Day 43: Is grief a new-age fad – what do I know?

Food for thought from one of my favourite humans, “Why does figuring and coming up with what’s wrong in our lives or even creating situations that make our lives seem bad come more easily to humans?”

I don’t know. It just does.

Lately, I have become more cynical about everything and everyone around me. My recent posts have even urged people to worry for my well-being. There’s the occasional “I think you are depressed”, or the “don’t do anything stupid”, or “why do you need a counsellor, things can’t be that bad”, or “calm and be positive” and so on.

Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s to do with being human and our unsaid attachment and love for pain. We’ve got a million things to be grateful for. I know I do. Yet, beneath that surface, there is always that one thing that upsets you. And as much as we crave for happiness, pain stings and stays a lot longer with us (with me). One thing I’ve realised is that most of this pain stems from comparison. With oneself, with others. It inevitably sets this foundation to set ourselves up for disappointment no matter the good.

Coming back to the question. Are we really unhappy or is grief the new rage? Does our generation succumb to peer pressure when it comes to feeling sad?

Yes it is in everyone’s faces at all times. Insta stories are canvases for our woes, and Facebook an excuse to vent. Snap filters a reflection of our emotions every now and then and captions a gateway to the daily dilemmas. As you read this, you’re aiding my path to sadness. Or maybe, this has to do with the content we read or the conversations we have. We tell ourselves to be grateful for life as we know it to shelve other emotions. Are we being grateful because we truly are or is it because we want to avoid feeling like shit instead?

What do I know?

I bought a gratitude journal a few months ago and I haven’t written a word in it. Not because I don’t have things to be grateful for. I do. The list doesn’t end as they flash before me right now (including “urgent” texts from my mother at this very moment and through the day; hi Ma). It’s because it comes more naturally to me when I wake up every morning or when I’m about to call it a day. Growing up in a Catholic family, we prayed before getting out of bed and before tucking ourselves to sleep. Short prayers thanking God for everything that happened and was meant to happen. The concept of prayer was a conversation in our home (it still is), and again I have my parents to be grateful for for the liberty of practicing my faith in a way that has only strengthened it over the years. That book is blank because my gratitude journal is my daily conversations with God every morning and night. Shorts prayers of gratefulness and affirmation.

It is better to be happy than to be sad. No doubt there. Be happy for those around you and be happy for yourself. And I am. But writing about things that bother me also makes me happy in a strange and twisted way. My recently pointed out that I should write about happier things. She seems to think I’m using my words (and talent) in a dark place and I know she means well. I seem to think that my words resonate with others in my place. This isn’t talent or love for literature, it’s pure honesty.

For over seven years now, my blog has been the bonfire I burn my secrets, confessions, struggles and joys in. During one of my confessions in church, the priest suggested I write things that still hurt me and burn it in flames. This blog and you are those flames.

“Why does figuring and coming up with what’s wrong in our lives or even creating situations that make our lives seem bad come more easily to humans?”

I don’t think it is about making our lives seem bad. I think it about voicing out what upsets us because, whether we like it or not, pain is more powerful joy. Pain can be motivational. Occasionally, it can be aspirational. Pain is what draws us together. I think it is about seeking out voices of assurance that we are not alone and that life’s obstacles, no matter how big or small are common to all. I think it is because it is easier to complain about the rocky road ahead than it is to accept the bed of flowers. Maybe grief is the new-age fad, maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s an escape or maybe it’s comforting. Maybe it’s easier to feel insecure than it is to feel confident. Maybe it’s is easy to be a victim than to wear a cape.

What do I know?

I also don’t think my opinion should have a bearing over anyone else’s. I think it is great to be grateful and happy or to share our lives in all its greatness with the world. I also think it’s okay to cry over the smallest fears. Some days we’re wrong, some days we’re right. Either way, most days, we’re getting through because we have each other. We always will.

You and me, and my soulful (WhatsApp) groups. You know who you are.

Today’s tune: What Do I Know by Ed Sheeran.

Day 43 – 27 September 2017.
323 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Luke Ellis-Craven on Unsplash

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Day 40 – No shame

Someone very close to me recently suggested that going to a counsellor meant being dependent on a form of medication, and that it wasn’t healthy. That counsellors were mere voices to our thoughts rather than the solution to our problem or conflict. That we could identify the problem ourselves and talk to friends and family. Someone else seemed more concerned with me going to sessions because it meant something was wrong with me.

Yes and no.

Counsellors are voices to our conflicts or internal battles but they’re also the starting point and your support system to being and feeling healthy. Often, we need people in our lives that don’t sugarcoat our struggles or points of view in a matter. We also need people helping us identify what might be bothering us. No doubt we need our friends and family to help us in the process. We also need unbiased professional help that guides you find what you’re looking for. Problems aren’t meant to be suppressed and they can’t always be resolved. But they most certainly shouldn’t be ignored. You won’t always have the answers, nor will your psychologist. Together, however, you may be able to find what it is you’re looking for.

Seek help.

Eventually, you will find that you are the means and the end. You and only you can enable your path to feeling healthy again – mentally, emotionally, physically. However, during that process, there is no shame in seeking help in any and every form. There is no shame in going to therapy. There is no shame in saying that you might be sick or that you simply don’t know. And there most certainly is no shame in putting you and your health first.

There will always be people telling you they know better. There will always be people finding shame in your struggles and achievements. There will also always be you who matters most. There will always be voices of self doubt. There will always be cheers for self love. On good and bad days, there will always be love for you, from your family, friends and strangers alike.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental illness or facing any form of conflict, visit a psychologist/counsellor/therapist/psychiatrist, and prepare that road to health, life, light and laughter.

There is no shame.

Today’s tune: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel.

Day 40 – 24 September 2017.
326 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Bryan Minear on Unsplash

Day 38 – Sleep, is it me you’re looking for?

I am losing sleep over dreams I can’t remember. I have been for the last five years now. Our conscience is a strange place. Mostly unresolved, and clouded with memories from an estranged past and a familiar future. Some days, I wake up more tired than the day before. Some nights, I wake up sore from sleeping a little too well. Why can’t our minds and bodies work in sync? People suggest meditation and walks in parks, and more. I’ve tried versions of these, yet I find myself tossing and turning from 9 to 9.

Maybe sleep is my kryptonite. What’s yours?

Today’s tune: Hello by Lionel Richie.

Day 38 – 22 September 2017.
328 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Sarah Ball on Unsplash

Day 36 – (not so) small wonders

I hate that I sound like a nag on loop but bear with me. I can’t remember the last time I slept without worrying about the next day or the day before. Or since I walked out with no map or agenda for the day. It has been a while since I really laughed. It’s really been a while!

Despite this and being away from the comfort of home, for all the days that I’ve felt worn and torn, I am grateful for all those calls, hugs and affirmations. All the days that I didn’t want to get out of bed or dragged myself from work to school and home, I am grateful for those companions who’ve shown so much love and understanding. Thank you for bearing with my lack of enthusiasm and poor communication.

It has been a while since I’ve had some good things going. More to do with how I feel mentally than the physical evidence of things going well. Yes, there is a lot to be grateful for but it’s difficult when you mind gives up on you. It’s difficult when you often see the darkness of the tunnel instead of the ray of light at the end of it. Tonight, however, does feel good knowing that I’m surrounded by the kind of family that isn’t bound by blood alone but by choice too.

Oh life, thank you for your small wonders.

Today’s tune: Sham – Aisha Soundtrack.

Day 36 – 20 September 2017.
330 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Day 34 – The fear of deadlines

Lately, I’ve been really struggling with my school work and assignments. Just the thought of a deadline feels like sword of pressure hanging over my head. Guidelines and Deadlines. For the most past, they seem overwhelming. They also feel stifling. It is no excuse to get away from things to be done. With school work, things that I could and would get done rather easily now seem daunting. A 3000-word essay once came easy to me. I would think and I would write. Now, I won’t write that first sentence because I worry I won’t make the mark. Now, I overthink. As a result, I have nothing but anxious and insomniac nights. Continue reading “Day 34 – The fear of deadlines”

Day 32 – I’m back (barely)

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When this project turned a month old, I promised myself to not worry about filters or what others thought. Let’s be honest, obviously that was an empty promise. I haven’t written since. Not because I didn’t want to but because this because this felt and became obligatory. This became something I was not. The same trickled down to my art too. I haven’t drawn in months and it hurts. You cannot imagine how much it hurts but I hate that what I love (used to anyway) seems like a task instead of a hobby.

These may seem like excuses but they’re really not. They are daily battles and I am at the losing end.

Just don’t give up
I’m workin’ it out

These past couple months have been draining in so many ways. My biggest source of exhaustion has been me, myself and I. Yet, despite the exhaustion I feel like I’ve gotten nowhere. Nowhere with work, nowhere with school, nowhere with life. This should scare right? It should at least worry me? Instead I’ve gotten comfortable with doing nothing. I have become complacent. I am tired most days and nights, and wake up with no will whatsoever. And while I’ve always loved my alone time, this time round, it isn’t as pleasant. Not at all.

Please don’t give in
I won’t let you down

Am I running away from responsibility and hiding beneath this whole pile of excuses? Am I using it as a defense mechanism against all expectations from self and others?

Having said that, a lot has happened in the last few months. I moved to a new home, I got a new job, I started a new semester at school. All this seems and sounds really overwhelming. And now, it feels really overwhelming too. The time that I get to myself, which is mostly nights wrapped in exhaustion and anxiety, is all I have. I have also started seeing a counsellor because I suddenly feel like I need to be diagnosed. It’s strange, this need for diagnosis, because you want to believe something is wrong with you irrespective of reality. I’m scared genes I thought were suppressed may suddenly take over my life.

It messed me up, need a second to breathe

I am sick and I am tired and I cannot wait for this phase to end. And like you’re going to tell me and like I already know, this won’t just end unless I do something about it. Here’s what I have been struggling with – how?

You will know how Chriselle, you just have to take that first step and be open to change. After all…you only live once, carpe damn diem, zindagi na milegi dobara, you’re the captain of your own ship, affirmation after affirmation, yada yada.

how???

Just keep coming around

Today’s tune: Whataya Want from Me by Adam Lambert.

Day 32 – 16 September 2017.
334 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Photo by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

Day 28 – Alive

Heartbreak can be as liberating as it is painful. For the most part, I am okay because I have been distracted. It gets tough when I am alone and staring at silence storm its fist at me. It get though when my thought drift towards what could be and what isn’t. It is tough but for the most part I am okay. Continue reading “Day 28 – Alive”

Day 25 – Will I ever be in the now?

I am always inside my head, thinking about situations, people and places over and over. I shouldn’t be but I am. How will I ever truly live? How do I feel happiness and freedom?

Lately, I sense that I have been getting attached to the idea of something rather than the person or experience itself. I chalk out scenarios of how they should respond rather than allowing them to be and it is getting in way of me being my 100%. I put on masks to make myself feel something I won’t naturally feel. In reality, I am just trapped in my mind, unable to find the keyhole to the path to being free. Being trapped is the worst feeling. It is the worst because you are doing it to yourself. The mind is such a tricky place, one wrong move, and the switch could be flipped for life. How do you then cope? How do live in the now?

What now? I just can’t figure it out
What now? I guess I’ll just wait it out

Today’s tune: What Now by Rihanna.

Day 25 – 28 May 2017.
341 days to go.

Thanks for listening and if you relate, say hello, please and thank you.

Day 6 – Acceptance

We’re faced with grief in the form of the death of a loved one, a bad break-up, the loss of a job, a tanked idea, abuse in any form, or a fatal diagnosis. These circumstances mostly come unannounced, leaving you with tear-stained faces and empty pillow talk. You’re told to live well, and just when you do, it’s all taken away from you.

Grief has a way of taking over your life that shakes your core and leaves you bare. I am 24 and have experienced most of these situations. Too young? Too soon? Why me?

Continue reading “Day 6 – Acceptance”