Tag: mental illness

“But alone you must drink life’s gall”

I want to share this poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox called Solitude. It describes the truth about loneliness and life so perfectly. I always find it comforting to read when I feel isolated because it reminds me that most people will only be by your side when all is well and disappear when things go downhill and that I should not expect too much from people. I find that this is especially true for mental illness.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you; 
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer; 
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you; 
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many; 
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded; 
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain. 

Source: Poemhunter.com

 

“Why are you lying in bed like that?”

You might have heard people say ‘some days I can’t even get out of bed’. It sounds like people just say that and don’t really mean it. How can someone just lay in bed all day, unless they are really sick. But it’s true, some days you can’t. I’ve spent entire days just drifting in and out of sleep as I literally could not get out of bed. Life seems so difficult and it is impossible to face the world. I wouldn’t even have the energy or the will to get up and drink a glass of water. I would lay in bed, in darkness, alone, not eating and drinking. Just laying with the negative thoughts running in the background.
Since the last few days, the only thing I’ve felt like doing is lying in bed. But what struck me this time was how my mother was after my life to get me up and out of bed. She just wouldn’t let me be. I know she means well and seeing me in this state is intolerable for her. But doesn’t she realize that this is a manifestation of my illness as well? She’s the one who pushes me to go to the doctor and yet she fails to recognize that I can’t sometimes get out of bed and behave normally as she wishes me to. She would come up to my room and constantly cry ‘Why are you lying in bed like that? Why are you doing this? Can’t you see it makes me suffer as well?’ Like I was doing it on purpose.

Just a few weeks back, I got food poisoning and was vomiting non stop the entire day before being rushed to the emergency for dehydration. She didn’t ask me then, why was I vomiting or why was I lying in bed all day? This is the difference between being physically sick and suffering from mental illness. If you are physically sick and lying in bed all day, people would not even give it a second thought, but if you are depressed and lying in bed…well how dare you behave like that! Get up and do something! Lying in bed all day is not normal!

Our minds are already beating us up enough with the guilt trips, for not getting up, for not doing anything, for being lazy, for missing classes or work. So other people reminding you of the fact just adds to the insult. With depression, even I sometimes don’t consent to this behavior, you don’t always realize that the day was just like any other sick day. No sir! the depression will tell you, you are a lazy person, you wasted a day, you are good for nothing! It took me a while to understand this, that it’s not me, it’s the depression.

I know that awareness about mental illness is much better nowadays but even the most well meaning of people still forget that someone with depression is as sick as someone with a physical disease and needs to lie in bed sometimes not because they want to but because their disease forces them to. Just like other sick individuals they need their time to lie in bed and rest. They have all the right in the world to not get up if it is too much to handle.

I don’t mean to blame people or my mother for that matter, I know that it is very difficult to deal with any disease be it mental or physical. But it would be nice if people understood more and put in a little effort to be careful of how they treat someone with mental illness. So next time someone is lying in bed all day, they don’t immediately say ‘Why ?’ but maybe they say ‘It’s okay, take your time.’

 

 

 

When relapse stares you in the face

My depression has relapsed. It’s back. There…I needed to write it out for me to accept that I cannot control my symptoms, yet again. Tomorrow I visit my psychiatrist, and wait for my therapist to fix up an appointment. It might be a couple of weeks before I can see her.

Since the past two weeks, I have been trying to evade the fact that certain circumstances have triggered the relapse, that I no longer feel okay, that I cannot control the relay of negative thoughts running through my head, that that familiar feeling of unworthiness, of life having no meaning is haunting me incessantly. I see no future, only darkness, hope seems like a myth, and death seems like the only answer. I am too weak to fight it, all the lessons learnt in the past have gone down the drain, and depression has won.

I was trying to avoid going back to medications and therapy, but I can’t anymore. Too much is at stake, I cannot let the cycle repeat itself. Last time it took me only my entire teenage, college life, and two failed attempts at therapy to get my illness in control. Not to mention that I lost a career and the best years of my young life in the process.

At that time I was a lost soul, trying to make a sense of the world which appeared so strange. What I did not realize was that I was the one with the crooked glasses, that it was my own convoluted brain that was lying to me. It was my mother who picked up on my symptoms of complete apathy towards life, moodiness, lack of energy, anxiety and utter hopelessness and suggested that I have depression. I, on the other hand, never saw them as symptoms. My mom kept insisting that this is more than just a passing phase and I kept arguing that I will change, just give me some time.

I am surprised that even now, when I have the knowledge and the experience that what I am experiencing are symptoms of depression, I am unwilling to see them. I just don’t want to accept that I was weak and I let it come back. The guilt is rising inside of me. I hate to make my parents go through this all over again. Of course, as I write these lines, some sane part of my brain tells me that the guilt is also part of the symptoms.

In 2011, my mom forced me somehow to see a psychologist, but the moment drugs were suggested, I bolted. I did not want to go down that road, I was obstinate. Two more years passed, things got really bad, I started having suicidal thoughts, and I wasn’t getting anywhere. I finally accepted my situation, started seeking professional help. I continued for two years, taking medications, attending the sessions religiously. I got better. In April last year, I felt confident enough to get off medication and I did really well.

But here I am now, back on that same road, with a relapse staring me in the face. Depression is ready to punch me in the guts and knock me over. It has come with new symptoms along with the usual ones. I experienced enormous amounts of anger about trivial issues. I felt such rage that when I didn’t know how to handle it, I cut myself. I also tried to overdose, what stopped me midway was the thought of my parents having to deal with my dead body.

My mood got a little better for a few hours and I decided to write. It was the only outlet available to me. I am surprised at how I even managed to write a couple of posts that I did, because most of the time, I was just lying in bed, listless, tied in the cage of my negative mind, ready to throw in the towel.

I was being obstinate again about getting back into therapy, ┬áthe more my mother tried to talk to me, interrogate me, ask me to go to the therapist, the more I shut down, pushed her away and got worse. But somehow, she got through to me tonight and I agreed. This is my first big relapse after getting better and maybe that’s why it was so tough to acknowledge. Relapses are hard, hard to accept and harder to manage, because it means going through that same tedious process.

I begin mine again, tomorrow.