Friday, November 18, 2016


Chemotherapy is an inordinately painful process. This palliative process itself requires as much vigilance and care as that it is defending the body from. But it is also a threshold of physical pain that takes the mind to the edge and beyond. It is a shock and an invasion that undermines the defences of the body, defences that either ineffectually circumvent pain or haplessly succumb to it.

This extreme physical process differs from depression . Physical pain gives these momentary interludes of painlessness that seem like fugues. It is more that in that shortened interval the mind, consciousness is elsewhere , floating in some amniotic space where nothingness is nothingness, no longer painful but simply what it is. This space, this cavern, which is  seen infrequently but as a defense from pain which demolishes defense itself ,has this endless, timeless blankness . It is a moment, fleeting,uncapturable, ungraspable, where temporality and timelessness intersect , where there is glimpse of the possibility immanent in nothingness , not just its shrivelling.

In that sense this space differs from the emptiness of depression where emptiness, which a residue of consciousness longs for, is also feared because it is unending. Depression may very well as much be its own defense, safeguarding itself from the very absence it peeps into, fearing that absence seeping and permeating everything . And this fear, when swamped , may no longer resemble the tortuous ache of depression but the anesthetized , benumbing lifelessness of catatonia .

It would be disingenuous  romanticize this blankness of which any  view is too fitful and whose mysteries are too ephemeral to be risked with repeatedly. But certainly it testifies to the elasticity of body and mind and the ineffable quality not just of life but of a self that can withstand extreme experiences, however transiently.  These interim moments serve two contradictory yet complementary purposes - the reawaken the moment of re immersion into pain which they proffered a very infinitesimal fragment of time as an answer to but they also rejuvenate consciousness, through the evanescence of this miniscule interval, to strengthen mental courage.

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