We are two sisters and I am the elder one at home. Since my sister was not sound with her health, my parents’ attention and time was required more for her. It came to me as a request that I should not expect much from them, it was rather a directive (maybe). For a kid who doesn’t understand the world much, it was something I just had to obey. Fair enough.

I was also the eldest of all my cousins. During holidays, all the family used to get-together to spend quality time together. Imagine this, 8 kids to be managed by my parents and grandfather. They needed someone who can keep an eye on us, naturally their choice was me because apart from being the elder, I was also the most sorted out one. Calm, composed, responsible and for some reason my cousins also were comfortable being managed by me. On a side note, my cousins were very very very naughty.

Eventually this continued for a long time on various situations. I have grown-up with a perception that I always must be strong. I am the problem solver, the rescuer, the trusted ally and one who should take care of others. Together, all of these can be accomplished only if I am strong enough, mentally.

I was strong, or more so I thought. I am not sure about it even today. When life comes up with a challenge I fight against it with all my strength. The recent set of circumstances of my life have broken me down into pieces, as small as possible. In the initial days, it all looked fine, I was brave enough to convince my parents to permit me to live alone. It’s almost 3 years I am living alone, day after day without my knowledge, I have become so weak. Emotionally very weak.

Me and my father met with an accident last month. I was slightly hurt, but my father had an impactful wound on his leg. He refused to see a doctor for 2 days and after a full-on fight, he agreed to see the orthopedic. The wound was so bad that the entire muscle on the inside of the leg had to be removed. When doctor showed me his leg, I was frightened and worried at the same time. There was nothing but bone on the inside for almost a 3/4th feet long. At this age, can his body rebuild the muscle? A couple of days later, my father lost conscious and was admitted to hospital. I flew back to my hometown only to see him amid of medical equipment in an ICU.

The worst was yet to come. I walked up to his bed after he gained conscious and he did not recognize me. He said one word, “who?” and I just could not control myself anymore. My hope was declining though I strongly want him get back to normal. I came out cried a bit, by the time my mom came out, I wiped out my tears and acted normal. After two days he was a little stable, we brought him home. The very next day he lost conscious again. A day more in the hospital with the same fear. The nights I spent at hospital were the worst ones. We brought him home, but I could hardly sleep. Every few minutes I would go and check on him if he was still breathing. He became very weak after the procedure and the medicines.

I felt really stressed, the fear that we may loose him was killing me. I needed to talk to someone so that I can express how I was feeling. Two failed attempts with my friends and I gave up the try. The feeling that no one cares really hit me hard. I came home from the hospital one day and wanted to cry, just cry. I went to my usual spot and broke out into tears before a dog (The poor dog is not mine but became my shoulder to lean on that day). I told her all the stress and my feelings sobbing. 

At my house, I could cry whenever I want to. At my parent’s place, I usually don’t cry. I don’t cry before others as well. Especially those who would get worried about me. “I am ok”, “Doing fine”, “all good” are my statements and by the smile on my face it is hard for anyone to notice what is going on with me. Most of my family and friends would give a reason that I am strong enough and may be think that I do not need any support to cope up with various adversities in life. But, I am the opposite. I need support and someone who can be there for me. Unfortunately, I also know that someone does not exist as of today. 

Sometimes when I am overwhelmed I remember the Japanese quote which translates to: 

A samurai pretends, even when he is starved, by holding a toothpick between his teeth. Meaning, we should not let others see our pain. This is how Samurai’s are trained.

I am not a Samurai. The pressure to stay strong has taken away a lot from me. The basic needs of mine are invisible to others. I am constantly starving to fulfill my emotional needs. I say to myself that it is absolutely okay to break down sometimes and move on. I don’t know why people tend to think that someone who can hold others during tough times can hold themselves too if need be. Every person needs another person, at the least for moral help, many just don’t get it. Some day, may be I would gain enough strength to handle myself by my own. 

I’m trying to stay as calm as possible and focus one day at a time, but when reality sets in, I feel everything: anxiety, excitement, nerves, pressure and joy – Shawn Johnson