We revel in the glorious sunshine of success from our many Sheroes of the world; be that in the form of women who have feminism seeping out of their pores, women who help the less able, or women who write about life-changing topics, challenging our society’s prior viewpoints. This time, our shero has done just that! Poorna Bell is a fantastically strong author who tackled the emotional strain of writing a novel about the tragedy of her husband, Rob, committing suicide, and aimed to communicate the increasing levels of shrugging emotions off to “be a man”, which is the main factor in male suicide.
Poorna Bell explores her husband’s behaviour, his disguised cries for help, to encourage other men to notice their own ‘symptoms’. Refusing to let tragedy ‘define’ her, she dragged herself from her own version of hell to survive the horrific ordeal that she went through. After her husband, a well established journalist, revealed that he had been harbouring a secret heroin addiction for three years, the extent of his struggle was brought to the surface. Before this, she states that “I knew he hadn’t been well, but I didn’t connect the dots because he also had chronic depression, and a lot of the symptoms overlap.”
Poorna then resorted to what many women do way too frequently: we begin to blame ourselves for not noticing sooner. It’s how humanity and compassion functions. We often feel overwhelming guilt for not realising sooner, despite others telling us not to. She then had to face the internal struggle of : okay, so what now? A concept many of us understand after facing trauma head-on. What did we learn growing up? At school? Anywhere that would help us to prepare for a situation like this? Which was a question she’d ask herself again when Rob took his own life whilst on a family visit in New Zealand.
After going through this tragic ordeal, Poorna began to open up to the world about the struggles she was facing. She was left with so many questions. Will she ever be happy? Will she find love again? Who will rescue her from her sadness? This was a massively brave step to take, and she took this step into the Internet Universe, blogging regularly about her emotional state and the struggles she faced. She mentioned that Rob was “unable to see a future in which he wouldn’t still be fighting his illness, unable to reconcile what he thought he was versus what he believed a man should be”. This is a common notion in male suicide. The book also states that “if you are a man, the thing most likely to kill you, if you are under 45, is yourself. And yet we don’t seem to knit together all of these things to figure out why this is the case.” This quotation reflects the main message of Poorna’s book “Chase the Rainbow”, which is part memoir, part journalism, which aims to educate both women and men about the increasing levels of male suicide and the symptoms they display.
With a clear message, a brave stance and a fantastically written narrative style, Poorna simply states that “we don’t want your silence. Your silence, quite literally, is killing you”. And she does so through the medium of the English Language. A topic that should be screamed as loud as possible from mountain tops for the world to know, about a gender who is too afraid to speak.
Poorna has a new book coming out on the 2nd May, “In search of silence”. It is a heartfelt, deeply personal journey which asks us to define what ‘happiness’ truly means. Poorna writes of how two years on how she is rebuilding her life. Deciding and choosing what she does and doesn’t want from society, she explores a different conversation around fulfillment and self-worth. Cutting across the landscapes in India, New Zealand and Britain, Poorna Bell explores the things endemic in our society such as sadness and loneliness, to unpick why we seek other people to fix what’s inside of us.
Poorna with her honest writing is helping thousands of men and women to tackle a huge problem that is rarely faced or talked about. She is a true shero!