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/)

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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