Show them where it hurts

The watercock is a solitary member of the rail and crake family. It keeps to itself for most of the day – only coming out in the open for feeding, and to attract mates. I have spotted it just once in the last five years. I was driving past the Annamalaicheri village in Thiruvallur, and I saw this majestic bird run through the bushes.

I felt good about it because I was not in a pleasant mood. Seeing a bird for the first time is always a joyous experience. It was a clash of the Titans. My yin versus my yang. Thankfully, the watercock won. I doubt if there was any unpleasantness that day after the sighting.

But, I have not always been this lucky.

I know that neither have you.

Watercock, Nellore

I understand why you are unable to fight your depression. You try and hide it because you cannot find its source. You fear judgment from others. You devalue it because you suspect they will do the same. Even the ones close to you. Especially, those you cherish. Because you do not want them to realize that you are hurting. What are you going to tell them anyway? That you feel weighed down by something that you cannot describe using human language? Maybe, if you hop up and down, point to your head, and make a sad face… No, that probably will not work either.

So you avoid thinking about it. But, it does not go away. It never does. It hangs over you, like storm clouds. When it starts to drizzle, your stomach churns – meat-grinding those butterflies into dust. You press your fingers against both sides of your scalp to assuage the dull quaking in-between. Deep down, though, you know. There is no escape. No crack in the wall through which you can squeeze yourself out. No hole in the ground you can fall through and disappear for a while. Anything to get away from this feeling. This, this, this fucking indiscernible pain.

Whether a lungful of air, an earful of music, a mouthful of kisses or a fistful of rage, it tracks you down and wraps itself around your deepest fears. Like invasive vines suffocating wildflowers, it sucks you dry of your elixirs.

Watercock, Nellore

Sometimes, you express it through art. Sketch after sketch, song after song, word after word – it keeps crumbling. No sooner you create it, you want to destroy it. Because it represents everything you want to let go of. But if it stares at you long enough – you will crumble too.

Other times, you change the order of chores you perform on a daily basis. You come up with new ones to pursue in hope that they may distract you from the ugly blank spaces. You take big decisions to change everything. A new house. A different job. A wild vacation. Somewhere you have never been to. A place where you can do things differently. When you return to the life you know, maybe you can see things differently too.

But, that first night back home – you are rudely awakened by a wave of nausea. Because you still feel the same way. No matter how hard you try, you are on the super highway to square one.

Of course, nobody else sees it that way. So why bother even thinking about it? There you are, without a home in your heart to house the suffering. There you sit, sharing inconsolable blinks with the headlights on strange vehicles whizzing past you.

Is there any end to it?

Watercock, Nellore

I really do not know. I barely understand it any more than you do. I am sure of one thing, though.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with you. You do not have to be rebuilt to lead a happy and productive life. But, do not overlook the importance of maintenance and repair. It is why having a support system in place is essential. It is the safety net on which you take a leap in faith while discussing extremely personal issues – without fearing judgment. Talking to people about your depression is a great idea.

Exercise caution, though, about who you confide in.

Avoid the enablers, who take us along their downward spirals, while pursuing our own. Stay away from those whose egos prevent them from acting or listening – with kindness. Also, there is nothing worse than discussing your depression with a person who treats it like a figment of your imagination. It is akin to thwacking yourself in the head with a copy of Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ to cure a migraine.

You need a few good friends, who happen to be good listeners. You can describe the pain to them. Show them where it hurts. It does not matter whether they can comprehend what you are going through. You may find pieces of the puzzle by opening up to them.

Another way to deal with the depression is by going to a psychiatrist, a psychoanalyst or any such professional in that field. Choose one that has you convinced, in principle, about the practical applicability of what they offer. Go through a referral, if it helps you be mentally prepared for it.

In India, visiting a doctor for a non-physical ailment that has nothing to do with the reproduction cycle is considered to be taboo. I suspect that a large percentage of Indians, suffering from depression, are under the impression that seeking psychiatric treatment should be their last resort. They do not consider it as a socially-acceptable option.

I reckon that the problem is geography-agnostic. People, in general, seem to prefer to sweep their problems under the carpet.

It may be the reason why you feel defeated by it. Those ugly rolls on the carpets. They remind you that nothing is okay.

But most things will be okay. At least the best parts. If you allow your depression leak out into someone else’s paper cup.

“Do not rage against the dying of the light”. Drip and drift slowly into the night.

You don’t
need a storm shelter,
only a warm towel
to dry your hair with.

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39 thoughts on “Show them where it hurts

Add yours

  1. Through the darkness
    suffocating smoke
    she takes little steps
    her imprints on the land
    narrating the story
    of her courage.
    The sunlight makes
    silhouette of her smile
    of her little red hat.

    I know I haven’t written is as beautiful as you do. Reading your words, these words just came to my mind. Hope you do not mind.

    Powerful post 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. This is so true!
    I personally know a few of those who refuse to get help.
    I think the school counsellor concept has to be enforced in all the schools compulsorily so that the children get a sense of normality in visiting a psychiatrist.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah absolutely, our aversion towards such help has its roots in social conditioning I suppose. Great point about availability of counselling in schools. Enforcement might be an issue because) hey India how you doing?” I still remember the ruckus caused by so many parents when I was in school about sex education classes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Society puts many needless expectations on people. These expectations create conflict, and conflict headaches. I’m sorry to read that it’s taboo to visit a doctor that can help sort these things out. Talking about problems with an uninvolved party really helps to sort out what’s really important from what’s less so. Helps redirect the human being into the human doing.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Our cortex can be both friend and enemy, perhaps simultaneously. Some days I wish I was just instinctive like the green anole. Life is probably so much easier when it’s eat, sex, eat, repeat.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, but to see, and feel, and ENJOY like the anole! But none of pettiness imposed by ‘civilized’ society. By the way, if I hadn’t said it already (I don’t think I did), this was a superbly written piece. You are such a gifted writer, Christy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Cawww (birdy version of awwww) you are much too kind, it feels humbling hearing from you. Can’t wait to read/see/sit by the meadow and feel your new blog posts. Thanks again Shannon.

        Like

      3. I need to get back to writing some substantive posts, Christy, but right now, we are hip-deep in summer and all that goes with it. Very little computing time (a/k/a/ indoors).

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey verseherder,

    We once spoke about the removal of blogs. I have moved my destination. Came over to your haunt to tell you about it. Do visit. amarllyis.com That’s where I am these days.

    Cheers!
    amarllyis

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the photography as well as the post. In Japan there is a similar mentality. It is thought to be shameful to receive therapy and the like. It is a sad truth that, hopefully, will disappear with time and progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I wouldn’t have thought so about Japan. Interesting. Here even women smoking, a degree in liberal arts and pre marital sex are matters that society frowns over so hehe. Hopefully, progress comrade.

      Like

  6. Your blog actually spoke my mind. I too was depressed back few years and I have suffered humiliation from my own mom saying I am mad. People need more awareness on this topic. Thanks. Couldnt help but reblog such a beautiful post of yours.

    Thanks Bharath for such a wonderful blog post on Mental Health.

    Best Wishes,
    ARK

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad I could be of some comfort, Ambika. It is sad to hear about the humiliation but having read your blog (and heard its music), I can assuredly say that you are strong enough to see that the problem isn’t with you.

      Thank you so much for the reblog too. I hope you keep feeling better everyday.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for those comforting words. I strongly advise you to send the write-up to Chicken Soup for Soul Indian Edition.

        A much needed self help article, can help many wounded souls regain confidence in themselves. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. There’s no guarantee that life is supposed to be a “happy” experience, but more evidence that it is a sad and depressing one. There is no one to blame, we are all in the same boat. Instead of fighting depression, I have found sometimes it is most valuable to accept it and sink down into it to the bottom as the Truth of one’s life at the present time. When one accepts it, then sometimes feelings and ideas come up which may give one an idea of what the reason of the depression is, or what one is longing to do that one is not doing, or at least the desire to pursue something else. When one finds some endeavor one really wants to engage in, then ideas of “Am I happy? Am I depressed?” don’t even matter or occur because doing the thing one wants to pursue is more important. Many have said also that one can find the spiritual center within oneself that isn’t subject to depression or loneliness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very well said, comrade! Indeed, it is distraction that brings us depression as much as it does – the means to fight our way out of it. Constructive endeavours, like you say, make irrelevant those matters of anxiety and sadness.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It took a long time in the West, too, for “diseases of the mind” to become destigmatized. There are still many things we don’t understand, but I hope one of these days we will stop making the distinction between body and mind, because they are interconnected, and what ails one will affect the other.

    Like

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