Shreya Kulkarni‘s essay: Men- (s)- t -(ru) -al Health

“What are the layers of epidermis?”

Prof repeated the question but my mind wasn’t in the right place. I have always been an absent minded kid but it has now begun to interfere with my final year viva. It was for the first time I noticed something was up with me. Premenstrual syndrome was exponentially increasing my zone-outs. I get overwhelmed with feelings, in a way, I lose perspective and to avoid this sudden surge of feelings I end up pushing people out of my life, to protect my over-sensitive self, from my worst nightmare that is pissing off the people, those incredibly, lovely people, who love me unconditionally. Thus to avoid the post-outburst resentment, I don’t express my angst. I distance myself, where I start living in denial and delusion, that isolation is my choice and I thrive peace from it which is boosted by instagram’s glorification of loneliness. But the fact about longevity is, it is as a result of connectivity within the community. Thus the musings begin. Am I doing this life thing the right way? 

But who cares, earth is ‘mostly harmless’ and an asteroid may roll over it like ball running over skittles in a bowling alley. So I tell myself, lets brush these issues under the carpet, because who knows one may end up in a car crash tomorrow and if not climate change is waiting around the corner to hit all of us with a tsunami. I am not saying being hormonal is an excuse for me to become irrational. I can be one. I don’t need hormones for that. But when hormones does cause havoc in me I sneakily google the symptoms of depression, anxiety and mood disorders. There’s rumination, that leads me to a place where I forget what it is to feel like myself. I’ve embraced zoning out because it isn’t in my control and have accepted that this is my coping mechanism to deal with the external stimuli, that is source of my stress, pain and misery.

With the termination of my menstruation, oestrogen rise and when serotonin kicks in, there is hope for humanity, co-existence and happy endings. I switch from watching complex existential science fiction to uncomplicated Rom-coms and life is no longer dark and gloomy but significant. I believe, I can play a vital role in this huge tide of change by participating in small acts of kindness.Hence, I let myself off the hook for looking forward to the doom of mankind on some days, not because it is inevitable, but mainly because me and my friends laugh at my twisty self, on the days where I am not seeking a purpose yet I am just happy to exist, cracking people up around me with my lame sense of humour. This, the feeling of peace, when am not beating myself up to play this ideal protagonist ‘hero’ but just a character, who is a part of a nice story, doing its role that is, pushing the narrative forward, excited about the upcoming unfolding, for love for the

stories, is what I don’t want to take for granted. Not anymore.

Shreya Kulkarni is a Marathi speaking girl living in Gujarat who is usually optimistic as she’s privileged, upper caste, hindu and conveniently atheist. Under this pretence, she’s realistic because she understands that the system isn’t broken rather it was built this way. She seems to be a sincere, rational, unsure, basically a boring entity who likes to sit on a couch with a bag of chips watching the same sitcom, laughing at the same jokes repetitively till she memorise everything and doesn’t find them funny anymore. Training to be a hypnotherapist, eligible to do your root canal treatment, dreams to be a successful writer. 

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