- · Sorting through piles of collected junk and papers at home, I come across hospital medicine bills and have to physically grind my teeth and force myself to breathe so I don’t break down.
- · Throughout the festive season, every time I notice the fact that monkey is at home with us, every time I give thought to how all around horrible this year’s pujo has been, every time I want to do something “fun”, I almost break down.
- · Sitting in a local train, on my way to a job interview, I make the mistake of not incessantly playing mindless games on my phone (to conserve battery), some random thought and its associations make me break down.
- · A random scene in stupid, vapid, impossibly shallow Bollywood crap - like Tubelight, or Ae Dil Hai Mushkil - which I stumble over on TV, which would have been one long derisive laugh fest for me before, now make me cry.
- · A TV ad for Idea 4G network has the exact same hospital corridors as one of the places I fought with in May 2017, and I cannot breathe.
- · A random Facebook meme congratulating Amitabh Bacchan for turning 75 brings me to my knees.
- · Some “romantic comedy” movie on TV has a character seeking euthanasia and I am howling inside with all the conversations I had with the old man, for years, about it – but I can’t, because monkey is watching me.
- · When my eyelids are sufficiently droopy that I can put the book down knowing I will be asleep soon, I’m not. The minute I close my eyes it is a slideshow of everything that went wrong and everything I could have done better.
- · Every time I have five free minutes to just be… my mind insists in showing me image after image of everything that went wrong from April to June this year, and I am overwhelmed without any chance of finding a way of dealing.
Daily life has become a minefield of moments waiting to ambush me with inappropriate amounts of emotions. Basic functioning is becoming problematic as my mind threatens to break down in random public places and during totally benign activities. Monkey has taken to looking sideways at me every now and then to check if I am weepy. Given how non- weepy I generally am as a person, especially in public, especially for the last 20 years or so, this is a huge change. It is also a problem because just coping with marginal breakdowns all the time is taking up so much time and energy, not to mention the mindless activity that is being demanded by self-distraction needs. As a result, I am exhausted all the time, and distracted, with only half my mind on the present moment. So, I am losing things, have lost more things in the last 6 months than I did in the 26 years before that. I am constantly on some mindless game or tv or both (also something I never do) and not even having a conversation with the man in commercial breaks.
And this is just extra crap one does not need on top of the alternative oversleep/insomnia cycles, on top of the numbness, on top of the baseline default level of background pain that is almost constant. The anger and detachedness that is almost constant, stemming from so much that is going on right now, personally. The absolute absence of the desire to go anywhere, do anything, see anyone. The mental cringing at the thought of doing even the things I so love normally. Which means I am letting a lot of people down, which only adds to the witches’ brew with extra doses of guilt. All in all, it is clear that things are not “fine”.
The last time I felt anything close to this bad, was way back in my MA days, a time that classifies as easily one of the worst phases of my life. This is starting to even overtake that memorable phase if only in the way basic functioning is being affected, in how debilitating I am finding this, and how incapable of dealing with it in any way I seem to be. Last go around, I dealt. I lived the daily life and the did the campus rounds and socialisation and everything just as normal (until I absolutely couldn’t and things fell apart, sure) but this time I just cannot seem to find the energy or the wherewithal. I fall asleep all day, sleep for 16-18 hours with only bathroom and food breaks. Or, on another day I twist and turn and toss through the night, and the next day, and nothing seems right. Headaches are constant, insomnia or oversleep, disquiet is constant, stomach hasn’t felt normal in all this time, not even once, and the only thing that keeps me going is the vodka on the weekend and looking forward to that vodka all week
I realise, increasingly, that I may not be able to deal with this on my own. At least that’s what it feels like at the moment. for once in my life, surprisingly, I am also having trouble talking to friends about it. I have forever been known, and often denigrated, for how much my friends mean to me. I have heard many a snide comment because of how much of a support structure my friends are, how large a part they are of what normally keeps me going. And yet, this time I find myself unable to really open up even to my inner circle. They ask, bless them, and they have been worried, and it has been fobbed off. It does not happen. I cannot seem to tell them how I am feeling, what is going on. I seem unable to confess how badly off I am. It is the “mata” image getting in the way. The mother bear/lioness takes care of her cubs. She’s the one who worries and comforts and lends an ear and a shoulder. She’s the one stepping into the breach with sage advice and life-experience wisdom. She does not fall apart and ask the cubs for those things. In fact, I don’t even know if any of those things would help, if I COULD even explain all this if I wanted to. The few times I have reached out, specifically, the universe has gotten in the way and it’s never happened.
Also, it seems excessive. Granted I have no real frame of reference, but it seems a bit too much to be this prostrated more than four months later. I feel as if I am overreacting, and I don’t know how to stop doing it. And it feels like a huge imposition to dump all this on my tribe. I mean, people lose their parents, they manage, they cope, they live life more or less normally. Why the hell do I have to be such a cry baby? Why the hell can’t I just grit my teeth and get on with it. And yes, the last thing I need in this vicious, venomous emo cocktail is shame and embarrassment… but hey, what I need and what I get are not the same thing.
The ideal solution would be to get professional help, I suppose. Except, given my past with the mental health faculty in India, and my absolute lack of trust in the system, that’s not going to happen. Even assuming things have changed in the last 20 odd years, and assuming I can get referrals to “trustworthy” shrinks from my various cubs, it’s still not going to happen. The thought of sitting in front of a complete stranger and re-beginning the process of pulling myself apart and putting me back together again is too exhausting and just way to uncomfortable. As for home, there’s no help there. Given the significant other’s “grin and be strong and just deal with it” ethos, or alternatively “bury it six feet deep in your psyche and ignore it for the rest of your life” way of dealing with such things, there is no way I am even going to try to discuss any of this there.
So, where the hell does that leave me? In a shithole, that’s where. Where I am drowning and have no way to do anything about it. I don’t even have any way to vent, except for this.