Indian Woman's Musings · Life

If you feel you suffer from a mental health issue, then read this

For the last 2 years, I have been an out-and-out supporter of mental health issues. I have been open to talking about my depression and more than eager to embrace happiness. Mental health is sometimes more important than physical health, because what you’re thinking is capable of controlling how you feel physically too. Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression are common terms I have come across in my generation. Many of them are related to our upbringing, and many of them are related to the circumstances we face.

I always looked at myself as a strong person, but certain struggles, which I felt were unnecessary, changed my outlook on life. An existential crisis enveloped me and I started being untrustworthy of people and situations. Over the last two months, I decided to take stock of my life and understand why depression is what it is and how I can get rid of it.

And to be honest, I have realised that it’s extremely easy to get rid of this big black dog which we carry around.

Nowadays, before I kick-start my mornings, the first thing I do is show gratitude. I thank God for giving me another day to live, and I look at myself in the mirror and say – You’re going to have an amazing day. And guess what, the first half passes in utmost happiness!

Another thing I have realised is that honing our concentration also helps get rid of depression. For example, when I feel low or upset about something during the course of the day, I listen to some videos of Abraham Hicks (check her out- she’s amazing). I let her thoughts envelop me, and then I implement them by thinking about the good things of life. In fact, whenever I feel upset about a particular person, I take out a notepad and write down 10 qualities I appreciate about them. It makes the anger vanish instantly.

People who are depressed are wonderful people, for they are capable of showering love on everyone. But, we need to realise that we have to compartmentalise our love.

Only those people who matter to us should be capable of taking our mindspace.

Try a simple exercise which I do nowadays – Whenever you get a ping from someone, check who has sent it. If it’s someone who matters to you, reply instantly. If not, they can wait. This trick has made me single out my happy people and give them space and time. It keeps me surrounded by those who love and adore me, and it’s okay to be selfish sometimes!

Another thing I have learnt to do in these two months is stop seeking validation from everyone. Trying to keep everyone happy is simply a recipe for disaster. You don’t have to keep everyone happy – You just need to love yourself and you will automatically attract people who love and adore you. If you don’t like the company of a particular person, don’t hang out with them. If you’re alone, you can always ping your best friend – they are your ‘best’ friend because they chose to be the closest to you. So cherish their presence and forget all those who don’t matter to you.

As a last thought, all I would like to say is – erase all bad memories from your head. They are part and matter of the past and it’s unnecessary to let those thoughts stay in your head and continue to hurt you. You deserve to be happy and live a fulfilling life. Start today by closing your eyes and relaxing. Don’t be scared to tell people you are depressed – if someone judges you, they don’t deserve your mind-space because they can never put themselves in your shoes and feel what you have felt. And that’s OK.

You don’t have to run in a rat race, you don’t have to earn insane amounts of money to stay happy – you just need to be at peace with yourself, and you will see that everything is slowly falling into place and that big black dog of depression has left you forever.

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Life

What Is ‘Peace Of Mind’?

I know, I know. Confusing title. Either you give people a ‘piece of your mind’ or you can achieve a ‘peace of mind’. Both are extreme things in their own way, and I am definitely, cent percent sure that one would prefer the latter over the former. Right?

For the past one year, the only thing I have been trying to achieve is my peace of mind. Be it finding the perfect job or my soulmate, happiness is what the soul has been seeking, and I believe has been denied for the last 12 months. I kept thinking that all this is primarily because of my circumstances or the people around me. I hated my job, thought the people around me hated me, assumed everyone was out to get me and definitely did go through a huge phase of depression.

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I won’t say I am out of all that, and I know depression is scary. You don’t know to what extent you can go to harm yourself, you always think people around you are out to ruin your life, and make their best out of your misery. Of course, it’s natural to be untrusting and scared. We have seen what happens if we trust too easily, if we make easy assumptions about life being easy. You know what happens. It never ends on a good note.

I had literally degenerated into a hate boombox. I hated everything – my life, my house, my society, my country, my lover, my office, my pen, my clothes, my face.. not much was left to hate. And I don’t think what happened to me was abnormal, what I was doing was a result of a circumstance that had arisen out of my mental state.

There’s an identity I was running away from, a city I was scared to call my own, a life I knew I liked, but refused to acknowledge as my own. All of us want to be something or someone else, we aspire to be ‘better’, and not be someone we should be, or rather can be. Let me give you my example. When I first came to Delhi 6 years ago, I took an instantaneous dislike to the city. Why? Because I was ‘told’ that the men of the city stare at you when you walk, when I did face a couple of uncomfortable instances in the metro and on the road, and when my college life ended with the tragic Nirbhaya rape incident. All my assumptions and solitary experiences made me judge the city and its people.

To the extent that whenever I lived in Delhi, I craved to go back to Mumbai, make it my home. But, when you spend a considerable amount of time getting to know a city, you unconsciously make it your own. I had become a Delhi-ite in 6 years, without even realizing it. I knew more about where one can get the best sweets in Delhi, rather than in Mumbai or my long-lost hometown Kolkata. I liked heading off to Safdarjung or Humayun’s tomb whenever I got some time off for myself, to just stare at the marvel of those monuments and meditate. I liked the culture of Delhi, where people woke up in the morning to take a walk in Lodhi garden, or just read the newspaper and be so close and aware of the political atmosphere of the city.

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When I finally came back to Mumbai this year in April, I thought that this was going to be it. That I will make this coastal city that I grew up in my home, that I will someday, if not near the sea, but close the sea, will have my home.

I never realized that Mumbai embodied a spirit very alien to me. My politically active mind suddenly didn’t fit into this city that was more into a private sector-financially sustainable life. I didn’t want to be bound into a same desk job, partying hard at the end of the week. No, that’s not me. I am different, I am the girl who heads to an exhibition on her birthday, instead of partying at a disc. I am the girl who reads a novel on a lazy Sunday afternoon or watches a critically acclaimed film on Friday night, instead of heading out with colleagues for drinks.

I wouldn’t say I was disappointed with this discovery, but it made me take tough calls. I still remember picking up the phone and informing my mom that I left my job, leaving her livid and worried about my future.

But, what I have realized in this short span of 24 years is that one thing in life is something you should never let go of – and that is comfort. If you love your flatmate, don’t leave her unless you have to. Don’t leave your job unless you have to. Don’t take major decisions unless you have to. Life is better off on a comfortable note, because at the end of the day, all of us want to be happy, don’t we?

I am happy today, getting up in the morning, heading for yoga, resting my mind and using it for studying and reading up on things that are informative and make me feel wiser. I am happy heading to a space where I am happy and comfortable. I like living in Delhi, which, with its bad weather is still the city I connect with in every possible way.

I don’t know if I am over my depression, as I have heard that it never leaves you. But I feel that all of us who have gone through a rough phase have met depression on this road of life, but we have learnt to deal with it and make the best out of everything we have.

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I am learning, growing, maturing. Every experience I am getting is something I will be cherishing for life. For now I understand that without considerable struggle, no one moulds their character, and how much ever your parents try and protect you, you need to fall to learn to stand up again. You need to take responsibility for your actions, you need to learn to live on your own and most importantly, figure out your priorities and the person you are.

If you don’t like cooking, don’t do it. If you like music, pursue it. If losing weight makes you feel confident about yourself, do it. If being off social media makes you feel more secure about your personal life, do it. Do anything and everything that makes you happy. Because life was created with the intention of living happily, so don’t let that go and don’t let anyone make you believe that letting go of what makes you happy is better for the society or anybody else. Because you have to live this long life, not them.

Adios for now. Maybe I will retrospect more and share with you some more experiences of my life. You may or may not connect with them, but if you do- I want you to know that I am exactly like you, and we are not alone in this world. We will live, survive and live to be great, exactly the way you dreamt of it. Just duck all the bouncers, life will soon send across a straight ball on which you can hit a six 🙂 (cricket innuendo for those who don’t know about the game).

Life

Why I believe I am my own enemy.

Apologies for being away for so long. Its been a long time since I took up the pen to pen down my thoughts. Primarily because I was suffering from the writer’s block. But this writer’s block isn’t something that came up because of my inability to pen down my thoughts, hell no. This was a self-imposed exile out of which it took me nearly two months to realise that a self-imposed hibernation would be better rather than an exile, because an exile isn’t a choice – hibernation is.

For many months, I have been struggling to grasp the true meaning of life. As a liberated woman (at least I tend to think of myself that way), I always grasped life as something I can lead on ‘my terms’. But over the course of some months, I realised that life is the worst thing mankind has to live through. Its got too many rules, too many struggles, too many hardships – you name it. Doesn’t it anger you when you feel helpless, or useless, or unsuccessful, especially when you know you don’t deserve it? Doesn’t it hurt to see someone else deriving so much happiness out of their little life, by being stable, strong and calm?

Why can’t I be like that? Why isn’t my life like that? Isn’t life what we make of it? Aren’t we taught since we were children that hard work reaps success?

Angered by these thoughts, I sought recourse in killing the only thing that I loved the most – writing. Or typing, since I maintain an online blog.

I have been hurt by many things over the past couple of months. First by my ego, two by my foolishness. Ego because it made me disrespectful, angry, made me overexpectant, irrational, hateful, depressed. My foolishness because I let myself believe that others are responsible for my actions. Those who loved me, stopped staying by my side, because even they got tired for being blamed for my actions, when they could clearly see I was in the wrong.

Was I?

The problem with getting an education abroad is that you tend to expect too much from yourself. A fancy, expensive education prepares you for a lifetime of struggle/happiness in the maddening corporate world. The girl in me wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a writer, the woman in me realised that writing would only happen if I had money.

So, that made me angry. Expectant. Foolish. And hungry for the wrong things.

I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. But I do know this – I want to document each and every emotion that passes through me on this blog, because it is the document of my existential crisis. Many of you or maybe some of you might be facing these conflicting emotions on a daily basis, and I want you to know that there is someone out there who is exactly like you.

Complicated beings like us are tough to comprehend, understand. I know I will be slogging away at a corporate house in a couple of months maybe, but stability may bring me happiness. But, for how long? I have created a barrier in my head that butts out happiness – but is that who I am? Is this all a part of growing up? If it is, why is it so painful?

Should I release it all by choosing the easier path of life? But what is the easier path of life?

My writing skills go unnoticed at the hands of those willing to monetise on my skills. But what are my skills? My face looks into the mirror and doesn’t recognize itself. What am I good at? I don’t know. Maybe I do, but my mind is blocked. I thought I could follow my passion, but low pay and bad behaviour made me quit. I think I can survive in a bad, mad corporate world, but I may change my mind in the future too. Does that make me defocused and shallow? Can I respect myself?

All these thoughts run through my head – not because I like wasting time, but because I need answers. I sometimes do feel at peace with myself at times – I feel calm, I feel like nothing can harm me. Then, am I my own enemy? I don’t know.

If I do figure it out, I will let you know. And if I don’t, I still will.