December 13, 2009


"What's wrong with me?
Why do I feel like this?
I'm going crazy now
No more gas, in the red, can't even get it started
Nothing heard, nothing said, can't even speak about it
On my life, on my head, don't wanna think about it
Feels like I'm going insane, yeah"
- Disturbia, Rihanna

I am unable to meet my own eyes in their reflection. I try to stand before a mirror, take a deep breath and say the words out loud but I stall and fail at every attempt. If I can't say it to myself, how can I say it to any other person? "I am...; I was..." I despair, I try to give myself strength, I take deep breaths, I smile to give myself a confidence boost and I try again. But I can't even look at myself. In my head rage is wreaking havoc in my apartment - throwing things around, smashing objects, yelling, screaming, sobbing - all stemming from pain, shame, guilt, confusion, distrust. The outer shell is calm, almost indifferent, 'comfortably numb' (reference Pink Floyd for that one).

I don't want to feel this way, I don't want to think these things, but they don't leave me alone. I am made to deal with them because suddenly I don't have the strength to ignore them, sweep them away, feel numb. Instead heart palpitations increase, my body shakes, I feel like I'm going to be sick, and I am scared. It's been happening for a couple of months now - November was especially bad and you will notice no blog post from that month. I thought I had learnt to deal with it, but then a new tenant in my building brought them all back full force this weekend. Thoughts, words, actions, images, feelings, the need to go back into my shell. Part of me wants to fight that - I worked so hard to be who I am this year - and now suddenly I want to hide again. I hate this.

It's gotten to the point of affecting me at work. I walk down hallways and suddenly an image flashes in my head and I have to stop and give myself support by holding onto a wall, telling myself to breathe slowly, hold back the tears because anyone could come by and see me and then keep moving forward one step at a time. Thankfully smiling is so second nature that I don't even have to work at putting a smile on my face the moment I see anyone.

I've been doing a lot of reading to figure out why all this is happening, why now, why in the way that it is. I came across some work by doctors and therapists and some of their findings and explanations make me weep because it makes so much sense and because what I have repressed for so long did happen. But then I thought, what if I actually said the words out loud and no one believed me? That tears me apart. I couldn't stop crying for a whole weekend with that thought in my head and when I finally stepped back out into the world I saw I displayed physical symptoms of fear - my lips were raw and painful, my eyes looked like two sunken holes and I cried so much that my nose had started bleeding. They say you need to tell your story, to talk it out. Just how do you do that? I have always been dealing with things on my own. I learn things on my own, teach myself stuff, deal with my troubles myself and then present the world with the situation after it has been figured out, problem-solved. What do I do with this now? Talk to whom, and what the heck would I even say? What would you be able to do for me? Nothing, I think. And then I came across this article, 'Talking Out Trauma: Not Always a Help' and I thought okay, that's for me, it makes sense. I did try to speak about it to people before - well 3 people to be specific, in different stages of my life. Do you know what they all did? Nothing. Well, one did absolutely nothing (from that day began my distrust of persons in authority), one forgot and the last one seemed to care, but not really. Maybe I didn't put enough shock and pain into my telling of the trauma. Trauma - I hate that word. It makes me feel like a victim thereby making me feel weak.

Because of the events that happened many years ago, my interactions and behaviour were shaped in ways I did not even consciously control. In retrospect, because I have spent much of this year in introspection, so many things have become clearer. The way I was, the trust issues, dual personalities - one always happy in the world, one cowering inside, - everything makes sense now. I'm not a touchy-feely person. Someone called me aloof, someone called me a porcupine. It's all true. This does not mean I don't care about you, it just means I don't know if you've noticed but I don't reach for you. A moment that vividly flashes into my head is one where I was in University and I had to tell myself to reach out and hug a floor-mate because she was going through an emotionally hard time about something. I felt so uncomfortable and completely idiotic for having given her that hug. I've gotten better since then, but more so with some than others. If I reach for you, I trust you. It's about as simple as that.

I used to be a really quiet and shy child. (Yes, really). The person you meet these days is a far cry from the child of yesteryears', which is probably why I'm trying desperately to seek solace. I preferred books to actually running around and playing. Books took you away to better worlds. If I needed to express my emotions, I could find a song to tell you because I didn't want to speak. To communicate with my father, I used to write him letters - we lived in the same apartment. I started writing, not being able to speak out my emotions because the force of them often shut me down. This way I didn't have to see your judgment of me. Everything makes sense now. Why I don't have many photographs as a girl smiling even though now it seems like I can't stop smiling in my pictures.

There's no warning anymore before I get a feeling of dread, before I remember something, before an image flashes into my head. Sometimes I'm scared to close my eyes and fall asleep because on a few occasions I've woken up screaming (in my head). It's extremely unpleasant bolting up from bed, silently screaming your lungs out, fear filling your heart in the middle of the night. I'm exhausted - drained.

"It's a thief in the night to come and grab you
It can creep up inside you and consume you
A disease of the mind, it can control you
It's too close for comfort"
- Disturbia, Rihanna

I'm sure everyone has their own way of dealing with things they find difficult. I've always told myself that others have it worse than I do. And this is true in many instances. I don't generally like talking about myself. I can make fun of myself, talk disparagingly about myself, be funny, be fun, be whatever you need me to be, but I think the time is finally here when I can't remind myself that I have nothing to complain about. It feels like part of me wants to hold people accountable, but that's next to impossible considering one of them might even be dead at this point in time. What an odd thing to say, I know. But if you understood the context, everything would make sense. Until then you get these discombobulated writings. The hope is the feeling of being safe.

"Put on your pretty lies, you're in the city of wonder
Ain't gon' play nice, watch out you might just go under
Better think twice, your train of thought will be altered
So if you must falter be wise

Your mind's in disturbia, it's like the darkness is light
Disturbia, am I scaring you tonight?"
- Disturbia, Rihanna


Veena said...

Dear Veena,
I am listening, and feeling something slowly unfold. An unfolding that reveals, slowly, a very precious centre.

Vee said...

Dear Veena, thank you for listening. But nothing will really be revealed here explicitly. Sometimes writing helps lighten the load, atleast for a few seconds, that's all. :) - V

Gary said...

Oh my...

I hope you find the keys to open the lock to peace of mind, the seeds of joy... and happiness. Please keep loving and remember that you have friends.

Merry Christmas to you Veena. It's a time of hope.

Vee said...

Gary: I thank you. I have hope. :)

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Vee said...

Lucy, thank you for visiting. :) I'm glad you've enjoyed reading my posts on this site. Welcome.

Aarthi Bharath said...

Your feeling probably has a lot to do with the way you have been brought up!!! To face anything head-on and be strong about it. Tears are considered to be weakness!!!! But I do hope you were able to find some outlet for your fears, insecurities and confusions.... And am sorry that I could not be there for you!!!