Jul 27, 2014

A conversation with Vinokur

It's been almost four years since I broke up with Vinokur. The phrase "broke up" seems harsh to describe what had really happened. Maybe I should paraphrase it as transitioning from a phase in our relationship to another phrase, where the balance between friendship and affection is different. Although it was initially difficult for both of us (I think) to remain in touch with each other and be each other's best friends, like we were during our romantic relationship, we maintained contact, albeit sparse, in the initial few months.

The conversations that we tended to have usually started with a background of him needing some advice from me regarding his health problems or me needing him as a friend who I trust to confide in during the darkest phases of my depression. Yes, even now, Vinokur is one of the few people that I trust well enough to expose my precarious mental states during crises. However, despite us hanging up almost every time saying something like, "That was very enjoyable. Maybe we should do this more often," we hardly seemed to be able to keep our word and only Skyped once every couple of months or so. This has been severe since early April, when my present phase of depression kicked in. As the usual trend during such phases, I have been avoiding conversations. However, this time around, I've been avoiding Skype conversations as well with almost everyone, including my faithful confidants. In fact, I think I have had only three or four brief conversations, one each with Blummer, Mickles3, and Billiards, but none with Vinokur.

So two night's back, Vinokur wrote me after posting a photo of me on Facebook, which got a lot of reactions. I have also been off of Facebook since early April and all I get are notifications in my email. So I didn't know which photo it was and what the reactions were like. Vinokur had simply written, "Will you have time to talk?" When I receive such messages from him, I usually end up worrying whether there is some big problem in his life that he needs my help with. That's how my mind makes me think. That is, it makes me think that the only reason why someone ever would want to have a conversation with me is because they cannot help avoid it.

My apprehension was slightly alleviated after I told Jay (my boyfriend) that Vinokur had written me. As always, Jay calmed me down and said that may be Vinokur simply wants to talk with me. May be he simply misses you and wants to get back in touch with you. Along with that, Jay forwarded the aforementioned photograph on Whatsapp. Vinokur had taken that photo at a market near our apartment when he visited India in 2008. I felt relieved to see the photo--my fear of something wrong happening in Vinokur's life forcing him to have a conversation with me seemed less likely.

We finally had our conversation last night, and it lasted almost four hours! Just like the good ol' times, with the only pleasant change being that I was sipping a nice blended scotch the whole time. It's amazing how we can sustain a conversation over such a seemingly long duration. We talked about everything--such as, his health, my health, my depression, the books we were reading, the things we were watching, the podcasts that I wanted him to check out, why I'm not being on Facebook (because of it being intimidating, something that I posted on Reddit and got a few interesting and supportive responses for)--in between spells of laughter and linguistic lessons (from him to me). It felt really good.

Anyway, during this conversation, I introduced him to the concept of mindfulness meditation* as well as the other measures that my shrink/therapist duo are employing in their efforts to get me back on track. Within a few hours of us hanging up, almost serendipitously, I received a link from him which seemed to tie up several things that we were talking about last night. More on that below**.

It may seem strange to others when I confess that I get a lot of strength and courage out of such conversations/interactions. In fact, this entire series of events--from Vinokur posting a photo of me to Facebook to the conversation that we had about me not being on Facebook--may eventually lead to me thawing myself out from Facebook hibernation! Wish me luck! Also, thank Vinokur and Jay! :)

*If you are unaware of mindfulness, I strongly recommend that you check out this video of a Google talk by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the guy who made meditation mainstream in the world of modern medicine.

**I have written in detail about what this link is about on Neverlast. Here's the tweet that Tumblr sent out after I posted it. If you are interested in psychology, you may want to check it out, especially if you have had problems with depression and anxiety.

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