I know that you aren’t sure why you feel depressed. You try and hide it because you can’t find its source. You fear judgment from others. The ones you know and those you cherish. They won’t understand what you are going through because you don’t either.
So you avoid thinking about it, but it doesn’t go away. Whenever it comes, you feel sick in your stomach. Your press your fingers against both sides of your scalp to assuage the dull quaking in-between. But 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.
Whether in a lungful of air, a mouthful of songs or a fistful of sand, it always tracks you down and wraps itself around you, like creeping vines.
You express it through poems, sketches, songs and love for another. You clean your house. All the nooks and corners. You hope it would dust the cobwebs from your mind. But nothing ever soothes because you aren’t sure where it hurts.
So there you are, without a home in your heart to house the suffering in you. There you sit, sharing inconsolable blinks with the headlights outside.
At times, you feel there is no end to it. That’s when desperation kicks in. You give it fancy names. You create false expectations about the life you want to lead. You tell yourself it is just a void that needs to be filled. And so you take big decisions to change the life you have. A new house. A different job. A wild vacation.
However despite all the changes you have made, you still feel the same way. No matter how hard you try, you find yourself back to square one even though nobody else sees it that way.
I don’t understand it either. I do know that there is nothing wrong with you. You, as a person, don’t need to be fixed. You may not even need a shoulder to cry upon. Maybe just someone to talk to without the frills of human drama; a person qualified to be a good listener.
Visiting a psychiatric is a social taboo in India – no matter the extent of the problem. It is akin to undergoing trepanation to fix a headache. In fact, the Government Mental Hospital in my city has been the butt of many jokes for years. People still sarcastically refer to this location (Kilpauk) as a buffer zone for those unfit to be a part of society, as though it is an insult to be treated for mental illness.
Most Indians don’t consider psychiatric counseling as a viable option unless they feel utterly desperate. In so many cases, it is too late by then. Perhaps this is why Indians are experts at sweeping their problems under the carpet. Only that many of us aren’t good at it. We can’t help but notice the lumps. The unfathomable rolls on the carpet of our skin.
They remind us that everything isn’t okay.
The bird featured in this post is the Watercock – a distinguished member of the Rail / Crake family that keeps to itself most of the time. It is one of the most solitary waterbirds in India.
I spotted it about two years along the Chennai-Nellore highway. I haven’t seen it since.
need a storm shelter,
only a warm towel
to dry your hair with.