My depression and anxiety crept into my life at different stages, but one after the other. I had my first panic attack, which was induced by, what doctors later told my family, a psychosomatic disorder.
This was in January 2014. My fingers and hands started to twirl inwards due the lack of Vitamin D in my body, and a massively increasing heart rate, triggered my panic attack. I thought I was having a heart-attack.
It has been three years to that incident, and my anxiety hasn’t left me. I’m constantly reminded by the fear of getting a heart-attack. It’s had a massive impact on my career as a performer as I’ve faced panic attacks while driving to a concert, and having to drive myself to the Emergency section of The Heart and Lung Institute. I had to cancel multiple shows, I wouldn’t leave my house as the only people I trusted that could react wisely if I had a heart-attack was my family.
The biggest and the saddest moment of my life was on 8th July, 2015 when my best friend and my band’s vocalist, Govind Marodia passed away in a tragic car accident. My world saw a paradigm shift, and I found myself with no direction, in an existential crisis coupled with the approaching quarter-life crisis, all coming together while my anxiety was at its highest peak. I would lock myself up in a room, and cry for weeks, and whenever I did muster up the strength to go out with the efforts of my friends, I would often find myself leaving conversations when people would convey their condolences, and rush to the pub’s washroom to break down.
This wasn’t what the world had known me as. I was this punk-ass musician, who I can say, the indie-music industry knew pretty well of, or famous, for the lack of humbler words. Rijul crying and having all these “issues” made a lot of people judge me, reach the point of calling me a “pussy” for not being “man-enough” to face my sadness and anxieties.
As I now look back, this was a blessing in disguise as it made me filter the “real” people in my life. It showed me the true colours of the world, whether dark or absolutely filled with love and light. The value of family and friends grew ten-fold and the importance of having a group of understanding friends became very real for the first time. I figured out that all I needed was a shoulder to cry on, a ear to listen to me, and a heart to understand my pain, as it all was real. And at no given point was I ever mocked or laughed at by these friends or family.
I did notice myself fall into a web of alcoholism after Govind’s death, as I would drown myself every night in a full bottle of whiskey, crying and then eventually putting myself to sleep. I feel this happened almost unconsciously.
I now always speak of mental health issues whenever I perform live, as the stigma attached to it is still real, regardless of how educated one is. Many people sometimes question the “authenticity” of someone’s depression, anxiety or any other mental disorder, but it is in this very doubt that we have trampled the emotions of that person.
There is a need for compassion and empathy, it is the need of the hour. It’s OK to talk about it!
Rijul Victor has a background of playing drums since the age of 12 and has established a niche for his style of drumming in the music industry having played India’s biggest festivals with his band, ”Colossal Figures”, at NH7 Weekender, Hornbill festival Nagaland, Rolling Stone metal Awards Bombay to name a few.
He is known as “Corridors”, his current most musical venture. Corridors is an honest representation of Rijul as a composer/producer as well as a live performer playing multiple instruments in his live-set.