Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Life Is A Drug

God, I hate New Year's. If you're a regular reader of this blog (as if) and if you're a perceptive person, you would probably have guessed that I seem to hate almost every major holiday. And you'd be right. Whoopee for you.
Seriously though, I can't remember a single New year's Eve where I wasn't depressed. I don't remember who originally said this, but it's like instead of celebrating the birth of a new year, I mourn the death of the old one. But that isn't true either. The truth is that when the clock strikes twelve (I mean this metaphorically; there are no chiming clocks at my place) the only thought in my head is: good riddance! Every year seems worse than the last. This year/last year was no different. I was so pissed off I contemplated killing myself, something that's pretty much become a bimonthly thing with me. It was then that I remembered this train of thought I had been following on another such day of depression. It started with me contemplating suicide, then remembering how people always say that people who kill themselves are weak-ass pussies who can't face their own problems and so they choose to run away from it. That always pisses me off because I believe they should be treated with sympathy. All they needed was someone to talk to. I don't see how anybody who didn't try to stop them has any right to criticize them. As a matter of fact, it takes a lot of guts to stab yourself or jump off a building or whatever because you never know whether or not it's going to hurt. I could never do that.
So then this idea pops into my head. Actually, it didn't just pop into my head, it slowly grew into an idea but since I can't remember how exactly, I'm just going to say it popped into my head.
Life is like a drug.
Or, to be precise, happiness is like a drug.
Or, to be spot-on accurate, happiness is the high that you experience as a result of, and, interestingly enough, that becomes the impetus to continue abusing, the drug that is life.
Let me explain.
Why do junkies get addicted to drugs? Because it gets them high. And obviously, this becomes the reason for their further use of the drug.
Now what is the most important part of life? Different people will have different answers: love, money, success, breathing, etc. But when you really think about it, all the answers are just different names for the same thing: happiness.
Whatever we do, we do it in the hope that it will make us happy. The reason we don't all say this is because we all have different ideas of happiness.
Just like a junkie. They use different drugs, we have different ideologies. But all of us are looking for and hoping for just one thing - that high. Happiness.
So much so that that's all we live for. Almost anyone will tell you that life is not fair. In fact, life is just a huge bucket of dog shit that you're sticking your hand in because you know that you dropped your engagement ring in there somewhere.
Let's stick to one metaphor.
As I was saying, there are a lot of bad things that are just a part of life. In fact, if my experience is accurate, most of life is either boring, sad or cruel with the occasional ray of sunshine that is happiness.
We know this. But we don't care. All we care about is that ray of light. We'll put up with all the shit because happiness is worth it. Or so we say.
If you're a non-smoker, you probably don't like it when people around you light up. You've smelt cigarette smoke. It's disgusting. You know what the long-term effects of smoking are. Reduced stamina. Having difficulty breathing. Emphysema. Cancer. It isn't pretty.
But here's the weird thing. You know it. And so does almost every single smoker on the planet!  And yet, they won't stop!
"Why?" you ask, "Why would someone do something so stupid?"
And the answer you get is always the same.
It's the high.
Most of the time, a junkie knows what he's doing is bad for him, bad for his body. TV, radio, the government, school, they've all told him the same thing. Don't do drugs. And yet, he will take another puff, he will snort another line, he will pop another pill.
Because he lives for the high and ignores all the shit.
Just like everyone else.
We live for happiness and we'll put up with whatever life throws at us to attain it.
In time, the one-time drug user becomes addicted. He needs his daily fix. He can't quit.
Are we all that different? We don't want to kill ourselves because we love life too much. We still have so much left to do. So much happiness, so many highs, that we haven't experienced yet.
The junkie learns to equate the high with the drug. Meanwhile, the rest of mankind learns to always look on the bright side of life.
In time, the junkie might introduce his friends to the drug, to share his experience. Part of it is so that his friends can be introduced to what he thinks is the best thing ever. Part of it is for his own benefit, to have someone he can talk to, trade tips with, share the experience. He might even become a dealer, but that's less likely.
The rest of us turn our noses up at them and then try and make our friends happy. For their own good and also so that we can be happy together. We give to charity, we spend time with friends, we write things or sing things so that we can feel that warm, fuzzy feeling while at the same time enabling others to feel it too. We share the experience.
But then something goes wrong. The junkie's body gets used to the drug. His receptors grow immune to the chemical messengers they're constantly being bombarded with. And soon, the high just isn't as intense as it used to be. The junkie now needs larger and larger doses of the drug to experience the same high that he experienced almost instantaneously during the early stages of his addiction.
Once again, we can draw parallels.
Have you ever noticed that the things that used to make you happy when you were a kid don't do so now? A sunny day, a holiday, winning a game, getting an A, eating your favourite dish, seeing a butterfly, looking at clouds, watching an aeroplane fly overhead, watching a cartoon show - these things don't mean as much to you as they used to. You start taking them for granted. You start looking for bigger things: a job, success, money, a girlfriend, a husband, a car... bigger things. You do this because these days you're happier with a new mobile phone than with a visit to your grandparents.
You've become cynical. You've become used to the drug.
At this point, the junkie is right in the middle of his addiction. He needs more - bigger doses, better trips. He does whatever it takes to get his daily fix. He blows all his money. He might even do something stupid like rob a store or kill someone. But it's all in vain. The high becomes more and more elusive. And his body is starting to feel the effects of prolonged drug abuse.
What happens when a person goes through a mid-life crisis?
The person realises that s/he isn't as happy as s/he imagined being when s/he was a kid. So s/he does something immensely stupid like leaving spouses, blowing money on unnecessary material goods, generally making an idiot of him/herself. But it's no use. None of it helps.
The junkie's hands start trembling. The non-junkie gets arthritis. The junkie gets diagnosed with horrible, potentially fatal diseases. So does the non-junkie. The junkie might choose to quit and experiences an extremely painful and harrowing withdrawal syndrome. And just as the non-junkie withdraws from the world as s/he approaches death, his/her body also starts falling apart.
Life and addiction have the same end. Death.

I thought all of this through when I was pacing up and down the children's playground at school, alone with my thoughts. Some of it came to me as I sat here typing this. But that very first day, after that break, I told my friend, Rudraksh Banerjie (check out his blog here) about this. He listened in silence, then nodded his head and then asked me, "Why don't you put stuff like this up on your blog? I have a friend who I want to hear this."
I told him that's what I intended to do. But I never got around to doing it. A few weeks ago, he mentioned me in his blog. I thought that was really sweet of him and wanted to repay the favour. That's when I remembered my promise. So I typed this out and now I'm posting it.
Let me mention here that in my current state of mind, I am by no means pro-suicide. I think it's a waste of  human life.
But sometimes, when I'm really down, my mind starts running along these lines. I thought it would probably be healthier if I expressed these feelings.
Because every so often, I'll truly and honestly believe that life is a drug.
The sooner you kick the habit, the better.

1 comment:

  1. .... WOW! Glad you posted it finally! Haha! And thanks for mentioning my blog =) Sometimes I get suicidal too. And I know that it's the hardest thing to do. So, yeah. Take it easy, bro :)