Saturday, 7 October 2017

I Like to Laugh | Shrink Tales

In this one, Ish told me that the fact that i was interacting better with my colleagues was definitely a good sign. It meant that my depression was wearing away. When she said that it was because i was working hard, i felt good. Proud of myself. We also spoke about the stigma attached to mental health. She told me that people sometimes were apprehensive about even sharing the contact details of a therapist because it would raise the question of how they had come to have it in the first place. In that context i felt that it was great that i decided to write about therapy when in Kolkata. Remembered Sri  asking me for the therapist’s number and later saying that i was insane. Yet, it felt good. Maybe not everyone might be able to do that. 

Then we spoke about my eating habits. She asked me when the comments about my body had started. The earliest memory i had of it was when sister Jaseena, the nun who sat at the office of my school asked me jokingly if i was eating all of my sister’s food. Because she was thin and i was fat. This must have been when i was in 3rd or 4th standard. 
Mother’s comments about my body. The yelling sessions where she would call me a fat thing that was good for nothing – this during and around puberty. The teachers who made comments on the clothes i wore. Mother who did the same. 

She asked me what i felt when i thought of these instances. I felt indignant. It was not my fault. And it was not fair on their part to speak like that. I never even knew that i was what was called ‘fat’ till these people told me. Like how i didn’t know i was dark complexioned till people started ‘joking’ about it. 

I remembered my then best friend telling me that she chose to walk with me because i was darker than her and therefore less attractive. Somehow the taunts regarding my complexion stopped affecting me by 17. May be because a forty year old man ‘took interest’ in me.  I felt like crying. Some people who are not even close to me got to decide how my life would be later on. Without even realizing it. That was just not right, i felt. 

I noticed that i didn’t feel angry about my mother. She did do damage to me and i am trying to repair it but at least she was close to me. From birth i had given the right to her to hurt me. What about strangers! What right had they to pass comments on my body.
Ish asked me if inji was thin. No, i told her. 

I thought of the dreams i get about people telling me that i have put on weight. That’s the most scariest sentence ever in my life. And it was pathetic. Ish reminded me how we were always hard on ourselves. I left my office group because they were constantly engaging in fat shaming etc. [Of other people. Because random people you find on internet can be fat shamed.] Yet in my own life i was chasing numbers on the weighing scale. I am not underweight but i would love to be. In fact my aim is to be underweight. That would be apt revenge on all those people who called me fat, i felt.

During the week i did think a lot about these problems about appearance that i was worried about. How it had come to matter so much to me. Like what Ish said, it was not possible for everyone to even judge me. Yet, i always felt i was being judged. The saddest part, i think is that i don’t want to break away from it. Years of experimenting with my body has taught me a thing or two about it and the only thing i can do is to stick by it even if it is unhealthy. I am always constipated and got my first piles this year but i am willing to pay that price. 
I am willing to not have a baby because that would mean that i’d have to quit smoking and eat healthy. My priorities are definitely muddled but i don’t think much about it because i have sort of made peace with it. 

Happy that my conversations with mother are improving. Maybe i am really helping her. Hope in Hadiya case. The group of women [fighting for her] gives me so much strength. 

From the previous session, there is something Ish said in passing. That she had to make sure that ‘it’ didn’t come back to me. That was when i realized that there was a possibility like that. From the age of 17 i had always thought that depression, suicide attempts and self destruction was going to be my cycle. In 2015 when i popped all those sleeping pills and survived, the first realization that i had was that that was how i was going to die and that there was no escaping that. But here was a woman who was talking about not making it come back, like it was her job. I didn’t even know that that was part of her job. And because i trust women doing their jobs, i felt hope. It might mean that this sadness that i thought was part of me would not be there anymore. But then i thought of priorities. What did i want, romanticising depression or less number of cuts on my wrist. 

Plus, i feel good when i laugh. There was a time in SRFTI hostel when people actually asked me why my laughter was not resounding in corridors anymore. (Because my laughter is another weird thing about me.) It feels much better to laugh than to prepare oneself for some scarring so that you can escape the sadness. 

My question for the session – is it actually possible to eradicate depression forever from a person’s life? Does PTSD include forgetting names and other things i forget? Is there anything i can do about that? 

Free Hadiya: This group of women have provided unimaginable comfort to me over the past weeks. We will not rest till we #FreeHadiya. Wish someone took this news to her.

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