Posted in Of Psyche

Of Mood Swings

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Tomorrow is the last of my summer holidays. I managed to get more than I expected. I promised myself I’ll do a solid week, but I got a few more days off. I was desperate for this holiday especially, not because it is proper tropical hot (as it should be), but because I was really tired. I have bad knees, and I felt like I needed to let them rest for a good few days. But, that wasn’t what I had really planned. Who plans for anything as drab and sensible as that? It’s the summer, we need to have the big, commercial, kitschy, television advert version of it! We need to be doused in coloured ice, go off in any old place as long as it is a place you don’t call ‘home’ and do all manner of happy things. What I did was, eh, nothing.

I don’t talk a lot about mental health these days here, mainly because I don’t have anything interesting to say. It’s like an old marriage, me and my mind. We have separate bedrooms, but we awkwardly bump into each other all day long, bicker over the tiniest things, and he naughtily hammers at my wall or puts on lounge music too loud at night as I’m trying to sleep. The only respite I have from him is when I don’t think about him.

But, because all my plans and enthusiasm for these few days of freedom fell flat, we got to see more of each other. I didn’t know it was possible to doze off several times a day, even when you have huge headphones on, blasting contemporary dance music that makes you want to pull your eyelashes out. I know what I’ll do in a life-threatening situation. Escape into some nightmare that validates Freud all over again. Who needs real danger when your unconscious has a haunted castle full of them?

You’d think I’d get some work done, and I have a lot lined up, since I can’t do fun. But, I did even less of that. Apart from clenching my teeth while having round-the-clock nightmares, I don’t know what I did. I could have had fun. I could have called up people, had a day or two out even if I didn’t get to go away properly. But, it’s always been all or nothing for me. I’ve had days like these, in every shape and form, forever. Days when I just switch off from civilization. When I don’t even want to acknowledge my own humanity. Days that are defined by anxious, pessimistic thoughts of the future, densely tangled regrets of the past and confirmatory self-disgust during the present. I don’t know how Alexander Selkirk, real-life inspiration for Robinson Crusoe and the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away, survived for so long by himself. I can’t do a day in my own flat.

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Photo by Denniz Futalan on Pexels.com

But, it’s not as easy as picking up a phone or dropping by somebody’s place or making some effort at communication. You can’t always that. I’m more fueled by unpleasant interactions than harmless ones. Friction is the very stuff of life, and sometimes, my personality is all the stimulus I can take. I don’t feel prepared for the unpredictability of another, even if, or especially if, they are a loved one.

And if there are people out there reading this who think it’s all in my head (which, technically, it is) and that having a mood disorder isn’t real, let me share with you just one physical ramification of this. A few years ago, I was working from home and couldn’t muster the energy to go out during the day. Not even pull the curtains, because the sunlight might give me the strength to go out, but the moment I’m on the street, I’ll know it to be a bad idea. I’d only get enough energy to go out at night (cue the vampire jokes), and by and by, I developed severe Vitamin D deficiency. I struggled with it on and off, until I developed certain conditions which haven’t been cured even when I’m supplemented. All the chronic pain makes me want to not go out even more, and Vitamin D deficiency causes a further lowness of spirits.

Even if your mood swings to a more positive side, the very nature of the mechanism makes you swing back again. I really want to make some major changes in my life this year, which is very challenging for me, because I find change very hard. I’ll adjust to anything after a while, and then it is difficult to let go. When I’m more upbeat, I get further with my plans, only to dismantle them when I’m low. I’ve realised that while I’m not inoculated to any criticism I receive, it generally pales in comparison to the self-loathing I so actively practise. And I really want these changes, at least for a while. I think they will be good for me, just to see how I can refurbish my life and myself.

And that was what I primarily wanted for this summer. It’s very hard to do when your mind is in auto-pilot, either involved in things work-related which are bigger than you, as well as when you have to take care of other people (which I don’t really have to do, as I don’t have kids). You can’t actively do these things for yourself. Even if those things are complicated and important, they might even be an escape from having to deal with yourself.

How do you deal with mood swings?

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Posted in Of Writingly

A Dose of Inspiration: Three Perspectives on Writing

https://wp.me/p3Ca1O-8V4

Yeah, so one of my blog posts has been featured on Discover, here at WordPress. I’m not sure how that happened, but it is one of the best things to have happened to me in weeks! I don’t think my bit was traditionally inspirational, but I suppose my brand of writing inspiration is writing about, uh, not-writing. Whatever it is, as always, it’s you lovely people who make all this happen. You give so much, with very little effort on my part. I’m lucky to have you.

Posted in Of Psyche

Of Achieving Things

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I am a pretty slow-paced person. Sometimes I talk too fast, but that’s because I’m trying to keep up with my mind. And who can have a slow mind in this anxiety-inducing world? Some of us even like it, which is a phenomenon I wasn’t aware of until recently, and which I can’t begin to comprehend.

The world is full of statisticians. Yes, truly. Even you are one, though you failed maths in school. I can’t casually look to the side, at any time of the day, without seeing someone attempting some sort of challenge. How many times can you run up and down the stairs in an hour? It maybe stupid and boring and exhausting but hey, you’ll get better calves at the end of the day, along with the bright, neon feeling of Accomplishment. That’s what it is about. You don’t need hamsters or rats to experiment on anymore, give any human, of any description, anything to do. Give them the idea of a reward, make it a challenge and off they go. Let’s have a football World Cup for non-footballers with a rotten banana as the, uh, winning cup. See how many billions sign up for that.

And it really is a sound way to live. Whether you have two years to master ten languages, or thirty minutes to eat five large pizzas, being goal-oriented is perhaps the only way to truly make something of your life. Even love has its stages, its check list you have to tick off to be able to say at the end of your life, “Yup, job well done. Grandkids have built us a home in Pluto.”

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I’m not going to go into something as high-tech as bullet-journaling today (mainly because I still don’t understand what that is), but I can’t help feeling the odd one out in a goal-oriented world. I’ve always been pretty Zen in my attitude to life. Without the peace of mind, that is. Ideally, I’m more like the ladies in Cranford, which is a nineteenth-century novel about small-town women who meet for tea and discuss such exciting things like the advent of railways and the latest ribbons in town. I’m not cool enough to be properly hedonistic – the statistician in me comes out in matters of personal finance where my general rule is – don’t spend, if you can help it. Don’t treat yourself, the reward of hard work is the work achieved. When I do give in, I feel guilty for wasting money, or I get bored for having to do the task of finding something to waste money on.

Maybe, that’s where the system goes wrong, though the attitude isn’t far from spiritual principles. I’ve made enough jokes here about people being statistical about meditation – charting how often, how much, what kind, quantity of tranquility achieved, so I’m not going to get into that. I joke, because I’m a sore loser, still not having devised some sort of method to relax this mind for just one damn second. And it would do me good if I could do it, for I am a very anxious person.

I enjoy the dopamine released at accomplishing something as much as the next person. I made ice-cream today, and though I don’t know if it’s edible or not, I felt good enough to exercise after quite a while. And that released endorphins to start writing this blog post. Achievement just sets you up for achieving even more and suddenly, ten languages or five pizzas don’t seem impossible anymore. Hard, but technically, not impossible.

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But, I am a great incompleter of things. Just the other day I was thinking of picking up a hobby when I reprimanded myself – you have nearly a hundred unread physical books, you have instruments on which you play music that is not intended for human ears, you have subscriptions to video services and music services you wouldn’t exhaust in a lifetime and you have an adult colouring book which you found immensely dull, but which your frugal self requires you to finish in order to not waste it. You can’t start baking now, just so you could justify getting fat by acquiring new skills and bringing happiness to people’s lives.

That is why, I’m starting to get intimidated by ALL people. Everyone has skills, and you can get certifications for everything these days. That sounds envious, but the only person I mean to belittle by this is myself. A while back, I had one of the worst job interviews in the history of job interviews, if we exclude cases of abuse. I’m still puzzled by the whole situation, though I’m confident about not getting the job. I think the only way I could have distinguished myself is if I had more skills. I wish I could have done something like selling my own, handmade bead necklaces in the beaches of Goa for a year, the selling point being their ergonomicity. I don’t know. I don’t know what to do, in order to do it to completion, to achieve satisfaction, to radiate distinction. Does having knowledge about the packaged junk food industry count?

And knowledge is another thing. They never tell you knowledge leaves your body pretty much like food, except through reverse osmosis. I used to be a bit of a Beatles expert. I had read all of Sherlock Holmes. And seen every Al Pacino movie, even the bad ones. They don’t give certificates for that, but all three come handy more often than you think. Except, if you don’t keep at them like showering or brushing teeth, i.e. on a daily or at least regular basis, you forget. You could forget yourself after a while, so thank goodness I’m unashamedly self-absorbed. What’s the point in achieving skills if you’re just going to forget them?

It is the whole point of living, isn’t it? No one remembers the thousands of hours you spent lazing on the sofa or commuting on the train or looking out the window because you cannot bring yourself to do anything more demanding. But, people will remember you as a terrible piano player, because you have to spend time at a piano to begin with, if you want to be bad at it. If you don’t try at all, no one will associate you with the instrument, and you’ll just die with the secret knowledge of your amazing piano skills all to yourself.

Which is why I want ‘ballerina’ on my obituary.

What are you trying to accomplish lately? It could be something like waking up at 6 am everyday to planning a package holiday to the moon for the summer.

Posted in Of Bloggingly

Of Ending Things

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WordPress (Courtesy: Pixabay)

As if things weren’t already a bit s**t, The Daily Post is closing down. For those of you who don’t know what that is, well, it is the best part of WordPress. It is what makes WordPress the best blogging website there ever was and will be, and it is the reason why WordPress has a true feeling of community.

I do not say these things lightly. Continue reading “Of Ending Things”

Posted in Of Culturel

Of The Price of Buying Too Much

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Pretty, new packages (Courtesy: Pexels)

Growing up, my father had a system. Everybody in the family, whether child or adult, gets an equal amount of money allotted to them, and they would do their clothes (and shoes and bags and accessories…) shopping for the Indian festive season within that amount. Unless there was an absolute necessity for buying something during the rest of the year (such as new items for school), we didn’t think about getting new clothes. Continue reading “Of The Price of Buying Too Much”

Posted in Of Writingly

Of (Not) Writing A Diary

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Journal (Courtesy: Pixabay)

I have a bit of a storage issue. I have diaries lying around, written from the time I was sixteen till present-ish, that I don’t want to look at and don’t want to throw away either. I also have this fantasy/fear of dying before I’ve made up my mind about them, and suffering from post-mortem embarrassment when someone else reads them, if they can cognize my glorious handwriting, and laugh at my pathetic life. Believe me, those thousands of barely legible pages will not serve as inspiration for a moving eulogy. Continue reading “Of (Not) Writing A Diary”

Posted in Of Bloggingly

5 Blog Promotion Tips

Today we have the lovely Melisa Marzett providing us with some very useful advice!

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Blog

The first thing you should do in order to get your blog promoted is to make it recognizable, which is why it is important to introduce yourself to every visitor. In the case of a personal blog, put your photo, name and a brief description of what you do on your home page. Remind readers as often as you can that you are the author.

Continue reading “5 Blog Promotion Tips”

Posted in Of Bloggingly

A Letter To My Blog

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Blog (Courtesy: Pixabay)

Dear Blog,

Years and years ago I was given this piece of advice: to begin any piece of writing with a “sixer”. I’m sure that term is lost on all non-cricket-loving people reading this, but this letter is not about, or for, people, cricket-loving or otherwise. This letter is for you and me, rather From Me To You, and if our relationship causes obscurity among the masses, so be it. We don’t need to care about Them.

But, you will probably be rolling your eyes at that declaration, given how much we haven’t been a “We” lately. I will dare to go to the extent of telling you I haven’t thought about we – about you, about us together, Continue reading “A Letter To My Blog”