Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Shrink Tales #1: On Losing Control

Apart from making me fall in love with the place Kolkata brought a lot of changes in me. I started cooking. Started liking washing clothes. Planted plants. Kept my side of the room clean always. My cupboard was probably the best in the whole of the institute with all clothes ironed and folded neatly into stacks. I took care of documents. Made different compartments in my drawers for a variety of them. If my roommate had something she thought was important she would ask me to keep it lest she lost it. It was the same with family. I was the keeper of things.

So when i went to the psychiatrist and he asked Sethuvamma to keep the prescription from me i was enraged. I was no longer in control. He said that the medicines had to be supervised and given to me. I was a sick person there. Ironically that made me sick (further?).

I was given anti depressants and mood stabilizers. It made me sleep. My lover google gave me a lot more of side effects for them which included weight gain and minor tremors. I was given the exact dosage every night. I hated it.

I fought with my folks for the prescription. I had to keep it safely some place. That was my only goal then. A sheet of paper with writing which was mostly illegible. White like hospitals and just as bland. After the visit to the psychiatrist i was somebody who couldn't hold a goddamn paper. I cried. I shouted. I was irritable. Sullen, i went to the psychologist the next day.

Ms Mullick asked me if i was happy or sad. I said i was confused. Said that i was busy pretending to be happy in front of family that i had no time to think if i was actually sad. She laughed. She asked us all to devise a method by which we could let each other know how we were feeling without hurting or being irritable. If i was not in a mood to talk i would just have to message saying that. She asked me to message her whenever i was extremely happy or sad.

I have been thinking of my death since i was 17. From then i have had elaborate plans of my end. Like directing a powerful scene which made me tense and excited at the same time i have been doing a shot breakdown of it for the longest time. To this Ms. Mullick asked me to try and visualize life whenever the fantasy of death rose in me. I wish it were as easy as saying it. It is not. I don't think i will ever be able to do that. Life bored me to death. Almost literally.

My masochism started much earlier. I remember when i was in class 7. Gee who lived half a kilometer away from my house and i went to math tuition together. For me 85% was a bad score. I always had to be first in class, a straight A student. You know what they say about math. That was the paper in which you could get a 100%. I had to get that. I didn't, once. Gee had scored poorly too. She said she was going to jump in front of a truck and end her life. I thought of it and it sounded like the right thing to do. I said it was better that she we slit our wrists. She agreed. We bought razor blades. We took the short cut to home. The one which had the lone house with a well. Mango and Jamba trees (water cherry) in the compound. Deserted. There was a bridge of coconut tree trunk. It was there in the midst of all that green that we counted to three and i made an earnest slit on my wrist as Gee, the traitor watched suppressing her horror or smile, whichever it was that i didn't understand.

Gee was a liar. I was a fool. From the next day she started threatening me with the incident. She spoke of it to her mother and to my math tutor. From there it went to Sethuvamma. I don't remember what happened at home after that. I was spared from the thrashing that i would have got for the unimpressive 85% but that was a huge price to pay for the embarrassment.That was how i realized i could slit wrists without cutting the vein. Till then from all the Malayalam films i had watched i always thought that a razor blade swipe was death. Remember one shot in which Mammootty did it and a lot of blood splattered on the wall. My wrist is worn out from scars and has given up protesting. She sent me a watch with a butterfly. She said that it would beat with my heartbeat. I don't know if it will. When i had to take a photo of it i went to Deep, a junior from cinematography and asked him to click it because my camera had stopped working. I asked him to click in a way that the butterfly was seen and the marks on my wrist weren't. It was impossible. I put it on my right wrist where the marks were less in number and could be hidden by the watch. He flipped the photo so that it looked as if it was the left hand on which i wore watches. My time was upside down. It was better than my time being up. Even pictures were hard when you were in pain.

She gave me a watch. Photo: Deep

Ms Mullick asked me to practise three self soothing methods when in pain. Scribbling with red ink pen on paper, tightly clenching ice cubes in both hands or taking an ice cold shower. Scribbling would be the easiest for me. Sethuvamma even bought me a red ink pen and said something silly of how she thought i was looking for one. Everyone wanted me to be okay. Everyone also kept prescriptions from me.

Ms Mullick said that it was not a matter of trust and that it was just that sometimes you had to do what your doctor said. My session was almost over. I didn't know when tears started rolling down. 'Yeah, i know. It's just that i was always the one who kept things safe [here Kunju Thalona and Sethuvamma nodded eagerly]. It's okay, i guess i am sick. People keep things from sick people', I said and we left. I cried, shouted and later slept my way through all the Lithium i was given. I write this so that people who are sick like me can may be feel they are not alone. Not that it helps. It doesn't me. I write this because i don't know what else to do.

Shrink Tales #2: In Which i Told my Shrink That it was Okay and That it Happened Sometimes

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