I was doing to myself, and over the next few weeks, got up my courage to talk about it.
I called all of my friends, and asked them if they would be willing to listen if I talked. They all (barring one) turned up on the decided day and heard me weep and break down telling them what happened. That was the first time, and last I hope, that I cried like that in front of someone who wasn’t my family. Two years, and the pain was no less, three years now, and I can assure you the pain is no less. That day, these three people, sat their and offered their silent support and to this day I am grateful.
That day when I spoke to my friends and in the coming weeks, I decided that if I was gonna live my life, I would live it and not just exist. That was the time that really marked a change. After that, slowly and steadily I got my life back on track so to speak. I started exercising again, I lost 5 of those 13 kg, I started watching some of my favourite videos again(though I still cry through them) and I went to the place he was buried to check up on him. Now there is a temple on that land, and I couldn’t have chosen a better head stone.
I know there is a long way to go, and that there will never be a time when I don’t miss him or feel the pain of him dying. I know that time doesn’t heal wounds, it just teaches you to live with them. But I also know, that I am in a much better place than what I was one year ago.
I guess, what I wanted to say with this very long blog was that Always keep fighting. There are always incidences or moments in our lives where we wanna throw in the towel. But please don’t!. find a reason, even a single one to hold on for, whether that be one individual or ten! find something worth fighting for. Talk to the people close to you, even those who you think will not care, may surprise you. But most importantly don’t give up! everyone has rough times, you are not alone in this. Let someone in, talk about whatever is bothering you and surround yourself with people who care about you! Just remember, always keep fighting because nothing is worth ending it!!!!