11:27 AM, Reading Freud

So yesterday, there was a lot of talk about my dissertation topic. Topics were thrown around, shot down and replaced. I realised, I’m so confused that I want to do a study on all of them. And on none of them.

There’s so much that goes into designing a study that I’d never given a thought to. I have no idea how we even pulled one off in college because now that I look back on it, we went about it in such a haphazard manner. My respect for my club’s secretary and for the officer in charge who was responsible for getting it published, it just went up by like 106 notches.

Anyway, my point is, morning after I was thinking about this entire process and about my investment in it. As my professor assured me yesterday, there will be avenues after my post-graduation if I do wish to go into research. I could, for all I care, immerse myself in the academia.

But then, a tug of my heartstrings reminded me that I like interacting with my patients, knowing their stories and helping them through whatever their mind was putting them through. As much as I can.

Suddenly, I felt myself falling into a quandary. What should I do post my post-graduation? What should be my next step? I could feel my heart beat spiking, my breath shortening and the droplets of sweat on my forehead. I had no plan!

And just as suddenly, that single thought calmed me down. I had no plan.

You see, I’ve always had a plan. A five year plan. A ten year plan. It was clear, it was detailed and it was fixed. In the last few years however, they all fell apart. My plan went awry the moment I lost my focus. But, the thing I learnt in the disaster that culminated afterwards was that, sometimes, it’s ok to not have such a clear-cut plan. It’s ok to make your decision when the decision has to be made. It’s ok to not know where you’ll be 3 years from now.

So, while I do chase down that ideal image of an independent woman that I see myself as five years from now, I don’t have to put down every single little detail of the wherefores and whenfores right now. Right now, I can just think about my dissertation, my next week’s seminar and the patients currently in my ward. So, that’s what I’ll do.

And what will I be doing three years from now? Well, why don’t hit me up in 2020 and we can find out.

 

Cheers.

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08:45 AM, With My Cup Of Green Tea

There is a view of myself that I see five years down the line.

I’m living on my own. Maybe in a small one-bedroom apartment that’s just big enough for me. I cook, I clean, I work. I’m independent. I’m self-sufficient. I’ll have a car that’s paid off by then and my car and I will go on road trips. I’ll do something new once in a while. I’ll give my all when I’m at work, but work will not be my all. I’ll post regularly on my blog and if I really want to make this idealistic, I’ll even exercise every day.

The thing is, I can’t cook. I don’t exercise. I don’t have a car. Or an apartment and I don’t have the money for anything. That’s my current reality. But, I’m working on changing that.

A few days ago, I attempted my first meal by hand. I made a curry following mum’s directions and rice. It was like a home-cooked meal! And it tasted good. I mean, it could have been better. But, as I sat eating my lunch (which was actually lunch and not just mashed potatoes or something), I felt a teeny bit closer to my ideal.

I’ve always carried such ideals with me. I’ve always had my eye on “five years down the line”. And until about five years ago, they were much simpler. Like get into college. Enjoy college life. Have a lot of friends and do fun things with friends. See, for ideals like that, there’s not much effort involved. They’ll happen as a part of the flow. Of course, you’ll get into college if you were a good student in school. Of course you’ll make friends if you have a halfway decent personality. The foundations were already in place.

After that though, as adulthood catches up with you, ideals tend to change and become more complex. Responsibilities tend to get involved. Priorities tend to rearrange themselves.

When I left college, it was with a five-year view of becoming a workaholic. Work and sleep. And maybe a bedroom to sleep in. But, I had a lot of time to think in the last three years. I realized that I wanted more. I can’t be as single-minded or as focussed as that. I don’t know if that’s a good thing. But, I wanted to be more than a psychiatrist.

So, I’m learning to cook. I’m learning to clean. I’m learning to do new things. I’m learning to live my life in more ways than one. So that, five years down the line, I can sit down in front of my computer with my cup of green tea and write about the next “five years down the line”.

 

Cheers!

06:23 AM, In The Aftermath Of A Painful Evening

Have you heard of The road to hell is paved with good intentions? Well, in my case, the road to good intentions is paved with a bleeding, unforgiving uterus.

Remember how two days ago, I posted all gung-ho about my new, my flashy, my all good-intentioned laziness deaddiction programme? Well, yesterday all that good-intentioned high just flew outta the window. Kindly helped along (or rather, pushed along) by a uterus that started bleeding and contracting and bleeding and left me incapable of not much else other than flipping in my bed like a dying fish while moaning more than Myrtle ever moaned. It obviously followed that my carefully prepared schedule also gave up in despair and threw itself outta my window. Its remains can now be seen decomposing in the muddy water from last night’s rain that’s unhealthily accumulated under my building.

See, you might think why so much vitriol for a natural process of life…but, this is not the first time!

After months and months putting it off, I finally join a swimming pool. The first day, I wax poetic to my mother about how good it felt to be in water again. The next day, I’m carrying around the special brand of wetness in my underwear and I can’t bring myself to open my mouth, let alone wax poetic.

When I’d gone to visit my sister, who, by the way, can be quite relentless about how fat I am and how much I need to exercise, I finally oblige her nagging and go running. When I come back, her face is shining, my mother’s is glowing; that’s how happy they are to imagine me fit and working out. Skip to one day later, their faces are glowing again- this time in anger because in 46 Kgs of check-in luggage, I’d forgotten to pack more than one sanitary napkin.

So you see, this is not the first time. It has happened many many times before. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if all of my good-intentioned gung-ho-ness is not also a part of my PMS. Maybe, all of that oestrogen, instead of just sticking to its FDA-approved functions, is also pushing my brain into making these plans- plans which are good for my body, for my mental health. But, before they can mature, it abandons me; I start to bleed; I lie in my bed and moan; and all my plans commit seppuku on my bloated belly.

I wanted to write all this yesterday, when the blood was still fresh on my belly (from the seppuku, I mean), but I was too busy to trying to find a position that didn’t make me want to do a hysterectomy on myself (which would also be a bloody process). Anyway, the night has passed and dawn is here. And I thought, though it’s Sunday morning and Sunday mornings are awesome, let me just get the venting done with. Then, I can make my new schedule with a fresh mind (which doesn’t have blood on it) and a fresh outlook (which doesn’t include harakiris or hysterectomies).

So, I’m going to go now and make that new schedule. And since this new schedule can’t be wrecked by my uterus for the next 28-30 days, I’m very hopeful for some results that don’t end in throwing themselves out of a third floor window. Wish me luck.

 

Cheers.

11:48 PM, Running Late On My First Schedule

It is said that admitting that you have a problem is the first step towards recovery.

Hello. My name is Ooha Biddala and I have a problem. I’m addicted to being lazy.

You might think I’m pulling a gag. Or that, my beginning was unnecessarily dramatic for that anti-climactic admission. But, to me, it was anything but.

You see, I spend 7 hours at work. The remaining 17 out of the day, I lie in my bed and do nothing. I don’t even sleep. I spend interminable hours playing some silly game of the moment on my phone, spend illogical amount of time admiring iiSuperwomanii’s resolve to work; I spend a ridiculous amount of time doing stupid things that I needn’t be doing and in fact, shouldn’t be doing because I just can’t gather enough muster to get started on that presentation I have due tomorrow morning.

So, after 2 months of rush hour presentations that inevitably ended in a shame-faced viva and continuous self-reproach that made me question if I’m even fit to be a doctor, I decided this morning on the commode that now, I have to stop making excuses. Taking inspiration from the scores of alcoholics making their way through my ward, I’ve entered myself into my own deaddiction programme- a two-step programme.

 

Step 1: Make a plan

Step 2: Stick to it.

 

My senior laughed when I told her this. I laughed along; then, turned around and continued making my schedule for the day. The schedule consisted of tasks that I’ve been putting off over the last month. I made a list and I plan to make a list every week.

Today’s schedule which spanned from 1600 hrs to 2300 hrs consisted of 12 tasks. I considered setting aside a lazy hour. But, that felt like I was going easy on myself and I’ve been doing that for way too long already. So, without any lazy hours and a full agenda saw a very tired girl walking to dinner. Tired, but, proud. Because, except for one, I’d finished all of the pre-dinner tasks. Of course, at dinner I met a few friends, spent a few hours with them and blew up my schedule to smithereens.

However, the roster today stands at 8/12 tasks scratched out. I’ll take that win. Now, all I have is a new schedule to make and a new schedule to keep. I’m the maker and I’m the keeper of this programme; so, I answer to myself. But, I’m hoping that announcing to the people around me and to the people far away from me that I’ve taken this crucial first step, will motivate me to be a little more honest with myself than I usually am.

So hello again. I’m Ooha Biddala and I have a problem. But, I’m doing something about it. Please, keep your fingers crossed for me.

 

Cheers.

08:01 AM, My Phone Has A Music Player

I cried two days ago; because I lost my phone. Then, it wasn’t sadness, it was just panic. When I suddenly realized the amount of my personal info that went into a stranger’s hands and my absolute inability to prevent it from doing so, my brain went Ka-Boom and leaked out in my tears.

The sadness though came later. The next morning when I woke up to a different note of alarm and couldn’t feel my phone anywhere within my arm’s reach, I wanted to cry again. I remembered that the last time I saw my phone, its tiny blue light signifying that I got a message was blinking. I remember leaving it on the table and thinking I’ll check when I get back. And then, it was gone. Like a person falling off a building in the middle of a conversation. Now, you’ll never how it would’ve ended and I’ll never know what it said.

Well, so, lesson learnt- don’t leave your phone on a table top unattended. Hide it away. Or, the other solution- buy a phone that no one would ever want to steal.

You can guess which one I went for.

My current phone could double up as the ball in a game of catch without much qualms. It’s neither smart nor good-looking, but it does its job of making and receiving calls admirably well. And as a bonus, it comes with an inbuilt music player! I mean, really, whatever do I need anything else for…

I’m kidding. There are times when I miss my old phone so much it physically hurts. But, that’s not all.

See, I loved my phone. Maybe, I loved it too much. Because, suddenly, without my phone occupying about 90% of my available brain space, it feels like I’m finally awake. No, a better way to put it is: I’ve been woken up…after getting doused in a bucket of ice-cold water. With my head no longer looking down, seeking refuge in the convenient confines of a hand-held digital world, I’m being forced to look up and around and at the to-do list of things that’ve piled up while I was busy reading manga on my phone.

So, maybe, everything does happen for the best. Maybe, my phone getting stolen at this juncture was the best thing to happen to me. Maybe, it was just the wake-up call I needed.

With that approach, I refuse to let my mind dwell on the memory of the tiny, blue blinking light that I never got to attend to. I refuse to let my mind dwell on how its heaviness felt in my hand. I refuse to let my mind dwell on the convenience of carrying an almost-computer in my pocket. Instead, I’ll take a long walk down the memory lane into those times when a phone meant a game of Snake and if it came with a camera and a music player, you were the king of the classroom.

In the meantime, if any of you reading this are people with my phone number and you call me and I ask- who is this? Don’t effing play games! Just give me your f00king name…

Cheers!

 

09:05 PM, Listening To Music

There are times when you doubt everything- your intentions, your motivations, your decisions. When such a moment arises, what do you do?

I tend to take a step back. I want to re-observe, re-evaluate and rethink. Sometimes, this path is available. Many times, it isn’t; and the only thing possible is to decide on the fly- whether to indulge your insecurities or whether to place the trust in yourself.

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It’s true, I walk with my insecurities sitting right on my shoulders. They’ve been there ever since I took my first steps I’m sure, though I can’t remember as far back. They might have been a little different, but, the fear that accompanies them, I’m certain, was the same.

And the greatest fear of them all has been…that one day, I’ll give in to these fears.

Each year as I grow more into myself, I feel like I’m giving in more to my insecurities. They’ve been slowly taking over the reins and I hate that feeling! I doubt my words more now; I question my decisions more. I think thrice and more before coming up with a plan of action and I take longer to do what I believe is right.

Is this what it means to grow up?

 

Well then, I refuse.

I refuse to grow up. I refuse to give in. I refuse to lose this battle with myself.

There are certain things that are hard-earned in my life. My confidence is one- I built it up inch by inch, with a stronger foundation and longer endurance after it came crashing down around my adolescent ankles.

My self-worth is another. After years of putting myself down for being a girl, after more than decade of shaping my identity out of fiction, I’m finally learning that it’s okay to like what I like and be what I am.

I refuse to let go of either of them.

 

Do I sound childish to you? Too ideal, maybe?

Am I being too optimistic when I say I refuse to grow up?

 

To my ears, I do sound childish.

To my mind, I do sound too ideal.

To my spirit, I do sound too optimistic.

But see, in my brain, right now, right at this moment, the dopaminergic pathway feels lit up and the happy chemical is doing its dance. So, maybe it’s not too bad to sound childish or ideal or optimistic. Maybe, it’s not too much to hope that I’ll overcome my insecurities. I think, maybe, it’s not such a bad thing to sometimes dig your heels in, bawl your eyes out and refuse, just outright refuse, to be that responsible, realistic adult that you have to be.

So, here’s to the inner child within me and within you;

Say, do you like the swings? Coz’ I like to fly really, really high and then, scream into the rushing wind as I come back down.

 

*END*

 

21:48 hrs, Walking In Cold Rain And Darkness

Helplessness

Hopelessness

Worthlessness

 

These are the three words handed to an undergraduate medical student as the markers of depression.

As you grow up and enter the post-graduate world, you learn that there is more to depression than just these three catchphrases. But, the actual blow falls when you realize that even after graduating from the 2 mark answer to the 10 mark answer, you still meet the brief.

I had my suspicions; and now, with a whole 1 month of specialised experience behind me, I’ve confirmed those suspicions. I was, indeed, in a state of depression most of the last two years.

This post however, is not about that period. It’s about now, when I’m in the process of kicking off the cobwebs and really, truly, undeniably re-entering the fully functioning world. I’m realising now, that it’s not such an easy process. Of course, the cardinal symptoms of low mood, insomnia and binge-eating are not in evidence now. But, they are not so far off either.

I know that it’s an on-going struggle from the moment I open my eyes to the moment I open my eyes again the next morning. Until I stop asking myself, do I really need to do this or go there or talk to that person, I’m in the warzone. And the moment I let my guard down, I fear they might engulf in their web again.

I think it’s the first time in my life that I’m enjoying living in fear; because as long as the fear exists, I know I haven’t given up and as long as I haven’t given up, I’m winning this game of tag.

I can relish the feeling of happiness again. I can laugh again without feeling guilty. I want to hold on to this feeling of wholesomeness with everything I’ve got. So, I’ve decided to push aside the disappointment in my heart at not achieving my dream. I’ve decided to stop putting myself down over unfulfilled goals and start writing up my new goals. I’ve decided it’s time to look forward and if I do happen to look back, I want to remember the new friends I’ve made, the special memories I’ve collected with my family and the unique experience that life has given me. No more. Nothing else.

My life is within my reach again and this time, I’m not letting it go.

 

**