My twig got stuck – comprehending depression at its nascent stage

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In the roller coaster ride of life, I have at this time hit the bottom (or is the trench even deeper?). I choose to be aloof, I choose to talk and meet a ‘chosen few’ and I choose to reflect on things that I would never otherwise. Reflection has never come naturally to me as I have always gone with the flow – where my life is like a twig that has fallen in the stream and it flows at the pace of the water current. It has been mostly a very smooth ride with only now and then some thing or somebody picking up the twig out of curiosity for a while and then throwing it back into the water body (much to my respite!). At this point the twig has been stuck to a tree by the stream. It can feel the current rush around it but nonetheless, it is stuck. I would call this point being stagnant. Others would call it boredom and depending on the state of mind and the length of stagnancy some may even call it being lonely and depressed.

I have understood loneliness and sadness, despite never consciously subjecting myself to the term ‘depression’, much better at this stage of life. No amount of reading about others mental state is helpful. No matter how many happy quotes you read, it is very difficult to bring yourself up and get going.

I have understood why depression is co-related to loneliness. Why it is difficult to ask for help when one is undergoing this phase in life? Here are my reasons pointed:

  1. Because you don’t have a sad club to join. You are on your own.If you are sensible you would know that whining before family and friends has a certain limitation. The more you whine the more agitated they will be with you at one point. If they cannot express their agitation they will be barely listening to you – not hearing you. People will tell you to meet friends more often, go out, join a book club or a riders club or take up zumba or even practise yoga. Do they help? I can’t vouch for any but most in my area from my experience of taking my daughter to these dance, art and yoga lessons have taught me that they are plain money-making machines. There is less or no learning. If the purpose is to make new friends and socialise, you begin to realise how fake people look around you. You hate to be around depressed souls so why should they be around you? You fake just as they when you join them!
  2. Because though people say never compare the story of your life with the others as you are on a different chapter than theirs but you just can’t help it. While I write this and struggle to increase my workflow, I have just heard my phone beep. Upon checking my notification from a recently downloaded no-nonsense news app is that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made 3.4 bn USD in an hour after positive second quarter earnings. Wow! Ok, he and his ilk are rich shots and they make insane money and no way my life chapters are ever reaching theirs (practically writing!) but then when you start to look around people nearby whose chapters could be possibly nearer yours, you can’t but help making comparisons. Suddenly their life looks glamorous. they are getting promoted, they are switching jobs, they are getting huge bonuses, some are bored with their world travels. So when you make an effort to get up, get out and visit them in order to cheer yourself up, you end up returning home more depressed.
  3. Because you do not want to get out of your comfort zone. It is connected to the first point. There may not be a sad club but joining a happy club is an effort. Your home is your comfort zone. Not realising that it has imprisoned you. That drive to push you out of the house is missing. You have become an unknown parasite feeding on the comforts provided by your loved ones. You begin to adapt to this environment. Everything is being provided for so what else could you want? You are all to yourself. You are not making friends. You are not making enemies. You are doing nothing.
  4. Because you do not want to break down. You want to look strong. You try hard to believe that all will be ok but when? You know good times follow the bad times but how long is the bad time to be? There are thousands of inspirational quotes on every cloud having a silver lining, light at the end of the tunnel and storm before the calm but nobody can tell how long the storm will last, how long the tunnel is and when will the silver lining of the cloud be displayed. Not everyone is as patient as the other. While some don’t breakdown, others just drift to another world. I have imagined just laying on the water on my back with my eyes closed and it is a beautiful feeling. i do not have the courage to go to another world on my own but I have realised that if someone decides to do this, one should not call them weak as nobody can take this course of action in a weak state of mind. Respect them. They must have gone through a lot.

So, how does one fight and get out of loneliness and sadness?

I will tell you when it happens! The tunnel can’t be that long after all! 🙂

 

img: me!

 

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Courtesy Calls – A perception

Is it essential to pay visit to someone who is recovering from sickness or an accident in a hospital when you know that you can’t go and that the ‘someone’ is being taken good care of? Someone with whom you have a relationship that goes beyond social obligations. You know the person will understand. And if they don’t happen to understand, as I learnt last month, you know that they were never close to you! An eye-opener moment!

Not one, but many such hospital-related moments occurred in the last one year which eventually, to be precise last month, made me change my perception completely.

Episode 1:

My father underwent a leg surgery early last year, followed by tongue surgery in August and then radiotherapy in October which meant he had to stay and also make many visits to the hospital. I happened to be with him in the last two where the tongue surgery and the radiotherapy took place in the city I live. Mum flew to be with him in the first one – the city where he works.

In all these three times, my brother, who lives in the UK, couldn’t fly down. He had in fact met all of us back home barely a month before my father was diagnosed with carcinoma in August. I kept thinking in my head, why is he not flying down immediately after hearing this shocking news! And over the weeks, the thought persisted in my head, why can he still not come? Should he not be coming? Is this how a son should be? I was a bundle of nerves then and overlooked the practical side. While I was trying to play a dutiful daughter by giving company to my father, my brother was calling up his sources and finding the doctors and hospitals that were best for my father – keeping distance, his age and every logistics in mind. He was doing the spade work. Convincing my thick-skinned father on why he should be getting treated in an ABC hospital and not XYZ is a task.  In fact he got everything lined up and kept me on my toes too by making me coordinate with the doctors.

Episode 2:

A few months ago my friend was relating a marital dispute between her sister and her husband and how the sister was upset that the husband didn’t stay back in the hospital at nights when their child was hospitalised. The emotional side of her had overpowered the practical side, just like me. The husband was working all day long so that the child could get the treatment in the best of hospitals! It was not as if he was partying while the wife stayed the nights in the hospitals.

Episode 3:

Last month when I was in Goa for a few days, a friend happened to visit me. He called me one afternoon telling me that he fell off a bike while riding it. Though he had escaped with minor scratches he was in the hospital getting himself checked. After asking if he wanted any help to which he refused, we decided to catch up later in the day which never happened. And when I did see him the next day, he was all upset. He was in no mood to talk and in that half an hour we had become absolute strangers. A decade long friendship was over in no time. We haven’t talked since.

I had to be on both the sides of the fence (hospital in this case – as an expected visitor and expecting visitors) to finally understand that formalities such as courtesy calls are meant for acquaintances and distance relatives. A relationship with a person goes beyond such calls.

My brother’s love for our father and vice versa would not grow any less. So would the love of my friend’s sister’s husband toward their child and vice versa.

As far as the episode with my friend is concerned, it is such a pity that it took us a decade to realize that our friendship was superficial. It didn’t transcend beyond social norms. Sigh!