Monday, January 26, 2015
This short story of mine was published in DNA in July 2009
Confusion. Utter, complete confusion. Everything seems to be in motion inside my brain. Its like a gushing river; with thoughts, ideas, feelings, opinions, memories, experiences, expectations – all flowing as they will. Nothing to subdue them, there’s no structure, no rules. It is as if the structure inside the brain has broken down. As if someone has come and deliberately messed things up – like drawers rummaged. Everything that you sort, categorise and compartmentalise – thoughts in one drawer, feelings in another, expectations somewhere in a back drawer, past hurts even farther behind. Imagine the chaos that could happen if someone were to pull all the stuff from all the drawers and dump them on the floor. That’s what the confusion in my mind feels like right now.
“She’s had a nervous breakdown,” I can hear someone say in the distance. In my mind, that voice is associated with pain. Every time I hear it, it is like a knife grating into my heart, cutting it to pieces. Yes, it is Raj’s voice.
Everything is disjointed; there is no flow to Life any more. Nothing makes sense. For me, the most real thing in my life had been my marriage to Raj. I derived all my security, my sense of who I was from being his wife. And yesterday, when he told me that it was over, that he wanted a divorce, my world came crashing down. He says its a nervous breakdown. The doctors say its a nervous breakdown ..... is it? Its not my nerves, I want to tell them. Its my heart, my identity, my belief in myself that has been shattered and broken to pieces. What a ridiculous term – nervous breakdown!
What does Raj know about what it feels like, this feeling that all that you have believed in has been a sham? What does he know about how one feels when the earth is snatched from below your feet, when the sky threatens to crash on your head? When Life doesn’t make sense any more, when nothing does? When all you want to do is bury your head into the vast arms of oblivion? That kindly doctor, a psychiatrist, I heard Raj’s voice, who has been treating me ...... does she know what it feels like when nothing in Life seems worth living? Can she really know even a fragment of the utter despair one feels when one even contemplates about ending one’s life, let alone take steps toward it? How can she claim to treat me, she who stands across me complacently, flashing her mangalsutra in front of me .... does she know what that mangalsutra does to me? Its a hoax, I want to yell at her, don’t be so smug about it. But I cant find the strength to utter those words, I feel sapped of all my energy. I feel tired, utterly, completely exhausted. Its as though when I slashed my wrists, along with my blood, my energy and will to live have also been depleted and all I can do is lie on the hospital bed and stare at the white walls.
In the eyes of my husband and the world, I have had a nervous breakdown. But I know the truth. I know that for me, Life will never be the same. I didn’t succeed in ending my life, but in every way that matters; this is a new birth for me. The canvas of my world is completely changed, is unrecognisable from what it was. Yes, maybe this is what it means to have a nervous breakdown.