Distance, Distancing, Distanced, Distant

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Titus (2000)

Christopher Titus: Normal people can live with happiness. Screwed up people try to destroy it. See, all I am looking for is the perfect match. […] Fourteen months later, I realized its not an act, that’s who she is, she is great, she is the perfect girl. I don’t deserve this kind of happiness. How can I destroy it?

I have often felt emotionally myopic. I have always failed to understand emotional distance. Still don’t. Some called it being dysfunctional. Some call it being sensitive. Some call it insecurity. Some call it maturity. Some call it depression. Some call it borderline personality disorder. Some call it pain. Some call it goodness. Some call it being lost. Some call it self-victimization. Some call it a rare asset. Some call it being obsessive. Some call it misfortune. Some call it a virtue. Some call it over-thinking. And I find myself saying, “That is the only way I function. I cannot be any other way.”

Emotionally investing in relationships to the best of my capacity then becomes a habit, a value, a way of life for me. Each relationship then becomes an emotionally intense experience. Hence, exhausting. Hence, unsustainable. Hence, a cycle of involvement and uninvolvement. Hence, a cycle of feeling close and distancing. Relationships then start becoming pseudo happiness, pseudo non-loneliness. It only gets as good as it gets and as bad as it gets. It is good, only as long as it starts getting worse.

"The Artist is Present"Marina Abramovic MoMA - New York

Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (2012)

Marina Abramovic: There is so much pain in their eyes. I am just a trigger, I am just a mirror and actually they become aware of their own life, of their own vulnerability, of their own pain, of everything- and that brings the crying. They are really crying about their own self, and that is an extremely emotional moment. […] An art is made of trust, vulnerability and connection.

The ability to understand and empathize with complex emotions then becomes a cross you bear for life. Pain is attractive. Lethally attractive. Pain is real. Pain is romantic. It is not love; but pain which is the highest possible honorable emotion one can share with another human being. Romantic love then asks only one question, “Can you handle, contain, absorb and forgive my pain?”

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Gone Girl (2014)

Nick Dunne: You fucking cunt!
Amy Dunne: I’m the cunt you married. The only time you liked yourself was when you were trying to be someone this cunt might like. I’m not a quitter, I’m that cunt. I killed for you; who else can say that? You think you’d be happy with a nice Midwestern girl? No way, baby! I’m it. […] Nick Dunne took my pride and my dignity and my hope and my money. He took and took from me until I no longer existed. That’s murder.
Nick Dunne: Fuck. You’re delusional. I mean, you’re insane, why would you even want this? Yes, I loved you and then all we did was resent each other, try to control each other. We caused each other pain.
Amy Dunne: That’s marriage.

Marriage is personal. Marriage is political. Marriage is legal. Marriage is social. Marriage is economical. Marriage is power dynamics. Marriage is patriarchal. Marriage is self-destruction. Marriage is an act. Marriage is a performance. Marriage is therapeutic. Marriage is mutual exploitation. Marriage is dishonesty. Marriage is diplomacy. Marriage is a negotiation. Marriage is an illusion. Marriage is a delusion. Often convincing in the beginning. Marriage is a paradox. Marriage is divorce, lurking in the dark. Marriage is distance. Ever increasing distance.

Nick Dunne: The primal questions of any marriage.
What are you thinking?
How are you feeling?
What have we done to each other?

Me: I hate you enough to divorce you and love you enough to not be married to you.
He: Fuck marriage!
Me: Fuck marriage!
And we broke into a knowing laughter.

 

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The Invisible Man

He has always followed me. Everywhere. Everyday. Every moment. For 19 years now and who knows for how many more. Now, he is nothingness, a non-existent entity, an irreplaceable permanent hollow in my heart, that no one can fill. No one. Never. Ever.

I remember his voice, his laughter, his handwriting, his kind, green eyes. I also remember how it felt to hug him, the excitement of receiving his letters and the joy of seeing him in person, as I felt the lump in my throat knowing he would leave in another 10 days. Time must stop. I remember how hard it was to see him off at the railway station, holding back my tears as I waved him goodbye, putting up a fake smile, for he had told me it would be painful for him to see me cry. I remember the ghastly absence I felt after I returned back home from the railway station, not knowing how to process this pain I felt and only knowing it will be a long long wait until the next time I see him.

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19 years back, this wait turned permanent, along with a lot of other feelings.
Pain.
Loneliness.
Melancholy.
Lack of faith in people and relationships.
Suppressed, exploding anger.
Absence of happiness.
Fear of rejection.
Hopelessness.
Guilt.
Insecurity.
Feeling of worthlessness.
Longing to feel safe.
Not having a sense of belonging.
Confused sexual feelings.
Need to build survival mechanisms.

Life became a performance there on. An act of hiding my pain from people. The constant exhausting marathon of running away from loneliness and worthlessness.

He will always be the most endearing invisible man to me. The never-ending search for his presence leaves an unavoidable void in my heart. I still feel caught in time. Only this time, time has stopped. I still mourn his death. I also mourn my stagnated emotions, unprocessed pain, undissolved anger, unexpressed love, masked fear and sense of fulfillment.

The Men in My Life

Why is it that you always get into complicated relationships, they ask? Is seeking complicated relationships an addiction, a handicap, a behavioral pattern, a state of mind or is it me?

Men will come. And men will go.

Men will come. And I will go.  

The former is painful in its entirety and the latter is equally painful but has the illusion of power, the illusion of being in control.

I have cheated in my relationships and have been cheated on. Cheating makes me feel guilty, being cheated on makes me powerless.

Isn’t dealing with pain (of cheating/ being cheated on) more important than the subject/ object of pain?

Yes, true.

Do you deal with the pain?

No.

What is your focus then?

Who did it? And more importantly, who is the victim?

What happens in both cases?

If I did it, I had my reasons. If he did it, I didn’t deserve this.

Do you think this is helping you?

No. It isn’t.

What is it that you want?

Vengeance.

What is it that you want?

I have a right to be angry. I don’t deserve this.

What is it that you want?

I will get over him. I will date. I will get over him.

What is it that you want?

I want to forget.

What is it that you want?

I want him back.

What is it that you want?

I want love, warmth, acceptance, appreciation, permanence, safety, protection, validation.

What is it that you want?

. . .

What is it that you want?

. . .

What is it that you want?

. . .

What is it that you want?

For him to fulfill my insecurities, to compensate for my pain, to be the subject of my anger and to not have the right to leave me. Ever.

How does it make you feel?

Not unwanted. Not rejected. Not unhappy. Not unsafe. Not unprotected. Not vulnerable. Not lonely. Not alone.

Is this love?

. . .

. . .

No, it’s not love. It’s a not not relationship.

Is this what it means to be an adult?

. . .

Do you want to be an adult?

. . .

Men is my life, seem to me, like a suffering. And the men in my life have suffered.

I am mature. I am not an adult. I am legally, politically, socially, intellectually, emotionally, physically, sexually mature. But I am not legally, politically, socially, intellectually, emotionally, physically, sexually an adult.

I want the men in life to be legally, politically, socially, intellectually, emotionally, physically, sexually listen, understand, be available, appreciate, validate, approve, agree, want me, be interested in me. 100%. 24 x 7.

I will be in control, yet they will be responsible.

I will emotionally bully them, yet they cannot act like a victim.

I will have attention from other men, while they will exclusively be mine.

I will test them, until they fail. Every moment. Everyday.

They will be the silent subject of my anger. They will validate my pain. They will deal with my depression.

They will not reject me. Ever.

What is it that you seek?

I guess I am looking for a therapist in the men in my life.

What will you do when that does not happen?

I will look for an escape.

How?

Anger. Self-destruction. Keeping distance. Anger. Self-destruction. Not trusting people. In never ending circles.

What is at the bottom of all this?

Pain. Insecurity. Fear of loss. Fear of rejection. Fear of judgement. Fear of loneliness.

What is at the bottom of all this?

. . .

What is it that you seek?

. . .

I Can Be A Good Dog

How has your black dog been?

Its been 1 year of therapy. I haven’t learnt to manage him yet. But I have learnt to identify when he starts pulling me down. Identification makes it easier to ask for help. And help makes it easier to manage him.

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What has helped?

Being regular at therapy. Being emotionally honest. Y’s love. Non judgmental attitude. Learning to accept & forgive myself.

How does it feel seeing a therapist?

Its not the therapist that scares me. Its my own self. Being emotionally naked can be tiring. Handling vulnerability is not easy. A non judgmental safe space has certainly motivated me to be more honest. Honesty is healing.

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What hasn’t changed?

Social anxiety. Obsessive behavior. Anger. Indiscipline. Impatience. Feeling hopeless. Boredom. Feeling of emptiness. Lack of self confidence. Feeling vulnerable. Lack of control. Constant guilt. Unstable relationships. Impulsive behavior. Stress.

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What does it make you do?

Avoid social interactions. Depend on alcohol. Sleepless nights. Cheat. Act lazy. Act self destructive.

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What has changed?

Degree of self awareness. Have learnt to identify my evils. Its almost like a system reset, like laying a new foundation of self identity. Makes me question all my beliefs, morals and emotions. Most of the times it gets overwhelming. And makes me go to lengths that I have never been to.

How do you deal with it?

I talk about it, in all honesty. I am learning to let go off the shame and embarrassment. Its not easy but that is the only way that has worked for me, by talking about it.

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Do you think you are making progress?

My therapist says, it gets worse before it gets better. I feel certain about my progress, slowly but surely I will get there.

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What keeps you going?

I don’t think I am high on motivation. I have always been haunted by existentialist questions. Its just the fact that I am alive. I also disbelieve there is any inherent meaning to life.

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(You can check out my favorite blogger Allie Brosh’s blog, Hyperbole & A Half here – http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.in/

The illustrations/ comics in this blog are done by her.

Here is the link to my previous blog on Depression – https://rutugole.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/my-black-dog-me/)

I Am You And What I See Is Me

My first memory of meeting a dog is when I am 5. A street dog has given birth to puppies and my mother takes me to meet them. I have vivid memories of how she teaches me to assure the dog mother that I don’t mean harm and how to pet the small puppies and scrub their bellies. I am excited about the experience. My parents never let me fear animals. There is no us and them. We are all one. Fear is never the word, it is always love and assurance. I forever thank them for this. My father has all sorts of pets – owl, monkey, dog, birds, rabbits. I am amazed by his trust. Love is trust.

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As a child I am drawn to animals but am not allowed to have pets due to several complicated reasons. I always long to have a dog. After many years I meet these puppies. This is right after Vipasanna course and I feel this is a gift for me in store. I bring the puppies home and take care of them. Name them Gubbi and Laadu. They look so lost and delicate and vulnerable and carefree and alone. I instantly fall in love with them.

I am you and what I see is me.

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Later I meet Mithoo. She is a metaphor for abandonment, abuse, pain, insecurities, fear and loneliness. The fear in her is gripping. I want to protect her, protect her from this unforgiving world and rescue her from her fears. If only she could trust me. That choice is hers to be. I hope I can earn her trust. Even before I realize I become her mother. Is rescuing love?

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I explain to Y, V & k about how entangled I feel with her. There is no space between us.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

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Mithoo develops behavioral issues. I take it personally that I failed her. I lose confidence in my parenthood. I want to be by her side. I want to be able to give her time . I want to trust her to deal with her anxiety. Trust. Trust is crucial. Trusting uncertainty. The complexities of parenthood. Of wanting to give your children freedom and yet expect them to do the right thing, right thing by you. We are all selfish in our act of love and too egoistic to accept it gracefully. Love is selfishness.

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Mithoo takes her own sweet time. She learns to trust the world around her. “It is alright to be scared, Mithoo! I am always here for you, my darling,” I tell her. Love is acceptance.

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And she also learns to be aware of her choices. She learns to accept. And she learns to reject. I want to listen to her. Love is listening.

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I meet Dalmatian. I see a wonderful mother in her. She knows when to be strict and when to pamper. It is a fine, delicate balance. I learn from her. I admire her because she is so real. Love is being yourself.

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I meet Mili. I instantly feel a strong connection with her. I want to take her in my arms. I want to adopt her. She is so delicate and vulnerable and so infinitesimally small. Death kills her after a week. I don’t make peace with her death. I dont grieve. I obsess. I obsess for months on end. I feel addicted to a replacement. Y says, “It is unhealthy.” I say, “So be it, I want another Mili.” Mithoo is unable to understand.

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I meet Tubbu. I long for the same connection. I never feel it with him. He is wonderful but he is not mine. I have lost Mili. Mili is never coming back. Mili cannot be replaced. Death is brutally honest. Love is death.

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Marley & me. I am not ready to foster her. I feel angry on the inside. I hate her. She is annoyingly adorable. I now understand violence. Love is hatred.

Never tickle the dragon if you can’t bear the heat.

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I meet Inoo. I have forced myself to foster her. But I have grown to feel attached to her. Inoo resembles Mili. Inoo isn’t Mili. Love is learning to love.

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Love is Identifying. Love is Patience. Love is Letting Go. Love is Observing.

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Love is knowing. Love is not knowing. Love is half knowing.


Present tense has its own charm. I want to explore this artistic decision of writing in the present tense. Please note : Most events in the blog are a past memory.


Thank you, dear Y for the beautiful photos!


Mithoo & Inoo know their names but dont recognize me by my name. It is literallly a nameless relation. (Pun intended!)


Take It Back

I cheat on him. I do it knowingly. I have been feeling suffocated in the relationship for too long. We have been unhappy however hard we try. We aren’t meant to be. Eventually it doesn’t work out. I am uncourageous in my act. I cheat. He finds out. We break up. I feel emotionally naked and vulnerable. I cry all the time. Every moment reminds me of him, of the good times we have had. I cannot accept how touchy I have become. I have learnt to trust and break my own trust. Every song I hear, every space I visit is a constant reminder of him. Uneasiness haunts me. I lose appetite. I feel nauseous. I lose weight and sleep. I want to be more self reliant. Love is...a house of cards I oscillate between intense emotions and a complete lack. At times I feel comfortably numb. I want to collapse. I want to destruct my own self. And be far far away from the world. I want to hide my face in the brown brown soft warm earth. It is a sinking feeling. Constant sinking feeling. It is dark and hopless. I listen to Pink Floyd. I appreciate poetry and art better. 872a0aafba69437f56be2ce51848e670 I feel nostalgic and attached to him. I am still emotionally dependent on him. I sometimes feel I should bring him back. But my mind tells me otherwise. I feel emotionally raw. I feel intense shame and guilt. I will never be able to forgive myself. I will carry this feeling onto my next relationship and the next and the next. I feel I don’t deserve forgiveness, not from myself, not from him. I want to feel hurt. I don’t deserve joy, not in my next relationship and the next and the next. love-is-kim-grove-comics-25 I write to him. I apologize. I put my heart out there. He forgives me. Very graciously. He is aloof and graceful in his act. I am lost for words. I cry, like I have never been forgiven.

Are you unforgiven too?

Take it Back – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDH7JqF_EFg

Rethinking Infidelity – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2AUat93a8Q


The Forbidden Fruit & Me

As my psychotherapy progresses, I am exploring more hidden parts of my unperceivable unfathomable mind. Each therapy session is a tap on another unexplored area. Sometimes it is more than I can handle. But I would rather know than not know and it takes what it takes. All these unknown doors are waiting to open.

There are things known and things unknown and in between are the Doors.

Jim Morrison, The Doors

Dominique Francon from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, as a character has always intrigued me. It has been ten years of thought. Only now do I understand her better. In fact I can relate to her sometimes. Not her confident, self assured self, but her choices. People often think she is a lost soul. I think she is too intelligent and unanswerable and uninhibited and undenying and free and passionate. And self destructive and depressed. No one seems to understand her pain and anguish and disappointment and hopelessness. Men are especially fascinated by her sexual being. As I study myself in therapy I can more often than not, identify with her. Brenda Chenowith from Six Feet Under is another character that I can often relate to. She is a sex addict.

  • Self destruction
  • Ego
  • Addiction
  • Falling for temptations
  • Hopelessness
  • Depression
  • Disappointment in the world & its people
  • Irony of life
  • Humour
  • Unstable relationships
  • Impulsive behaviour
  • Anger
  • Confusion
  • Issues with self identity
  • Asocial behaviour
  • Extreme Rationality
  • Idea of a Free Woman?

I believe, below their confident and free demeanor, lie these harsh truths of their personality. Yes, I can relate to it.

Borderline Personality Disorder –

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhOotNCqg2E.

http://psychcentral.com/disorders/borderline-personality-disorder-symptoms/

The question always is a borderline,

Do we eat the Forbidden Fruit or do we not?

And the choice always is,

Do we eat the the Fruit of Temptation or the Fruit of Balance?

And the next questions always is,

Do we really have a choice?

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P.S. How my kitten disapproves of my blog.

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The Borderline

Once upon a time, there lived a Man of Spirit. And once upon a time, there lived a Man of Science. And once upon a time, there lived a Woman of Life. And once they fell in love. 

And the Man of Spirit said ‘Observe!’ and the Man of Science said ‘Question!’ and the Woman of Life observed and questioned and lived.

The End.

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What does love mean to me?

Can I define love?

Do I rise or fall in love?

Can I categorize love?

How many times am I capable of falling in love?

Am I capable of loving more than one person at a time?

What does commitment mean to me?

Are there limits in a relationship?

What is freedom in a relationship?

Can a relationship exist with/ without boundaries?

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What does a relationship mean to me?

What does being in a relationship mean to me?

Am I in a relationship because I don’t want to be alone?

Is being alone lonely?

Do I love my partner or am I looking for validation?

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What is conditional love?

What is unconditional love?

Am I a purist?

Am I liberal?

Am I capable of love?

Am I capable of life?

In the space-time fabric, will I remain myself in love?

Who am I?

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The Black Sheep in My Family

At the risk of generalizing, Indians love worshiping their parents. Parenthood has turned into a mindless glorified festivity. You cannot question, argue, reason, debate, converse, convince, disagree, disapprove, stand up to them & still love them. There is a certain choice you make – please them & be unhappy yourself or disagree with them & you are on your own. The socio-political-finacial aspect of this relationship cannot be ignored. Y often says, the underlying question always is :

Are you ready to be the bad person?

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I don’t want to get married this way. I don’t want to study engineering. I don’t like these relatives. I am not religious.

2014-06-16-lifetoddler5 It is important to humanize parents. They were kids once. They have their own set of experiences & biases. And they are not always right. The nature of obligation & guilt is complex and it is difficult to identify it and separate it from a parent-child relationship. It is important to understand the role of power in this relationship. No one has been able to escape these vices, no parent either. Age & education doesn’t necessarily have an effect on these –

  • Pride
  • Ego
  • Maturity
  • Opinions & perspectives
  • Principles & political views
  • History, culture, society, heritage
  • Acceptance beyond disagreement
  • Love beyond conditions

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Am I ready to see them as people and not as someone larger than life?

Yes, I don’t exactly idolize them.

Am I ready to help them understand that I am an individual with opinions & ideas?

I have often told them about my opinions & they more often disapprove. I haven’t succeeded at making them understand.

Am I ready to argue, debate, disagree, reason with them & help them accept it?

Yes, I always do this & get rejected in return.

Am I ready to do the right thing, even if it means my parents might abandon me?

Abandonment is a slow & not so obvious process. And it has already started for me.

Am I capable of loving them as people?

I am not sure of this and still figuring it out. I sometimes like to imagine meeting them outside family and that gives me some clarity on whether I like them as people. I instinctively feel protective about them & sometimes understand where they are come from but I would like to give myself the choice of not liking them. This choice is often followed by guilt.

How important is choice to me?

I am very democratic in nature. Choice is extremely important to me. I need a detailed argument to convince me otherwise. Force hasn’t worked well for me. 'One day when you write your book you'll thank me for this'

What does my family mean to me?

Y & me & little M. We have together set up an environment for ourselves in which rationality, objectivity, freedom, choice, health, respect, empathy, sensitivity, love, peace, productivity, honesty, equality & growth are extremely important. Shame & violence are highly discouraged. Us & this space that we have created for ourselves is family to me.

What is the role of my parents in my life?

Not exactly role models but I crave for for their approval & I know I am emotionally dependent on them.

Am I helping them grow? Or have I given up on their capacity to grow?

I have partially given up on them. If I don’t see them change in the near future, I will most likely give up on the remaining hope.

Do I see growth in our relationship or has it stagnated?

Stagnated.

How far am I ready to go to work it out with them?

I am convinced that honest conversations haven’t worked well with them. I think I have exhausted my resources to work it out with them.

If it isn’t working out, am I ready to go my separate way?

It would be a huge struggle for me but yes I am ready.

How far am I ready to go to defend my sense of freedom?

Being the black sheep somewhat relieves you of your fear of abandonment. It is liberating in a way. Sense of freedom & choice are equally important to me. 359-black-sheep-lemming

What if I don’t love my parents anymore?

I wont deny the possibility. Will work on accepting this feeling and keeping my distance.

Do I love them or is it my fear of abandonment?

Both. Fear of abandonment is an equal part, won’t deny that.

How do I deal with my anger towards them?

Anger always finds it ways, however hard I try to suppress it.

Am I ready to forgive them?

Ideally, I would want to. But their ego & adamant behaviour puts me off all the time.

How will I deal with their death?

I believe honest & sincere conversations are the only way of resolving issues. Death makes you feel lonely & sad but it doesn’t bring you forgiveness. Unresolved issues get buried and keep living in our thoughts. Closure is a life long process. Sometimes, talking might not yield results, but it will surely bring you closure. I can still live with closure.

What happens to my sense of belonging?

I have often struggled with my sense of belonging, be it parents, family, society, culture, nation. Sense of belonging comes with certain stereotypical attributes attached to it. I feel caught in these attributes. Not belonging is often perceived as a sign of arrogance. ME_122_Parents


My Black Dog & Me

I write this blog in all honesty & commitment to help my black dog. And especially because I know many out there have this condition and either they don’t know what to do about it or know what to do but are better off denying it. And yes, also  because this is a ‘coming out’ experience for me. And I want to get it out of my system.

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Here are two videos by World Health Organization explaining depression

I Had a Black Dog, His Name was Depression – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc

Living with a Black Dog – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2VRRx7Mtep8

And here’s a video by one of my favourite bloggers, Allie Brosh.

Depression – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GthbzXBDv2Q

You can check out Allie’s blog, Hyperbole & a Half – http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.in/ (The illustrations/ comics in this blog are done by her.)

How common is depression?

Depression affects 1 in every 5 people. If depression runs in the family, the members are 8 times more prone to depression.

Is depression a weakness?

Depression is often perceived as a lack of courage. Like any other ‘normal’ person, depressed people may be courageous in certain areas of life while may not be in other areas. The nature of depression is such that courage is not enough to push it away. As a matter of fact, you cannot push it away however hard you try. Depression is almost like a dark cloud lurking beneath you. It never leaves you, even in your happiest moment.

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What exactly happened for you to feel depressed?

Nothing has to necessarily happen to trigger depression. With a few it might be a temporary phase but with others its a life long baggage.

Depression doesn’t exist, its all in your head.

Oh, well! This is almost like saying alternative sexualities don’t exist. Depression is not in the head, its a concrete feeling that manifests itself physically, socially, emotionally.

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Therapy is a crutch, how long can you go about seeking help?

I think otherwise. I firmly believe therapy helps. Therapy is not a crutch, therapy is a supplement you take when you feel deficient. There is no shame in seeking help. Talking has more healing power than we can perceive. And talking to a professional more so. Therapy makes you talk, feel emotionally naked, deal with how you are, how you perceive life, face your evils, your strengths, makes you know yourself. I haven’t yet figured out the nature of knowing & realization, but I can say for sure it makes you a more conscientious, mature & wiser person.

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Does therapy really help? They will put you on medication, don’t you fear that?

No, I don’t fear that. I would rather study the nature of my illness & discuss the medication with my therapist. If I feel uncomfortable being on medication, the first person to know this should be my therapist. Knowing the nature of your disease is half the battle won.

Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Ayurved help. Safest way to cure depression.

Depression cannot be cured with placebos. It will make a come back. The more you delay the process of seeking help, the harder it gets.

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Get involved in good work, that is the best cure.

Directing your energy towards altruistic work might help in reducing the pain you feel but it will never address the root of your disease. By helping others, you are only temporarily suppressing your feelings. Seeking help & working towards accepting your condition is the only right way to go about it. All other distractions run parallel to this process.

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Is depression a disease?

Depression is a biopsychosocial syndrome. The reasons can be genetic, biological, psychological and/ or social. Depression can be compared with alcoholism. The debate on whether alcoholism/ depression is a disease or disorder still remains. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evil-deeds/200809/is-depression-disease

Will therapy cure it?

The nature of the human mind & its disorders/ diseases is very complex. Research hasn’t gotten that far yet. No psychiatrist can guarantee any outcome. But he/ she can certainly help you in finding ways to deal with your disorder & make your life livable, if not happy. A combination of psychotherapy & pharmacology can go a long way in treating depression.

Lets not talk about it. Avoiding the topic cures it. The more you think, the more it will affect you.

Sweeping things under the carpet don’t make them go away. The more you hide, the bigger the black dog gets, till you can handle him no more.

Depression is almost like coming out.

Yes, it is. Acceptance is the first & most important step in getting to know your black dog.

Does your family support you?

I say this with a heavy heart and with all my honesty, no, my family doesn’t support me. Y has always been there for me, no one else has. Either they don’t understand & acknowledge the nature of depression and if they do they are better off denying it. Your struggle becomes harder after knowing your family doesn’t support you.

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Do you lose credibility because of the stigma attached to it?

Yes, I often do. When I stand up for something, I see the doubt in people’s eyes. But I say what I have to say and let people judge.

Am I talking or is the depression talking?

Yes, I very often feel this. And I have to remind myself that I have to trust my intellect & instinct. My black dog is a part of me, we are inseparable. I will always have that doubt. The way I deal with this is by asking myself a lot of questions till I am convinced of the answer.

I won seek help, I haven’t gone crazy yet.

Yes, I have been through that phase. And it hasn’t helped. My issues only got worse with time. One should know when to let go off one’s ego.

What other issues do you face?

Anger, anxiety, awkwardness, confidence issues, asocial behaviour. I dont receive phone calls & have lost the already few friends I have. favim_com-aspergers-girl-gpoy-hyperbole-and-a-half-socialphobia-agoraphobia-204275

How do you feel about being accepted?

I am slowly learning to be comfortable being alone and not being accepted. I am also learning to stand up for what I strongly feel about and be the bad person. Acceptance can be lucrative and these days its not worth the effort. You can either be honest or be accepted. Rare are the situations, where these coincide.

What is people’s reaction?

Most don’t understand, fewer make an attempt. Most feel angry, fewer try to get to know me. 1327549097126322


The Grim Reaper & Me

Its been 4 years since Y & I have been involved in rescue and rehabilitation of injured street dogs & cats. Rescued pets are often low on immunity, in spite of the medication & efforts you take, some make it, some don’t. Y says,

Its a tragedy waiting to happen. Even if they make it, they can’t outlive you.

A couple of days back, our 11th rescued pet died. This was the 11th pet that died in our arms. We saw this tiny paralyzed kitten breathe her last. I haven’t seen death more closely. This was one of the many deaths we saw in the past few years.

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How do I deal with loss?”

“What does grieving mean to me?”

“How do I perceive death?

Death is not in the moment, death begins the day we were born. Each day something within us dies, cells, thoughts, emotions until one day we stop being. Death carries a certain settling feeling with it. There is closure in death, unlike when your pet is lost; perhaps he ran away, perhaps someone took him away, perhaps he died. You keep searching for him days on end and the doubt haunts you. There is an abrupt finality to death.

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I believe in this finality of death, ‘there is’ and ‘there isn’t’ and in between there are breaths. People are what they are and one day they will cease to exist. They will carry their moments, their good, bad, ugly secrets to the grave. Unlike death, secrets never die, they keep affecting people around them in mysterious ways. Secrets are immortal. Y says,

Secrets are like a monster. The deeper you bury them, the bigger & stronger they get. You bring them to light & they fade away.

Death is harsher to its survivors. The dead have died and have left behind their memories.

How do I deal with death?”

“No, I haven’t been able to accept death, anyone else’s and the thought of my own.”

Do I allow myself to grieve?

“They say grieving is healthy and has no time limit. Grieving is an art and I am no master at it. I mostly cry, sulk, be angry, act obsessive. I don’t let go, I just don’t let go.”

Why do I rescue half dead animals?

“Because more than death, what moves me is pain. Death isn’t as horrible as pain. And yes, also because I couldn’t have been any other way.”

What do pets mean to me?

“I am still figuring out.”

What do I think of death?”

“It is therapeutic in a weird way.”

What helps me deal with death?”

“Humour. The irony of it.

Louis C.K. on death – https://youtu.be/QPQu__ujKx4?t=39m58s

Louis C.K. some more on death – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSIVvm7DRSw&list=RDiSIVvm7DRSw&index=1

Louis C.K. on pets & animals – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vb2DjcwltyE

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Once Upon A Time, A Monster Put His Life Into A Parrot..

Once upon a time, there lived a monster. He put his life into a parrot. The monster was invincible unless you knew the key, his life was in the parrot. Then you needn’t kill the monster, you only had to kill the parrot. As the parrot was killed, the monster died.’

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This story is significant because we all put our lives, pride, honor and shame into something else.

What struck me the most in Satyamev Jayate’s episode ‘When Masculinity Harms Men’, was activist Ms.Kamla Bhasin’s statement- http://youtu.be/vuo4wbREE4U?t=51m51s.

“My honor does not lie in my vagina.”

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Similarly,

  • “Our dog defines our status in the society.” Hence, we won’t adopt a street dog.
  • “Our family’s honor lies in our children’s career choices.” Hence, the fear of failure that children often face.
  • “Our family’s honor lies in our gender identities.” Hence, the opposition to LGBT rights.
  • “Our caste is what makes us superior to others.” Hence, we wont accept an inter caste marriage.
  • “My pride lies in looking ‘normal’.” Hence, I wont see a psychotherapist.
  • “My pride lies in looking good.” Hence, I cannot be myself around people.

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It also extends to,

  • “Yes, I want to look pretty. My confidence lies in looking fair. Yes, I will buy this cream for a clean, fair & spotless skin.
  • “Yes, I want to be rich & powerful. This scheme promises me that. I will go for it.”
  • “Yes, I want to look healthy. Advertisements say this food supplement will make me look muscular. I will buy this.”
  • “I always want to be right. If someone is disproving my argument, I will say things that will make him look bad.”

Check out George Carlin’s stand up comedy on Pride – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OnWnwwxNPA

The root of any system is the concept of honor, pride & shame that it revolves around. Its time we redefined ours.


The Bank That (S)Cares!

I have been a loyal customer to ‘Bank of India’ since the past 16 years. BOI, as I fondly call it, has been a philosophical Guru, ‘a guiding star (pathadarshak sitara)’ to me, it has taught me to question and not get answers; for there are no real answers in life, it has taught me that life is an exploration not a destination. It is not merely a bank, it is a school of thought that helps you accept and be at peace. Over the years, we have developed a relationship that has ‘gone beyond banking’.

boi 2Here’s the story of my dear dormant account.

Me : I am here to activate my dormant account.

BOI : This is Sahakar Nagar Branch, your account is in Koregaon Park Branch. Please visit KP branch to reactivate.

Me : Aren’t all the branches in Pune interconnected? I would like to know if you will be able to help me with this issue.

BOI : With ATM’s & Internet banking, customers avoid interacting with the staff (sarcastic tone). Madam, why don’t you visit KP Branch?

Me : (What’s with the sarcasm about ATM’s & Internet banking? Doesn’t it reduce their work?)

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Google maps helped me locate BOI, Koregaon Park Branch.

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Me : I would like to activate my dormant account at Koregaon Park Branch.

BOI : Sorry Madam, though this branch is in Koregaon Park, its not Koregaon Park branch. This is Meeranagar Branch. Please visit Koregaon Park Branch.

Me : (BOI is in it, but not a part of it. Oh, such insightful manifestation.)

Back to google maps.

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What is the mystery behind this ‘closed’ branch? Is my account dormant because the branch has closed? Why didn’t anyone mention that to me?

Exactly at 4:00 pm, I could finally locate the branch, only to see the shutter being pulled down by the security guard.

BOI security guard : Madam, aap kal aiye, Bank 4 baje band hoti hai!

Yes, right! Why didn’t I think of this before? Its indeed a ‘closed’ branch.

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I am still struggling with my BOI ATM card, which expired 4 months back and still haven’t received a new one. I feel jealous when friends tell me, their bank delivered their new ATM card before the original one expired. Wow, lucky you! But I have to trust my spiritual teacher, each day liberates me from the karmic cycle of expectation & disappointment.

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My heart fills with gratitude. I see the Light.