Thursday, December 22, 2011

Empty spaces

For the past few days, I notice I am becoming increasingly restless. It's something I've felt before and felt in exactly these circumstances actually. I am studying well which is good but it's not as fulfilling right now as it was six months ago. Piyu reckons it might be a mild case of burn-out but I don't think it's that. I am not less enthusiastic or less prolific but I am just less fulfilled.

Learning something new and getting a concept in place is not giving me that sharp jolt of pleasure that it used to. I wonder if it's desensitization to over-much stimulation.

And it's not just the studying. It's a lot of things. I find I can't sit down in front of the television like I used to. TV with it's blurred-cleavage-and-overzealous-bleeping on the English channels and the shake-what-yo-mama-gave-you item girls on the Hindi channels is starting to feel like a gentler version of the pop culture torture methods some psychopath designed for use in Gitmo.

I find my attention wanders from movies I think I should be riveted to, and I feel guilty for it. I've been reading A Pair of Blue Eyes but Elfride's inconstancy does not help with my own occasional meanderings.

Music is a salve. Sometimes songs help with the uneasiness like the serendipitous Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu followed by Traumerei last night, sometimes I suspect my iPod's shuffle has started feeding on my subconscious. I am particularly thankful for it at times like last night. But today, try as I might, I couldn't feel the yearning in Lag Jaa Gale with the same gale-force I used to.

Talking with friends feels like over-stimulation. I haven't been good with them recently, I know. I've been defensive and sarcastic and I don't like being this way. Mitzi theorizes it's the winter doing its thing. Piyu figures I'm withdrawing into my shell like the unbalanced Gemini-Cancer cuspian she insists I am. Astrology does not help soothe my frayed nerves, never has really. Then again, nor does this blackguard of a Bombay winter.

I'm taking long walks again. I crave solitude and sometimes, even silence. It's like needing a fix of tranquility.

I am never overwhelmed by crowds but lately I'm comforted by the anonymity and blending they offer. I don't understand it. It doesn't often happen that the voice in my head speaks with emotion in this much contradiction with reason.

Reason claims I should be satisfied with my life at this point. Emotion points out I am not.

I have a vague sense that there's something missing. Something that was once close that is now not within reach. A piece of the puzzle that has wandered off, refusing to yield a whole picture.

I recall those earlier days of restlessness, what Pushky called 'my blue periods' with liberal seasonings of irony. What I don't recall is what helped me get out of them. Did I wait for them to pass me by? Or did I push them away by plunging into over-activity and 'distractions' - what Rohith recently wrote about. Maybe dad is right. Maybe I just need to take a vacation after a relentless and rather eventful year.

Perhaps I need to seek out Bukowski again. "There is something wrong with me besides melancholia." he says. Does it apply to me tonight, I wonder.

Christmas is coming and that usually helps. Until then, I guess there's always homemade cake.


T. said...

Heres something that shud cheer you right up.

Q. What's green and turns red when you push a button?
A. A frog in a blender! XD


No? Okay lemme diagnose you, doc. You suffer from exam fatigue. I recommend an excellent vacation possibly a trip to Goa with old friends. Around February. When I get back. What do you say? Piyu ko poochneka?

Anonymous said...

Clear case of exam burn out. Fatigued from studying day in and day out.
You probably have not a learned a single new concept, even though you say otherwise. That cannot not give you the high.
Seasonal affective disorder. The season being that of exam.
You need a vacation, as T rightly suggested and the suggestions by what you enjoy now that you had left before or never tried.
But then there are always drugs. Faster and more reliable short term solutions to all problems.
That should help you keep studying till exams with the dedication that you have always had towards studies and ignore all your symptoms.
Piyu ko poocha, toh she would pick vacation over medicines, but would you?

Astha said...

Everyone goes through that phase. Another Quarter Life Crisis situation I guess. The only consolation you can give yourself is that it's temporary, that soon you're gonna bounce back and be yourself again! :D
Have an amazing Christmas!

The Damned Writer said...

You're a doc?! WOw!
Well, it's grey's anatomy that made me adore doctors all of a sudden :)...never mind...

it's fatigue, ma'm...thats all it is :)'ll leave you alone as and when you take a break and go on a trip or something...:D

Sinduja said...

You are just a short way off from the answers... seek within. :)

Arumugam said...

Maybe a vacation would help you,I dunno.For me,it doesn't as I tend to bring along 'myself' if i am vacationing and that kinda defeats the whole purpose.

I was surprised at some 'symptoms' you mentioned.Many have been part of the ebb and flow of life,that I have become quite used to them.

Its ok to crave solitude and be with oneself for a while...hope this helps

Sakshi said...

And chocolate!
Sometimes it is okay to yearn the solitude. To yearn believe in yourself! All over again.


C said...

Best to surround yourself with books and nothing else. Isolate yourself from music, tv, friends. You just have to hang on couple of months now. Study!


I think it happens to everyone....and mainly to a medical person....u get used to something and get bored by the things u used to enjoy....well at last wat matters is that is happiness.....just do wat makes u happy....

Gustaf Valström said...

Kari you've had the specter of impending exams looming on the horizon for nearly a year now. I should say you've handled it surprisingly well actually. I have a tendency to go to pieces myself. And a vacation is well-deserved in your case. You just have a month to go and you know exactly what destination I have in mind for you. :))

On a more serious note dont try to push yourself too much. Dont feel guilty for anything. It's very normal to feel this way occasionally - the ebb and flow of life as one of your friends said here.

It will pass and you will be back to your usual bubbly self. I think you are noticing these 'blue periods' more because your baseline levels of happiness are rather high - always approaching elation instantly. So what is anhedonia for you is day-to-day for other folks. Think about it. Talk to you soon. Merry Christmas to you! :))

R said...

Aw I love what Gustaf said. :)
Other than that, been there, empathise with you totally. Hugs to you, woman. You'll get over it- I have a feeling you're one of them annoyingly sunny optimistic people heh. I shall send good vibes and happy making mixes your way if that helps. Love

Tangled up in blue... said...

T., kaisa cheapda PJ hai! :P And yeah, I guess it is exam fatigue if that's what everyone thinks. I've decided not to give it all that much thought. When January ends, all the exams will and we shall have a real reason to celebrate. Piyu says she's free from Feb. 10 to 21. :) Can't wait to have you back! :)

Anon, yes, yes, I agree. And for a second, I thought you were suggesting recreational drugs but it's the pharmaceutical kind you meant, it turns out. Maybe I'll mix and match. Maybe I'll stick with this delicious plum-cake. :) Thanks for the consultation! It made for one helluva interesting comment. :) Happy Christmas!

Tangled up in blue... said...

Sinduja, I know what you mean. It's what I've been trying to do. :) Thanks!

Arumugam, I know what you mean. I am not very good at disconnecting either. But a vacation is definitely more enjoyable than studying every day. It's probably a normal thing but I'm usually not idle enough to notice it when it happens to me. And thank you, it certainly helped. :) Happy Christmas! :)

Tangled up in blue... said...

Sakshi, thank you! *hugs*

C, that's what I keep telling myself. It's just a few more weeks now. It feels a lot like running a marathon you know. You need to have more endurance and stamina and be able to peak at the right time. Thanks for your comment! :)

Durga, thank you for your comment. :) You're probably right. It's mostly boredom and ennui due to repetition and routine, I guess.

Tangled up in blue... said...

Gus, thank you! :) I know you've had a really busy fortnight. But I'm really, really grateful for your comment right now. You know, I watched It's a Wonderful Life last night and for some reason, I feel very light and cheerful again. I decided I'd take a couple days off and just relax for a bit. Maybe the intense study scheduling was not working out for me. And that vacation is happening! Yay! :) I feel so buoyant right now. Haha, you're really correct in your assessment of me, I think. :) Merry Christmas to you, too!

Riddhi, yeah, I am! I really am! :D Thank you so much! :) I must say I've been feeling a lot better after offloading this onto my blog and reading all these comments man! It doesn't feel like a big deal at all any more! :) Happy Christmas! :) *hugs*