Personal Writings XII: Oblivion

When I posted here last, I ended with writing that I wanted to be let to drown. It was the worst time in my life, and I was already underestimating how long that was going to last. I traveled to the U.S., naïve and anxious, hoping I could escape from my heartbreak by changing continents. As if one can travel away from heartbreak! I’ve often wondered since whether I would be in a different place had I stayed in Budapest and received therapy immediately instead. I cannot attempt to convey fully what has since followed. This piece will do it no justice, but I must write this out.. out… writing is therapeutic sometimes, and at this moment my mind’s unafraid about how much I let…out. Maybe it will help you, who ever you are, if you’re going through something like this.

 

***

December: grief, tears, denial, pleading, rejection, emptiness. January: grief, tears, pain, pain. February: grief, tears, hopelessness, self exile. Now pain is of a different nature- less fluid and more settled, less pricking and more numbing, and more predictable- but not entirely. It greets me in the morning when I wake up, when I have energy to wake up in the mornings that is. I realized when the panic attacks stopped, that it had decided to nest instead and brought along unwelcome friends too: anxiety, isolation, confusion, and the most menacing of the group, depression. Now these demons loiter in streets I frequent, wait until I turn corners and then join me in my walk. I go sit by the Danube and they observe me as I observe the river. They eat from my plate and drink from my cup. They used to go into hiding when I indulged in the rare social event, but now they stand proudly beside me, mock me, cognizant of every shame I’ve felt, hours I’ve cried away, the self-destructive paths I’ve pursued, unabashedly sacrificed self-love for the love of another. Perhaps you can understand if you’ve been through or are going through some version of what I’m talking about now. I can write now because I’ve briefly broken through like a stalagmite, I must seize this opportunity while it lasts.

***

There exists that one very obvious cause of the pain. But this, this loss, is not to matter so much as is the Pandora’s box effect it caused. See, from this pain of heartbreak erupted a multitude of other pains that had been waiting in the dark for a very long time. Has it just been three long months? No, I’ve felt this peculiar darkness before, but I didn’t have any understanding of how to respond to it. I just kept pushing this malaise, every bother, under the carpet. Until December came. This darkness is undeniably painful in its refusal to diminish. Undeniably powerful in its effect on me- I can scarcely remember who I once was, safety and stability feel alien concepts, my being changed as I lost capacity and concept of who I was and how I was to be, what was real and what I was projecting. And undeniably repugnant for changing my concept of time to one of oblivion so one neither sees nor feels there is a way out- depression has removed all conditions of possibility.

***

There was no making sense of it. There is no making sense of this. I was grasping with intense rage what ever lay around me- every value, every understanding of myself and people around me, of place, of time was, and in many ways remains, in flux. I felt singled out. Everything was now up for question- I couldn’t believe that my God could- would- cause me so much pain. I couldn’t believe, really just believe, that God would take the one very thing so dear to my heart. I refused to believe in this God. I didn’t deny he still existed, I was just so angry at his … wrath towards me. I refused to talk to him. My religious education had blinded me to this quality of his. People told me this was exactly the time when I needed to go to him for help. But how could I when he was causing me so much pain? It wasn’t just the intensity of pain which engulfed my thoughts, I was in torment because this pain stood outside the concept of time, towards an end, oblivious to even respite. My concept of time changed, so when people told me, in goodwill and sometimes out of ignorance, ‘things will get better with time,’ ofcourse it didn’t logically make sense. They didn’t see that the illness had changed my concept of time to one of oblivion.

***

Sometimes I’d come out and talk to people around me- Once I got past some of the shame that is attached with the word. I got past it by not caring. That’s another story altogether. Anyway, some preached. Many offered unsought solutions. I never asked for solutions. Some dismissed my pain, some blamed me for my pain. Most listened, out of genuine concern and love. But they couldn’t protect me from what was happening inside me, and I didn’t want them to either. I didn’t want to be saved, I didn’t…don’t… want to again make myself so very vulnerable, an open book, thrown into a category, equated with something, boxed. I exist beyond these limitations.

***

I began to hate seeing myself accommodate my misery, and then I began to hate myself more knowing that people around me were watching me disintegrate, rejoin, then break again. I felt everyone was watching me.  I was a violent work-in-progress. Sometimes I had the odd feeling that the furniture in my room too was watching me. It is the most peculiar thing to say, I know, and I couldn’t understand it then but I felt it, and I understand now: see, I felt naked consistently. I wasn’t being watched by people or furniture, rather I had become perfectly aware of myself and my condition. Fear of displaying vulnerability and being hurt again made me hyper conscious. Another process began to occur at the same time: I became dangerously independent. Dangerous because this kind of independence occurred out of the conviction that I didn’t need to be saved by anyone, which was of course terrible because I was… am… afflicted with something who’s antidote is also what has led to it: human connection. But the sense of exile, which depression descended on me months ago without my wishes, has made alienation and isolation feel like…embracing my fate. After the initial sense of relief people’s concern brought, conversations began to plummet me further into feelings of isolation. It is a rare thing, I realized then and I know now, to find some one who will sit with your pain for an extended period, to whom you are open too, who is physically around… Anyway. I imposed a kind of self-exile. It is paradoxical in nature, smothering and liberating simultaneously. Maybe that’s what this disease does to you. First, it throws you into a dark, suffocating room, and then convinces you that that is home.

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