Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Rubber Ball is not a Person

There is a very attractive turquoise blue swimming pool. It engulfs all ones' senses and brings about the most beautiful, the most serene feeling. People sit by its sides and relax. People dip in for a swim. Some for fun. Some for sport. Some for competing to win. Some just for learning a survival skill. They are people. They are lucky.

There is a rubber ball. That is my head. Inside it is my mind, occupying it like the life air of the ball. Life sits by the sides and tries to push the ball in. Again and again. I feel squeezed. I feel tremendous pressure. Pressure between the hand pushing my head deep down into the water and the water pushing it back up due to buoyant forces. The game between Life and Water goes on. Sometimes, the pressure is so much that I feel my head ball will burst and water will rush in, forcing the life air out. The rubber, deflated, will either sink to the bottom of the pool. Or will float lifelessly, uselessly on the turquoise blue surface.

Yet, till now, every time Life's hand has pushed my head down, I have fought to resurface. Bobbed back. Refused to cave in to the pressure between the opposing forces, Life and Water. I do not trust water to throw me back up always. For water is uncertain. It flows whichever way the it is made to. It occupies whatever space or shape it is made to. We drink it for life. Yet, it so often, takes away life. Floods. Viruses and bacteria nurtured by it. Its deadly friendship with electricity.

The people who sit around, they don't know that the ball contains a human mind. They either sit back and enjoy the bobbing game, or sometimes join in. They throw the ball around and laugh. It is a game. A sport. If they start drowning all hell breaks loose. They are people. They can be seen drowning. But not a ball. Not a ball's struggles to stay afloat. After all, a ball is a ball. It is made for sport. It should know how to float by itself. It is not person. A drowning person needs help. Not a rubber ball.

So, I depend on nobody. A ball cannot control water. And what you cannot master, you cannot trust. I know I have to fight back myself. For myself. I have to resurface. I have to bob up even though I know bobbing always involves up-and-down. Down, but then there is also an up.

This is how the world treats people with mental illnesses. They first want to know how can someone develop a mental illness. Like how can a ball drown?  Only people with physical illnesses are real sufferers. They are drowning and need to be saved. A rubber ball is a rubber ball is a rubber ball. It is just full of air and hence, needs no saving. It can save itself if it wants to by just floating back up.

Yes. With most mental health patients, this is what happens. They cannot depend on anyone to save them. They depend only on themselves for survival. They fight Life's crushing hand and the pressures of an uncertain watery environment. They fight back and forth. Sometimes the head really feels like it is going to burst. But then bursting is not an option. The only option is self-preservation. To fight back. Bob back up. Even though one knows that nature's forces will drag it down again. Make it bob down. But, then one also knows that one has to withstand the drag and bob back up. Right back up.