“Shake it out, shake it out……Shake it out, shake it out….Oh whoa….Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out…..Oh whoa…. And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back so shake him off….”– Florence + The Machine (Shake It Out)
The moment I made the decision, I regretted it. It was only natural that I did. If I were writing a book, I’d have given you a long build-up, a chapter dedicated to how I came to the moment at which I had decided that a gap year was a must. But this is a blog and you’ll be bored soon, might need to scroll through your newsfeed or look at a new Instagram post of your favourite celebrity. So I am not going to waste your time and mine.
The moment in my case could have been when I was lying on the ground in my room, shaking and crying, wondering why I didn’t just die instead of bearing the pain washing over me in waves during the first term of my master’s. The moment could have been when similarly I was shivering on my bed under the blankets in my undergraduate dorm room feeling a dread I hadn’t before and staring at my cupboard contemplating the knife kept inside it. The moment could also have been when I locked myself in my bathroom and cut myself repeatedly on my arms and legs with a scissor as a sixteen-year-old. It could have been any or none of these moments. There are so many of them.
In the course of the past few weeks, I have been asked, “What triggered the decision?” I want to retort, “Does there need to be one?” It’s hard enough feeling the way I am, I don’t need a trigger, to be honest, the trigger must have come when I was eleven I will never know. But all I know is that had I taken the decision to get better, to take a break earlier maybe I’d have avoided all this pain. I don’t know what reasons will justify my decision, I goad myself enough for taking it. I don’t know what happens here on, I don’t know if I ruined my chances of acceptance by my family or society. Our society likes to keep depression under wraps, I’ve been told, “Everyone feels depressed once in a while.” But what do I do when I feel it every second, every minute?
My Ex said, “You’re depressed because you want to be depressed.” That deserved a slow clap. Yes, I am aware that my problems are not as important, maybe I am making a big deal out of nothing. Maybe others are suffering more than I am. Others are suffering more than I am. As I write this, there are millions of people suffering, some silently. Therefore, I admit defeat, my problems are not important, they are nothing compared to some of the stories and experiences I have heard. But should I not address my problems? Do I not have a right to fix them? It’s funny that everybody decides for you how big or small your problems are. And they love to tell you when you can’t deal with them, “It’s nothing, you think too much, stop complaining.”
I am not complaining, I am telling. I am revealing something, having been quiet about it for over 20 years of my life maybe I am done with the silences. Circumstances made me an introvert, and a part of me knows mine are first-world problems. But I am made this way. I am not asking for people to deal with them, that’s what I have to do. I don’t even need acceptance, all I want is for people to know. No matter how ‘big’ or ‘small’ your problem, it ‘s a problem nonetheless. Just because there is a spider on your back and not a tiger doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shake it off.
Whether the moment came late in my life or early, only time will tell, but the point is, I have taken the first step. Despite being unmotivated to continue down the path of life, I tried. So when I should be proud of myself, when I hear someone say, “But you were fine yesterday” I reply, “I was never fine, you thought I was and I didn’t tell you.” So the moment I suppose came when it was supposed to, unforced, out of sheer terror, but as one last cry for help.