Surviving Life

Let me begin with the disclaimer. This is NOT a self-help post. Yet, it is. Sounds perplexing? Let me explain. I am in no way trying to write a ‘‘how to cope with depression in 6 easy steps (with Getty images of beautiful model posing on the polished streets of first world nation)’’. I hate those self-help blogs. And I am THE LAST person on earth to give advice on how to live life like a fully functional human being. No, I am writing this to help me and myself only. Because my blog is the only place for me where I can write anything addressing a world full of strangers without the fear of being judged. And, it is a much better option than sending long emails and text messages to an ex who is too embarrassed and conflicted to reply you back. Or perhaps they just don’t give a shit. So let’s get started.

Avoid self-help websites and books at any cost
And those online support forums where all kinds of depressed, fucked up people from all around the world gather and discuss about their fucked up life, anonymously. Once I joined one such forum. Well I was actually doing an online research on the most popular suicide methods and their respective success rate. I studied Quantitative Economics. What do you expect?
So I was googling about the most convenient way to go and the search results were full of these forums. They are apparently meant for you to bump into while searching for the right dose of anti-depressants to do you in. It was a chilly dawn of autumn and I was lying awake in my bed with no one to talk to when the idea of joining the ‘Facebook for the fucked ups’ popped in my head. The three days I was active there were absolutely nightmare. Believe me, it doesn’t feel nice to listen to some 59 years old man whining about his four failed marriages while you are reeling from a recent heartbreak.
Self help blogs? Well, after all these years of being miserable I have realised one thing. There is no textbook way to learn how to live life successfully. Tackle your shit your very own way. Loki planned to conquer the universe to get over his daddy issues. While Arya Stark chose to put sword straight through the throats of people who pissed her off. And as for me, I believe in hope. And Harry Potter.

Read/watch books/movies that help me lift my spirit
I watch FRIENDS every day. Every. Day. It amazes me to think how those people made a sitcom of ten seasons that long back which is so accurately relatable in every generation. I know if I have no friend I will always have those six people to cheer me up when I’m down. No matter what crisis you are going through rest assured they faced it too. I just wish there was chorus of laughter every 2 minutes in my life too.
Harry Potter. Nothing can bring my dead optimism back to life like those 7 books do. I don’t know why they are called fiction. Those books contain real magic. When you are sitting in your room, so depressed that you no longer have the energy to cry, the saga of the boy who lived can give you a figurative slap in the face and tell you, “It opens at the close. Remember, it always opens at the close.’’
Marvel comics cinematic universe. I watch them when I’m suicidal. I watch them when I’m euphoric (rare condition). I watch them when I feel nothing. Then I go to bed picturing myself as one of those troubled superheroes sans the superpower, and money in case of Iron Man. And I like Deadpool a lot too, just fyi.

I dream of Tibet
Or Sikkim. Or any place up in the Himalayas. Whenever my present situation begins to get on my nerves I close my eyes and picture myself sitting in the wide courtyard of some unknown Himalayan monastery staring out at the snow-covered peaks gleaming in the horizon. Or scrubbing the floor of the prayer hall while having imaginary conversation with the giant idols of gods and goddesses. Or sitting in the tent of some Tibetan nomad family, sipping butter tea. Believe me, it works like magic.

Avoid alcohol
I don’t know who said that alcohol makes people forget sorrow. Scientifically, alcohol is a depressant. Two years ago I was on a major alcohol binge phase for six months. No, it did not relieve my pain. I either puked and passed out and woke up next morning stinking of my own vomit or cried for so long that next day I got an eye infection. Not to mention the nice paunch that I had gained.

Try very hard to love myself
I know, it sounds like those self-help tips again. But honestly, my concept of self-loving is different. Whenever I see those ‘go for a spa’ or ‘buy a new pair of shoes’ tips I cannot help but wonder. What if the person doesn’t have enough money to get a spa? What if they don’t like their body being mollycoddled by strangers? What if the person is not a shopaholic? How are they supposed to love themselves? To me, the idea of self-love is more about self-assertion and acceptance. When I am in normal state I shop till I go bankrupt or slather myself with three different moisturisers from tip to toe. When I am sad I go to office looking like a homeless drug addict. I don’t care. When I am sad I am just sad. I am not going to go for a spa and sob silently in the dark room and come home a few thousand bucks poorer sad person. Been there done that. When I am sad I would rather lay lifeless in my bed or research on how to tie a noose on youtube. I might be an expert at self-loathing but I have enough courage to face the morbid me. Isn’t that love is all about? In sickness and in health ‘till death do us part?

Try memory suppressing technique
This one is hard as hell. Even harder than loving myself. Most of the time I get drowned in depression either thinking about the past or an incorrect pre-conceived notion about future. So forcing me into forgetting those useless memories and thoughts is the most effective method of dealing with the present. This technique is not side-effect free. Over past few years I have seen so many recurring nightmares that Freud might turn in his grave. I have even lost many large chunks of memories that were not exactly unpleasant. Warning – you may end up hollow in the long run.

Try optimism
This one I don’t even need to try. In fact sometimes I have to rebuke myself not to think so optimistically. I’m telling you; someday my stubborn optimism is going to get me killed. The moment I realise I’m screwed my brain begins to work frantically to come up with outlandish ideas of survival. And honestly, I find life to be very unpredictable, full of surprises. Like what Forrest Gump's mom said. You never know. Your stupid forecast models are invalid here. My optimism can be best described as Captain America’s attitude towards Bucky. Dear life, you can keep punching me in the guts. I’m with you ‘till the end of the line.

I write
Or I have imaginary conversation with myself in my head. It sounds crazy (I AM crazy) but as long as you are busy trying to prove to yourself how witty and intelligent you are, you hardly have enough time to dwell on the thought who your ex might be screwing currently.

Sometimes I feel I would have made a good warrior if I were born a man. Remember that scene in Captain America where a fake grenade would be thrown at the trainees to test their bravery and the pre-super soldier serum Steve Rogers would throw himself at it to save others? Any day I would choose a short but meaningful life over a long, mundane one. And the moment my life becomes purposeless I begin to feel being stuck at the bottom of the pit. Then I fight. I fight to create my own purpose. That could vary from looking after a pack of stray dogs to publish the next post here. At the end of the day the best way to deal with a shitty situation is by accepting it. After all these years I have finally grasped the terrifying truth that life is not going to serve what I want in a pretty platter. So I must fight until I get there. Even if I don’t get there I am happy to die trying. I am terrified, lost, sad, helpless. But not yet ready to throw in the towel. ‘Till the end of the line.