Incomprehensible Disorder

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    Ronit Hazarika

    I am an 18 year old boy from Guwahati. I would like some professional help from the experts panel on this website, regarding my vague psychological complication, and even more disturbing implications of that disorder in everyday life, which have robbed me of inner peace since the last four years. Be warned, :blush: , this will be a lengthy read.

    My name is Ronit Hazarika. And for the last four years I have been under medication for severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. However, what makes my complication ‘vague’, is the fact that I HAVE NO APPARENT COMPULSION OR OBSESSION.
    Let it be noted that the word ‘severe’ used above is not how my therapist would describe my condition, but rather how I would describe it; not because the condition is intense, but rather because it is elusive and its symptoms have turned passive in nature – much like a slow poison, I am afraid, which might cause irreparable damage.
    To understand my condition it is most necessary to know the entire story of what I went through.
    It was four years ago. I was in class nine. The sharpest tool in the shed. At the peak of my wellness – my intellectual reach, my prolific-ism (if that is a word in the English vocabulary), my cheerfulness and spiritual motivation. As you must know, I am (hopefully, still am) a man of science and philosophy. A man who indulges himself (or perhaps, used to; to my eternal agony) in abstractions. Reality, illusions, metaphysics, magnitudes, space, time, dimensions, energy etc. Hence naturally, my immediate attractions were mathematics and physics. They were both my intellectual as well as academic strengths. Actually, as far as academic strengths were concerned, you couldn’t tell my passions from them, because I excelled equally, and greatly, in every subject. Whats more, I was passionate, or at least zealous in thought about every subject. I have been winning olympiads, quizzes etc since age seven. Coming into class nine, we got to study physics, my favourite, seperately from Science. Therein I started dreaming of how quickly I could establish myself and empower myself by gaining detailed knowledge in higher classes, and how well I would be able to play around and assimilate that knowledge, thanks to my IQ of 130 (back then; now its 156; I’m mentioning these figures not to brag, but so that you may understand my sentiments to the greatest resolution). I drew out a space-time graph without ever having ever heard about it. I developed a primitive form of chaos theory. Relativity theory. Comprehended the molecular phenomenon of life. Visualized matter-energy equivalence. Started professing the fixed timeline theory of space-time. All in class nine. All on my rough copy, or just my mind. Without ever having read or heard about them. Believe it. The future seemed terribly bright. I had also newly discovered my sense of freedom and was giving it a try – movies till 1 ‘o clock at night, just because I wanted to see how that felt, for example. Actually planning my car-stereo playlist. Deciding for myself what I would do at what time of the day. I was synthesizing a diverse and custom-made spectrum of colors on the canvas of my 24 hour-day, as opposed to the canvases of childhood memories, which, while very fondly remembered, were not decided by ourselves. No wonder I was happy.
    Then came the incident which changed my life forever.
    One of our classmates got hurt during the recess. I volunteered to accompany him to the Medical Examination Office in our cantonment (I studied in Army School). While his injury was being examined, I was waiting outside in the lobby. A movie was on. A romance. (Here comes the cheesy part :dodgy: ). Although I have had like some ten crushes in my life since class 1 upto class 9, I would not have considered women to be my weakness. The movie had just begun when I walked out of my friend’s cabin into the lobby. First thing I noticed – the lead actress was very beautiful. Every Indian knows her. The only reason I’m not disclosing the name here is that this post is already cheesy enough. But I didn’t enter any trance at her sight (that is to come later). The story was not a bumpy one, the acting was very subtle, the cinematography was in the Scottish Highlands, and before long I was hooked onto the movie; especially the lady. Two hours later, the movie was over, and me and my erstwhile injured friend were driving back to school. But my mind stayed back. On the lady.
    Back in school I was still fogged up. I was officially in a trance. On the school bus back to home I was still in the trance. Back home things didn’t change. I was in love, I told myself.
    Now when I look back, I understand that many factors led up to what transpired in the M.E Office. The weather was rainy, my mind was soothed out, even sympathetic and softened, due to the friend’s injury. There were very few people in the comfortable and small M.E Office, and I had the lobby TV all for myself. All these factors did team up to mess up my head. But then, I only liked what was going on.
    Next day the lady’s photo was on the front page of ETC (we had a Telegraph subscription). All day I looked at her face. Even at night I looked at it for some 20 minutes before going to bed. Now, as I am narrating this four year old story, I regret the fact that I cannot recall how it felt exactly, and express myself better here. But I do recall it felt very true. And I was, by no means a stupid person, loaded with kinky teenage fetishes and tendencies. In fact I prided myself (and still do) with the fact that I never had the weaknesses and the drawbacks of teenage. For this reason I was also thought by a few as a very complicated character (I was known for being either thoroughly entertaining, or terribly boring, but never wild or irrationally/destructively impulsive, in any manner).
    Since I cannot empathize with my four-years-younger self, I am cutting the long story short. I was seriously into the lady. I knew that this had zero future prospects, but I didn’t mind that. My love (or whatever) was selfless. I started listening to old melodies on Big FM late in the night, keeping the radio beside me as I read some book. Sometimes, I cried after some songs-not from sorrow; my love never gave me sorrow-its the absence of love, as we shall see, that gave me sorrow; but from sheer passion.
    And after 6 months of constant devotion, the passion started dampening. I was terrified. I tried to clutch on to those emotions, but felt them slipping away. I was troubled. My true love, which gave me such a fulfilling purpose in life, was eroding. And all I could do was lie to myself and pretend that everything was the same, while deep down I was trying hard to keep it so; in vain. I went into depression from this, remained sulky and troubled throughout the day, for the next 6 to 8 months. Then came the Mumbai Terror Attacks. We saw the 70 hour Armageddon on television day and night. We used to go back and talk of how cool it was to see all that live-action on TV which otherwise is only seen in movies. I said that in a phone conversation with my friend Amit over the phone, and he chastised me for amusing myself at something that has been the cause of so much terror and loss and pain. It struck me that I am heartless. Hardhearted. Everything pointed out to it. My love slipping away, me enjoying homicide (thats the draconian way I put “enjoying live action” to myself in self-criticism). Another thing. I did not cry when my father passed away. 3-4 years before this 26/11.
    Perhaps me not crying at my father’s death was understandable. I never had any emotional attachment with him, although he was one of the best human beings I ever knew. And I have very good reason to say that, which, however, I should not express here. He used to stay in Shillong, away from us. Even when he used to come back, he arrived drunk, troubled at all the demands back at his home (my mom’s in-law’s home). And then there would be fights. Often physical. My mom would get hurt. And I, the frightened little 6 years old boy, obviously sided with mom. Hence, I never built any attachment with him. In 2005 he passed away succumbing to mysterious injuries. Bad things always happen to good people.
    So I did not cry when he died. Which seemed a bit too much, even after considering everything. That again, I naturally attributed to my hardheartedness. And I was spiralling down into an abyss of depression. Then came the nuke. My mom is an engineer. In a very high post. Hence she is a very busy person. She is a brave woman, who has seen a lot in life, and is hence a wee-bit little foul-mouthed. But she is very compassionate and righteous within. But this one day she scolded me badly for not helping her in the household chores (she had the right to do so). She called me, well, hardhearted. After her verbal spanking, I was left devastated. I locked myself in my room, flopped on my bed (literally, flopped-like a stroke victim) and cried and howled like an unconscious person. For 5 hours. It was the most despairing and morbid 5 hours of my life of 18 years. The lights were off. It was evening. I felt myself to be now not just slipping down, but falling down in a void, into an infinite abyss of morbidity and doom and despair and purposelessness. When I got up, everything had changed. I had turned insensitive. I did not want to watch TV, did not want to play PC games, not books. I lost my appetite. It was as if my body was drained out of sensitivity and all impulses and instincts. Suddenly, I could not feel anything- no impulse, no initiative, no drive, no natural urge, however minor or unnoticed in regular life. Soon I realized what a terrible thing had happened. I could not visualize the science stuff in class (no academic disadvantage from that – hardly any school student visualizes anything anyways – our educational system is that bad). But now I couldn’t even memorize. THAT had unavoidable implications. My score fell from 93% to 89%. I noticed I could sit 3 hours in a chair in the living room without doing ANYTHING. I felt no boredom. Back then I described the condition as some ‘glass barrier’ between me and whatever my five senses interpret. I could see, hear, touch, smell, understand, but those inputs failed to arouse anything in me whatsoever. That seemed a very dangerous prospect. My intellectual and intuitive abilities were on a decline. I was not passionate about philosophy, thought, ideas, and vision anymore. I could not recreate myself. I lost appetite (and hence weight). I lost my sense of decorum. My erstwhile spectrum of colors, which I had just recently painted, had now turned monochrome. I was terrified. Before long, I consulted a psychiatrist.

    First he gave me one strip of pills I tried for a week. No change. Then he suggested another. I was scared he did not understand my complication, hence I visited him again and again. I texted him tones of messages describing my feelings and states of mind. I gave him a ten-page writing where I described how the situation stood, my exact experiences down to the last detail, and even a well-ness graph about how I had learnt to moderate my moods since childhood (my 24-hour spectrum) and how I was beginning to explore my freedom, when suddenly the moods got so moderated, accidently or inevitably, they became flatlined. He noticed this and said he knows that I am not confident about his understanding of the situation. When I asked him what my ailment is, he said it is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. But I do not have any obsession, I said. I do, he said. He drew a pen-sketch of a bucket of water and asked me to describe it. I answered instinctively and intuitionally, from his sketch-lines, his contours, the ink, etc, . . . “troubled, un-convinced, active” – those were the exact words. He said that earlier he had been a bit unsure, but now, after my letter to him, the graph, and now my reply, he was sure I suffered from OCD. He said my obsession was images – impressions, mental impressions, situational impressions, temporal impressions, which I am not being able to let go.

    Since then I have been under medication with Prozacs (fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, other SSRIs), till date. Four years. Every time I visit his clinic (at 1+1/2 months intervals; later i became 3 months intervals), he asks me how I feel. I always say o I have felt something changing,although I have never said that the change felt good. I just did not know whether the change was the effect of the medicines, or just the OCD symptoms getting worse. I also could never explain clearly whether the change felt better or worse, because to say that one has to know what normal life feels like, something which I have apparently long forgotten. Initially, the doctor said the diagnosis period would be 9 months. It has been four years now. A month ago, my medicines got over. This was supposed to be my last bundle of medicines. I do not feel satisfied. I lack conviction. Maybe its because the temporary image of me before the complications I carried while I was disabled mentally is now wearing off, and want to continue being him again, but perhaps there is no ‘resume’ button. Perhaps I would have to again start from scratch to be what I was. But what if I don’t ? What if I don’t turn out as awesome as I used to be ? Most importantly, is there a resume button ?

    I suspect my psychiatrist. I fear he did not treat me right. This belief is all the more strengthened because it took 4 years, in place of 9 months, which he promised. Moreover, I am not convinced that I am okay. I fear that I will end up just another university professor, instead of an active worker towards moulding a vision, a philosopher, an absolute mind, a frontruner of scientific investigation and one of the greatest minds, if not THE greatest mind of the 21st century (I know that sounds extremely impractical; but its okay for dreams to be impractical- that’s why they’re dreams). Above all, will I ever be the same amazing kid who thought about things to reach a fundamental way to look at things, the amazing kid who could share his passion with a class of school students and get them excited, rather than thinking intelligently merely because he can ?

    Will I ever be truly happy ?

    Please help me solve my complication, enlighten me about my condition, and build conviction about myself.[/align][/align]

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