Umang Sheth, a founding GB member, since 1998, desperately wants to help and reach out to guys who are low and depressed. In his own words, he wants “to make them feel safe, confident and hopeful.”
Who better to give a testimonial for him than one of those he helped.
“I stood at the edge of the platform of Bandra station. A local train may pull into the station any time now. I should jump in front of it. That would end my life or it could make me handicapped for life. I didn’t want both the scenarios to happen. And I did have the power to stop both from happening. But I was so fed up with my life. Both personal and professional lives were giving me nothing but disappointments. I had moved to Mumbai thinking I would be able to live a life much happier. It is the city of opportunities, love and friendships. At least that’s what I got from the movies I watched. But work always found me lacking in something, made me stressful and feel as if I was good for nothing. The only days that released me from work were weekends. But I ended up feeling alone during those days. I try to chat with someone, my looks and non-availability of place came in between. It was as if I kept on getting rejected by each and every guy I try to have conversation with. I really can’t pin-point what is it that pushes people to suicide. It will not be because of one single incident. It will be because of cumulative of incidents that could be happening over a period of time that makes them feel worthless. I guess that happened with me too. I did not want to jump in front of the train. I know my parents would be shattered. Actually the thought of possibility of being disabled and the emotional trauma I could be bringing to my parents were preventing me from taking that drastic step. But had I taken that step, I don’t think anyone would have figured out the reason. I don’t think anyone would consider the possibility that I was going through depression. Why?
Because I don’t think depressed people would want to tell their friends or relatives or even family that they are feeling terrible. Revealing that would mean you are shattering the image that you were building up in front of them – that your life is all okay and may be even happening-of-sorts (that’s what Facebook and Instagram makes us do, right?). If you let the cat out of the bag, you start having that nagging thought that now how would your that friend / relative in question be thinking about you. Would he/she be feeling sympathetic, would he/she be thinking less of you, would he / she be mocking me in his / her thoughts. In the end, it feels like it is better to keep everything bottled up inside – risking of pushing yourself into even more depression until one day you no longer can take the negativity and you snap.
For me also, I didn’t want to tell my parents or friends what I was going through. Revealing my depression means I will be expected to answer lot of questions. And the thing with depression is you can’t exactly pin-point to a single cause or incident for the occurrence of it. At that point of time you neither have the energy or will power to go through and analyse all those matters. That’s why I feel confiding to a “helpful stranger” is the best option. Revealing to that stranger that you are not fine can only result in two possibilities – one he/she will remain a stranger and because he/she is a stranger, you will not be that much bothered about what he / she will think about you. Two, that stranger can turn into a friend. Both will have one positive impact. You have told someone that you are not feeling fine and it’s like you are releasing some amount of steam that is being built up inside a pressure cooker. For the fear of two possibilities that could happen – becoming disabled and traumatizing my parents – I somehow had the thinking of calling Sachin Jain. I don’t know why I chose him. He picked up the phone and I told him I’m at Bandra station thinking of committing suicide. Because he was far away from Bandra and would not be possible to reach quickly before I do try to suicide, he called Umang Sheth. Umang quickly called me and he started talking to me, trying to pacify me. And it was working. After few minutes of talk, he told me to take the next local and come to his home. And it is just that one moment you will feel like committing suicide. If you are able to escape from that terrible moment, you are fine.
At his home, he spoke to me a lot. And it was a nice feeling to be hugged. (I think depressed people need lots of hugs.) By the next day, I was feeling much better. All thanks to Umang. So from a person who has suffered depression and still goes through bouts of depression from time to time, it is okay that you are feeling low, that you do not want to open up to familiar faces. But do not let that steam build up inside you. You have to vent it out and for that you can reach out to people like Umang and Sachin. I know they would not judge you, but even if they did, you are not losing anything in front of them. But you will be helping yourself to understand about you better. So do reach out to them if you are feeling low, you are feeling suicidal, you are feeling worthless. You do not have to compare yourself to any other person to feel worse or better. Just open up to “helpful strangers” and let off that steam!”