Déjà Vu.

I don’t believe in divine intervention by a large margin. If that were the case, things would have been very, very different for me by now. But what I do believe is the effect of déjà vu on the human psyche. The feeling that things have happened before – that you’ve been here before and done it all.

And in my opinion, there are three kinds of déjà vu.

One is the good kind, where you feel confident with yourself and the belief that such good things will happen to you over and over again reinforces itself in your mind.

The second is the neutral kind, where you simply observe an event and think of how this has definitely happened before and then put it out of your mind.

The third kind, however, is the one that gives you anxiety and pulls you into a dark pit. The debilitating kind. The kind where you panic at the repetition of events. And this could be completely unwarranted and out of the blue. The people or things that are around you in the event that’s causing the déjà vu might not even be the ones you’re panicking about in the first place. But those incidents remind you of things that have happened before that scarred you and your psyche.

I don’t know if this has a name, if this is a condition. If it is, then I most definitely have it!

I experienced the third kind of déjà vu a few months ago and it impacted me to an extent that I cannot even begin to quantify. Let me tell you a little about it.

But first, a little background. 12 years ago, in college, I’d come to know from one of my friends (let’s call them F#1) that another of my friends (F#2) had told them that I was clingy and wanted to know everything that they spoke to F#3. It had come as a crushing blow because I had considered them to be two of my closest friends. And since then, this particular revelation made sure that I tried to stay stoic, if not aloof. But time passed and I think they all forgot about it. I didn’t.

Fast forward 12 years to a few months ago.

I’d just had a fun day with friends the weekend after my birthday. We’d decided to go to a mall, to roam around and find a few stores where sale time means hoarding time. It was all fun and games at first. We roamed around, shopped, had fun and were browsing the clothing collection of a well-known brand. Two of my friends were looking at items together and mostly sticking together. I tried a couple of times to get involved in the conversation, but it felt like there just wasn’t any space for me. And then, it hit me.

The debilitating déjà vu. The one that made me feel like I was transported back to the time when someone else had pushed me out. The one that made me feel like I wasn’t needed there and that I was simply butting in. The one that crushed me, even though there wasn’t anything concrete that was really happening over there. They were simply shopping, but each time something like that happened, I felt unneeded and my brain simply couldn’t hold back from making comparisons.

Which is rather unfair to the people in question in the present. But like they say, space and time are relative, and for me, that day, both were twisted and compressed and bunched into a small hole where the past and the present were indistinguishable from each other.

So I ran to escape the clutches of these dimensions. I went out, walked around, took a deep breath, sat down on one of the benches, looked for a bookstore, went in, browsed their collection, and bought a book. It took a long time for me to get back to being normal (if that’s what I am) – I even couldn’t control myself and wistfully lashed out at one of my friends for no fault of theirs.

But why should they be at the receiving end of such incidents of devastating incidents déjà vu of one single person? What happens when one can’t control themselves in such situations? What is the solution to ending this? How does self-control figure in solving such problems?

I would have loved to say that I have experienced this very rarely and that the happy and the neutral kinds are what I go through the most. But unfortunately, occurrences like this are way too many – more than I would like.

This may seem like an abrupt end to a charged narrative about déjà vu, but putting all of this in words sort of takes the wind out of a person. It’s exhausting in a way that’s rather unfortunately incomparable. And at the end of the day, all I need are happy thoughts, not the mental exhaustion that comes with the worst kind of déjà vu.

Featured photo created by jcomp – www.freepik.com

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