Trigger Warning: Anxiety, Depression
4:30 a.m, 4th August 2020
I was awake. I had been doing well the past so many days. The depression and the anxiety barely even bothered me anymore. Yet, on the 4th August, 2020, something was bound to go wrong. I knew it too. Why wouldn't it? It was UPSC CSE results day after all. When have those ever gone in my favour?
I did my morning meditation, got to my books as soon as possible and crunched out a good 5 hour study session. My renewed energy had been endless the past few weeks; I worked like a machine. Or a donkey. One of the two, anyway.
I was done with my revision for the morning when I finally picked up my phone. Life was good. My friend, I wouldn't be able to tell you how much that meant to me even if I tried. Life was good. And nothing could ruin that for me. Or so I thought for a fleeting second before my phone suddenly buzzed in my hand.
But of course, I had almost forgotten! The results were out.
That familiar feeling of the sinking chest again as I saw the link to the pdf. That feeling of anticipation. That pit in the stomach. And the funny part is, I didn't even know why. I didn't even qualify for the mains examination for heaven's sake.
By now, it's habit, I think, irrespective of the circumstances. I opened up the pdf in the same manner that I had done previously: an odd sense of anticipation although the dominant emotion is one of resignation. An adrenaline rush here and a sinking feeling there. I checked a few of my friend's names as if they were my own name. I saw matches. For each and every one of them. My friends had made it! These friends of mine toiled their backsides off for years on end, and now, it was time for their due. Jubilation was the emotion. At least, it should have been.
I was of course happy for them in some corner of my heart, but was that the dominant emotion? Make what you will of me, dear reader, but anonymous as I am, I wouldn't ever lie to you. In Sigmund Freud's terms, the id was seething with jealousy. The ego was hurt. The superego told me that my journey isn't the same as everyone else's and that I should focus on being happy for my friends. After all, today was a day of celebration. Everyone else was so happy. I should join in and make merry. Celebrate other's success like it was your own. If I did, maybe I could run away from my deepest insecurities for a minute. And that would be bliss, wouldn't it? Who would deny me such a thing?
I realized I was just going through the motions again. It was only a little while until I realized a junior of mine had cleared, and that too, with flying colours. It was only a little while longer until I realised that that junior was a long lost relative of a long lost relative who decided it was time to reach out to my father today exactly. And sure enough, just a little while longer and all my groups were flooded with congratulations aimed at people who weren't even in those groups. On the day of the result, everyone is so invested. They could even convince you that they are so much more invested than you are. Oh, if only the Earth would swallow me whole for a week.
But why should this all affect me? I've tried to reason with myself a great number of times that this is all noise, I need to focus on myself and stay honest to my preparation and all of that, but trust me, at the end of the day, it sometimes still gets to me.
And why? Because it could have been for me. The anger isn't directed at the world or at anyone else, but is directed inwards. I did not even come close to clearing the examination because, for the longest time, I worked to my quota and not to my potential. I am not saying that I would naturally have cleared if I worked to my potential, but I did not even give myself the chance. Honey, the truth is that I walked into a bar fight with both my hands tied behind my back.
So I, for a large part, have myself to blame for my present condition. I can either continue to keep blaming myself or continue taking positive steps towards making my life meaningful as I have been the past few weeks. I thoroughly enjoyed making myself immune to all that noise, I enjoyed living in my own bubble, focusing on me and spreading positive thoughts as an anonymous person on the internet. I enjoyed life. Life was good. Why would I want to trade that for anything else?
Slip ups are common. And when one falls, it's easy to ignore all progress and the ground that has been covered. The bad days don't erase the good. I might or might not clear this examination. That is a reality that I wholly accept. Yet, I cannot be a spectator to my own life anymore. I owe myself much more than that.
And you ask me, my friend, what is the purpose of this essay? This raw piece written in the heat of the moment? And I tell you that this isn't a statement to anyone. This is something I'm doing from inside that bubble of mine, shooting out thoughts that have no place in my life, so I can continue my renewed commitment to myself. This is just a manifestation of my commitment to try.
Life has to be good.
Thank you for reading. :)