Monday, April 21, 2008

The Last Defence

The intellect had one last weapon in its arsenal and it used it the moment its reserves were finished. A part of me told me I was suffering from something close to clinical depression. I was missing lectures big time and a component of the grades were supposedly attached to them (you could never be sure of anything in MICA). I googled ‘Ahmedabad Psychiatrist’ and went to the first doctor that I found listed on the net. He was a neuro-psychiatrist, aloof in his detached professional attitude and lacking in basic humanity though glib in theorizing about the need of an understanding friend. He asked me to take pills for depression. I said I wanted to cope without them- through exercise or some breathing technique. He asked me to try such methods which he was sure were bound to fail and to come back to him when I realized my complete impotence before the goddamned pill. I tried to cope on my own by seeking the help of Anil, my roommate, to wake me up before the classes and by exercising physically. However I kept on missing lectures. I went to the doc again. He had a complacent smile as he prescribed me the pills.
It was in November 2005, during my second term at MICA. He told me he would be off for Diwali for the next few days.
I took the pills, expecting some minor relief. How badly I had miscalculated. A few hours after taking the pill, I was transported to pure heaven. I felt my entire body had evaporated. It was ineffably blessed and pleasant beyond measure. I lay in bliss for close to twenty hours. I thought I had been reborn and lost all memories of the past. When I took the next dose, I became recipient to awesome beauty everywhere around me. The campus seemed full of angels and gorgeous nymphs. Every face gleamed with heavenly beauty and joy. That night, the batch had arranged a terrace party for Garima Chugh who was soon to add Pai to her name. As I tried to ascend the stairs, I felt I had no body – it was all air. I felt I would fall down or fly away. I clung to the rods when I climbed the makeshift ladder to the roof. On the roof, I was lost in bliss. I wanted to wish Garima happiness but had no control over my arm’s movement. I couldn’t shake hands with her because I couldn’t locate her hand with mine! I dangled my arm and she shook it. In the party, as Roerick and Kanishk danced, I was transported to great joy. There dance and everything seemed surreal and ineffably beautiful. That night, I decided to discontinue those pills. I hadn’t taken more than three and they had nearly transported me out of this world. I discussed it with Anil and Mukul. The doc was away on Diwali vacations so I called another renowned psychiatrist through the reference of a friend. I told him the great bliss I felt and the name of the pills I had taken. He told me the pills were just normal antidepressants but according to him, I was misdiagnosed as suffering from depression when I had Bipolar- II. He asked if I had felt similar bliss earlier. I replied I had felt heavenly bliss for months in Chandigarh when Priyanka was responding to my decade long love for her for the first time. He said it was hypomania and I should get my diagnosis and medicine changed to suit Bipolar-II.

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