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!

 

Life’s Little Miseries

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Like my mum says, I am jinxed when it comes to maintaining a mobile phone. She reminds me how even before the era of the smartphones begun, my dainty red flip phone plopped into the cooker filled with water! So two years ago after my third smartphone conked off making me fret, it didn’t deter me from switching my brand loyalty and buying a sleeker and a prettier phone. And two days back, it went crashing on the floor bang on its face. The screen smashed with its epicentre being the top left corner.

After forcing myself to feel bad (I would have genuinely felt so if it had stopped functioning) I looked at the newly smashed screen. It looked beautiful. It was like a piece of an intricate art. The branches and off-shoots of a tree spreading from the top left all the way to the centre of the screen. I loved looking at it. And those little mists between the cracks looked like leaves. I touched it and felt proud somehow of owning it.

And then it made me think – of small daily tragedies that we encounter every single day of our lives. No, not the big ones. I will never belittle those big tragedies. Just the small ones, like my phone. It is a part of us. Little miseries. Be it your family or friend you talk to and it is usually about the cold war with the boss, the skirmishes with that pestilential colleague at work, the non-committed boyfriend, the indifferent husband, the snooty daughter-in-law, the absentee maid and the list goes on. The everyday sob stories. Yes, you do have happy stories too but they are only squeezed in-between the unhappy ones.

And then you have the thinkers, self-motivating authors and their ilk telling us how it is essential to keep negativity at bay! Well, if we do, then we will all be aloof! We are complaining every single day of our lives and we are enjoying it somehow. We have adapted ourselves to it: unhappy things that don’t make us unhappy any longer. It is just there.

I bet you will be taken to a shrink if you are found to be too happy happy. It is too good to be true. I recall how a usually happy friend of mine was recounting a few months ago about another friend of hers who was having a distressful married life. The only way to make her friend open up to her was by talking somewhat forcefully about her own married life…those little troubled bits. And that way the friend of hers poured her heart out. It is a give and take. You tell a sob story to get one (and plenty) in return and vice versa. And this way you remain in the social circle as well. I had once nothing to share about my in-laws like my other two friends since I had no in-laws! And it seemed as if I was as good as invisible for them till the end of the get-together. Perhaps, I should have started off talking about my issues as a single woman instead of just bobbing my head like a duck listening to their marital woos!

Life’s little miseries. Like my broken phone. They just start to look beautiful.

(image:  a dead butterfly clicked some months ago in Gurgaon)