“You want to rip off this chest and throw away your heart too. But stop. Wait. Hold on. Cause someone, somewhere, feels the same truth...”
That’s an excerpt from Before You Commit Suicide, a spoken word piece by Mumbai-based social activist Ishmeet Nagpal. The 28-year-old has lost friends to depression and suicide, and felt the need to talk about it through poetry. Before... sheds light on what goes on in the mind of someone battling depression, and contemplating suicide. And it has struck a chord with many. Uploaded on YouTube by UnErase Poetry (a community that promotes performance poetry), on April 6, the video has clocked over 28,600 views.
The response she received for her poem has been overwhelming as well. Nagpal recalls a particularly poignant call: “A Mathura resident told me that he couldn’t share his problems with anyone as he was living in a small town and people would label him crazy.”
The positive response, in a way, has been cathartic for Nagpal, for she, too, has been through depression. It’s what inspired her to turn to poetry. In fact, even while performing this piece, the organisers had to keep motivating her to not break down. “You can’t help but feel emotional talking about something so intimate,” she says, adding that the only way to deal with such issues is to talk to someone — a professional, a friend, or family.
For Nagpal, performing the piece instilled in her a sense of confidence in embracing her past, and talent. When she isn’t working at Population First, an NGO that focuses on women-related social issues, she’s to be seen at poetry slam venues. “The community feels like family now,” she says.