Must be you, Leo.

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You know what the funny thing is, though? I no longer remember exactly who I wrote this for. (It was written around October, last year)
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25 Things I’ve Learnt in the Last 25 Years.

I turned 26 last month. I don’t think I ever foresaw turning 26. I had a plan for 21. I knew what I wanted to do on my 23rd year. Heck, I even had a roadmap for 25. I sketchily remember a “Before 25” list I’d made when I turned 18. It was all accounted for, in my head. Goals, ambitions, adventures.

Now? I am at sea. I haven’t felt more listless at any point in the quarter life I’ve lived so far. (Also, can we not call this a quarter-life? The average life expectancy is no longer 100)

I’m not ready to come up with a To-Do list for the coming years yet. So, I’ll look back and try to find wisdom. Here’s a spontaneous thought exercise I am willing to do, for a change.

The 25 Lessons I Learnt By 25

(In random order)

  1. I am systematic. This took me a while to realize. I might appear chaotic, but there’s a method to the madness. I can sort through chaos but in essence, I’d like a plan.
  2. Family is important. They stick by you. No matter how different you might seem, you share the same genetic makeup.
  3. People are shortsighted. Some people prioritize personal gain over ethics and there’s nothing you can do about it.
  4. Friendships survive. Trust, they do. Also, I am blessed to have all of you in my life. Thank you. I would not have been half the person I am in my life if not for you lot.
  5. I suck at relationships. Not specifically romantic, all. I am so self-involved that it gets difficult for me to observe relation dynamics from a third-person POV.
  6. Life is beautiful. Magnifique! So glad I didn’t kill myself. (This is not even a joke)
  7. Vocalize. Always. Misunderstandings happen when you do not. No matter how close the person is to you, they still won’t be able to read your mind. Their EQ level could be off the charts, but it’s your responsibility to express your feelings if you want them addressed.
  8. I am among the group of people who need creative expression to survive on a daily basis. No matter what the outlet for creative expression, there needs to be one. Grateful to work a creative job. Definitely made the right decision. Starting out, I wanted to explore the editorial sector. Can’t imagine myself sitting and editing other people’s literary output long-term, without being allowed to contribute anything of my own.
  9. Perspective changes everything. As you grow, you learn. As you learn, the way you see the world undergoes a dramatic change.
  10. We make our society. You and me. Don’t like a custom? Change it. Don’t want to sit at the dinner table with your relatives making racial/homophobic comments? Call them out. Acknowledge your responsibility to the society.
  11. It’s necessary to have ego. It is the foundational block for a positive self-identity. However, an inflated ego is problematic and can create problems where there ought to be none.
  12. How to prioritize my health and listen to my body. To eat to satiate my appetite and no more. To drink alcohol only till I’m still self-aware and in possession of all of my senses.
  13. Exercise and intense physical activity is an easy way to enjoy an endorphin rush, free of cost. Plus, it keeps you in shape. Win-win.
  14. Drugs are not for me. (I still have a few I’d like to try and will, in time) The world is rich with so many colors and sights and smells and sounds. I don’t need substances to heighten my sensory perception. I feel all of the above intensely and with as much enjoyment without the use of any substance.
  15. Sisterhood is important. More women need to realize this. We need to stand up for each other. Also, a lot of men make for much better feminists than some women.
  16. People are essentially benevolent. For the longest time, I was suspicious of people and their intentions. It could largely have to do with the fact, that as a girl child, growing up in India, caution was drilled into me. Took me a while to unlearn this. I heartily believe that most people will provide to you, with the best of their ability, if you seek them out for help.
  17. People are the same world over. If you wish to communicate, you will find a way to. Again, I blame the schooling system. We learn about differences so much in our formative years. Class, caste, age, sex, ethnicity, language – nothing matters.
  18. Everything is political. Who knew, right? Your meal choice can define your politics. How wondrous.
  19. How to unlearn shame and be comfortable in my skin. I struggled with my sexuality when I definitively discovered it. When I started college, I experienced major social anxiety episodes because I was hyper aware of the “gaze”. I detested crowded situations. As the years passed and I eased into my self-identity (not just sexual), I no longer felt discomfited by crowds or socially anxious with other people.
  20. Travel refreshes you. Need insight? Travel. Also, very few educational experiences can parallel the lessons you pick up while on the road. Priceless. It doesn’t need to be expensive, either. Strictly referring to travel here. Tourism is an exercise in commerce.
  21. Not to take mental health lightly. The brain is a brilliant piece of work. It never sleeps, so to speak. You can program it. You can train certain neural pathways to form. Your behavior derives from it. Most of your tendencies are already set in place by the time you’ve crossed into adolescence. You can’t control your unconscious, but you can consciously think positively and strain it less.
  22. Marketing is everything in our society. Package and advertise well, it will sell.
  23. Money corrupts. As does any other vehicle of power. I am motivated to earn to sustain myself but I hold little value for money otherwise.
  24. You owe others less privileged than you, the courtesy of recognizing your own privilege. Society is classist. The least you can do, is acknowledge this classism.
  25. I am more driven than I thought I am. Almost disciplined even. Which is curious for me to observe, because I did not have a traditionally disciplined upbringing, so to speak. I was mostly left to my own devices.
-Finito-
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I’ve been in therapy for some 6 months now. And although I understand the format, it leaves much to be desired.

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Dear almost-lover,

Fleeting

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Supersonic

I wish I didn’t fall in love like an asteroid – everytime

free-falling with purpose – in the speed of light

blazing through the atmosphere,

headed for collision

against good sense.

But I fall in love like an asteroid

every time.

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Nope

I just spent the last couple hours on the Internet trying to find representations of BPD in art. Not much luck. I did rewatch “Girl, Interrupted” though. It’s literally the only acknowledged representation of Borderline Personality Disorder there is in mainstream media. That’s just disappointing. In the movie, which is actually based on author Susanna Kaysen’s memoir, the psych tells Susanna how not much is known about the disorder. We are about to step into 2020 and there’s still very little known for sure about the “disorder” notwithstanding the fact that it happens to be a rather common mental health diagnosis. A quick search on the Internet and all you’ll find are pejorative articles about how people with BPD are basically the devil’s spawn. The stigma is unimaginable. It’s also very real.

Like I’d mentioned back here, I was given the diagnosis of Cluster B for months (My prescription still says Cluster B) before my psychiatrist finally admitted that I have BPD. I finally went to a new shrink in my current city of residence and he too would not ask me outright if I had BPD. Instead, he went onto recite the diagnostic criterial symptoms from DSM and asked me to identify if I had any. At this point, I interrupted him and told him I had infact been given my BPD diagnosis a couple months back.

No doubt, there is a stigma around BPD patients among mental health practitioners. We are apparently notoriously difficult to treat as well as uncooperative. But if you have to talk about BPD in hushed voices everytime despite being a practising medical professional – you are adding to the stigma. It’s your responsibility to clear the air and lessen this very stigma.

Said psychiatrist who screened me most recently was quite surprised I held a regular job. I’m sorry if I didn’t live up to your expectation of however this disorder is supposed to manifest in a person. Unlike what popular consensus on individuals with BPD holds, I’m in no hurry to murder my ex because our relationship went sour. No, infact I’m quite functional. Admittedly, not good in the romantic relationship department. But I’ve a good number of healthy friendships. I’m very certain of who I am as a person. Infact, I’ve spent years trying to figure out exactly who I am. So no, I’ve a strong sense of identity. It’s not static as I believe identity shouldn’t be. You learn things as you go. You see the world differently and that’s perfectly okay. I definitely don’t feel empty. To the contrary, I’m enough. I’m content. I have cut in the past but I haven’t inflicted any physical self-harm in years now. I’m not suicidal. Reckless? Sure. Suicidal? No. I like life. Having seen death from such close quarters, I’ve never shared romantic notions of death like some of my peers did. I’m not promiscuous. I could go on.

Anyway, so this guy thinks I suffer from depression, like anxiety wasn’t enough. Most of you will think that’s okay as BPD is usually co-morbid with depression and anxiety. Except it’s not. I’ve had periods of grief and yes, depressive episodes too. But usually they’ve been spurred by external factors. I’ve always been more than able to cope with these. I will accept GAD as a separate diagnosis because social anxiety was very much a reality in my late teenage and early twenties. It no longer is but I do get the occasional panic attack. Depression though, not so keen. As somebody “suffering” from BPD, we are very susceptible to mood disorders. But we’re intense. So maybe your sadness is my depression.

For the longest time, I’d just define myself as “fucked up”. I was okay with it. I think I’d like to go back to that. I’m getting rather sick of all of these white-coats slapping me with a new diagnosis everytime I go visit. BPD is basically them saying, “Kid, you need help. There are way too many issues here.” An umbrella term for the fucked up, then. Why not?

It just goes to express my disappointment with the state of mental health care worldwide. If I’m honest, why should I even believe the DSM, right? It recognized homosexuality as a disease until the early 70s. Non-conforming behavior does not have to be a disorder. Maybe I’m just comfortable expressing my emotions. God knows, we are only allowed to express positive emotions in society. Like that isn’t unhealthy! Maybe I rely on my instinct to guide me. Why does impulsivity have to be pathologized?

Anyway, I’ve realized I’ve been focusing on my mental health a little more than I’d like on this blog. The point was to start a conversation about it. Not indulge in erasure. But now it seems to me like I’m fetishizing it and I don’t want to do that. So, I’ll be taking a break from this for a while. Maybe another post. I just needed to get this out. I wish there was more awareness and understanding about BPD in the world instead of this blind stigma. But hey, we’ll reclaim it bit by bit even if no one else will.

 

Love and Peace.

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Casual Alcoholism

Everybody’s got monsters they hide under their bed

I just shoved mine, in the basement below

And threw off the key somewhere I wouldn’t find it,

I threw out the key – so I would no longer have to know.

 

 

But my monsters are not the kind to keep silent

They kick up a racket come time, to time,

I drown out the noise with a bottle I keep handy

Half a bottle of rum – to drive the noise out of my mind.

 

 

I know better now than to have a fistfight with my demons

– Confrontation, can be a lethal thing,

Some habits die harder, than you could anticipate

Just like songbirds grow – accustomed to sing.

 

 

Everybody’s got monsters they hide under their bed

I shoved mine in the dark recesses below

Now the iceberg’s melting, faster than I can take a step

The iceberg’s melting – and I have nowhere to go.

 

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I dare you

Love with such intensity

       that love cowers to leave

Pull, at the draw strings,

of the story.. that fate weaves

I’ve learnt how to keep – the poetry alive

So, hurl your darkness at me,

and watch me survive.

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March, 2019

“Things outside you are projections of what’s inside you, and what’s inside you is a projection of what’s outside. So when you step into the labyrinth outside you, at the same time you’re stepping into the labyrinth inside.”

― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

 

 

 

 

 

 

I finally finished this book after struggling with it for nearly 2 + months. Needless to say, it has left me devastated. I’m not very fond of magic realism as a genre or Murakami, the author. But this book really drew me in and spit me out.

To live life like a metaphor. Could there be anything more melancholic than that?


		
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