Metal, Mental Illness and Me: The Good, Bad and Ugly of My Existence

I’m not Canadian, I don’t know if it makes sense but in the spirit of , I have a few things to address.

Well if you know me from my previous blogs, you already know that I am a female of mid 20’s from the backwaters of Bangladesh – where mental illness is a worse taboo than it is in the west. Families treat mental illnesses as “excuses” to avoid responsibilities, and sometimes worse, they think that the therapists/doctors are not good enough and will make it worse so they just won’t let the people suffering to seek help. And yes, my family, a fairly educated (both my parents have graduate degrees from top universities of this country) family littered with doctors, engineers, professors and bureaucrats – have the above said dispositions regarding mental health treatment.

I struggled with lots of mental health issues since puberty. I told my parents about it, they ignored it. Complained that I was reading too much stuff “outside my curriculum” and using these newfound knowledge as an excuse for studying the academic stuff less. When I had a serious breakdown (well it’s like dry heaving of mental breakdown, even I could not let myself go all the way and let others know how horrified I was) right after the first two years of high school (we have a serious public exam after 10th grade), my parents were even more convinced that I was “acting”. They were tired of it and gave up on me (yes, again I’m sounding like that whining, ungrateful git of an offspring I do most of the time), saying I’m tarnishing my own future. My relatives have always been sarcastic towards me since I was a child. Because I was far from a submissive child who liked to please others. I had my own set of values since I was very young and it wasn’t something anybody I knew liked. So I was mocked and laughed at for my interest in art. I was discouraged and scorned sometimes for reading “too much” and not being like the other eight years old girls who were really fascinated about the new frilly dress everyone is talking about. I was seriously threatened for wanting to wear pants instead of dresses (like it has changed any better).

In a nutshell, the more I was growing up, the more resentment I accumulated towards my “relatives”. And as I could do nothing about it or release the resentment in any form, I started avoiding them the best I could. I started making myself scarce from them. Now let me tell you one thing, it is really hard to do that in the close knit South Asian families. Especially for females. So, since the end of the high school to this bloody moment, I am the black sheep of the family who is not just an ungrateful and imprudent git, but also someone who wants to avoid all the responsibility by acting like she got some mental illness.

Actually it’s past that part, now they finally admit I have mental illness and it happened because I distanced myself from my family to whom I should have opened up and talked about my problems (if you already have forgotten what happened when I talked about it, then start reading from the beginning).

And since I am a female in mid to late twenties, now they want me to break my hymen and reproduce vehemently. So they are going above and beyond to convince me to present myself to the suitors and get “hitched”. Which is adding another level of painful anxiety to my already questionable mental health situation, because I have very little plan for conjugal life right now and I am very sensitive regarding it. And they are trying to give heavy doses of “tough love” by repeatedly pestering me with this notion. The other Saturday I almost grazed myself with a kitchen knife, I was so mad, when my mother’s brother’s wife (in other word, an aunt of mine) a relatively “progressive minded” eye surgeon, was telling me to give a “nice and sweet photo of mine” because she found a prospective groom for me who lives in Canada and since I want to go abroad for studying, this is a win win situation for me. It was insulting to me in many levels.

Firstly I was very upset for such objectification and felt insulted. Secondly, my relatives, especially female relatives (including my mother) was accusing for being such an ungrateful daughter who is neglecting one of the most important duties of her life to her parents (which is getting raped by a man I barely knew and making the process legal, in other words marriage forced by family, if not using direct muscle forces but poisonous emotional blackmails). Also, they were upsetting me further using my father’s age and how he is always upset that I don’t want to get “hitched”. And if you must know how much I care for my old man, you can take a peek. I am always way to wary for my father’s well being and they use it as a trump card to convince me to do things I would never agree otherwise. Would you believe if I told you that I am crying like a hedgehog (I don’t know if hedgehogs cry or not) while writing this part?

I live in constant fear of failure, which keeps me away from focusing on things I want to do better. I am always too anxious to do something that I actually try and in the end I mess up. I know how much I need some professional help. But I cannot seek it. Because even if I have a job and a degree, I cannot live on my own. Even if I know I have the abilities to do many things, I can’t because I lose motivation and perspective.

AND IF I DID NOT HAVE METAL, YOU MIGHT NEVER HAVE SEEN THIS POST BEING WRITTEN.

Yes. Metal (the music genre) was a source of comfort for me since I graduated from high school. Judas Priest gave me strength. Manowar absorbed my rage. Kalmah gave me perspective. And Megadeth reassured me that I belong.

Yes. Along with books, and a few close friends to confide in, metal has been the most important part of my survival (well so far I have managed). The music absorbed my pains.

Well, I think, while I ranted and whined, I did not focus on what happened to me (yes, this is how I lose focus). I’m trying to illustrate a few.

Many a night, I get scares. All in a sudden I’m dead scared by a premonition of something unpleasant happening to my family (my parents and baby brother) and this eats me inside out. Well it gets worse now. Often I get these unpleasant thoughts while I’m working or even in my evening MBA classes.

I have developed severe trust issues and extreme sensitivities towards my relatives. I feel genuinely vulnerable around them and when I talk about it to them they make it even more miserable for me. I was unable to eat anything for almost 24 hours after that phone call my aunt made and when my mom accused me for being ungrateful.

I also get depressed pretty easily for not getting to accomplish my goals. I cannot put myself together and start trying again with renewed spirit because every time I attempt to start over the previous strings of recent failures hit me like a bus. So I’m in an infinite loop of failure and depression right now. No breaking conditions yet (Until I listen to this (it absorbs some of the darkness)) 😥

I have become the shell of a person I was before. Yes, I take responsibility of letting this happen to me. But even felons get a chance. I surely deserve some professional help. I know my parents are still here for me. And I hope they will understand my struggles, if not today, then sometimes soon. At least I am hoping so. I am hoping really hard that they would finally understand why I cannot stand the other people around me. They would finally understand that I am not making excuses to escape responsibilities.

And I am more than just grateful to the few friends I have who have always been by my side and have listened to laments like this all the time. They give me hope and courage that I am going to survive this. To all the YouTube channels that distract me from these abominable things (gotta write a separate blog to express my gratefulness for these channels again). And also metal music.

Though I am again out of context, I want to appreciate metal once more.

If this was the story of that famous movie, then metal is the good, my mental struggles is the bad and I am the ugly. The movie is still going on. Though I still think I haven’t appreciated how much metal music works as the balm to alleviate the pain I suffer often due to these struggles, I can say one thing, it keeps the ember of hope inside me, the aspirations inside me aflame. Metal is my steppingstone. It reassures me that there are people who also talk about the crises I believe exist, there are people, who, through their music and words, are there to give me the offline moral support I need to get through.

Metal assures that I am not alone, along with my friends.

What more can I ask for from a music genre?

That’s all I’ve got for . Even though I’m not a Canadian, I decided to talk. I decided to open up. Because that’s all I can do. I’m sorry if I grossed you out.

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