Lately I am losing the will to respond to anyone and anything. I cannot make the small conversations, I feel exhausted just looking at a new text message. Is it just me? I have exhausted all my words and the promises of “yes, will see you soon”, “yes, I miss you too”. How many times can I say it and for how long? Situation is pretty much the same in India and not sure when we will get out of this. Not anytime soon from what I see. We are living pretty much in isolation. Not like I don’t miss people, I do. My words and mental strength is exhausted though. I want to avoid all conversations and just exist without any interference, atleast for sometime. Calls make me anxious, anyway never liked calls so now it’s like a big hurdle. I am someone who keeps a check on people, starts the conversation and wants to know what is going on. I have never waited on people to text me, I just do it whenever there has been some time gap. From that to a person who hates any new messages is a big shift and I am not sure I like it. I obviously blame the pandemic for it, people have nothing new to talk about. We have been texting so much that now it seems like a task. Work has become harder too with no personal interaction. I have never really complained as I find myself luckier than most out there but mental health is equally affected for all and we cannot and should not ignore that. Does anyone else feel the same?
Maybe I am just tired and need some sleep or this is the change we are all seeing? I wish I could pin point on what is causing this but only thing I can relate is that we have exhausted all our options, topics. What exactly should we talk about? Not everyone can do deep conversations, even those are exhausting and have lost context because can we even talk about deeper things when everyone and everything seems to be on a standstill? There are days I get my old mojo back but lately the nonmojo days have increased and that makes me sad.
She was walking. All alone (or so she felt). She just kept moving ahead. It was dark. Darkness so deep, just like moving with closed eyes. That didn’t bother her. She kept on moving, surrounding herself more and more with the blanket of darkness. She couldn’t see anything. Couldn’t hear anyone. She couldn’t sense anything. She just felt one thing. Pain. Immense pain. Pain so cruel, her heart could explode. Her mind was crowded. Crowded with thoughts. Conflicting thoughts. Too many thoughts, all fighting with each other. Each thought fighting to make sense. None making sense to her. She still could not believe what had happened. She had just lived her nightmare. All that she thought she would never let happen to her was exactly what had happened. She had lost control over her life. What went wrong?? She thought. That is all she had been trying to figure. She was tired. Tired of thinking. She had been crying herself to sleep ever since. Every night she cried till the tears dried out. Now She wanted to cry out loud. She wanted to share what she was going through. She knew what will happen. She would be asked to move on. That is what she has been trying to do. Move on. But all she sees is darkness. Sympathy, that is what she would be offered. She did not want that. She hates it. She is not weak. She is a fighter. She will fight this, she thought. But one step ahead reminded her something and she was two steps behind. Broke, that is how she felt. What next, she thought. Lost in her pain she could hear voices now. She heard her name being called. She knew the voice. She answered and left with the voice. Moving ahead all she could see was darkness. Once she was scared of darkness, now darkness is all she has. She laughed at her thought. A cold laugh. She kept moving. All alone (or so she felt).
I wrote this when I was going through something very dark in my life!
My vacation is going good. However, like everytime there is vacation anxiety attached. When we are checking out places we want to visit, there is always a thought of leaving something out or missing out some place. I mean what if that place is superb and we just don’t visit it? That’d make me so sad. Also, sometimes aiming to over achieve you forget to pause and enjoy!! So far, we have stuck to the plan and it’s all so beautiful but anxiety hits when the day ends, forcing me to overthink what coming day holds and what if I goof up on that. The crux of the matter is, I want to see new things and I want to see them all. Earlier, I did not really rest and my vacations were super hectic but that was okay as I was also mentally much stronger. Right now, my mental health needs vacations which are paced well but anxiety makes me want to change the course. Here’s to hope I can overcome my anxiety and enjoy the places I am at 🙂
Posting what keeps me sane during such episodes of anxiety!
I don’t generally want to comment on what is best for someone who is depressed or anxious. Every person is different and they have their own way of dealing with things. What works for me might not work for someone else. Same way, what worked with one person you know will not necessarily work with someone else. Infact from what I have read, two depressive episodes are also different from each other and we cannot rely on same things to work the second time. While it is super important to speak to people about mental health and care about betterment of people we love, it does not have to coincide with unsolicited advise. There are some clear DO NOT DO which everyone should be aware of. These are not only applicable to people who are depressed or anxious, but also to anyone who is upset or feeling low. Anyone who is sad should not have to hear these things. As per personal experience, these are very hurtful and even triggering in some cases.
Do not say/do these things to anyone who is sad, depressed or anxious:
Anything that negates or minimizes their feelings – invalidation is the most common thing people do indirectly or directly. What a person is going through ia best known to them, do not say or do anything that suggests their feelings are not valid
Dismiss the signs – there are numerous changes that can be spotted in someone’s behavior when they are depressed, do not dismiss it thinking it is a phase. It does not always heal with time.
Making it about yourself – this is again a very common mistake and something people do not intend to do but end up doing. When someone is expressing their feelings, never make it about yourself in any manner. The focal point should always be the person who is suffering.
Comparing it to others – Never suggest that they are going through something someone else had and force them to follow someone else’s model. It is a very subjective case for people, even if the scenario appears same to you no two brains work same.
Anything apathetic – It is better to not speak to someone who is depressed than to express apathy. More likely than not, a depressed person already feels burdened and apathy can only add to it. It can make them feel unloved which is the exact opposite of how they should be feeling.
Asking them to snap out of it – depression is not something that can be snapped out of. Do not ask people to shake off the sadness, cheer up, be happy. They want to but are unable to, us saying it will not make it happen.
Forcing them to try – while it is understandable that you want someone you love to recover, us forcing them to try harder will not yield the desired results. Adding pressure is not helpful in anyway to someone who is depressed.
“There are bigger problems” – BIG NO! Do not tell them that their reason or problem is small. They know there are bigger problems in world, for them their problem is so consuming that it does not allow them to step into any other avenue. This will only make them feel worse.
“You are only thinking about yourself” – that is the problem, sherlock! They cannot get out of the loop which makes them sad. If you suggest or say anything that shows they are selfish, you are effectively adding to the problem.
We all know that depression is a mental health condition and we must never forget that when speaking to someone who has it. Just like you cannot say “snap out of it” to a cancer patient, it cannot be suggested to a depressed person either. So do not suggest anything that you would not to a physically ill person. Listen to these people who are going through issues, give them your time, ask them how you can help, make them feel like they have someone to bank on. Only they can get themselves out of the problem completely, you have to only be there in any capacity they require. Do not try to be a therapist, that is a professional’s job. Be a friend, loved one that you are and do things in that capacity.
How many punches can someone take? Not literal ones or okay as a metaphor let’s say literal ones. How many can one take? There is a limit to it, right? One is bound to fall and feel the pain. Such is life, some would say. However, why is life so unfair to some people? Some face a lot more punches from life than others. Some people learn to overcome it, some glorify pain and some just don’t know what to do with it. If you check the definition of pain “sadness that you feel when something bad has happened”, it hardly covers the depth of the word. “Something bad”, it feels so meager. Pain comes with dark and annoying thoughts, pain comes with a feeling of failure and loss, pain comes with someone else’s sadness, pain comes with someone else’s happiness too, pain makes us act out, pain comes with helplessness. A word that describes so many terrifying things cannot have a simple definition.
There is no rulebook on how to deal with pain. Mental health is the worst affected when you are in pain. If you think about this logically, mental health is what needs to be attended to, whether you are in pain or not. You must seek a therapist, you must speak to people who will listen and who you think might help. This is all very easily said but application? Not so easy. One who experiences pain does not always think logically and they cannot be expected to think straight. Yes, talking to someone helps but they might not wish to talk to anyone. When in pain, everything can seem like a task and it drains you physically and mentally, so to additionally explain someone else why and what happened can be a huge task. When you add this to the fact that someone has had to face this particular punch from life multiple times, you cannot imagine the pain this can cause. I have read it how they explain in books, pain so deep that it cannot be described.
It’s really difficult to know this and yet to just let people be because that is what they wish. It is also incredibly selfish in a way that we want to know and help just so we can cure our anxiety about them. If you have done your best but somehow feel that there is something you have missed and some resentment from the other side, even then we need to let people be. Yes, you care but that is secondary. Yes, you love them but that too is secondary. Everything is secondary to what the person who is in pain wants. That resentment against you can be solved when they are in a better frame of mind, since there is so much love, you must wait. Sometimes, all you can do is wait. Be on standby silently and wait for them to return.
Would like to end with a slight tweak in one of my most favorite quotes, “What do we say to the darkness? Not today”
Is there something termed as “too much empathy?” I personally thought no term such as this exists, but when I checked on it I was surprised that it does exist. First things first, why did I check on this at all? There are some people I, sometimes, find myself unable to step in shoes of. I mean I cannot imagine doing what they do or what they have done. Looks like, I should not have to. So empathy means understanding what other person is going through and being able to gauge what they need and also be able to understand why they need it. It can be a gut that tells you or your understanding of that person. We, as humans, want to be understood without having to explain. Empathy is not agreeing to people who are wrong but just understanding when people feel discomfort to express and just respect that. It can be an actual challenge when the other person is struggling to articulate and feel it is a pressure to explain and that is when most empathy might be needed.
There is a term called as “empathetic reactivity” and it essentially means “when too much empathy is bad”. It is also be termed as “toxic empathy”. When we are empathizing, we are taking on other person’s feelings and when it is so excessive that we feel them as our feelings that is where we need to step back and check ourselves. Such stream of emotions can lead empathizer to hopelessness and depression. Another prominent and known problem here is when you empathize with everyone, you could end up feeling drained and having no time for your problems.
Although I know world needs more people who empathize, there are also good folks who are doing overtime here and this is just for them to take a break and concentrate on their ownself.
I had zero motivation to write today. Yet, i just decided to simply start to write my thoughts and see where it goes. 70% of my brain is occupied by a scary fact that two of my closest friends in delhi have tested positive for covid. It is not scary just because they are ill, the fact is they have not stepped out in 20+ days, they do not have a maid at home since 3 to 4 weeks and they have met zero people, yet they caught the virus. I mean if people are not safe staying indoors then how else? Home, it is suppose to be a place of comfort, safety and a shell you retreat to. This virus is contaminating that sacred place too, so how else can we cope? I have been positive with them, asked them to take utmost care and recover speedily. But the thought of how bizzare and weird this is just won’t leave my head. They have fever and bodyache and are home quarantined. If all goes well, they will be absolutely fine in a couple of weeks. However, if by any chance this suggest that the virus is air borne, we are royally screwed.
There are some days, you just cannot stay positive or look at the brighter side. Today is one of those days for me. I just want to be lame and distract myself completely, push this ugly thought so far to the back of my mind that it doesn’t resurface but the day is over and the night is upon us and I know as I try to sleep, this demon thought will keep me up, God knows until when.
I am sure I have penned on similar topic earlier as well as this is one of the constant struggles I face and even something I am sensitive about.
Isn’t it weird that even though we know we are loved by our closed ones but we still need to feel loved? I am not entirely sure, if it is a want or a need. I am hoping I am not alone that struggles with this. Yes, it is amazing to have people who love you, knowing that they love you. It is a blessing. However, it’s only human nature to expect that feeling to be validated once in a while.
I don’t think it is the big fat gestures that do the deed, it is the genuine admission of love when least expected, it is making someone feel like they are a part of your life, involving them in those small things you do, sharing mundane thoughts that cross your head with them. It’s all this for me. People who yearn to feel loved always make others feel loved, isn’t it? However, the major disbalance occurs when the person who does this is taken for granted and there is nothing from the other side. People want you to believe that they love you and yet there will be no effort from their end towards the same, it is really hard to stick around then. You just need to hang on to the words that there is love. It is only when there is a revolt that they will rush to prove that they love you too, that is neither fair nor is it love. It is just the need for that person to continue showering love on you that is making you do this.
If you genuinely consider this human need to feel loved, it also stems from lack of self love. I don’t think this is true entirely, but to major extent it does seem correct. It is said that if you love yourself, you will not need others to show you love. While I agree that we can be happy if we love ourselves, I would still say we need other humans, their love and support. Self love is important as it is the only thing which will push you to know when must you step up and leave. It is that love for your own being which will help you place yourself over others.
It is so bitter to have to choose to either love yourself or love someone else as the two cannot coexist due to lack of efforts from the other side and if you are facing that choice between yourself and someone, are you loved by that someone and do you love yourself if you choose to stay?
I think I am a little late to the party but how amazing are podcasts? I have only started listening to a few of them recently and it is engaging. They help us to learn new things, feels like we are not alone when we are listening and definitely helpful when the topic is something that resonates with us.
I have been listening to a wide range of topics and just still trying to figure out which ones I want to inculcate as a habit. I have seen people advocate podcasts as a effective helping tool. There are couple podcasts as well where a couple takes up relatable topics and provide the view of both sides which can get quite exciting when conversation is honest and stimulating. I have never succeeded in reading self help books, ever. However, I have noticed that I can sit through a self help podcast which is a small win for me so that is also one of the areas I want to venture into.
Best thing about podcasts is that you don’t even need to typecast yourself, you can listen to anything that pleases you. It has been suggested that they can be immensely enlightening, if we choose the correct ones. It amazes me that they were invented in 2004 and I am only getting hooked in 2021! Am I getting old? Hmmm, that’s a topic for another day.
I am really looking for good podcasts suggestions, please help a girl out!
It’s been a tough week and there is so much negativity around us due to covid. Anxiety and other impacts on mental health are more prominent now than they were earlier. I don’t think our generation has ever seen these many deaths and the condition of deaths is such that we cannot be around people to console them either. I think that is the worst part, not having anyone around for support.
Yesterday I was watching “Taare zameen par” and was reminded of the story of Solomon Islands. This story was first mentioned in the book “biology of life” and while there is no scientific fact behind the story, it does make one think and ofcourse the villagers stand by it. For those who do not know, the story says that in Solomon Islands if they want wood from the tree that is too big or thick which makes it impossible for them to cut, then the villagers gather around the tree and curse it, for 30 days, and eventually the tree wilts and dies. Lots of trees are cut daily around the world and yet this practice stands out. To brutally put it, while other trees are murdered this one is forced to commit a suicide. So it all really brings us to buddha’s saying “you are what you think”. If any living being is forced to think or believe they are worst and reminded of it everyday, it is only natural to start believing it.
It is a very scary yet an important story. What my personal takeaway from it is that when things go south, it is very important to be your own judge and believe in yourself. Seek people who support your energy, do things you love and just remember that there is a lot more to life than what others think of you. Life should be led with your own perspective as base. This does not mean ignore feedback or go on being wrong, it means it is okay to introspect but that should not lead to overthinking and over analyzing. Overthinking is the pathway to anxiety and we would not want to be anxious. Choose happiness, even when it is the most hard thing to do, choose it. Current scenario has showed us how tough things can get, count your blessings and be grateful for the comforts we have. Remember that you were in a better position than most when pandemic hit and use this as a motivating factor to lead your life, shunning away the negative thoughts that are stopping you from moving ahead.
Breathe and smile, it is a luxury these days too, breathe.