Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Failed Death

Depression is such an indefinable state that the more i try to rationalize, to find a causal link that explains its whys and wherefores, the more it eludes me. This slipperiness, evasiveness is indicative of its profoundly insidious nature, the fact that it can encroach, creep up and shatter your equilibrium.It is inexplicable to those who haven't experienced it and while an imaginative leap would render its outer edges explicable, its inner reality is largely uncomprehended. One of the things i've learned is that depression is ubiquitous and everyone goes through it. Battling it is both an exercise of willpower and the ability to circumvent its insidious burgeoning insinuations. And while a neurochemical basis explains its presence and existence its constituents are unformulated and opaque.

Having been inoculated to psychiatry for 4 years my capitulation to its pharmaceutical depredations is complete. And as my psychiatrist assures me, bipolar is a lifelong illness and medication inevitably prolonged. My response to this expression of finality is ambivalent. And because i inhabit this realm my resistance to its encomiums and insignia is redoubled. Medication is essentially incarcerating and self destructive. Its efficacy and simultaneous damage remain unclear. Since, except for schizophrenia, the prescription is hit and miss, it becomes difficult to adjust to a long battle wherein uncertainty reigns. After being through 17 different drugs i have found a measure of stability. Whether this stability is a process of medicalisation or a succesful peregrination through the labyrinth of bipolarity remains indistinct.

I am aware that in thus exposing myself i run the risk of wrath from many quarters. Stigma is rampant and it is difficult to convince people about your volitionless succumbing to a force within yet beyond one. All i remember of that summer is my increasing disinclination to attend university. A sense of emptiness suffused me, an inarticulable emptiness, causeless and random. And i loved literature and so my absence was rationally unexplained. Unexamined also, by me, was the reality of my incipient sense of dread which became intransigent with the passing of time. I was in a limbo and suspended between being forced to live and wanting to die. This sense of loss and dispossession was interspersed with bouts of mania, resulting in importunate acts that intensified the guilt when i returned to sense of my distorted reality of depression.

I remember reading Susannah Kaysen's 'Girl interrupted' a book on her borderline personality and instantly identified myself with her. So convinced was i with this self diagnosis that later i misrepresented my illness to the psychiatrist who, instead of detailed examination of patterns of behavior instantly took me at face value. But to return to that limbo i began, imperceptibly, to slash my wrists, trying to physically make manifest my inner trauma. Then i started taking minor overdoses. My family misinterpreted my behavior as attention seeking. I also began to have severe, debilitating panic attacks. Love of kaysen commingled with the reality of hospitalization filled me with alternating excitement and dread.

Once admitted i came into contact with other mentally ill patients. A general ward is highly discomfiting. What with numerous patients and their attendants even to visit the loo is imbued with shame and embarrassment . All i remember is somehow procuring, from my mothers purse a vast collection of anti psychotics and consuming them. All i remember next is waking up in the I c u only to be told that i've been in coma for three days. Time, which seemed linear, suddenly becomes elastic and this absence of a minor chunk of my life is highly unnerving. Yet this lapse reaffirms the fact that though i would relapse, each descent would make me stronger. And this subliminal awareness is what has pulled me through. When you've reached a bottomless abyss, a point of no return, your readmittance to life is both frightening and welcome. Because i know that i've traversed inferno nothing could be worse and life, at least circumstantially, would be uneventful. The chemical component would be lodged intractably but at a cognitive level the worse storm has been tided over. And this is because depression, though physiological, has emotional ramifications. Your past becomes a desecrated space where all your irrational guilts and obsessions are funneled into your mind. And the self blame, for everything, even investing the tiniest of inadvertent transgressions with gargantuan proportions, exacerbates the emptiness.

Despite my ambiguity about medication i am thankful, after foundering aimlessly to have found a center whose centrality is evanescent and tremulous. But this kernel of luminosity propels me, both as a human and as a writer to acknowledge the inadmissible and thereby navigating it and emerging, if not triumphant, at least believing that change can be wrought and lives of other sufferers and their miseries alleviated. That is the creation of hope. That is hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment