You are running extremely low on energy, so low that you can’t come and sit through the process of healing in therapy sessions. Take a week, do whatever you think will help you build your energy up. And here, we are talking more about mental and emotional energy. Are you with me on this Aditi, you think you can do that?
My therapist compassionately looked me in the eye and asked, taking me gently off from my sobs.
Ofcourse, I can. But there are only two things now that I feel up for, reading and helping others. I have become people resistant. I don’t like to meet anyone. Visit parks and places. Travel or even eat. My favourite food sitting in front of me on a plate looks like sand to me, I take one spoonful of it and I feel like puking. I feel full already. I don’t know then what I can do to build my energy up.
The session went on, I left the therapy room that day promising her that I will try.
Next day afternoon, I had the keys to my room in one hand, the cab calling from the street below, my bag on my shoulders, I was ready atleast from the outside to take off for a trip in a hope that it will help energize me. But then something happened. Something so strange and painful that I never thought I’d experience.
I asked the cab to cancel. I dropped the keys and my bag on the floor. I sat right next to the door, and felt as if someone had taken the soul out of me, wrung it and threw it away. I felt tears making their way down my eyes. I was silent like a grave.
I didn’t know what was going on in my body and brain. I didn’t know why I was crying. I didn’t know where to seek help from. I couldn’t gather anything happening. And this is how being in the shoes of someone suffering from one or multiple invisible illness can feel like.
But today, I am not here to talk about me. I am going to talk about the hundreds of people who reach out to me for help from different corners of our country. I am here to show you today a truth that our society is doing everything to keep from you. A truth that we know exists but don’t want to actually accept and come face to face with. The truth that we are not really there for people who matter to us.
I am no professional. But I have seen enough doctors, patients, read enough autobiographies of survivors, and technical books on mental health, lived 6 years with a chronic debilitating illness that I know pain is extremely common and it is pain afterall, no matter how small or big it might appear to you.
People, going through a broken heart or a broken limb, going through cancer or schizophrenia, caught with coronavirus or in the grips of depression, all are equally painful and need equal affection, care, love and professional help for the person to recover.
Now all that sounds extremely beautiful when I write about it but alarming when I look at how we are dealing with them in reality. The truth is painfully sad people and the truth is that if someone you know is suffering from any mental illness, you repel them. You think you ought not be around them, you think you will catch their illness too, funnily given how none of the mental illnesses are communicable in nature
We talk behind their backs, we stigmatise them collectively, we isolate them and make them feel even more miserable and helpless. In such a case, how exactly do you think you are being there and doing your part, how exactly do you think these people will reach out to you?
It’s sad. I know because I have felt it too and even feeling it now while writing this for you. I have a plethora of friends and family. I have fans who love my work and send me messages full of love and warmth. I have doctors and therapists who look after me in their own defined ways. But I feel utterly defeated. I have not had any food for days altogether. I have been in pain, both emotional and physical. I have been spending my nights crying, my head buried in my pillow, my legs drawn close to my chest. I have all the people around me who think perhaps that they are doing their part but I am in need of help and I see noone around whom I can ask and who will come, throw their arms around me, maybe cook for me or bring food, help me eat the damn thing. Tell me that I am worthy of love and I deserve to live. Give me the love that my illnesses have taken away from me.
Every so often, I pick my phone, I scroll my contacts list, I try a few numbers but I disconnect them before it rings because I know they will think I am just being desperate. That I am an attention seeker. That if I really wished I could suck it up and live like everybody else is doing. And I know I can’t. I know how much effort it takes for me to just be alive. I know they won’t understand because they think mental illnesses are unreal.
They think what’s not visible is just in the head and apparently head is just a place of imagination. Head is not the place where all memories, thinking, analysis and decisions are made. Head is not the place that actually controls your life. Head is not the place that secures most important organ in our body, the brain.
I get calls from people who are working in cities, away from home sometimes abroad, students who are doing everything to go on but can’t, I get calls from people whose families still think yoga and waking up at 5 am in the morning will cure them of whatever is happening with them. I get call from men elder than me, who break down while telling me how their OCD is so difficult and how they can’t even walk inside a mall, not having to live in the fear that the mall will collapse and they will die any moment. I get calls from little school boys whose teachers bully them for being fat, I get calls from men and women who are suicidal and their family thinks they are a burden to them.
I can go on. I have a heavy heart just thinking about the painful stories I carry in my heart of people who’ve confided in me. When I go to schools or gatherings to give a talk, people stick around me after the talk, tell me how their stories are similar to mine and how they feel helpless and close to giving up, many a times while in tears. There have been times when I have hugged these men and women and cried for hours together. But I hope you understand what I am coming at.
If you are someone who is doing, okayish in life. And if you are someone who has reached more or less where you want to and are thinking of how you can give back to the society. Please listen to those who are hurting. Be there for your friends and family. Take them towards professional help. Take care of the logistics. I don’t know how much it will matter to you but it will matter a world to those who are hurting like me and in most cases worst than me. We have surely reached close to a comfortable life but sacrificed human companionship along the way. Also just a fact worth mentioning here, helping people, listening compassionately releases oxytocin in your blood which is a feel good hormone. That’s why they say help yourself by helping others.
We have grown so far apart people that sometimes when our own friends and family members break down and commit suicides, we wonder what was it that they must have been hurting about. I don’t know who you are, reading this. I don’t know whether you have felt or have gone through any pain in your life. But people imagine going through pain, mental and emotional which also has physical symptoms, day after day after day. Imagine seeing tons of doctors and yet feeling like shit, imagine not getting proper sleep for months altogether, imagine not spending a day without fighting with suicidal thoughts, imagine how there are atleast 1 out of 4 people in every corner of the world who is going through in reality what you just imagined.
Suicide takes many lives, it leaves a ripple effect when someone we know kills themselves. Living a miserable life while looking perfectly normal isn’t a very good feeling people and that’s why many a times these people who are hurting go unnoticed. So I wish and hope that you will start really talking and compassionately listening to those dear to you. You will try to be there, really be there for a handful of people who lie in your close circle. Let’s take care of ourselves and our loved ones, let’s not live inside netflix and our phones more than we do around our own people. Let’s make it a little easier for those who are hurting profoundly at this very moment.
Strength and Love 💙
All that I have written is solely my perspective and out of what I have learnt while living with multiple illnesses and while trying to be there for strangers who are hurting and can’t reach out to their own people.
I hope my attempt to pen down a part of my thoughts helps to give you an insight on several of us who are hurting too and are not encouraged enough to talk about it.
I hope that you and your loved ones are well taken care of, but if you are not, please remember that I am here for you. Reach out to me on Insta or Facebook handle of Calm Insights at any hour of any day.
You are beautiful. You are worthy of love and light. Please keep yourself alive and please know that what you are feeling is real and serious, whether or not they believe in you.
I have started to cry again because I know people out there are hurting and hurting alone at that. Maybe I am weak. But look I am crying over the pain of millions of us who are suffering in silence, while most have lost the ability to feel at all.
Take care dear people, you can leave a comment down below if you have anything to share with me, your thoughts or other’s.
Please know that no matter who you are, I love you!