by Adithi Shankar
I’m not going to lie; I thought it was a mere phase in the initial stages, something that I could snap out of if I just willed myself more ardently. I liked being alone, or rather, preferred being alone. Talking to people was a gargantuan task, some kind of effort I felt I did not want to make, and if I was being served with the option of choosing to avoid interaction, then I might as well hold on tight to that. Everyone thought nothing changed, that I was just off color; that I was just, what everyone refers to flippantly these days, ‘PMS-ing’.
Maybe I wanted to believe that as well. It was most definitely more comfortable a cushion to fall onto than to admit to the brutal reality of things. But in my heart of hearts I knew, I knew that I was speeding past the checkpoints, I was plunging headfirst into unchartered waters with absolutely no control over anything, I was on the highway to nowhere, absent mindedly moving my limbs, a soul disconnected from all yokes that bound her to a material existence.
“The diagnosis can be made with a triad of symptoms, them being, a feeling of pervasive sadness, an obvious disinterest in previously stimulating activities, and a general lack of energy and motivation lasting for more than 2 weeks.”
It was the only class I listened to with unwavering focus.
A feeling of pervasive sadness? Well, I used to have a routine. I used to wake up, brush my teeth, take a bath, have breakfast while reading a novel, attend classes immaterial of whether I paid attention or not, you get the picture. For the last month, there’s been some modifications, which, if one gave courtesy to the detail, have taken a course of being defined by obvious subtlety to staggering obviousness. I try, believe me. I try to drift into oblivious slumber. But I’m just lying wide awake at odd hours, staring at the ceiling because I don’t like looking at my phone anymore. Food used to be an entity I looked forward to every day. My motivation only gets me to the third, and on a good day, the fourth bite now. That novel I spoke about, it’s been shunned aside, collecting layers upon layers of dust. I used to know how to laugh.
I think I miss that.
Anhedonia, they call it. When I heard of it, I thought long and hard, ‘Do I have any hobby that I cannot care any less for now?’. Think, I did, for what seemed to be an eternal minute. And then it struck me with the intensity of a shockwave. The fact that I couldn’t even come up with something that used to enliven me speaks volumes about how disinterested I was in the proceedings. And then it started to take form. No, I don’t like dancing anymore. I don’t like sketching, I don’t like writing, I don’t like speaking to my best friend, I don’t like watching my favorite show; I could furnish an unending compilation now that I’ve cleared it up in my head. Pitifully enough, proof of a symptom was the only thing I had pristine clarity about.
By the time I got to thinking about the third corner of the triad, I knew that it was redundant, as wasteful a process as ever. I was sad, I was disinterested, and it didn’t come as a rude jolt that I was sapped of any iota of energy that I could muster as well. There, I assembled the pieces of the puzzle such that it made perfect sense. Did it really make as much sense as it boasted of, though?
It began with me not giving it as much as I would have wanted to, simply because I couldn’t bring myself to. This birthed a culture of self-loathing, because I was consciously aware of the fact that I wasn’t being my complete self. The self-hatred perpetrated destructive ethos of more despondency, thus setting in motion the dreaded vicious cycle, which once you’ve gained entry into, you cannot exit. I was absolutely disgusted with myself, with this awful condition that I had allowed myself to contract. It felt like my capacity to think clearly was being corrupted. It was all a giant, disorganized meshwork of thoughts of resentment, towards myself and towards everyone else. You know nothing is ever going to be the same when you ask yourself the question, “What is the point of my existence?”
Society has always harped on about how imperative it is to be strong in mind, to not allow yourself even a moment of absolute vulnerability, to want to just break down because everything is so overwhelming. So, how does it stand now? Do I blame society for having ingrained this disparaging philosophy in my head, or do I blame myself for not having the courage to be as resilient as my peers have turned out to be?
I didn’t need a doctor to tell me what I had.
And I think by now, reading this, you’ve made the diagnosis as well.
Salt, spice, and everything dark. These are the ingredients that make the perfect evil girls. A cartload of social awkwardness with this, and the result is Adithi Shankar. She was born with a clinical condition called RBF (read up on it). An exponent in writing extremely sad stories, she could dampen Luna Lovegood’s mood with her prose. Her love for Sakura pens is pure and true and considered disconcerting by many. If blessed with the chance, she would go out of the way to prove someone’s stupidity. The number of breakdowns she has per week is only exceeded by the number of ex-boyfriends Taylor Swift has. Given a choice, she would take off with The Doctor in his TARDIS because she’s fifty shades of done with humanity.
Art by Swianiki