Every time I am done with a large deadline, I feel an enormous wave of calm wash over me, as if all my worries were over for the rest of my life. Of course, I am well aware that they are not, but somehow my brain shuts down negativity and allows myself to indulge in social media without any shade of guilt-tripping. I am riding on one such a small high at the moment.
A good thing about living with mental illness and being accustomed to the recurring thoughts of death and negativity is that it also does not take much to make you happy. I walk out to the terrace to water my plants and take in the warm dry laundry from the lines, and the very fact that my feet are touching the earth give me reason to be joyful. I become super-aware of how firm my soles are on the ground; how they aren’t dragging on the smooth tiles with the heaviness of chores amidst an empty darkness. They keep the right kind of pace, somewhere between the frenzied mayhem of manically happy days and the dead lull of depression.
I look at my task-sheet for the previous week and feel a sense of achievement at that every day has at least one tick. Even through a bout of migraine yesterday, I managed to finish four language lessons. I even cooked one real meal from scratch a few days ago. I might make a proper dinner tonight.
My nightmares still persist though. Well, they are not as much nightmares as horribly vivid dreams playing out in loops and waking me up all through the night. MB’s working hours mean that I stay up till midnight and wake up when he does, leading to disrupted sleep patterns. Even on the nights when he isn’t around, I don’t sleep too well. I wake up gasping for breath every morning, as if all the oxygen in the room were sucked out through the night, and spend at least half an hour waiting for my heart to slow down to a steady rhythm, my head to stop spinning, and my lungs to brace the air around me as my brain tries to discern reality from the foggy images in my head. In a sense, I am relieved that the all these dreams are about work and not some personal trauma, but it also has me second-guessing what I might be doing wrong and where the origin of my newfound maladjustments might be.
I also feel like I am letting my days slip away a little too easily. I know I am being indulgent. For the first time in my life, I am not permitting commitments to bug me the way I used to. I allow myself dangerous leeway. I let missed calls and promises fall away like dead weight, and walk around without the burden of best intentions. I can feel this lassitude chipping away at the constructs of integrity that I held hard on to, but somehow, I am not apologetic. If this is what it takes for me to stay sane for just a little longer, so be it. I can get used to the lightness of being bare.