Word of the Week #101:

NemeSis: 

Hypocrisy

If you are a woman reading this, please tell me what you want. Equality? World domination? What?

Do you want reservations so that you can get by with poorer achievements compared to the boys? Remember why reservations were made and for whom. If you are reading this on a mobile device that belongs to you, you probably don’t need reservations.

Do want those two seats in the metro every single time, even if you are feeling alright and standing 30 minutes is going to do you no harm? If a tired, old man is sitting there quietly cursing that he will have to get up when some woman walks in, you probably don’t need the seat as much as he does.

Do you want the women’s line while waiting in line to buy a ticket or submit a form? Why?

Do you want to get rid of the stalkers and lechers? Yeah, me too… actually no, I have never really had too many of them. Some people do not back off, I get that. But the rest can be reasoned with.

Do you want your male friends to stand up for you when you are in trouble? I do. But it is easier when I stand up for myself first.

Do you want rallies on the streets for a rape victim for you to address your own bad memories with abuse? Do want to stand up for the other women in your own life who are going through abuse? Do you want to stop abuse from happening when your own mother, father, brother or sister is dishing it out to another woman?

Do you really want a specific day to remind you of your womanhood? What about the other days?

What do you really want, woman? What makes you think you are entitled to certain privileges because of your gender? Entitlement… that was not the reason these concessions were made. They were meant to give you a foothold when you started climbing.

Do you want to be your own hero? Or do you feel entitled to having some knight come save you?

Happy Women’s Day.

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Word of the Week #87:

NemeSis: 

Triumph

Luca completed 30 days in my house today.

For the past 30 days, I have been taking him out to relieve himself. But, our boy thinks that the mats inside our house are better spots for that. So, once he feels the force, he starts crying and begs me to take him back indoors so he can find release.

Even indoors, he is convinced that touching the potty training mat is enough and there is no need to aim so that the liquid projectiles land somewhere on the super-absorbent mat.

Today, two things happened.

  1. I took Luca outdoors thrice. He relieved himself outdoors thrice.
  2. Out of three liquid projectiles, two landed in the dead centre of the mat, one on the border.

If this is not a major victory, I don’t know what is.

Word of the Week #85:

Revelry

Just this Sunday, my sister and I were sitting in a cab. I was looking out the window, as we whizzed past the flashing lights.

“I have a meeting till 5PM on Thursday,” she suddenly announce. “I don’t think I will be able to make lunch.”

“Huh? Okay,” was all I could elicit, at the moment, not sure what to do with this little piece of information.

It is not like her to make small talk, after all, nor is she known to volunteer information for no good reason.

Also, considering her schedule, it was almost always impossible for her to have lunch at home on a weekday, and I could not see why she would feel the need to specify it, that too days in advance.

I stared at her for another few seconds, before either of us could spoke again, and I was so wrapped in my thoughts that I do not remember even a word of what followed.

What I do remember is the sensation when, after an entire minute of befuddlement, realisation finally dawned on me: Thursday also happens to be my birthday.

It may seem odd to some, but to me birthdays do not seem like a big deal… Especially when we are talking about my own. If it is someone else’s, I would still love to make a big fuss for their sake. That is still fun.

But, you see, I have already seen enough birthdays. Their novelty has already faded. Now, it is no longer a day I look forward to for the weeks, or even days, that precede it. Moreover, I have not even been able to spend it with the entirety of my family, for the past two years. That rather dampens the effect.

Now, I do not say that I will not celebrate. It has been a good year, and all good things deserve a celebration, right?

But, more than Thursday, I am looking forward to Wednesday night. On 15th of November, 2017, we commemorate the third anniversary of the completion of the first draft of Arrkaya: Origins, after a marathon writing session that lasted 46 hours and ended only because the manuscript was complete. It is the time to remember one of the finest day in my short lifetime, and I could not be more proud.

So, the party does not start at midnight. No, it shall start at 10PM. Just as it did, three years ago…

This week should be fun.

Word of the Week #80:

NemeSis: 

Monster

DISCLAIMER: This article is my personal account and does not prescribe any methods for diagnosis or treatment of OCD.

As a 2-year-old child learning to write on a 4-lined page, I was not aware that it was possible to leave a few edges of a few letters spilled out of the designated lines. The consequences of not sticking to the lines were terrifying and erasing every delinquent word and rewriting it was the easiest thing to do. When I saw the other kids crossing these lines, I could not accept it. It did not hurt at all during pre-school because I was smarter than most kids (not bragging at all) and time was not an issue. However, with age, the self-imposed rules kept growing and it started getting difficult to keep everything within the lines.

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Then there were fears — fear of heights, fear of closed spaces, fear of contamination, fear of people…

Since my moral standards were so high, I found it very difficult to trust normal people. If they could bend a rule, they could break a law; if they could break one law, they could definitely break another. I also took all spoken words literally. A person saying “I will kill you” would immediately be labeled as a potential murderer. It took me a long time to get used to hearing people use such words jokingly. That posed another problem… people did not mean what they said.

Then there were nightmares of war, apocalypse and dystopia.

Although experiencing and confronting this anxiety took a lot of energy and time, I did not realise it was a problem because I did not know there was any other way to live.

Maybe it was too much to deal with as a child even though most of it was only in my head. I started questioning if my fears had a basis and calculating the probability of my nightmares turning real. I created this entity called ‘My Rational Observer’.

At 8, I (or my rational observer) decided to deal with my fears on my own. I would lock myself up in small places and stay there till I stopped shaking. I waited and observed that I was suffocating not because of lack of oxygen but because I was using too much of it. This took a few tries. But I do not hyperventilate in closed spaces anymore. It is the same with heights. I would sit with my feet dangling off the 4 floor ledge. The first few times were terrible (my little brother witnessed this stunt often and freaked out). But it got easier. I still hate heights. But it takes a lesser amount of time to get over its mind-numbing effect.

Sometime along the way, I started having nightmares of me brutally hurting the people I loved the most. When I was 17, I unfortunately discovered The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud — the book convinced me that all my nightmares were a form of wish-fulfilment. This new information threw me completely off balance. I would break into tears every time I saw someone that I had recently mutilated in my dreams. I kept apologising to them without explaining why. In some time, all these people completely freaked out. They were sure something was wrong with me. I was sure too, but I could not really talk about any of it.

Two years later, I decided to see a psychologist. She turned out to be a follower of Freudian philosophies. During the first session, she had me convinced that I had some deep rooted ill-feelings towards the people I was hurting in my dreams. By the end of the second session, she had me convinced that I was a horrible and ungrateful person. The next few months were a nightmare — whether I was awake or asleep. Fortunately, I had some really good people on my side. I am not sure how I survived that period.

After completing Engineering, I decided to plunge into Psychology so that I could understand what was going on in my life. The people I met during this time had a soothing effect on my psych. It was during this time that I was first diagnosed with OCD. My mentors and teachers for the Psychology program started working with me, applying REBT (an older version of CBT) techniques to help me get a hold on my OCD. They also explained that the coping techniques I had been using so far were already similar to REBT (but I was just being too radical while applying them). I would like to believe things got a little better… maybe.

My need for order and the rituals necessary to keep my World safe, dictated that I should stay alone. Living with another human being would add another variable to my life and could trigger an apocalypse. The rational observerwanted to test that and I invited my very good friend to move in with me. I loved her company but the pile of her clothes at the corner of the bed stressed me out more than it should have. Once she became more important, she too got added to the list of people I hurt in my nightmares. The most logical thing to do was to stop sleeping. I developed insomnia. I hid my thoughts from her, but the insomnia had her worried.

My first instance of not resisting a hug was when my friend (and housemate) hugged me on her birthday to thank me for the gift. I had to resist a thousand thoughts about contamination and hygiene though. She realised how awkward I was. When I explained to her what I was thinking, she frowned at me and hugged me again, her words still clear in my memory, “There is no way I am going to stop hugging you. Let us see what happens.” Well, nothing bad happened. In about a month of being hugged repeatedly, I started hugging her back. It felt warm and happy. No, nothing bad happened. (When I look back at this, I realise that this was classic CBT, and my friend still does not know it is called that.)

Few months ago, I got myself 3 rescue kittens. Every single time I get home late from work, they scatter things in the house and make a mess. There is cat litter everywhere. I am not sure why it no longer causes stress. It is probably because of their adorable faces staring at me defiantly when I scold them about the mess. I end up smiling and picking them up and pampering them before I get to cleaning the house again. That delay is fine. And the cleaning can wait for a few minutes, or hours, or days.

When I look back, I have had OCD forever. Some parts of it were painful, but the others did not seem like a problem till someone gave it a name. Every person in my family has a different manifestation of OCD. We try helping each other out and it is one of the many reasons why we are so close.

Many of my friends have spoken about obsessive behaviours but they do not have the courage to visit a therapist and seek help. There could have been times when people would have given up on me, but they didn’t, and I am so grateful to them for this. OCD is not something anyone would want to talk about in great detail. There are also many misunderstandings around it. I have been told many times, “You say you have OCD but you don’t wash your hair everyday… so you don’t have OCD” or “I like to keep my house clean, I am so OCD about it”.

If you think you have OCD, please talk about it. Also, my OCD could be very different from yours. Formal therapy did not help me as much as real-life, regular people (and the rational observer) did. I have usually been in situations where there was me, my OCD and someone (or something) that I really cared about. In most cases, I was able to overcome my obsessive thoughts to cross over to the other side. So far, this is the only kind of therapy that has worked for me. Maybe it will work for you too…? Maybe formal therapy will work for you…? You will not know till you try. You will not know if the problem exists for you. You will not be able to fix anything unless you know if something is broken.

Sometimes, even now, I have to remind myself that I am a good person who would never let anyone come to harm with my actions. The nightmares are not so frequent anymore. I mostly sleep fine. I don’t treat my OCD like a criminal. I believe it is only a form of self-preservation, some twisted form of a survival instinct. I do get anxious about certain things from time to time, but overall, I am fine. As long as my rational observer is around, I will be fine. I am friends with the monster.

#OCDWeek

Word of the Week #41:

Eerie

Okay, before we begin, I must warn you that this post is a direct reaction to the recent Sherlock episode, The Lying Detective, so if you haven’t watched it yet, well, stop reading this and go watch it.

Really, I am serious.

The post contains major, I repeat, MAJOR, spoilers…

You have been warned… Continue reading Word of the Week #41: