If you asked me about mental health a year ago, I would have said- just eat healthy, exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle and you would be fine. But since my experience and acknowledgement of deteriorating mental health, my whole perception of the discourse of mental health i.e anxiety and depression has changed.
Yes, it is right, it can happen to anyone from a successful entrepreneur to a teenage kid who is yet to explore the different walks of life. Society is maybe slowly opening up to talk and recognise mental health issues, but this journey is very long. I wouldn’t negate the fact that most people deal with overthinking, anxiety and depression in their day-to-day life. Having said that, I would also not turn my head from conceding to the fact of the fast-moving hectic lifestyles we are indulged in as one of the prominent reason for degrading mental health. The symptoms are often overlooked or I would say are not acknowledged. You know why? Because they are so subtle that it goes unnoticed. You wouldn’t recognise them, they are slowly, deeply getting inside you and sometimes they will break you and choke you. And maybe after 3–4 encounters later you will realise that damn something is not right. Yes, something is not right, glad you acknowledged it. And now you have sleepless nights, how? A person who slept so peacefully is suddenly an insomniac with thoughts that would scare you to hell. You would blame yourself for no reason and will think that you are the only one — struggling, fighting, surviving each day — but that’s not true. Dont even think that way. There are so many like you, like me and like so many more that when you will open up to somebody about it, you will realise that this journey of life is walked by so many of us. Their ways could be different, somebody would be like you, a few differently maybe— but there are many. And one thing that is common in us all is — Will and Spirit — to fight and wake up every day and not give up. And that’s when you begin to realise that you are winning, one step at a time — but you are moving in the right direction. This journey is small but teaches you to value the little things in life and the life which you took for granted.
My small but significant journey started in March, I had my startup running and I had a team of passionate and motivated professionals and I was moving ahead with my plans for my company. Things were going great for me and for my business. My career as a fashion writer was finally taking off the runway. I could see my dreams turning to reality and all my plans executing. However, I began to realise my energy draining off too quickly, I began to feel low, anxious and over the period of time, I was filled with negativity so much so that I began to hate myself. I felt disgusted in my own room and hated my work which I always wanted to do and what I am passionate about. Suddenly, I turned into an introvert from being extremely extrovert. I wouldn’t felt like interacting. I preferred to sitting alone by myself in a dark room, lost in my own negative thoughts. In hindsight, I realise that one thing I shouldn’t have done was to overthink. It added fuel to the negative thoughts and led to unnecessary anxiety.
My favourite leisure time activities like listening to the songs of Britney Spears, and Doja cat and indulging in delicacy like kebab rolls no longer seemed fun to me. I dodged the initial ‘signs’ as a phase that would vanish in a day or two. However, I was wrong as the day passed by my situation got worse. Many sleepless nights clouded with negative thoughts awaited me to haze my consciousness for clarity of thoughts. Coupled with lost appetite, even the usual task of getting up in the morning from bed seemed like a challenge. However, someone has rightly said that there is always that one light of hope that illuminates the whole path or at least guide you back to your path. I knew I had to do something, I pulled myself together with whatever was left in me and confronted my fears and told my brothers and parents about the whole mess I was in. To be honest, I felt so light at heart after I shared it with my family. And that is how that light in me guided me in my journey towards healing. I started talking about my feelings, how I felt, what kept me awake all night and trust me it helped me a lot. I started feeling that heaviness in my chest withering away. I was able to sleep at night. Slowly and gradually I began to recover to my senses.
Here are few things that are learned I should not have done or avoided in order to keep myself sane-
Overthinking- It can trigger your anxiety even more. Constantly thinking about things that are not in your control will cause you more pain. Let go of all the worries, accept your flaws, situation or person whom you can’t force to talk. If it’s meant to be then nature has its own mysterious ways to bring back that person in your life. For me, at night when I would dwell on my thoughts, that is when the overthinking triggered my anxiety to an extent that sometimes I was not able to sleep or breathe due to restlessness.
Take up a hobby- Focusing on something new is the best way to overcome any dark thoughts or to start afresh. I started with learning how to drive a car along with getting back to my exercise regime. Once you start trying new things your mind will focus on new skills. It is very therapeutic and relaxing in times like these.
Problem Solving- You can’t control the things around you but there are a few things that are in your hands and you can fix them. If there is something that you think you could have done in another way that could have deterred the turn of event in your life, then do it and try to fix it. Give a fresh start to your relationships with your loved ones and you will observe a positive impact.
Talk it out- I realised it quite late so I am telling you now that talk more, as much as you can regarding your stress, anxiety or dark thoughts. It can help you calm down, relax and provide you with a sense of unconditional companionship that you crave the most during such struggles. The more you talk about your situation, the lighter you will feel. Of course, anxiety or depression won’t go away with just sharing but it can push you more towards the process of healing.
Stick to a routine- Don’t sit ideally it will only contribute to more anxiety and overthinking. Make a time table, don’t let your mind focus on negative thoughts. Focus on your career, spend more time with your family, exercise, go out, have fun with your friends. Once you start living your own life slowly, you will start enjoying it. The first step towards any mental problem is to start learning how to love yourself. Times like these make you question yourself, you feel worthless or someone who is not worthy of love, but that is not true. Once you start loving yourself and enjoy the company of your family and friends circle you wouldn’t seek validation from others.
Train your brain- Learning how to deal with issues like these will help you in future to not get into depression again. Train your brain to let go of the past, be aware of the people around you, don’t keep any expectation from anyone, it will only lead to disappointment. Know who your real friends and family are. Avoid unnecessary thoughts, if any situation arises in future, go read a book or play some games to get back to your senses.
Lastly, I would refrain from telling you that it won’t disappear in one day. The harsh truth is that it is a long process that can last up to a long time. I am still in my recovery phase, constantly focusing on good things and not letting negative thoughts cloud my mind. It is a battle I fight every morning. Rely on people whom you love and trust. Know your worth, don’t waste your energy on selfish people. You can’t force someone to talk to you or be in your life, you need to let go of the energy if it meant to be it will come back, till then keep your heads up and don’t let anything hamper your peace or tell you your worth.