Monday, 24 July 2017

Trying to Live: Mental Illness and Cure

It is so difficult. I don't want to do or say anything on Facebook because i got a lot of friend requests after i attempted suicide. On the one hand there are people who say that I attempted suicide to invite attention to myself. On the other hand is me, trying to manage the attention and failing. Nobody seems to understand how horrible it feels. I can't share my stupid thoughts, the ones that make me laugh. I don't like posts anymore. I don't share them. I feel i am being observed, all the time. 'See what the girl who attempted suicide is doing.'

Here, in Bombay, in my building, on another floor live a couple who were my seniors in film school. A lot of film school seniors visit them. Most of them hated me when i was in SRFTI. I am scared that they'll see me laugh. I shudder. My smile or laughter stops midway. I stagger a bit. If they see me laugh, that would be enough for them to spread the word that i was making everything up. Some have been doing that already.

It's a good thing that modern medicine is here. We have anti-depressants. I am amazed at the power of these. Before, i would get crying spells. Everything seemed negative to me. My work, my relationship, my love - everything. Now i am positive about everything. A bit more than normal, i sometimes suspect. There is nothing in my life to feel happy about and yet i am never sad.

Today, 23rd July, 2017, i went to a psycho therapist. I was referred there by my psychiatrist. Yes, it's all going to start once again, blogging about my sessions with the shrink, being called 'mentally ill' and therefore not to be taken seriously. I still remember these words from a fellow student's complaint against me.

'Also the complainant Kunjila Mascillamani is mentally unfit. She has tried committing suicide, is under psychiatric treatment and is self destructive. She has written so herself in her blog posts. Yet her statements are being taken. And she is free to roam about. She is writing complaints and lodging FIRs on a daily basis. This shows how mentally unstable she is.'

So, the mentally unstable I went to my psycho therapist, Ish, to find some stability. I went with Vai Vow, with whom i now live in Bombay. When my psychiatrist referred me to Ish, i smiled a bit because the name was Bengali. I like anything and everything that reminds me of Kolkata. I also hoped she wouldn't be expensive. I am trying hard to save money because people told me that that's what one did when one had a job. That's not going to happen any time soon because the therapy is expensive.

The first session, usually longer than others to follow, cost me Rs. 2300. The sessions to come would cost me Rs. 1500 each. It is a huge amount for me. I got really worried when i heard the charges and am still in two minds if i should continue the treatment. More than that, i am deeply worried about the state in our country where treatment for problems like mine come at such a huge price. This ensures that only a certain class and to a large extent, caste of people get good treatment. I am a privileged one even though i am trying to make both ends meet. I can at least consider getting help. The majority in this country can't.

Workplace: why is medical help so expensive in this nation? For the work i do, i have been told by experienced people that i earn the best in the industry. Still, with visits to the psychiatrist and therapist, it would be difficult for me. 

When i spoke to Ish, i felt calm. There was no crying, like the last time. I recounted some of the episodes in my life surrounding suicide attempts and abuse. When i mentioned my attempts at life, Ish asked me when i had attempted it. At what time of the day. She asked me if i was alone in my house when i did it and also when my mother would have returned. These questions made me feel that she was trying to find out if my suicide attempts were genuine or just techniques to make people listen to me. 'Attention seeking,' as SRFTIans called it.

I told her that Kunju Thalona and I weren't speaking anymore. I told her that the reason was that i had told her that she was abusive. When i explained how she was abusive, i felt that Ish did not consider it abuse.

When she asked me what i sought from therapy, i drew a blank. I was expecting Ish to tell me what she was going to do with me. When she said that she was going to try and understand or make me understand why i had this long chain of abusive relationships, i was relieved. I felt grateful to her. A problem i had analyzed by myself over and over again. Found no answer except that i was addicted to abuse in some way and that i had to keep falling back to it. I had stashed it in a anteroom in my head. It did not need probing for now, i had told myself. This was only because my relationship with Vai Vow was not abusive. It was a miracle as far as my history was concerned.

But when i heard how much it was going to cost, i immediately fell back into self pity. Mind went back and forth several times. The thoughts kept recurring throughout the week. I sometimes felt like asking for an appointment at the earliest, excited about solving my problem with abuse. Then i would think of my dentist's appointment that never happens. About my middle class worries. How i wasn't even able to buy Vai Vow a new phone.

How did Sethuvamma manage money. I have no clue.

I might ask for the nearest appointment. But Rs. 1500 is around 16 cigarette packets.

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