...and then

Saturday, 26 March 2016

A poem to my madness (1)

My therapist has asked me,
Rather categorically,
To sit with my Emptiness
My lows and my melancholy.

It is easier than it sounds,
Let me assure you.
Emptiness is ephemeral
Diaphanous, see-through.

Were my Emptiness a box of paints
Were it a clear cup of tea
Were it a dense book of poems
Or a selfish lover, thinking up an exit strategy

I'd sit with it quietly
And take a sip or three
Of the tea, the book, the colour
And let the lovers leave

Meds would keep me in check
He says, and I have to agree,
So I don't burn down the world
And set my mad insides free.

They'll help you deal, he tells me.
Just sit with it, just sit, just sit.
Ignore your paints, tea, your lovers
Just sit, just sit, just sit with it .

But Emptiness, you know, isn't good company,
Even with the quitiapine mellowing me.
It grows and fills, swells and blows
A bubble, a vice, a prison you see.

I could fill it with cake,
A wank, cigarettes or heavy sleep.
But all I am to do is just sit, just sit, just sit with it
If, a big if, I am my mind to keep.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Why I post about my sick days.

Last month, I was tired. This month, I'm just tired of being sick. When I get sick, I don't get sick like a lot of you do. (And yet, maybe I get sick like some of you do.) There are no waiting periods studded with medicines, a promise of popular science that will tell me this is how long it'll take for me to get better. It takes it's own time: the mood swings, the insomnia, the physically incapacitating anxiety, the emptiness, the inability to get up and do the things I need to do, the out of control temper, the impulsiveness. One day, I'm entirely and completely useless and suddenly, after struggling for weeks, I'm entirely free of everything and life is back on track. And all I can do is practice the things I've been taught and hope that I can stay well.
I've asked myself often - and been asked more frequently - why I post about being sick, or low, or depressed. I thought about it. After all, we are taught to be positive all the time, present to the world your best face, tell everyone everything is peachy keen. And any "negative" presenting is such a drag on others, such a sucking of their positive energy. Fuck that shit.
Why do you do it, I've been asked and rebuked. Why do I do it, I've wondered.
I'll tell you why. Two reasons. The first one is entirely selfish. I have about five good friends in this city, two of whom will drop everything and come to me if I'm in need. But on here, I have many people who will wish me well, who will send me a hug (please feel free to laugh at virtual hugs, oh you of no imagination), who will text me with their concern, who will do something to brighten my day. I have people here, women mostly, who will prop me up, and encourage me to just be. To go put on a dress and get out if I can. Who will tell me they haven't gotten out of bed all day either, or haven't showered over the weekend and that's okay. You get the picture. I have a support system online that I do not have offline. (I refuse to differentiate them as online and IRL.) They are my safety nets in times of a low. They let me be. They send me love. That they take time to send me a word - even if it's two minutes - makes me feel loved. And when I'm not well, all I need most times is to know I am loved.
Reason #2. On an average, I get one person a week asking me for some kind of help with mental illness. Imagine: One person a week (average) for the last 1.5 years asking for help with mental illness. Either for themselves, or their family, or their friends. "What do I do, Sandhya? How can I help, Sandhya? I don't want to talk to anyone else, but you've been through this so I feel okay reaching out." Can you imagine how much it must hurt these people if they reach out to a stranger?
And that is why I write about my being sick. Why I write about‪#‎mentalhealth‬. Don't ask me any more. Let me feel free to post what I want on my social media.
And for those of you who love me from near and far, thank you for all the times you've excused me, sent me love, offered to help. I genuinely love you.
How am I today? On the drive to work, I saw sprinklers on in the lawn. Each blade of grass, an explosion of summer green had cuttingly brilliant, self-contained, tiny universes that were water drops. All I want is to be that dazzling drop. And I feel I'm far, far away.