I’ve been staring at my screen for a long time now, I realize. In a hope that I would find some words to put down a picture of my incomprehensive and absent state of mind. Typing something, erasing it, taking my notebook in my lap to try to scribble something and crossing it all out. What if we could do that in real life, one retrograde step after another? But, yes sure, that would take out the surprise element, the excitement and the shock out of it.
It’s the next day, and my eyes see the same dread of a blank page. This is what it gets down to. Once, the scenario in your head inside is chaotic, and on days like this – ruins. Empty.
I share this predicament of unintelligible days with almost all of you. The same old “we all have those days.” It’s as good as a phrase today, to my sadness. But it’s these days that carve a question mark in your mind about the effect and consequence of things, whether an eventful past or even, a blank one with nothing stimulating in record. Even the absence of harsh times can make you go insane. I guess because it creates an unsettling distance from the touch of reality.
These are the days when your mind refuses to stay afloat. It sinks into a pseudo-state of melancholy which has a certain gravitational pull that drowns you, that consumes you to the depths that are dark and difficult to get out of. You are drowning even though you’ve been swimming for as long as you remember.
At this point, I should add in a dramatic pause, the clichéd beginning: This is my story.
It’s like a picture in a frame on the wall when I recount that this has been my state for as long as I can remember. An endless loop of a day, a cycle of waking up-smoking-crying-eating-sleeping-smoking, repeat. Oh, and self-loathing, of course. That’s a sister.
I couldn’t get out of bed on most days. It was like waking up to enter this meaningless state of mind, the way they talk about existential quandary or something. I would sit in the bed with my baseless guilt and it was an ordeal to overcome this feeling. And I didn’t know whether I had reached that stage of being able to overcome it, whether it was the only thing left, or whether there was further slumping into this pit. That nest residing both, the looking for hope and strength, and the premonition of things worsening was the worst stage. I was helpless then. It was like waiting for uncountable wrecks so that its infliction would finally be exhausted and I would be the one standing at the end with only scraping up to the ‘normal’ surface left to do.
I am able to write this because I’ve reached at a stage beyond this mess and I’m somewhat “fine.” But in the following days, I realized it’s undeniable presence in the shadows, lurking, waiting to pounce. I know now that it’s always going to be around, waiting for a vulnerable moment, for a mental relapse.
I am writing this – that means I’m trying to express something in a hope that somebody would relate and I would be helpful if there was such a possibility. But when I recollect the times when I had tried to open up, the common responses made my head turn in disappointment and rather even a tinge of despite and resentment (a tinge doesn’t even begin to cover it up but one can only blame so much).
“It’s just a phase,” “everybody gets depressed,” “you’re just anxious,” “it’s fine, you’re just momentarily bummed out.”
It’s like people are waiting for this stage to finally surface so that their apathy and a general lack of seriousness can be involuntarily reflected in their ignorance and treating it as something ordinary. Well, it is, of course, sad to see that these mental issues are ordinary in 2017. Where are we headed?
But people need to realize that these reactions do absolutely nothing to abate your suffering. And certainly, they do not offer a hand to help you in this twisting road that unfolds before you. If anything, they make things worse. The added guilt. The added loneliness.
The word I’m looking for is “understand.” That’s what was absent. Before entertaining their comments, their stories and their laughs, if only someone could just step into my shoes and understand what I was going through. Understanding is a term that is highly mistaken. Empathy comes later. One cannot truly empathize if he doesn’t understand.
There’s acceptance too, of course. My friends would offer different suggestions, but I never felt that they actually accepted that I was having an awful time. That’s another important ingredient to contribute to what has become a general stigma today against issues of mental health.
Talking about words, the only golden word to get through all this, through life in general, is “endure.” Those hollow-headed days that I’m talking about, they’ve passed, and the noticeable thing was their passing itself.
It’s not like you’ll find something of your interest that would instantly make you escape your delirium. You will find it, but not in a day, or a week, or a month, or maybe even years. And my dear daring badass people, endure is what I did.
Over time, you always end up finding company of your true friends. Even to the loneliest, there are some loyal and faithful acquaintances. I cannot ever forget the faces that were around. And to the one reading this, if not anyone else, there are these very words of experience and empathy that can help you vicariously.
It always comes down to time. Get through the day, one day at a time, is what a new friend always says, who is sitting beside my mug of coffee writing this with me, with an ashtray in front. I like the thought. It works.
One last thing that should be carved in gold in your deep philosophical trenches that your mind embodies: just know that it is all temporary. The duration is subjective, but it’ll materialize some day. Just, hold on. There’s a sunrise tomorrow waiting for you. If you’re not a morning person, like this person here, sunsets are always beautiful. It signifies that it has finally ended, it’s over. You can rest.
Whether you’re 21 or 83, there will always be something to look forward to. The dark clouds will be around, definitely, but there’ll be rains too and if you really pay attention, perhaps, you’ll even find a rainbow smiling at you. And then you will smile without sadness.
-Yogesh and Mahdieh