Friday, October 2, 2015


When i began my descent into deep depression there was, in my circle of family and neighbors, a sense of deja vu. As though the cul de sac, which they assumed would be the ineluctable consequence of my over sensitivity, had finally materialized. My impassivity at my father's death, my subsequent refusal to countenance the extraction of my emotional incommunicability about it, led to an assumption of a willed repression. Depression, it was presumed, was a form of articulating distress.
Throughout the salad days of my being mentally ill, though at 27, salad days sounds portentous and self important, i was told off for not showing strength of character in overcoming my illness, for being indulgent in circumscribing myself in the cocoon of my precarious sense of self. This bracing optimism, commonsensical 'get on with it' seemed , as it inveterately does, patronizing. I felt the weight of collective stoicism upon me deepening my inadequacy in failing to show that resolve and willpower. It was assumed that this mincing optimism, promulgated with such assiduity , was right and my intractability a sort of sulking, a refusal to see another point of view. This was coterminous with the reiterated 'I understand' which most around me said again and again. That the depth of my despair could have been felt and surmounted was inconceivable to me. I was familiar with the vocabulary of 'projection' which made some sense but not entirely.
There may a compendium of reasons why platitudes are uttered. Somewhere the platitudes and shibboleths around pragmatism have a veracity , a possibility of self transformation. Yet the inability to measure up gets perceived as a fatal flaw, an intransigence . But for quite a few people daily life is infernal and to just get through a day immensely courageous. Unlike the commonplace assumption the putatively inoperatinal mentally ill are not subsumed in self pity though that may be true for some. People work around their traumas and pains, find their own coping mechanisms. They may not correspond to what they might be expected to demonstrate but that doesn't undermine the sheer gumption getting through takes. Some surrender and kill themselves and i have begun to see that it might seem ineluctable, a apposite culmination and exercise in control in a world where one feels a volitionless pivot both without and within.
That i could express this 'maturity' was no radical , self wrought metamorphosis. Other grievous health crises intervened, the suffering i glimpsed within me was apprehensible in many around me. I began to feel, amid the provisionality of life itself, the fact of being among other sufferers , some in worser positions.This realization of my salubrious circumstances, despite the inner despair, wrenched me into eschewing what i had been told was selfishness, self indulgence, masochism.
I have no answers as to whether practicality is the inevitable response to existential angst. Sometimes it seems all restitutions are makeshift, tenuous , underscoring the very indeterminacy and emptiness they seek to ameliorate. But then these restitutions protract one's sense of negotiating life without the cataclysm of self annihilation. The delicate scaffolding of 'meaning' can be a strengthening of the will to live or a loosening of one's grip on life. I don't regard suicide as an abdication of responsibility. Nor do i feel it is the only form of release. But it is a choice exercised in the shadow of unendurable inner trauma . Just because it seems precipitate does not negate its necessity.
I regard my life trajectory as being in some way responsible for my metamorphosis. This 'maturity' has been wrested from me by forces beyond me.I can't assume its immutability or extensive prolongation. But currently it seems invigorating. If i have chosen expansiveness, empathy , connectedness as my bulwark it is because they make sense to me. They are not incontrovertible truths or axioms that are mandatory. Each person chooses , from the exiguity of contingency, moments of reprieve and comfort. I disallow the possibility of superimposing my own version of 'maturity' given the capriciousness that actualized it. The black dog hovers as a subterranean possibility , glimpsed consciously but expediently suppressed, capable of re emergence . But self awareness about the arbitrariness of being human may, after all, be our very apotheosis. It facilitates both reconfiguration and relinquishment, equally pertinent. But for now, i seem to be on the side of life, one of the many chosen ones. I cherish this randomness, i will polish it and hone it the best i can, knowing that the crepuscular substratum is both imminent and immanent. It is this ricocheting of free will and destiny that will determine my psyche. Meanwhile, i exist, therefore i exist.

1 comment:

  1. "But self awareness about the arbitrariness of being human may, after all, be our very apotheosis." How beautiful and profound these words are, Bharat.