Depression is not the absence of happiness, it is the absence of vitality.
Real depression isn’t being sad when something in your life goes wrong. Real depression is being sad when everything in your life is going right.
Seeking answers to questions
- What do I know? What I am knowledgeable about?
- What skill do I have? What am I good at? What marketable skill do I really have?
- What do I like to do? What interests me?
…and that elusive combination of the visual Venn diagram of the above questions wherein lies my career sweet spot.
And in my moments of vulnerability and depression, the answers I get are
- I don’t really know anything, well enough. I know many things but I have no specialization.
- I don’t really have any specific skills. Nothing really marketable. I have grown to my level of incompetence.
- I don’t want to do anything. Nothing really interests me, nothing that can earn me money.
Where do I turn to to find answers, to find inspiration, to find motivation, to go beyond going though the motions in my career? Good sense tells me I will find all answers within me. But what if I don’t like those answers? What if I want to change those answers? Where do I get the strength to do that? Yeah yeah, that’s also all inside me. Oh fuck it !!!!! This whole ‘it’s all inside me’ thinking isn’t helping, even though it is most logical. The signs of burnout keep returning more frequently now.
With the latest death penalty victim, Yakub Memon, there’s a lot of debate on whether there should be death penalty or not. I am not going to add to the debate. It is an endless debate. But the episode with all the media hoopla around it and a discussion around it got me thinking about Death.
Come to think of it, in life, death itself is certain. No one is immortal, at least not yet, and each one of us is destined to die one day for sure. And yet death is completely unpredictable. One could die any moment due accident or heart failure, or live a long life of more than a hundred years. No one can predict when one will die. Now think of this from the viewpoint of a person on death penalty. The person knows exactly when he/she will die, the date and time of his/her death is predictable (well almost). Imagine living like that. Three days from now, at 7:00am you will die. Just living through that is a creepy harsh punishment.
The rot didn’t set in one fine day. I don’t know when it started but I think many years ago. The signs were visible but the rot had not fully surfaced. Before the rot could surface fully, I got a reprieve. The change renewed me without my knowing it. The momentum continued for a few years but it didn’t last too long. The rot started to set in again.
The rot of depression, of total lack of interest, the rot of emptiness inside, the rot of helplessness, the rot of feeling of not being in control, the rot of not wanting to take control of my life, the rot of not achieving anything, the rot of complete lack of creativity, the rot of just letting it all go, the rot of being unsocial, the rot that eats you from within and leaves you hollow and empty.
The remedies are not unknown if only I would use them. But no, I am not using them. I know all the pep talk, all the tips and tricks, all the right things that one needs to do in a state like this. I could meditate, pray, take up a hobby, exercise, read, do something creative, go on a holiday, or some shit like that. But I don’t.
I do have a convenient reason to put the blame on someone else, but I also know that’s just fooling myself. At the end of the day, it’s my life and I gotta take control of it.
Perhaps the rot hasn’t completed eroded me. Perhaps it should before I completely come out of it. I am dangerously heading in that direction. Something inside me tells me to just let it all go, give everything up. But by internal alarm systems are holding me back. It’s the same risk averse system that holds me back from doing many other things, and it’s just letting me continue in my rot. My system won’t let me live and it won’t let me die (figuratively).
There used to be a time when I could be a sponge and soak up all the emotional vomit I encountered, wipe it clean from one place without affecting me. Not anymore. I think my sponge has become full. I can’t take negativity anymore. I can’t clean up the emotional vomit. I feel like puking myself, getting violent thoughts. My system is refusing to hear negativity. I want to shout back, shout shut the fuck up at the top of my lungs. I want to raise my voice, I want hit my head against the wall.
I didn’t do any of those things. The negativity was contained once more. But it leaves me depressed, it leaves me scarred. And the roots of negativity still remain. I know it will appear again and again. And I will lose my cool again one day. Coz I just don’t want to deal with negativity again.
So from what I understand, this Devyani Khobragade – Sangeeta Richard case is about a maid who was getting Rs. 30K per month but claiming she should be getting about three times that.
The US – India diplomatic ties being strained because of this, and rightly so. Whatever said and done, Devyani is in the US on a official passport and the “crime” doesn’t warrant the treatment meted out.
And then there’s the issue of mistreatment of the maid. Sure we should treat this in the context of the country where these two were at that time, but should we also not treat this in the context of salary levels in the country these two people belonged. At the end of the day it’s all about money. I am not aware of the full facts, but hey the whole world is speculating and so I might as well too. Have you ever heard of a maid getting Rupees Thirty Thousand even when it is full time live in maid? To me this does seem like a case of money and trying to get into a foreign country on the promise to make a better life. Doesn’t seem like the “caste” and “class” case made out to be.
There are the usual arguments that we in India don’t value life, one segment constantly exploiting the other segment. In my view, in today’s urban Indian situation, it really is a case of demand and supply in the labour market. There are just more people available and that are ready to take up jobs for long hours. While we lament the middle class for exploiting the “poor”, at least in urban India, I haven’t seen anyone putting a gun on anyone’s head to take up jobs. The “poor” are completely free to walk away, and many do. I am not saying there are absolutely no cases of exploitation. Sure there might be, but then those are specific criminal cases. One cannot use those to generalize the alleged exploitation. India fundamentally is still socialist at heart. The media roots for the “poor” all the time so much so that it’s almost scary to make money the honest way.
Recently I spent some time alone. No phone calls, no messages with anyone I know. Just time with myself and a whole lot of strangers on the streets. I went alone, saw a movie alone, had a beer in a restaurant alone, and walked the streets alone.
It’s not that I haven’t been alone earlier. I spent quite some time living all by myself in a different city. It took me a few months to adjust to an empty house and to lonely weekends. And then I found new hobbies, new friends, new ways to get around. But this one was different. I was alone by choice, getting away from it all, whatever that “it” was. But you know what, spending the time alone was good. It was good to just be with myself. I should do it again sometime, and spend some time with myself.