I want to work, but I want to do something I enjoy. I don’t want to “take up any job because it will help foot the bills.” A lot of people will hate me for saying this. They’ll probably think I’m a vagabond with no real ambition, making doltish statements online. Others will think I’m a privileged, spoilt kid who mooches off his parents and blathers. These people are entitled to their opinions and are partially right. But they don’t understand that my fruitless existence is killing me. I’m like a hermit in a shack; cut away from society. I want people to come to me, but they don’t. I’ve tried reaching out to people, but they shun me. I’m an outcast and a pariah, outside the temple gates, begging for attention. A social leper, a communal weirdo.

Do I make myself a victim? I do, and I hate others who do too. I hate people who incessantly whine about every bloody thing on the planet because I’m a master of it. We should all get over our shit because there are no knights of salvation, defenders of the ‘oppressed,’ or warriors for the ‘suppressed.’ The only hope that fate gives us is ourselves. We’re people in a cave whining about the darkness when the exit is just a few steps away. We don’t walk to it, and then justify not walking to it! We’d rather keep staring at the symbols on the walls and gather knowledge than go out and tell people about what we’ve learned. We don’t grow. We’re emotionally stunted; psychologically damaged and spiritually darkened. Yes, I partially borrowed from Plato, but I don’t care anymore.

I’m sick of living like this. I wake up late; drink ten cups of coffee while I’m smoking twenty cigarettes; intersperse the whole damn thing with reading a book or two, and then write something and sleep. Is this life? People are working in Tobacco farms to provide for their families in another land. Mothers work two jobs to make sure their kids get to eat. People work the most demeaning jobs because they have to survive and here, I am, living out a bourgeois existence; playing damn video games and complaining. I need to stop!

Having said this, I’m going to lay my heart bare and talk about what cripples me. The problem is inner torture. I have no peace. Every day, the scars of childhood abuse burst open, and I bleed. My father tried to kill my mother when I was five. He kept choking her even though she coughed and coughed, and I sat on the floor, helpless. I cried and begged him to stop, and he hit me. Not a day went by in that old house when I didn’t feel like a dog on a leash. He’d listen to my phone conversations. He’d moderate my friend circle. He’d thrash me when he felt like it. I grew up scared and timid. I am still afraid deep within. I haven’t patched things up with him, and we share a complicated relationship, and I doubt I’ll ever find closure.

But that’s not all. There’s mental illness. I never asked for it, but it’s here to stay. There are a huge number of emotions that course through me each day. It’s terrifying. I’m depressed one moment; I’m manic the next; I’m angry, and then I’m apathetic. I’m rarely euthymic. And don’t get me started on the paranoia! An inner storm of the most irrational, discomfiting thoughts makes me anxious and wonder who’s out there to get me. And what makes it more distressing is that I’m a writer. I find it difficult to express myself without wondering if someone will take it the wrong way. Paranoia has led to self-mutilation, suicidal attempts and wars with one or two people who care.

And then there are the intrusive thoughts. They are either blasphemous, judgmental, threatening or absurd. I’ve often wondered if I should sign up for an exorcism because these thoughts make me miserable. I wonder if some priest can strap me to a table and pray the thoughts away. But I know this is my curse; it’s something I’ll have to endure until the day I die.

And then, there are the side-effects of psychiatric medication. I’m on mood stabilizers, antidepressants, anxiolytics and anti-psychotics. They’ve caused life-threatening skin rashes, weight gain, nystagmus, tremors and cravings for addictive substances. And the worst part is that I have to take them though they’re shortening my life span, and making me this rotund, ugly fuck with diabetes and cholesterol. So, think before you call me fat. I don’t even like pork chops!

Finally, there’s stigma. I despise people who judge me because of my past. I did a lot of things when I was manic. But I’ve found a way to control myself. Respect that if you don’t want to respect me! It’s the ‘normal’ people who act all high and righteous. They think being Bipolar involves wielding a scythe and walking around. Ignorant fucks! And then there’s a group who believes that you become what you think, and hence, you must think happy thoughts. “I’m happy! There’s joy in my life! Yay!” They prattle on, and I’m sure they cry themselves to sleep when no one is watching. I also hate self-righteous people. “It’s all a spiritual struggle! I’ve gone through it too!” I’m sure you have bastard; I’m sure. Finally, secular, self-righteous people get on my nerves. “Don’t talk to him; he’s weird.” Go fuck yourself.

I’ll end this by saying that I’ve already talked about my religious fears, and so, I’m not going to bore you with them. I only want to ask you one question. A question I ask myself every day, and one I already answered in this post: Do I make myself a victim?

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

13 Replies to “The random musings of a madman”

  1. You’ve certainly been victimised.
    I have no concept of what you’ve been
    through, Nitin. This is one of those rare
    times I just can’t bring myself to push
    that little star icon that says “Like”.
    All I can say is that I’ll pray for you.

    1. Thank you David. I’m often afraid of who I’ll ultimately become. The lonely life I lead does no favours when it comes to the prognosis of mental illness.

      1. We are designed for social interaction.
        That old saying, there’s strength in numbers.
        But discretion is always required as
        to who tou let in. Be strong, Nitin.
        You are already a survivor, rather than
        a victim.

  2. I’m not sure how to respond. I’ll just babble a bit and take it for what it’s worth. I haven’t experienced personal mental illness to your degree, but I have suffered from anxiety, some depression, and a metric fuck ton of self-doubt and self-loathing that have tortured me and crippled my progress through adulthood.

    Now, do you make yourself a victim? Well, you have the deck stacked against you, but you are aware of what has created the person you are and you examine it. You use that to power your writing, which is fine, but there is a danger of it defining you and locking you into victimhood if you let it. I’m not sure if you’re like me or not — I’m a highly negative person toward myself. And this negativity has undermined me at every step of the way and it’s only recently that I’ve been addressing it.

    I started seeing a therapist a while back and she’s helped me try and change my thought process to realize what I’m doing. Do you have someone you’re seeing that could maybe help you try to reframe things? Because sometimes when we’re stuck with nothing but our own narrative, we get tunnel vision.

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughts Sean. I’m also a very negative person who once had severe self-doubt. These days I’m sort of apathetic and don’t care anymore about my successes, failures or what people think, but like the post says I’m tortured.

      You’re absolutely right about the whole falling in love with your misery and not moving on thing. I think it’s something I do every day. The problem is that I don’t realise that life is passing me by. Most of my youth was lost fighting mental illness. And I’m 31 now and the prognosis still sadly doesn’t look good.

      But I don’t do myself any favours either.

      The psychiatric health system in India is very authoritarian. You have dogmatic therapists who are quick to label and criticise. I’ve never been comfortable talking to one because they’re very strict, yell at their patients and are just in it for the money.

      Having done a masters in clinical psychology (which I didn’t complete) I got to see just how cruel the system is here. We don’t have therapists who take an existential approach to therapy. It’s very sad.

      But I want out of this mental framework and I will work towards it.

      1. That sucks. I started seeing one her in the States who was very helpful. I can’t insgine a therapist shouting at a patient! That would put me right off.

      2. It happens all the time here. One teacher of mine told the class that he slaps kids. And then he said there was a case that was ‘dilemma’ because a French boyfriend was sexually molesting a little boy and the mother was dependent on him for financial support. He said they were figuring out solutions and didn’t want to report him yet because the financial security of the family will be threatened, and the boy will end up in a remand home. I lost my cool. I didn’t say anything but I think that moment made me want to give up being a psychologist here. It was one of the most disturbing things I’d ever heard.

  3. Yes.

    And, yes and yes and yes.

    Once you’re feeling more poetic; I really think you could have the cave paintings hypnotize you, trap you, poison you, yet draw you in to want them; only them…

    1. I agree with you partially. I struggle with intense paranoia and so I’ll never succeed in a high pressure work environment. I also have thoughts that are completely irrational and very intrusive. So I can’t do the rat race, I just can’t. The only alternative sadly is this miserable life. I wish I could get a novel out. And a major publisher to accept it. That would be some achievement.

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