And so it comes to pass that you have graduated to the levels of dependence. These harmless looking little pills are not your friends but you don’t know that. For the moment they are best buddies. They are the light in the dark tunnel of despair providing that surge of energy so needed to tackle the workload. And you feel no guilt because you have no idea of their diabolical impact on your mind. In the beginning as the tentacles start circling your brain it is little shifts in conduct and sensation.

It varies from person to person. Some have sudden rage episodes or crying jags. Some sink into depression while others wrestle with demons and gremlins that now invade their minds and disturb the mental equilibrium. We takers of the tablets seldom share the fear of registering these changes in our mindset but it is a safe bet that if we did we would discover common ground. Feeling claustrophobic, a maddening desire to tear open the curtains to let in the cleansing light. Paradoxically, a need to seek the shelter of the deep and impenetrable darkness. Acute feelings of cold and heat, a digestive system engaging in its own series of convulsions and tiny worms of doubt  slithering in the byways of the mind. If we did talk and were honest and open and stopped wearing facades kept in jars on our faces for what we want the world to see. Everything, but the pain of our puzzlement. These were professional doctors and mentors and they knew what was good for us…or do we dare ask did they, do they.
More importantly did they care for what it does to us.
My first inkling. An unusual desire for chill. I would need to ice the room with the air conditioning  and it was never enough. Then without much change in diet I began to get puffy, a sort of soft pudginess accentuated by clothes not fitting.
Part of me wanted someone to solve this mystery. What was going on. Most of me wanted to play let’s pretend and deny anything untoward was happening. Parents are the first to know things are away. They sense it. But we intimidate them, put them in a corner. Become snappy and withdrawn, fool them into believing it is the pressures of a different routine, a fresh culture that is different ,even a richer feed at the trough, they want to be understanding and accommodating and you want scream at  them  for being so blind so they cannot see the agony writhing like snakes inside their offspring. Then again, why should they when we make so much effort not to let them know.

So we carry on, the symptoms if you can call them that, rising and abating like the tide, good days and bad days, the dependence increasing incrementally until even we begin to deny that there is any abnormal reaction. After all ,this is now the norm. Welcome to Zombieland, take me to your leader.

Often, young students don’t want to go to their home country because they don’t want the family to see the shift in conduct and appearance. Home is now not a comfort zone this is.

So, if you have a young adult and he or she is ducking the issue and ducking the face to face talk and ducking coming home and sounding different, don’t duck it. Wake up and smell the coffee.

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