Tension was an overused word in our household. Amma used to spend almost all of the time in bed, curled up like a prawn, a bed-sheet barely covering her feet, eyes devoid of any traces of emotion. Me and my brother knew better than to disturb her. “She has tension, leave her alone”, all the elders had warned us repeatedly. Annan was the first one to give an explanation, “it is something grownups have, we will not understand”. As time passed the meanings this single word could contain grew wider and wider.
Anxiety might have been too American a term.
We are talking about a village in India more than twenty years ago. So dragging her to temples for long spiritual retreats and trying a thousand different versions of little rituals to scare away the ghost that had gotten into her, were the go to solutions. Going to a psychiatrist, not even in the top twenty five list.
In the end psychiatry is what put her on the road to recovery . It took everyone long enough to take her there.
Come 2016, tension invades my life. Instead of curling up and retreating to a bed I stare at a blank computer screen for eight hours a day. PhD is overwhelming. So is BPD. I feel like a person with all the tools at their disposal but who is too paralyzed with anxiety to go forward and take them.
Is there a way not to feel things too deeply?