All my upcoming series or at least most of my works will be named after the year, in which the images were made like the last two 2019 and 2020-2022- Barely Surviving. My latest works, will be 2022-…the rest will be revealed when I exhibit the works next year. Hopefully, next year one should be able to show a lot more more work.
Two patients who were admitted to the Institute of Mental health in Chennai- Deepa and and P Mahendran, will be getting married this Friday.
Mahendra had a tussle over property issues with his relatives and Deepa after the loss of her father, had to endure rejection from her mother and sister. Somehow, they both ended up at the Institute and after a few months of their treatment were sent to a ‘halfway home’.
Since, they both had nowhere else to go, they found love and employment at the Institute. If you go through Jordan Paterson’s videos, though he is considered enemy number 1 by the Western feminists, a lot of what he says about mental health issues, is spot on. According to him, before you declare that a person is unwell, make sure that everything around them is fine. If they’ve lost a job, are grieving, have no hopes for love, they’re not necessarily unwell but under stresses caused by their environment that they’re unable to manage. Many a times, the removal of the triggers will make their life much more pleasant and productive. Stress management and managing trigger points is the key to a better life for everyone including someone who does have a disorder.
Love, they say makes the world a better place. God knows but hope definitely, does. Umeed pe duniya kayam he, aur kissi ki umeed banjao, to kyaa baat he! Here’s hoping they have a fabulous life, one might not be able to find love but we at a 100 pieces of me…love…love and live for a good love story. Cheers.
One recently saw a play- Strictly Unconventional , about marriage which touched upon various topics like polyandry, closeted queer and complicated straight relationships, a sexless relationship, the ignorance and targeting transgender couples deal with and a lesbian couple dealing with mental health issues. Of course, as is done in films, like the recent Chup and Dhoka ( imagine, in one week, I saw all three with a friend. Thankfully, Hritik toned down the seriousness for us, in Vikram Vedha) the dramatisation of the patient’s behaviour was a bit much, as the symptoms of a couple of disorders were muddled together, to make the whole thing look more interesting. To be fair, if you were to read bits and pieces of my report you wouldn’t know if I have PTSD, BPD or am just too depressive by nature. Although, I started to weep, while watching that particular part, which made my companion very uncomfortable and the girl sitting behind me, angry. ‘How can they be so insensitive?’ she remarked. It’s so charming how easily youth is enraged. 20 year olds are my favourite people for this reason.
Nevertheless, it was refreshing to see mental health issues being discussed in the arts and becoming a part of everyday conversations. I don’t know if it helps with the stigma or if it changes the ground reality as of now but one has hopes the younger lot will be more clued in! As mental health issues rise in the US and around the world, steadfastly, this is going to be something everyone needs to take cognisance of, as soon as possible. A very interesting book, one’s reading at the moment- The End Of Mental Illness, is about combatting mental health problems with other alternatives to anti depressants.
Let me share a few insights, that seem doable. Daniel G Amen, suggests taking vitamins and fish oil, regularly. Eating healthy- limiting the intake of low fibre, processed foods and artificial sweeteners. Exercising and following a spiritual practice. Detoxifying your body, drinking enough water. Correcting low thyroid function. Consuming probiotics and developing a brain warrior way ( you are in a war for the health of your brain). Getting your hormone levels checked. Checking the triggers in the environment, that perpetuate your problems. Avoiding – stress, lack of sleep, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, missing meals and excessive screen time. Sleep does make a huge difference. One oscillates between too much or too little, when one is disturbed. Gymming helped regulate my sleep, quite a bit. Socialising apparently helps, well, I’m mostly uncomfortable around most humans. I’m most peaceful by myself. But apparently it does wonders for a lot of people, is good for their mental well being, even increases their life span. Anyhow, see if it helps.
I love weekends. They give me a legitimate reason to stay away from a place I find little joy, returning to. As the workers, go about running the machines, one gets to finish pending orders, plan, introspect, read and sleep. After they leave today, by five the lights will be switched off and one will gaze out at nothing, drift in and out of sleep and wake up slightly chirpier in the morning. Although, I seem to be forgetting what that really sounds like these days. Note to self- dance as frequently as possible.
Anyhow, one digresses. There was an interesting article about Deepika Padukone and her foundation that helps people with mental health issues- Live Love Laugh. The article states that the role of the caregiver is very important and in her case, it was her mother who figured out that she was depressed. Well, if you are lucky to have sensitive people around you, that’s good. But even if you aren’t and you feel like a mess, much can be done. In my case, since I’m masochistic and have suicidal thoughts, the minute I started ideating about death, I sought help. I even dragged my ass to a clinic, to get my psychological profiling done. One’s had the privilege of witnessing one’s mother’s life and one would rather not have a rescuer ( although, to be honest, one does have someone who will show up when one sounds too terrible and SC, loves it. I guess despite my anti social ways, one’s human). For now, one would rather be in control of one’s own mental, physical and emotional well being.
It’s a tricky thing, though. One day, you feel you’re better and suddenly out of the blue, after a decade of no masochistic acts, you’re slashing your arm, after being being triggered. It’s freaking frightening, to be honest. But once you figure out what or who triggers you, you can counter it. A friend spent ten days with me, countering the criticism one deals with on a regular basis. It helped, the way, my teacher would, countering the criticism with appreciation and the hate with tenderness and understanding. My teacher saved my life, otherwise I would have been dead by eighteen! This one doesn’t get my gratitude, though, just, ‘ I don’t need, nobody! Don’t try to be my father!’
Unfortunately, he doesn’t take my silence, and withdrawals seriously. In fact, my silence is met with lots of questions about my well being, my withdrawal with incessant calls and the latter with laughter and ‘you behave just like my two year old niece!’ So, I guess, I do have a caregiver- not technically, not someone who takes me for my sessions or insists I take my meds ; someone who is neither a family member nor a spouse. But someone who believes I can manage everything on my own yet watches me like a hawk and shows up when he thinks, I’m spiralling out of control and need some food, sunlight, laughter and dancing. I guess, we all need a caregiver, someone who cares about our well being. Not just when we are sick but on a regular basis. Caregivers come in different forms, I’m glad I have one.
A week’s gone by…in an attempt to escape reality for a few hours a day, one’s overdosed on entertainment- four movies and two plays later, with the one—my mum insisted was the only person who can ‘ handle me’, most think I’m eloping with and my pops wishes I would just marry. But can you ever escape your own reality? Naaa, one invariably ended up watching stories of people with mental illnesses. Sent a shiver down my spine. ‘Snap out of it! Snap out it before you go absolutely cuckoo!’ I tell myself. I look in the mirror and someone I don’t recognise stares back at me…a sadder, hopeless version of me, just going through the motions. Get up, go for work, drive, eat, sleep and repeat!
‘ Get out of your den’ ‘ Do your hair!’ ‘Smile! Please smile just a little bit!’ he says as we pose for a picture. A photograph is worth a thousand words? Ahh, don’t we wish! Anyway, it’s not so bad, being around someone for large chunks of time, just going about the business of living. May be addictive. It’s starting to dawn on me, why people require company in life, it’s nice to have someone in your corner. One’s too used to one’s aloneness and too much of coward, to get too comfortable, though. Last, few days, I should try harder. Mask on…baby doll.