Being put on dialysis has a mental impact as well

No, I am not saying we turn crazy! Its a more subtle impact. I have noticed this in myself and others a as well. I have changed a lot mentally. I used to be a very confident guy when I was in Engineering College. I am no longer that sure of myself. I am constantly looking for approval, for appreciation. I am filled with self-doubt.

All around me, I see people continuously projecting themselves, showing off their capabilities. I am not even sure of my own capabilities to show them off. In today's cut-throat world, this doesn't work. Being good is simply not enough. You need to let the world know that you're good and if possible, try to get them to think that you are better than you actually are!

When I think harder, I am not sure if it is dialysis in general or dialysis in my circumstances. When I was diagnosed, I was only 21 years old. When you get diagnosed at such a young age, your mind does tend to develop differently. So, is it young people diagnosed with kidney disease who have this problem? When I talk to adults on dialysis, this is not the case. For example, people who have got married, had kids, settled down in life, were working for years - basically had what you would call a 'normal life' and were recently put on dialysis. They don't seem to have the mental issues I have.

It is probably this, then - having what the world sees as 'normal' being taken away from you for no fault of yours. This probably causes the mental impact that I am referring to.

I do sound depressed, right? I am not depressed really. Its just that this whole mental thing comes back to hit me time and again. One small sentence uttered by someone is enough to make me feel like shit for days. I go into this vortex of negative emotions where - you will not believe it - I continuously convince myself that I need to give up and withdraw from dialysis! I feel that I cannot take it any more. I feel that I have had enough. And how did it all start? One small, probably unconsidered sentence from someone.

I really am not sure how to change this. I know I make a difference to at least a few people. I know at least some people love me. But this small trigger is enough for me to disregard all that and just start thinking my life is worthless. I start thinking of all the things I do not have. I start looking at people around me living 'normal lives' and feel bad. In these circumstances, even watching someone do something as harmless as gulping down a glass of water will set off a negative reaction in me, "Look at him gulp down that chilled water! I can't even do that!"

Is there a solution to this? I have no clue! I can't change people and what they think or say. I have to find a way to change the way I think. Not sure how, though...


suman sharma said…
hi kamal, first time you sound depressed in your blog. I can understand your emotions. Life is beautiful and you are living it beautifully for 16 years. You have been an inspiration of so many people and a shahrukh khan in the eyes of all clinically related people.We all want you to live hundred of years. We love you without any reason. You are a rockstar to us. Think, how many people can achieve, what you have achieved. You are a hero and will be a hero in our eyes forever.
One tight hug & lots of love to you, dear.
Akhila said…
Hi Kamal,
It is common to undergo extreme emotions through challenging situations in life. Most normal people are not even aware of their problems forget about seeking solutions to their problems. Most people will find it hard to admit in this hypocritical world. It takes lot of courage to admit this! Everyone undergoes these feelings due to different circumstances and they associate these feelings with certain circumstances in their life like dialysis at young age in your case.
Most people are seeking happiness through objects, entertainment, possessions, property, success, achievements, people etc. We think that these will give happiness. Without these stimuli we have conditioned our minds not to feel happy. If people or things give happiness, then same objects should give same kind of happiness to all!
Happy feelings and thoughts can be created but the onus is on us to cultivate and create these feelings! Try sitting 10-15 minutes each day in silence and watch your thoughts. Let the thoughts come and you just be a spectator. Watching your thoughts will bring in awareness and will let you chose your thoughts rather than reacting in an automotive mode. When I feel like this even for few minutes, I just remind myself that I am supposed to be “happy all the time” and I change my thoughts very fast!
Seeking an answer as to how to change thoughts is actually quite a positive search!
You are loved by soo many... you have no idea......:)
KK said…
Hi Kamal,

Pardon me for my long comment. Taking excerpts from your email for reference purpose:

1) "I am constantly looking for approval, for appreciation."
You already know what you're doing is wrong. And so it's very easy to overcome that. We don't need to look at someone for approval for anything.

2) "I see people continuously projecting themselves, showing off their capabilities."
You clearly mentoned that they are showing off their capabilities. Why do we need to show-off too? Again, people try to show-off what they have little of. Have never seen Sachin showing off his batting in public, or an actor showing off his acting in public.

3) "In today's cut-throat world, this doesn't work."
The world is not cut-throat. The people that inhabit the world make it cut-throat as it suits them that way. No one can force us to be a part of the competitive rat race. You can be within the crowd and still be your own person. No one's gonna cut our throat for being your own man. Compete with yourself, not with the world.. and the world suddenly be a happy place to live.

4)"what the world sees as 'normal' being taken away from you for no fault of yours."
The world is not you or me. What the world sees as normal may be different from what we see as normal. The world is made up of normal people who see everything differently, not the way the world wants them to see. It's normal for many people to jump to buy the latest tech gadget that gets released.. just as it is normal for many to cut back on onion consumption when price increases by even Rs 2. Normality is defined by our own circumstances and attitude towards life.

5) "One small sentence uttered by someone is enough to make me feel like shit for days."
I don't agree at all. You have been strong much much more in your life. 12+ years of dialysis is no joke. You are much stronger than what you have mentioned in the above statement. The feelings need to be mutual. Feel shit if the other person is feeling shit too. Feel happy if the other feels happy. And feel nothing if the other feels nothing. Personally I prefer to feel 'Nothing' as 'Nothing' lasts for ever. :)

6) "I really am not sure how to change this. I know I make a difference to at least a few people."
No need to change anything. You make a difference to a lot more people than the "few" that you have mentioned above. Keep up the good work that you are doing. You are a source of inspiration to many.

7) "I start looking at people around me living 'normal lives' and feel bad."
As mentioned in (4), their normal is not necessarily our normal, and vice versa. Just as grass always seems greener on the other side, Normality also seems to be better on the other side.Let's enjoy what is normal to us, and let them enjoy what is normal to them. :)

Take Care !!
Looking forward for more of your insightful posts as always.
Sharon said…
Hi Kamal ,
One point though - No one has a 'normal' life . Probably a person leads a normal life 6 months after coming out of the womb . From then on,it is not even about living , it is just about 'having'. Very few who lead normal lives are not those who 'have' , but those who don't want
Nisha said…
Hi kamal..abt 4 yrs back when I was deeply depressed close friend sent me a card..I forgot the exact words but remember distinctly this...happiness is like a butterfly... If u go after will illude u...but if u sit quietly and will alight on you on its own..I just want to add to what Akhila said....u are loved by sooo many...u have no idea...and iam the new addition to your bigggg list...😊