If you’re happy in a dream, does that count?

If you’re happy in a dream, does that count?
Even if reality is full of hurt,

Where dreams turn dull and ambitions turn to dust.
If you’re happy in a dream, does that count?

Even if you desperately need an escape

Because in this world there is no place for hope.
If you’re​ happy in a dream, does that count?

Even if you’ve lost track of the last time you smiled or had a hearty laugh

When the tears in your eye were only of pure joy.
If you’re happy in a dream, does that count?

Even if the world around you pulls you into abject misery

Where men become beasts and lose all humanity.
If you’re happy in a dream, does that count?

Even if you’ve lived through terrors untold

That no person should ever have to see.
If you’re happy in a dream, does that count?

Even if you never want to wake up.
If you’re happy in a dream, does that count?

Illusion

The downside of Walter Mitty (Mental Health Awareness #4)

We have all come to know and love the harrowed, milequetoast of a man by the name of Walter Mitty. Be it through Ben Stiller’s portrayal of him in the movie or through the written word of James Thurber, we have all taken an unusual amount of delight in his escapades from the real world, especially from the browbeating of his overbearing wife.
For the uninitiated, Walter Mitty was an avid daydreamer to the extent that he hallucinationed about his daydreams. From a war-time pilot, to a world renowned surgeon, to a roguishly carefree murderer, Walter Mitty became all, albeit in his own mind. He  took no time in creating an Imaginary, idealized, heroic persona of his meek self at the slightest of emotional triggers.

We have all laughed at his antics. We have also sympathised with the poor chap when he invariably got pulled out of his reveries just seconds before his moment of glory. Yet, behind this obsessive facet of the character lurks a deeper, important issue.

It is imperative to not overlook the fact that his daydreams were vivid with great detailing, idealized, to the extent that in them he became the exact opposite of himself, and, lastly, lengthy. Furthermore, on reading between the lines, it becomes quite easy to see that he was a depressed, lonely soul, isolated from most wordly and social interactions.

This isolation and substitution of social interactions with daydreams portraying a glorified sense of self is what I want to bring to your attention today. Coined as Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD), this mental illness has highly debilitating effects on sufferers. Spending hours at a stretch inside a dream, while real life continues, people ailing from MD lose their grasp on reality. While inside a dream, they are oblivious to the passage of time in the real world. They might also not be able to identify their emotional triggers and not be prepared to face them, thereby spiralling into dreams at the most unexpected of times. There have been instances of patients who’ve kept on walking till their feet bled because they’d started daydreaming and did not realise how long it had been. Thus, in effect, it is quite easy to lose oneself if you’re suffering from MD.

This is precisely why it is necessary to spread awareness about this Mental Health issue so that affected persons or their well-wishers can get the required help. I believe every person is beautiful in his or her own right and no one should have to feel so down in the dumps that they have to end up imagining a better version of themselves, a better life for themselves, better friends, better job, better everything rather than actually working towards it. Let us make sure no one gets subjected to such abject misery.

(This is post is a part of my regular feature on Mental Health Awareness. I have previously written on the importance of disseminating awareness on mental health issues here, on depression here, on anxiety here and on self doubt here. If you like and support my efforts in this venture, please share and spread the word. I shall be eternally grateful for this act of kindness on your part. Thank you 🙂 )

Look! Do you see? (Mental Health Awareness #3)

“Look! Do you see?”
He asked as he turned her to face the mirror and removed his hand from over her eyes.

Perplexed, she gazed up and down. It was just her, as she usually was.

“Do you see how beautiful you are?”

He asked her while holding her from behind.
That’s when she realised what he was trying to do.

Every time he called her beautiful, she’d smile a condescending smile. Of course, she knew better. He was blinded with love, but she, she could see. All her imperfections, all of her flaws.

Every time he admired her confidence, she could only manage a smirk. Pfft, it’s all a facade. She’s always a nervous wreck inside.

Every time he complimented her intelligence, she’d just absently nod along. Second guessing her every decision, thought and action was second nature to her by now.

Every time he’d be left flummoxed. Wondering how an amazing person could be so crippled with self doubt.
He’d call her resplendent, radiant, ethereal and hoped that she’d believe. She’d only hug him back and hoped he’d stop speaking.

Every word of praise just made her feel like an imposter. She knew of all her failings. She was never worthy enough, she could never deserve enough, she was not bold enough, she was not smart enough, what she did wasn’t enough, she was just never enough. She was never enough.
“Look!” She cried, as she turned away from the mirror. “Don’t you see?”
(This post is a part of my regular feature on Mental Health Awareness. Self doubt, coupled with anxiety, eats away at the very core of a person. They may look confident and poised and, yet, be riddled with the worst of fears, with the least of confidence and the most of undeservedness. I am trying to do my best in spreading the word about mental health issues to break the taboo surrounding them. The aim is to help people recognise warning bells and seek proper help for themselves or their loved ones. If my efforts strike a chord with you, please spread awareness around you as well.

I’m also providing links to my previous posts hereinbelow:

  1. The importance of spreading Mental Health Awareness 
  2. My personal experience with depression – In all things beautiful
  3. My perspective on anxiety – Where do you go to, my lovely?

Thank you)

 

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Where do you go to, my lovely? (Mental Health Awareness #2)

Where do you go to my lovely?

When you’re alone in your bed.

Won’t you tell me the thoughts that surround you?

I want to look inside your head.


As the haunting tones of the song wore on,

I thought if someone really knew,

What it was like to be,

A victim of your own mind?

A prison of your own making, where you’re eternally entrapped.
Can anyone really comprehend what it’s like

To have a mind that never rests?

During the day or at ungodly hours

The wheels, they keep on turning.

Till you go crazy trying to calm down

A mind that’s always churning.
Your eyes turn red and swollen, your body goes all slack.

Because sleep, the rest for the weary, oh, sleep is something you dearly lack.
You think of this and you think of that,

Of things long gone,

And the ones yet to come

Or even of what may go wrong.

What if, what if, the questions go on

But the irony is, one has nary a clue

Of answers to them

Because there can possibly be none.
Do you comprehend what it’s like,

To live in all pervading anxiousness?

There’s an inner voice that doesn’t stop speaking.

Some people say it’s best to ignore it.

But I wish they could see

How it’s the only one I can hear.

I know of nothing except it,

For my anxiety is my guiding light

How do I function bereft of it?
So, now do you know what it’s like

To be a victim of your own mind?

 

(P.S. :This is a part of my regular series on spreading mental health awareness. To read more on it or to spread the word, please click here. To read my previous post on a struggle with depression, click here.

Also, the song quoted in the beginning is a personal favourite and comes highly recommended so I’m sharing the link here. Enjoy!)

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Mental Health Awareness Post (Regular Feature #1)

Hello, everyone!
We can change the world, one word at a time. On this note, today, I’m going to do my bit by spreading awareness about mental health issues. I may not be qualified enough to decipher the intricacies of functionings of the human mind. However, I’m acutely aware that mental illnesses are still considered taboo in our society.

No one recognises, addresses, discusses or resdresses these problems. Yet, you’d be  surprised to know that mental illness is not a dirty secret to be always kept under wraps.

I have previously written about my experience and learning from my struggles with depression. There are many more such ailments like anxiety, insomnia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit disorder, disassociative identity disorder, even kleptomania, to name a few.

Surprisingly enough, these conditions can be plaguing even the most, to be politically correct, “normal” of people around us. Outwardly, they might appear to have a handle on everything while inwardly they may be falling apart.

The irony of the situation is that these, unlike severe forms of cancer, AIDS, etc, are either curable or controllable for the most part. It is only the lack of awareness about them or the fear of facing social stigma that prevents us from seeking help.

So, I urge you to not take your mental health lightly. You are not crazy. It does not matter what the world says as long as you have a healthy mind and body, am I right? Your problem might be small, manageable by way of counselling; big, requiring therapy; or severe, requiring intensive therapy and medications. Yet, no problem, big or small, should be left unattended. Get it checked, get it treated. It is way more important than fretting over a pimple on your face, for sure!

I also urge each and every one of you to look around your for signs of mental problems in the people around you. Read up on mental health. Learn to read and recognise the signs. See if a person is only an introvert or is cutting himself off from society. Then, wherever possible, reach out and provide assistance. Let the person feel like they matter. Give them the encouragement to get the help they so badly need.

Mens sana in corpore sano – a healthy mind in a healthy body…let this be your motto.

Also, if this post strikes a chord with you, then please keep an eye out for this space. I shall endeavour my very best to provide as much information as I can on this issue on a regular basis. Next up will be my take on Maladaptive Daydreaming and its implications. Meanwhile, this post will shed some light on this malady.

To read my previous post on a personal struggle with depression, please read In all things beautiful.

Thank you for your time!

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Of mountains and burdens

“These mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb” – Najwa Zebian

Who amongst us has not felt the weight of the world laying on our fragile shoulders? Oh Atlas, I wish you could see how many kindred souls you have!

It is time to jettison all the extra burden that we have self-imposed on ourselves. Yes, self-imposed. No, no, you heard me right.

I agree we live in a fiercely competitive dog eat dog world in present times. No one is spared from an ever present, all consuming pressure to perform. Right from toddlers participating in fancy dress competitions in pre-school, to high-school students scrambling to be popular and cool, to suicide attempts on failing entrance exams, to attaining promotions over all other colleagues, the list is endless. Expectations from parents, from the world, peer-pressure, everything demands of us to excel, to be beyond Successful. There is no scope for failure. One could ask what prompted me to call the burden self imposed when we are obviously straining under the impositions of parents, peers, society and the world at large. Well, the answer lies in the difference between your perception of success and failure.

If you have attempted something whole-heartedly and to the best of your ability, leaving you with no regret, no “oh I wish I had spent just one more minute on it”, then you, my friend, have not failed, irrespective of the result. Let no one tell you differently. You are more than the sum total of your accomplishments. You are more than what your parents dreamt for you or what your peers are doing. You are what you are.

Allow me to tell you then that all the burden and pressure you’re experiencing is just your fear of not appearing competent enough in the eyes of others, the fear of failing as per the definition prescribed by them. Let go of that fear. Trust in yourself. After all, you’re the person who knows you best.

Define your own success, define your own failures. Assess your own self. Because, the mountains that you’re Carrying, you were only supposed to be climb. Shed them off. Make the climb easier. Be the bear, from the popular children’s song, that went over the mountain to see what he could see!

For everyone who’s a bit of a fixer-upper

Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost sight of my purpose. Everything appears bleak and dreary. I feel devoid of all focus. On such days I’m also inexplicably lethargic. When there’s no point in anything, why bother, is how my brain tends to rationalize. However, social media brings me face to face with how well others are doing. How they have what I yearn for. How Successful they are when I’m just sitting here being a loser. Even how I’m never going to be as good as everyone else. For every such day, I would like to pen down the following message for myself. I’m also posting it here in case it can be of use to a kindred soul.

“Don’t pity yourself, babe, and I don’t know why you do that either. You can’t pity a person that knows how to feel in today’s insensitive world. And I think that’s the only fault, as such, which can be found in you. Although from my point of view, that’s not really a fault. Others also have times when they feel what you’re feeling today but somehow they are able to push it aside and hanker on. You, on the other hand, need to pause and let that feeling get over before getting back to doing things. That’s not being lazy or useless. That’s just because you feel and you think. And that’s perfectly okay. Because when it comes down to the wire, I’m sure you’d do whatever you set your mind to. You’re fierce like that. I love you.”

In all things beautiful

07-depressionI have been battling depression since, at the cost of sounding over-dramatic, as long as I can remember. Considering how in my mere 24 years of existence, depression has plagued the better part of the past ten, I can be reasonably excused for stretching the truth a tad. This post begins as a venting of repressed feelings on a sleepless night, however, I hope to be able to provide a sliver of hope to my equally suffering brethren by the end of this.

It saddens me to see how everyone today, regardless of living in the first world or the third, claims to be riddled with depression merely because something upset them momentarily. On a similar note, mood swings are hastily covered up under the pretext of bipolar syndrome these days. Not to belittle these pangs of pain felt by so many, presumably well meaning, people, I hope to reach out to those who are actually, genuinely depressed. Because, you see, depression isn’t just a feeling, it is a state of being. A hopeless state at that. If you see the word hope recurring at a more than alarming frequency in this post, fret not, as it is indeed hope that this narrative stems from.

There is hope, indeed, in all things beautiful. There is hope in the voice of a father asking how you’re doing while it takes all you have to not breakdown and cry on hearing this query over the phone. There is hope in a lover’s inquiry of how your day went while he himself is undertaking a long, arduous drive back home after a tiring day at work. There is, yet, hope in your closest friend casually asking if you slept alright over an innocent cup of coffee.

If you find waking up each day a herculean task after having snatched a few moments of dear sleep when your body wore out of exhaustion in the wee hours of morning, I implore you to hope. Yes, I agree we’ve been brought up fearing hope to be a dangerous thing but what is life without a few risks, eh? Even if every day finds you sinking deeper into the quagmire of your Kafkaesque despair, even if hoping seems an exercise in futility almost akin to chasing the will-o-the-wisp and life does not seem worth the pain you undergo, you should persist. Because life persists in all things beautiful.

To be or not to be…the mid-mid-life crisis

What do you say when someone asks you what you want to do or be in life? Moreover, is doing the same as being? Sometimes I wonder if we had it easier as kids. At any given age, I had always known what I wanted to become, not that it didn’t change every year, however, the point being that whenever asked, I was always ready with a confident answer rattled out with full conviction. Ironically, now when I am at a stage where I need this answer the most, I’m absolutely clueless. I have lost the ability to cull out what I want, the confidence to peg where I want to be and the desire to actually become someone. 

Usually, it becomes easier to avoid the questions or to even lash out at the perpetrators for having put me in a position to formulate an answer. Unfortunately, you can’t really do that when it’s your father or your boyfriend asking you. You know all too well that they’re coming from a good place and only want to help you out rather than adding salt to your injury. But that is what I am. An injured, disillusioned girl who’s trying to take it one day at a time with no long term goal in mind. Yes, I want to make it. I don’t know what I have to make something out of though. However, life still runs on a tight schedule of planning and considerations. Oh Dear Lord, humans run a tight ship.

The only pliable solution staring at me is to fix an interview with my own self. Scary as it may sound, it has to be done. I need to get my own measure and take some strong yet hard decisions. Wish me luck, whoever’s out there!