It’s a psychological thriller short story on Amazon. I wrote it under a pseudonym. Sorry for the shameless self promotion!
All of my life I wanted to be a nobody, actually. I wanted time to forget me. I wanted the world to be uncaring about my death. And yet here I am. 31 years old. It hurts to even type that. I am 31 years old. And a nobody. And that hurts. All of a sudden, I want to be a somebody. I want to accomplish something. I want the world to remember me after I die and honor and respect and love me while I am alive. I want to be a somebody. But sadly, I feel too old and I know the reality. I will whither away. The world will carry on without me. Just as it takes no notice of me now. A nobody.
I have written about my own struggles with mental illness and so for me everyday is like world mental health day. I keep in mind that people need empathy and compassion. My own mental health is quite peachy when compared to many others who suffer from psychosis, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. Not to say that anyone who suffers from moderate anxiety and depression like I do has it easy. At some point, what really is being mentally healthy? Think about it, the neurotransmitters in our brain and our nerve connections are what keep us from getting up in the morning and killing ourselves! If it were not for our in borne ability to maintain a favorable mood, we would all just be trying to commit suicide. That is a scary thought. Our brains are programmed to continue to let us live. There is a push that gives us the will to live, once that push is gone, life is hopeless and meaningless. So find purpose and find hope. They will keep you going.
Happy world mental health day everyone!
My last post was 1.5 years ago . A lot has changed since then. I graduated with a Ph.D., but only after applying to get an extension on my Ph.D. candidacy so that i would not have to retake my candidacy exam. So my biggest fear almost came true. I even posted about it in June 2015. And it almost happened. I knew it would get ugly… and it did. But I was so close to graduating they gave me an extension. Otherwise i would have been humiliated. Although I have to say that what i went through was humiliating enough. I wish I had not let it get to the point it did. But I got past it and published a paper and graduated. I then got a job as a postdoc, and became a dad (best thing ever!). But I’m still stuck in the same old university I got my PhD from, just at a different lab (for personal reasons).
Yup, it’s been 10 months since I got my PhD – 1 year since I defended my dissertation. (Wow… it’s been a YEAR?!)
Anywho let’s get right to it… I am still depressed. I am not on medication anymore …. I have been seeing a different doctor – I can’t see my grad school doctor anymore since I am no longer a student . But I want to get back on medication . I have only been off for 4 months but it is starting to take a toll.
Why? Well, because of several reasons :
- I don’t know what the next step will be in my career. For sure I cannot land a tenure track faculty position – those are insanely difficult to get. So what do I do? I feel like I have no transferable skills for a non academic position, despite what people tell me. Amd then there is the fear of what people might think of me if I do leave academia. I know they will take a jibe at me… to make me feel like shit…
- To top it off, it has been 5 months in my new lab and I have NO data. None. The experiments have either not led to anything exciting or are not working for technical reasons.
- I have become very cynical. I dislike people even more now. Not my family of course. Just… well, everyone else. I feel like I am defending myself against EVERYONE. And I am exhausted and drained.
- Not sure what the heck is the meaning of all of this… so yeah… a bit of an existential crisis.
- My therapist keeps postponing our appointment. The last I saw her was 8 months ago. She says she has been having family emergencies but I think she is trying to avoid me. It’s bcoz I was late to my appointment a couple of times . I am sure that is the reason. She is probably just making excuses to not see me.
So yeah. I feel like shit again. So hello again peeps!!
On Facebook, Hinduphobic/atheist/secular forums repeatedly ridicule some exaggerated comments made by a few Hindus about ancient India’s contribution to science. Lost in all of this ridicule is what ancient India actually did contribute to science and math. Any attempt to mention ancient India’s contribution to science (including from myself) has been met with censure, silencing, anger and even banishment. Such is the level of jealousy and hatred against Hindus.
Yes, there are some ill-informed Hindus. So, the following article might clear things up a bit.
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Ten days after my post on how anti-Hinduism is parading as secularism, the HuffPost posted this blog by academic Vamsee Juluri who analyzed why Hindus ignored secular critiques of their community and chose to elect a controversial Hindu leader.
There are valid lines of reasoning to deter Hindutva (Hindu nationalism) into entering political dialog, let alone becoming incorporated into India’s constitution. Yet, the liberal media often targets Hindu nationalism while turning a blind eye to the clear violation of secular principles by its fellow ideologues in India. The irony is that Hindutva has grown BECAUSE of separate laws for muslims, Haj subsidies, carving an Islamic state out of part of India, and government control of temples (while staying distant from churches and mosques) to name a few causes. No other self-proclaimed secular country does this and gets away.
Reading the posts and replies by people on such forums should remind us that Hinduphobia is alive and well. In fact, this monster is growing stronger everyday and will inevitably face its other ugly counterpart – Hindutva.
Vamsee’s assessment is being proven right – the silencing of liberal Hindu voices extends beyond academia. From Hindu genocide denial to indifference regarding Hindu voices supporting women’s rights to apathy about denying religious freedom to Hindus in Kashmir and Malaysia, the guy next-door simply closes his ears when a liberal Hindu points out the hypocrisy of ‘secular values’. The only thing that catches the mind of the secularist is sensationalizing Hindutva.
So what is the solution? To me, there clearly needs to be a more progressive Hindu voice that needs to shout louder so that it can be heard even when the hand of Hinduphobia covers its mouth.
All of the comparisons of the BJP to the GOP and our next PM Narendra Modi to Ronald Reagan are flawed. Here are just two reasons why:
A. The religious aspect
If you look at what ‘secularism’ means in India(1), you will notice that it really means a politically motivated ‘minority appeasement’. Muslims are given subsidies to travel to Mecca, their own laws and ‘reservations’ in jobs whereas Hindus get nothing. In fact, temples are controlled by the government (2), that sets salaries as low as Rs. 8000($130)/month for priests (3). Mosques and Churches are untouched by the government, who fear a minority backlash. Hindus think that minorities are being given preference by a ‘secular’ government. Rarely will a Hindu say that his religion is being attacked by the government. He will say that the government is being unconstitutional. Compare that to a conservative Republican who thinks that government is attacking Christianity and actively wants the bible to be taught in public schools as science.
B. The socio-economic aspect
While Republicans practice trickle down economics and do not believe in government ‘handouts’ to the working poor, or bolstering education, Modi has actively promoted education as a means to eradicate poverty (4). His party is also making removal of ‘absolute poverty’ a top priority (5). Albeit, yes, Modi’s own state has not fared well in alleviating poverty. But that has been argued to be a result of poor migrants entering his home state.
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Background (if you care to know):
I find myself frequently angry nowadays.
1.My boss is critical of me. Although I know the criticism is constructive, it is very personal in nature also. It can be quite upsetting since I try my best.
2. I am debating an atheist on HuffPost. I control myself to the best I can. However, atheists can become extremely disrespectful and rude. For example, I was called ‘insane’, indoctrinated’ and that religious ideas ‘should not be shown respect’. The funny thing is, it is not just the ideas that are disrespected, it is also the people holding those ideas. Also, using the word ‘insane’ as an insult is extremely offensive to people who actually do suffer from a mental illness.
So, what does Vedanta (or any spiritual path) say about controlling anger and not being hurt by other people’s comments?
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In previous posts I have mentioned how frustrating graduate student life can be. We face criticism from our mentor and committee members on almost a daily basis. But there is another aspect to grad student life that often goes untold – ridicule from friends who are not in Ph.D. programs.
I have often encountered questions and comments immersed in vitriolic, judgmental and offensive rhetoric
“Why do people do a Ph.D.? It must be because you couldn’t find a job.” [Ph.D. programs are extremely selective, and the other way around probably makes more sense meaning people couldn’t get into grad school so they decided to do a job]
“You have been studying for the past XYZ years and you still haven’t graduated?” [Ph.D. programs are not designed to be finished in a particular time frame]
“You’re not working, you might be getting paid, but you are not really working” – [Actually, Ph.D. students are also considered employees]
“You still don’t have a paper?” [well how many have YOU published exactly?]
“So what discoveries have you made in the last 5 years” [followed by ill-concealed giggling]
It’s bad enough that we get slave wages, for seven years, and work 60 hour weeks (often more) but such insensitive comments make grad school very upsetting. It often makes me not want to have friends outside of science or academia anymore.
Let me be fair and not place all the blame on outsiders. As grad students we have ourselves made it seem OK to be the butt of hurtful jokes, thanks to the popularity of PhD Comics. I used to enjoy PhD comics until I realized the content hit too close to home. It also seems to make grad students think it is OK to think their life is shit and for others to mock us. No, it isn’t.
After all of this, people have no shame in using products that are a result of selfless service to science and academic scholarship. Consider the vaccines, cell phones, modern drugs, genetic testing, meteorology, high-yield crops, LASER based technologies… the list goes on and on highlighting important contributions made just by scientists with Ph.D.s, let alone economists and engineers. Nobody appreciates the training in grad school that made these discoveries and inventions possible.
You would think by the 21st century people would appreciate science and scientists. Yet it seems that unless you are Richard Dawkins and have to mock religion, you cannot be recognized as a scientist.
Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem be sure that you are not first, in fact, surrounded by assholes.
In the midst of my gloominess, I was encouraged by a FB post that said “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem be sure that you are not first, in fact, surrounded by assholes.”
I think I am surrounded by assholes and I need to cut a few people off from my life altogether.