Apathy – the ill fated raindrop

 

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Imagine a bubble. Or a force field. Or any other kind of perfectly formed, spherically shaped object that happens to take your fancy.

As I like to think of myself the imaginative type, I imagine to be a perfectly spherically shaped raindrop, in prime of its aesthetically sound, if short lived life.

A least before it plummets into the hard, cold ground.

At least before it smashes into a cascade of water.

At least before, having lost all of what had made it so ethereal in the first place, it becomes a heap of sullied water, left to evaporate into the air from whence it came.

My own little sphere…

You see from a very young age , I happened to like spheres – in fact, I was very much fascinated by them. I couldn’t care less when my nursery teacher attempted to explain how this particular object differed from its 2D counterpart; I was instead enthralled by the notion of being inside of it – being a part of it.

True, its exterior was pleasing to the naked eye, but to inhabit this thing and hide from the world within its smoothed surface, to know that I could retreat into its orb like world when the going got tough, was the beginning of a lifetime battle of mine.

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This fascination continued well into my teenage years, where, like many other self appointed science fiction and fantasy fans, I relished in the genres – not only did they give me hope that somehow I, a social outcast, could change the course of the future and challenge the status quo, but they depicted my favourite shape being enacted out on the big, silver screen.

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Whether this was the Invisible Woman using her force field powers to shield herself in the Fantastic Four, or a certain boy wizard using a Patronus charm to protect himself from a horde of Dementors in Harry Potter , or Gandalf the wizard facing down the demonic Balrog in The Lord of the Rings trilogy; all of them helped to fuel my inner desire to create an imaginary force field all for my own.

More often than not, this ‘bubble’ acted as barrier between the protagonist and whatever ‘evil’ confronted them, whether it be a spell, a stalactite or a barrage of bullets. The ‘evil’ I wanted to protect myself was from malevolent forces of the outside world; little did I realise that much of the feelings of indifference came from the mind of the one person I was trying to protect …

Am I captor or captive?

You see, when I was old enough to realise that the shield I created around myself  was doing me harm on a psychological level, I could not control it.

Instead, for a long while, I remained encased within that little world of mine. Not in what I would call a self interested way, but one in which I wanted to care about my family, my friends and my own well being – but I could bring myself to do it.

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The world around me felt distorted and unclear, much like if I were just beneath the surface layer of the sea, while some wild and thing disturbed the current of its infinite depths. I was confused and I was lost Even the idea of any kind of physical contact from another person made me flinch. Think of something slimy brushing against your bare foot in the middle of the open ocean. Can you even begin to imagine the fear? the rush of adrenaline ? the desperation?

On really bad days, peoples voices were mostly muffled and barely coherent aside from the odd sentence or two. Now and then I could make out a few words, notably the phrase ‘are you okay?’ or ‘so how have you been lately?’

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In short, I was a captive in a prison of my own making;

I did not want to share my emotions with family and friends.

I did not care about what grade I received for a university assignment.

I hated everything about being alive and all of the suffering that came with it.

I chose a face and I slipped it on every time I walked out of the door – the face of neutrality. Happy faces stood out in the face of a world full of adversity and bleakness. Melancholy faces were equally if not more picked up on. Yet the dullness and ambiguity of a placid, disinterested face? Never. It was so perfect a disguise that even I forgot who I was.

The process was as simple as pulling on an overall to protect one’s self against the cold, winter breeze. Beyond the privacy of my own student room, not one person saw a face I did want them to see. If by some chance they did, I was quick to put on a smile, make a sarcastic quip or two and the concern in that had been evident in their eyes disappeared in a space of a heartbeat. It was that easy.

Yet the cracks are beginning to show…

It’s taken me so long to see and experience life as it is meant to be, beyond the perimeters of the ‘bubble’ that l have known for all my existence so far.

So how did I get myself out of this rut? There is no simple answer, yet power was a big factor – I wanted power over my own destiny.

Sometimes the knowledge and ability to withdraw into myself becomes too strong a temptation to resist. Yet, for the most part,the notion of actually being a active participant in my life, rather than a passive observer, is what bought me out of a trance years in the making.

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I wanted to decide whether to or grin or pout or cry or cheer in face of my loved ones.

I wanted to care about my future beyond the seemingly endless assignments thrown my way at university.

I wanted to be in control over my own decisions, as I realised that while I live, I will always hold some power over where I go and what I do.

If all of this is not a sign of a better tomorrow, I don’t know what is…

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Have you experienced or are you still experiencing some level of apathy? Has any of this resonated with you at all? Perhaps you have some advice for those who are still struggling with their own ‘bubbles’. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Apathy – the ill fated raindrop

  1. I really like the examples of spheres in media. In many movies, it often is a bubble protecting the good from the bad and I hadn’t realized that until you brought it up. Apathy feels like the wiping away of a soul. I’m not entirely sure I’m out of it, but what helps is to be honest to myself aND the ones closest to me about what I’m feeling. Hard to do when feeLing apathetic, I know. It doesn’t have to be a cold hard truth or something extremely deep. For example, I’m a creative person musically and love performing onstage with a group of musicians. I love band practice, but for a shirt period of time I felt nothing towards making music. A friend asked me to go out and I said no because I have band practice, but I don’t feel like going to that either. I then went on to say something along the lines of ‘I don’t want to go to band practice which is different because I’m usually so excited to go and play.’ At the time, it took all of my willpower to divulge that last part because I was so used to putting on a fake persona that conveys everything being alright even when it isn’t. At that point, I was trying to reach out. After being closed off for so long, my subconscious couldn’t do it anymore. I felt so alone which only made my depression and apathy worse.

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    1. Yeah it’s something I have only recently picked up on myself. It was only upon reflection that I realised how, as a young boy, these films influenced me.

      Being honest is definitely a big help I agree. It’s something I am still working on myself – after years of thinking in a certain way it takes a while to alter the way I do things!

      I’m glad you managed to reach out when you did and continue to enjoy making music. It takes a lot of willpower and courage to essentially realise and disclose that you can’t take the way things are going anymore.

      Thanks for your insightful comment! 🙂

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  2. There are times when my apathy is a comfort, a safe place. It has become an unhealthy defense mechanism. While it is difficult to hurt someone’s feelings when they don’t feel anything, it’s also difficult to get close to someone like that. I definitely agree with the part where you talk about not showing a face you didn’t want anyone to see. I’ve been told numerous times that I have a really good poker face. I think some vulnerability would be good for me. But, that is a scary thought..

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    1. Hi skeletongirlz. So sorry for the late response -it’s been a busy week is all!

      You make a very valid point. To an extent we all crave the safe and the familiar. Yet with with any form of mental illness, especially anxiety, this fear is taken to dangerous extremes. Yeah having a good poker face is a great way to describe it. My friends have told me similar things and feel guilty when they cannot discern that underneath a calm visage I am going through a bad episode of depression. Obviously it is not their fault, and while I would like to be more emotionally expressive, this is far more easier said than done.

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  3. This post. . . it was almost as if you had written exactly what I felt.Well, not exactly. I use to play the role of a manipulator. I would use the different faces that I exhibited in order to elicit the reaction that I wanted from people. I just ant to say that although I really enjoy what you have written and you have earned a new follower, I do disagree with depression being the enemy.

    For me, at least, this is a matter of the self. I am constantly going through identity crises and the only two things that remain constant are a desire to pursue reason, anxiety, and apathy. For me, this is a part of my identity and I don’t want to fight it. I can’t fight it. Not anymore. I’ve tried running from it but it caught right back up to me. I have tried to knock it out with medication but it just gets right back up. I am not strong enough to fight it or to run from it. So what am I left with? Well, I can embrace it. I am stuck with this without any way to get rid of it. Until I can release myself from it, I shall embrace it. This way, I can use all that manipulation that I have learnt for good. If I can control my anxiety and my depression, then it can’t control me.

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  4. Hi Nefilibata -thanks for being so open and honest about your own story. I can relate to the manipulative part of it. While I would say that my primary reason was to hide my true self from my friends etc, I will not deny that there were (and sometimes still are) occasions where I try and get a certain reaction out of people. It usually happens when I hit rock bottom and I just don’t care anymore. I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is.

    Thanks for following me! It’s nice to know that people think my content is worth subscribing too! As for the name of my blog I don’t even know if I like it myself to be honest. At first I just thought it sounded too cheesy and clunky. It’s grown on me since. However I do recognise that it runs the risk of personifying depression; something I realise can be unhelpful for many other bloggers out there. It’s why I choose only to personify mental illness in my own life experiences, making it unique to me and therefore not representative of everybody’s experience. I hope that makes sense?

    You raise a very valid point. I don’t think there is a cure for this neurological disorder, but by accepting it as part of yourself, you can work with it rather fight than against it. While my strategy is slightly different, in that I am always aware that it’s part of myself that is capable of bringing me down ( hence the ‘enemy’ part), I do agree with you on the whole 🙂

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