life · scribbles

Mental Health and Pandemic

Hello Dear Readers,

I know I have been pretty dormant with my blog off late and whatever I wrote in the past few months was nothing more than few random scribbling of a depressed mind. As I write this, I am trying to be as cheerful as I can because let’s face it, we all can do with a bit of happiness in these morbid times. It has been more than 6 months since the pandemic of covid 19 has hit India and we are all locked up in our homes working from home, a lot of people have lost their jobs and are just sitting home idle trying to survive on their savings and while some don’t have savings either and have to just manage somehow, let’s face the fact that life is currently hard for EACH AND EVERYONE. There are sick people in the family, there are deaths, there is financial struggle, exploitation at work and lack of peace of mind so all of these things are going around and on top of that we hear the news that India has the largest number of covid 19 cases and the lowest GDP, there is hate in the world against the government and political leaders, people have lost tolerance for each other in such times and while people need to be more kind and empathetic, there is a general drain out with regard to empathy in the people, people are finding it hard to empathize and understand now that so much is going on in the country at a large scale and so much is going on with the people at a small scale, in short, no one is spared, everyone is suffering, be it kids, be it teenagers, college adults, doctors, teachers, parents, businessmen, women in general, the list is endless. Almost everyone I know is having mental breakdowns every now and then, I personally have breakdowns atleast once a week. There is tremendous pressure to be productive and fit. A lot of people have put on weight during lockdown and due to which there are emerging insecurities about body image issues and with gyms not opening, there is a surge in online fitness programs which people feel the need to attend, I, for once, followed a diet plan for a month, lost weight and when the program ended, gained even more weight, so it is extremely difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle or fitness routine in this pandemic. I saw a meme yesterday which said that “The pandemic has been so long that I got in and out of shape in these many months” and I could not help but laugh it off because that’s exactly what happened with me too, though I was already out of shape because of pandemic, thanks to emotional eating and huge consumption of cheesecake during depression days but then during the pandemic I lost 2kgs with a diet plan and then again put those back on and now my face is also fat and my arms are giving competition to my thighs but enough about me. I have no clue how people are motivated to exercise during these times, I am not even motivated to get up in the morning. Some nights I just wish please god make me die in my sleep so that I don’t have to wake up but then I guess I have work to do before I leave this world, so god is kind and lets me live. But whenever I talk to anyone and ask them how they are doing, there is a standard reply “kat rha hai time“, it seems that everyone has given up on joy and the idea of “living” the life. This pandemic has turned all of us into survivors and well, like everyone, I am also trying to survive. There is a bank of good days and bad days. There are productive days and days which are followed up by complete lethargy and sure work suffers during those days but then it balances out in productive times. What I have learnt in my six months of pandemic is that self love and self appreciation is really important for survival. Most of the times when we are busy in our lives, we have these small little milestones like “Boss approved of my work”, “A colleague appreciated me”, “I did my work before deadline”, “Someone called me pretty at the party I went to last week” and there is negative stuff too like politics in the workplace, stress etc but there is a routine, you wake up, you take a bath, you have to reach office on time, there is work on your desk, you get stuck in traffic, you come tired, you spend time with the family or watch tv, eat your dinner and go to sleep so it takes your mind off the little milestones and the negativity in your life, but pandemic took that sense of routine away with you and you have a lot of time to think and be with your self and even though there is work but you are not being watched and there is no set office environment, the lines between work and family time or time with oneself are blurred and this gives room to negative thoughts, this is where your self love and self appreciation will come in handy to keep you sane in times like these. You need to pat your back for little little things you do, like you made food for yourself or you cleaned your house or you studied and made a document or you painted or you wrote something instead of measuring your self worth by the amount of office work you got done. I am telling you all of this because this is something that I have experienced personally, I tend to measure my self worth by how much productive work I have done but then we need to normalize this fact as a society that times are tough and if you are just surviving that is enough, sure you need to work and earn and do stuff but sometimes it’s okay to break down, it’s okay to relax, it’s okay to reach out for help. We all shall make it, one day at a time.

Wishing you the best

Yours

Neha

Books · scribbles · Uncategorized

Creating Something New

I have been struggling with creating something new for a long time now. It’s not that I have a writers’ block but I have stopped feeling writing come naturally to me like it used to. This lockdown had given me sometime to go through my own blog and I observed that earlier I was able to give words to my feelings so very easily but now with overconsumption of content on Instagram, I just end up sharing relevant posts with a caption “Relatable”, “That’s so me”, “Mood”, “Life these days” without actually writing something of my own. Like I share a meme about period cramps when I am having my own periods, I share a depressing as fuck post when I am low on energy, I share a happy dance video of someone else on my instagram story instead of writing my own happy post, I share content about the corona virus pandemic, mental health posted by others instead of actually expressing my “own” “original” thoughts because I often have this feeling that my thoughts are not unique and I had stopped writing for the soul. I do write diary entries sometimes but even my diary writings have become so short and crisp and not long enough where I would dwell into details like I used to do earlier. I feel so exhausted so soon like right now, when I am writing this blog post, I have written barely 200 words by this line and I am feeling exhausted and I don’t feel like writing further and I remember being very good with my expression, I used to write long texts, long letters, long emails and I never struggled with the task of completing my word limit but now I do. Earlier I used to write 500 words in the blink of an eye but now I struggle to write a concrete article or a blog post as a matter of fact. And this has been bothering me for a while because right now I am in a PhD Program, where I have to start working on writing of my thesis and I am struggling to come up with the first sentence itself, even though my guide and my professors have guided me how to go about academics, I still am struggling. So I thought, instead of going into the realm of academic writing, let me first create something for my blog and here I am trying to voice out my thoughts.

Writing is an art that requires natural skill and talent and I used to think I have it in me but with what has been happening lately, I feel it’s more about passion and state of mind as well. In addition to this experience, I am also struggling to find my concentration in reading books, technically, both writing and reading were activities which were usually effortless for me but now they require a lot of effort from my end and now I start writing something, but don’t really complete it and so is with books that I begin reading but abandon them in between and what bothers is the guilt of abandoning my written pieces and books like that. It is that guilt that is making me write this post.

However, what comforts me is that art has not really abandoned me completely, if I am not able to write and read these days, I have found comfort in the art of sketching and photography. That is keeping me sane through this struggle, like

Hum ko maaloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat, lekin Dil ko khush rakhne ko Ghaalib yeh khayaal achcha hai”

I know that the struggle to not being able to read and write to my heart’s content is bothersome but it’s good to find hope in other art forms such a photography and sketching but at the same time I know I missing out on my original essence. The sketches I create are usually art created by others which I simply copy because I am not very good at sketching things based out of my own imagination. However, what is my own is the photography but my photograph of the moon is like any other beginner’s photograph of the moon on Instagram so I don’t find the satisfaction of being unique even there. Yes if I have clicked 2000 shots, about 100 of them would be good, unique and can be dearly called as my personal creation but I still lack that satisfaction and when I talk to my mom about it, she tells me contentment is a state of mind, sometimes, you should feel content that you exist and I struggle with this thought.

In one of the discussions with a dear friend sometime back, we talked about how “Sense of Achievement” is important for our mental health. While it is important to be physically fit, have sound relationships and a stable career for a better life, this feeling of sense of achievement is also equally important. During the phase of my depression last year, I have gained 10 kgs over a period of time and now I no longer fit into any of my clothes and that is a major cause for my personal insecurities. Looking good is very important for self esteem no matter what people say and having gained weight I have become conscious of my body but at the same time I am unable to be regular with workout and lose weight. Food is my weakness, I do emotional eating. There is a void inside of me which I try to fill through good food. So, these insecurities hamper my sense of achievement often. Even when I manage to study well I struggle with giving myself a pat on the back. By god’s grace, I have been blessed with amazing genes that even with weight gain I manage to look elegant and pretty and I am able to pose for self portraits and post them online and gain validation but what bothers me is my own need for validation at times. This struggle to create something new is a struggle of validation from my ownself.

Instagram positivity pages talk about self love, how it is just enough to exist but can someone really tell me how?

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Uncategorized

Self Quarantine

We are in a global pandemic. Life has suddenly changed for everyone across the globe, the schools and colleges have been shut, people are working from homes and apparently there is a shortage of groceries and toilet paper and what not. This year started off with Australian fires. In India, Delhi saw the worst riots and now this corona virus has shut everyone back to their homes while the earth heals from the kind of pollution it has been exposed to. These are tough times to live in. Everyone you know is worried, economy is in a slump, jobs are not there and you can’t be cuddling with your partner because of this virus so the comfort also goes away. As someone who survives on hugs, at our home, we have stopped hugging each other because of corona and it sucks. Mental health also goes for a toss, no matter how hard you try, in times like these, it is very difficult to maintain a positive outlook. Chakra Healing, youtube videos of spirituality don’t work either. It all seems like a facade. In some random moments of the day, I somehow wish for the virus to hit me and take me away from this life but I might sound very selfish here again because there’s still hope of a better future, there’s still family to hold on to but when depression hits again in the middle of the day, this is the dominant thought. I often tell myself that I have healed from depression just because my therapist said so and I have also been doing normal but who defines normal and what is normal but yeah whenever I see a possibility of death I want to grab it more than I want to grab that job opportunity. Sometimes I feel I am just existing for the sake of it and not really living life the way I would want to but at the same time, there are people who depend on me for their happiness and it is for them I have to be strong. I have often observed that it is always easier to be strong and be there for others than for ourselves. And this self quarantine is just for that, you are forced to think about others and for humanity and for the world. In times like these, stay strong for the world if not for yourself. The world needs you. And please please please respect your health care system, your nurses, your doctors and wash your hands.

See you on the other side of the crisis.

Uncategorized

Some Random Philosophical Shit

I find it hard to write blogs now. There is so much content on the social media that I don’t know how to express myself uniquely anymore. Everything that I feel is already been said in some or the other quote on Instagram that I just keep sharing quotes without actually doing the catharsis of writing things myself but today I had to. You may not find anything new in my blog but what you can expect out of it is all things human, things that we all go through at some point because after all, we are all made of the same stardust but we are all unique in our experiences of life and in our own little ways. There cannot be another you and there can never be another me. Me is Me and You are You. Don’t judge on the grammar of the expression Me is Me, just get the point that I am trying to make here. Life has been kind to me lately. After an year of depression, I am learning to love life. I end up finding pleasures in the small mundane things like raindrops, a cup of tea, cleaning my room, writing a paragraph, reading something for my PhD, participating in discussions, going for walks, wind blowing. Ab Zindagi ko Jeene ka Mann karta hai (Now I feel like living life) and I think that is an achievement for someone who always thought about ways to kill herself. Honestly, if corona virus had broken out during my depression days, I would have seriously met the infected people just so I could die but now things are different, I want to experience life as it comes. However, last night was something different. Despite being happy and wanting to live life, I had one of the darkest nights where I felt that I had lost all hope, I felt depressed again and there was a sense of emptiness that made me choke in my chest, I tried to sleep but I could not. And for a second, it felt like I had not healed at all. Like my wounds are still afresh, there was hurt, there was panic, there was jealousy but what made me come back to my normal state was how well aware I was about my feelings. Sometimes all it takes is to be aware of what you are feeling, I think what depression has really taught me is that it has made me so much self aware like I now know what’s happening to me and where I need to stop and breathe. It’s important that we take care of our mental health as we take care of our work because in today’s time, work holds a higher priority than anything else. Some have told me that talking about mental health is a privilege, there are people in worse situations who cannot talk about mental health, they cannot afford to, they just have to live life the way it is without really questioning its premises and I agree but I am a reader of Calvin and Hobbes and following comic defines how I think:

Image result for life could be a lot better too calvin

Calvin speaks my mind often. I feel he is the most sorted kid ever. Anyhow, I think even if I come from a position of privilege, I should try to make my life better in whatever ways I can and sometimes you need all the help you can get, just to be yourself and there is nothing wrong in being vulnerable. I somehow feel that my vulnerability is my strength.

On that note, a very happy women’s day.

 

Books · life

Books I read in 2019

Last year in 2018, I started off with this blog series- Books I read in 2018 

Continuing with the tradition I started, I am again going to document the books I read in the year 2019. This actually provides a great opportunity to reflect back and see the progress. In 2018, I managed to read 37 books in total with 4 half read ones, however, the quantity of books I read this year is less but totally worthwhile. Without wasting anymore time, here I begin.

Sometimes I spend so much time in setting the background that content gets lost. To be honest, I felt this year was far too long and it got divided into two halves, the first half of the year was pretty normal, happy, chirpy while the second half was full of darkness and I had to cope with depression during that time so reading took a backseat, anyhow, the list and the experiences are as follows.

1. Surviving Women by Jerry Pinto

Times have changed and it’s hard being a man for now there is a strange species around: The Modern Woman. This book talks about how the confused Indian male sees the modern woman and majorly talks about male psychology and answers several questions about manhood, patriarchy and feminism. It’s actually a good read with a lot of funny elements and sarcasm. Both men and women can give this book a shot. It shares voices of 110 odd men throughout.

2.  HBR Guide to Emotional Intelligence

This is one of the most insightful books I have read in a long long time. I have not been really fond of Self Help Books but it isn’t really a self help book, it is something that makes you go deep into self analysis and analysis of the people around you. It makes you understand yourself and the people around you in a better fashion and helps improve your relationships with yourself and with the people in your life. Definitely a recommended read.

3. Destined to Play by Indigo Bloome

Honestly I have received too many judgments whenever I tell people that I like to read erotica. But I feel it’s important to indulge into such reads once in a while.

On the face of it, this book can be a very casual read but at the same time if you give it enough thought, it will make you think about concepts of female sexuality and importance of pleasure for females, notions of consent, psychology, manipulation, insecurities in a relationship and insecurities about one’s own self.
Reading this book was a mixed experience because while it is exciting and thrilling for the most part, it does gets emotionally disturbing too.
I’d rate it as a 3 star book on a 5 star scale. You may or may not pick this book, totally your call.

4. What to do when I’m Gone by Suzi Hopkins and Hallie Bateman

What to do when I am gone is a book written by a mother-daughter duo. The mother and daughter share a special bond and the mother is the lifeline and anchor in the daughter’s life and they talk about a lot of stuff and one day they were talking about “Death” and daughter requested her mother to help write her a step by step guide to get through life after the mother has died and this is one of those books that have made me feel so warm and happy from the inside. Like in Disney movies whenever someone would fall in love, the animation effects would show that the heart glows in yellow, this book made my heart glow through every single page.

5. Am I there yet? by Mari Andrew

5th book of the year was this graphic novel.
Journey of a girl from her 20s to 30s.
This book is so so so so beautiful which talks about so many things

1. Overcoming uncertainty
2. Creating a feeling of home when you are away from home. Creating your own space
3. Finding the purpose of life
4. Love and dating- making wrong choices and dealing with them
5. Heartbreaks and loss- how to handle grief, how to manage your own self.
6. How to overcome disappointment in life and become resilient as an individual
7. Discovering one’s own self
8. Finding yourself and finally becoming an adult by the time you hit 30s, just keep growing always.
There will be challenges even after hitting the 30s but then you’ll be equipped with enough experience to get through the life ahead. ❤️ Recommended read for all the people in my age at least. (P.S. I turn 25 in Feb 2020, Teehee)

6. HBR Guide to Better Business Writing

This was a tedious book to read but extremely important if you’re a student or a professional who has to do a lot of writing at work or a teacher too. Highly recommended read for all.

7. Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

This book was literally put into my hands by my dear friend Eshita Hatwal, she had been after my life to read this book for a long time and me being me kept on procrastinating it but she actually put the book into my hands by gifting it to me on my birthday and I cannot describe what I really felt after reading this book. I was just numb because it was one breathtaking read. Read it to feel the extreme overwhelming power of unconditional love between two sisters.

8. The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine

This was purely a scientific book with all the medical terms but at the same time it taught concepts to a layman through stories supporting that science and this is one book which MUST BE READ by all women in order to understand little boys, teenage boys, 20 something young men, 30-45 age group men and beyond. It has answers to why boys get aggressive, why male ego exists, why men come off as emotionally distant or emotionally unavailable at times, why sometimes work comes above relationships, why fathers bond more with daughters or why they share a disciplinarian kind of relationship with their sons and why grandfathers are usually grumpy.
Highly recommended.
And honestly this one would make you respect and love the men in your life more.

9. The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine

It was again an extremely insightful book about how our minds work. I would recommend every woman and every man to read this book. It explains several of our behaviors, mood swings, PMS, the motherly instinct and much more.
What I learned from this is that it is true that our biology affects us a lot, our hormones play a huge role in our daily life and they become our reality, however, if we start understanding our biology, if we start understanding how our minds respond to situations and conflicts, we will be better equipped to transform our realities. We can ‘re-wire’ our brains if we understand them in the first place.
Highly recommended.

10. The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

I finished reading this book in one sitting and that happens rarely now. This is one such romance novel which you cannot stop reading once you pick it up.
Books like these make me believe in all things magical. What a heartwarming read. If I could I would marry the man in this book with no second thoughts ever. ❤

11. HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Mental Toughness

I am genuinely blank about review of this book. I remember picking it up but not much of it has retained and this was the time my mental health started to get affected bit by bit so I tried to read it to keep myself charged but honestly right now I don’t have any memory of it. It was more mechanical and a tough book to read. I don’t remember how this book made me feel or what it said.

12. The Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The story of Ramayana through the eyes of Sita and how different it is when told by a woman. Honestly when I picked it up, it looked a little lengthy and confusing and a bit boring too but once I crossed reading first fifty pages, I could not put it down and it was a beautiful journey then on. Definitely recommended.

13. Jungle Radio

A big children’s book about birds. The one with too many colors and bird poems, it was a pure delight to read this one. I felt like a happy kid while reading it.

14. Delhi Heritage Top 10 Baolis by Vikramjit Singh Rooprai

Vikram Sir is a dear friend and he came up with his first book and I just had to read it. It is a beautiful piece of work and anyone who is interested in history and heritage must pick this one up. I have personally been on a couple of heritage walks with Vikram Sir and therefore, there were certain parts of the book I could relate to so well because I have seen the Baolis and heard him explain things. It was an amazing journey, and I am eagerly looking forward to more books by him.

15. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

A collection of erotic poetry, just for sad days.

16. Public Policy In India by Rajesh Chakrabarkty and Kaushik Sanyal

India has 130 police officers per 100000 citizens, 0.62 doctors per 1000 people, 15 judges per million and we need huge policy shifts. Quite an insightful read.

17. Destined to Feel by Indigo Bloome

Part 2 of Destined to Play book, highly disappointing. Part 1 was a nice read that motivated me to pick up the second part but a waste of time.

18. Dealing with Difficult People

This was about how we manage our emotions and people in our daily lives and mostly at workplace. Good read.

19. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

This was by far the best book of 2019 because of how relatable it was for me at that time. I was going through a rough period with regard to my mental health and I spent a month reading this book about therapy and mental health. It made me think a lot and cry a lot too. Sometimes the book would get so heavy for me to read that I had to abandon it for days but when I finished reading it, there was certain sense of calm and peace and it was after reading this book I found the courage to go to therapy and realize that I was in need of help and nobody will save me if I don’t reach out. I want to thank Kritika Narula for this recommendation.

20. Tongue in Cheek: Funny Side of life by A. Khyrunnisa

Not very gripping, short stories which you can read before going to bed or in between study breaks, that’s how I finished reading this book. Doesn’t live up to the expectations, will probably make you smile a little occasionally, that’s about it.

This year, I didn’t have any half read books like last year because the books that were half read in 2018 are still pending and I don’t know when will I pick them up again. Till then, I hope you enjoyed reading this blog and have taken away some good recommendations with you. Happy reading.

 

 

life

My Experience at Katha Utsav 2019

I was lazily enjoying my semester break and as the hangover of my solo trip to Kedarkantha started to fade a little and I was just getting into the zone of my PhD studies which keep on getting delayed for one reason or the other, one day while binge watching Modern Family on Hotstar tucked in quilt, I got a call from Tauseef Bhaiya about Katha Utsav. He told me all about it and how mentors for poetry are needed to teach kids of 4th to 6th and all of a sudden there was a new project and excitement in life. I was initially nervous because I have never taught poetry before but then I studied so hard for 5 days to perform for 4 days. Reading books, developing content and activities for children, PhD work took a backseat and I had only one thought- to deliver good things to the kids but by the end of the Utsav, I learned more from the children than I was able to teach them. They were so brilliant that I felt privileged to be their mentor.

Other than my experience with the kids, I learnt so much from the mentors. I am taking away new friends from this festival, thanks to Tauseef bhaiya. I got to spend sometime with Gouri, Gunjan, Shivani, Rachana and many more and there was abundance of love and hugs and positivity. There was abundant laughter and lots of good food.

I am grateful to Vikramjit Sir for this opportunity and guiding me through this festival. He helped me curate my content and gave me the validation for the activities I had planned for the kids. He was a constant support during this and I am glad to have worked with him and so many beautiful people.

Lastly, I am grateful to Sameeksha and the Katha Team for putting up such a good show!

Here are some glimpses of the festival

life · story · Travel Diary

My First Solo Trip-Kedarkantha Trek

For more than a year now, I had this dream of going on a solo trip and December 2019 was the time I could do it. In India, it is super difficult to convince your parents for the solo trip but somehow I managed to break the barriers and go and it was surreal. This trip was much much needed for me in order to end this year on a good note and find myself and my identity. This year had been a rough one to say. I had been depressed and given up on life in general and was in therapy so doing this was so important for me to regain my self confidence and faith and belief in myself, in life and in all things beautiful.

So, I booked a trek to Kedarkantha with Bikat Adventures and off I went. Why Bikat Adventures? It’s because I have heard so much good about them and the fact that they take extremely good care of their participants so I had full faith that I’ll be in safe hands and I was.

I had taken a Volvo Bus from Delhi to Dehradun from where the journey was supposed to start. On my first day, I met my trek leaders Lalit Yadav from Noida and Yitso Waka from Nagaland along with a group of 10 people-The Marwadi Family with whom I was clubbed to travel and it was a pleasant ride from Dehradun to Sankri. This was the first day and it was a day of introductions, we all just got to know each other and I was getting quite surprised reactions so as to how come I am travelling solo, little did the people knew why being solo was important for me. As we were approaching Sankri, I was informed that there will be no network for five days and when I told this to my parents, they freaked out a little and so did I but eventually I was comfortable because I had finally time to myself and there was an opportunity for digital detox.

In Sankri, we stayed in a homestay with the warmest of the blankets.

On the second day we started off with our trek from Sankri to Juda ka Taal. The climb on this day was steep and tough and I was the slowest person from day one but I managed to reach up there safely and then we camped in Hargaon. As we were approaching Juda ka Taal, we saw traces of snow and our camp at Hargaon was in the Snow. I kept my speed slower than usual because I wanted to be safe, I really didn’t want to be clumsy and fall on the first day and injure myself so I took baby steps and was lagging behind from everyone. And wherever the climb would get tough that I thought I cannot make it, my trek leader Lalit, aka Lalli Bhai was so kind that he held my hand and helped me climb at each step. From day one he was motivating me and keeping me going and didn’t lose patience when I was slow. When we reached Juda ka Taal, we saw that the lake was frozen and another local guide Jaychand Bhai who was with us even glided on the frozen lake and clicked jumping shots for everyone. We reached Hargaon campsite by evening and as soon as we reached there, there was a stretching session to keep us fit for the rest of the trip and later on we were served snacks and tea. The family I was travelling with carried so much of food with themselves that it was amazing, I had the opportunity to taste different kinds of Puri, Theplas, Papad Churi, Butter Cookies etc while being with them. At night, we had bonfire where gossip sessions took place. One of the girls from the group worked as a Make Up Artist with Bollywood Celebrities and she narrated some juicy bollywood gossip over bonfire and we all shared a good laugh. Along with this gossip, we had a learning module too on medical conditions in high altitudes and how we can equip ourselves better while being in the mountains. If you’re a first time trekker, make sure you go with Bikat Adventures because their learning modules in between the fun sessions will make you aware about things you don’t know otherwise and will stay with you for a lifetime.

Anyhow, we enjoyed the night and then when we went back to our tents to sleep, we were given sleeping bags but it was so cold, I couldn’t sleep at all throughout the night and kept on shivering. I had worn every piece of woolen clothing I got and still I was shivering, the temperature was somewhere between -2 degrees to -5 degrees at night and there was chilly winds, what kept me sane was the beautiful moonlight and the stars and the golden hour. What’s the golden hour? Golden hour is the time of the sunset when all the snow mountains turn pink and they change hues to orange and it’s a magnificent sight to watch the sky at that time.

Next morning, after breakfast, we started off our trek to Kedarkantha Base Camp. Before the start of this trek, we were given gaiters so that the snow does not enter our shoes. It was a short trek this time, we reached the base camp in two hours. On this day, we were also celebrating the birthday of one of the group members. When we reached the base camp, there was again stretching and we learned how to pitch a tent. The sun on this day was bright so we enjoyed a lot in the sun and chilled and relaxed, there were gossips and we had lunch then in the evening we all had music, songs and fun games and a cake made of Sooji Halwa. After a super fun session, we were briefed about the next day which was the Summit Day, the day we were supposed to climb the Kedarkantha Peak. We were supposed to wake up at 2AM and get ready. We all went to sleep early that night.

Now, my mood and experience till the base camp was up and about and I had zero self doubt and everything went on smoothly but the day it was summit day, I started having severe anxiety and doubts and almost gave up, I told everyone that I am having second thoughts and I don’t want to go to the Summit and I started developing backache, gastroenteritis, stomach ache and everything. I was super scared, I wanted to stay back at the base camp and not go further to the peak but then everyone motivated me and gave me a pep talk and I decided to go ahead and I am super glad that I didn’t give up because the trek to the summit was the best trek experience. I had such amazing meditative moments during this trek- there was a state of pure awareness and thoughtlessness that I cannot describe how amazing it felt, I was just one with the nature. It was a feeling where I was aware of my single breath and there is only one way of life- “Bas Saans Lete Raho” just like Hrithik said in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, it was that moment for me. I also saw the moon rise and moon set and sun rise and sun set on this same day. These are such special memories, how moon and sun change colors while rising and setting. I reached to the summit in six hours and it was all worth the effort. I am so glad that I did not give up because had I given up, I would have not experienced such divine nature the way I did. It was stupendo-fantanbulously-fantastic. And while coming down, I had the opportunity to slide on the ice and it was like I am in heaven, I felt like a kid so free being able to slide in the snow, I was at my happiest.

On the same day, we climbed down to Sankri, we walked continuously for 16 hours, it got a little hectic and I developed blisters on my feet but they’re reward marks and if given a chance, I would go on a solo trip again. It helped me find myself and love myself and find the strength that I had lost this year while battling through depression. This trip made me feel alive and I cannot be more thankful to god, to my parents, to Bikat Adventures, to my trek leader Lalit because of whom I could complete the trek, to the Marwadi Family who were a constant support throughout the journey and to my friends who have managed to stick with me through thick and thin.

life · scribbles · story

What My Depression and Therapy Sessions Made Me Realize

It’s no news that I have been depressed. I have been pretty open about my mental illness and have reached out for help and have been lucky enough to get help at the right time as well. From being perpetually suicidal to being normal functional human being who manages to now take bath everyday even in winters, manages to concentrate and study, manages to eat her meals on time and have a sound sleep, I still end up sleeping a lot than a normal human being but I guess that’s acceptable when you’re recovering and I don’t have to beat myself up for sleeping. But I have had tremendous realizations when I went through this turmoil of depression and a series of therapy sessions. Before proceeding further, I’d like to share a happy news that I am out of the clinical depression phase but I still have to take care of my triggers because it’s a precarious stage where I can go both ways. I am at a point where I can either come out of it or go into a super dark place if triggered and then it would be super difficult to come out of it. So far my graph is upwards instead of spiraling downwards like it was for months that I hit my rock bottom and all I could wonder about was how to kill myself but now I have hopes, laughter, smiles, goals, now I wake up in the morning and have something to look forward to.

Anyway I was talking about the realizations I have had. I realized that I am 24 years old and I am about turn 25 in two months and twenty nine days and I have not lived my life for myself at all. I have lived a life which was ALWAYS approved of by my parents. I have let others make choices for myself and my life and have not lived an individual life and occasionally I have rebelled in order to establish my authority over my life but that rebellion was also validated and it was not complete rebellion. I have lived whole of my life in fear and I have always wanted to be accepted by the social standards, always being the conventional “good girl” and not making any mistakes and whenever I was about make a mistake I have always been taken care of by my parents and teachers because they have been the closest to me and whenever it came to friends and friendships I have always tried to make my friends happy by doing what suited them and what they liked instead of actually saying or demanding what I like in a friendship and whenever I have done so, I have lost people and so keep the people close to me I have put myself behind and put others first and I have been terribly alone but at the same time I have realized that the right people and the right friends do stick around no matter what. When I was going through a rough period, I thought I had nobody but I had so much support and so much unexpected support that I cannot fathom and I am extremely grateful for that.

Depression took away my identity for me. If I were to define myself, it would be, A Happy Go Lucky Girl who loved to read, write, talk and meet new people and go out and have fun.. the girl who would laugh uncontrollably at almost anything and spread smiles around. Things that I have been really proud of as a person is how I would laugh with complete abandon. I have ample number of pictures of me just laughing, laughing, laughing and laughing. I’m someone who has laughed in a sensual situation and made it comedy and turned the guy off but I really don’t regret it you know. Because I was just plain happy. Depression took away my uncontrollable laughter, it took away what I loved the most-my habit of reading and writing, I just could not concentrate to read and writing stopped coming to me naturally. All I wanted was to stay at home, in bed and cry and do nothing, like life became absolutely meaningless for me. I started hating myself, my life, my surroundings and everything about it. I constantly had this need to be around someone, to have a friend to talk to, but at the same time I felt like a constant burden on everyone I loved and everyone who loved me. I stopped being comfortable with the idea of being alone, being alone sent me into complete loneliness and would make me feel suicidal. Depression took away who I was as a human being. And therefore, therapy came to rescue.

Now, with therapy I realized all that was missing from my life was self love and taking a stand for myself and living the life on my own terms. I have always let others decide for myself, sometimes it has been my parents, sometimes it has been my teachers, sometimes it has been my friends but I haven’t really made my own choices and whenever I tried to make my own choices, I have been afraid and fear has kept me from living my own life on my own and I have ended up conforming to the social norms because it was safe. And safety has led me to depression. Not making enough mistakes has led me to depression. Always playing it by the rules of the society has led me to depression. And now that I am coming out of it, there is a lot of confusion that is going on in my head, there is a lot of bravery and courage I need to actually start living my own life and I know it will make me lose out on a lot of friendships, I will be disappointing my parents, I will be making mistakes but “here’s the thing about mistakes. Sometimes, even when you know something’s a mistake, you gotta make it anyway.” Said the famous Ted Mosby. I am learning to be alone again and this time it is peaceful. I have the right people in my life and I hope to make through this journey.

Honestly I would always be confused what I wanted to talk about with my therapist but this time after writing out this entire blog post I now know what to talk in the next session. Wish me luck if you can and I wish you all the best for your personal battles in life. I hope you make it too.

Much Love.

 

 

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Fighting Depression

Depression hits you when you’re at your happiest. The point is that you work so hard on being happy and positive all the time that you manage to reach a happy stage but that feeling of happiness is just not sustained, suddenly happiness tires you out. You try to shake off that negativity through art, poetry, music, web series, trying to concentrate on your studies but at that time nothing drives you and all you want to do is to sleep and when you end up waking up, you feel guilty for not being functional enough but at the same time you still don’t have enough strength to get out of your bed, move your ass to get shit done, you just sit there blankly staring at the wall above or scrolling through your phone, trying to make a conversation and then failing at it too. So you take out your laptop and try to express your feelings out here but then after a few sentences of describing what you went through, you’re blank again and just stare at the blinking cursor about what next. You know it’s not the complete post or anything and also the fact that nobody gives a flying fuck about what you go through because your battles are your own, so you just sit there staring and staring and staring and then hitting the post button in hope for some likes and views seeking validation that won’t last just like the efforts of keeping yourself happy.

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What Depression Feels Like?

I have been clinically depressed for the past 4 months and life has been hard since then. I have lost interest in most of the things I loved to do. My concentration levels have fallen too low. There are days when I cannot get out of bed and all I fantasize about is how I want to die and ways to kill myself. I feel nobody understands me anymore and I feel incapable of expressing myself in front of anyone. I have way too many filters now. I feel too fake with everyone I know. Whenever I try to open up, I get scared. I get scared of disappointing people I love and then them leaving me. I feel like I am failing everyday of my life. Everyone and everything says that Love Yourself but I am unable to accept the human I am, how am I supposed to love myself. I feel blank and unhappy most of the times. And writing things out helps but not always. People say, talk about it, but there is nothing to talk. It’s just constant feeling of unhappiness and sadness and lack of will to live. I don’t feel ambitious anymore. I don’t feel capable anymore. Others have more faith in my capabilities than I do myself. They say that the strength is within but I feel too weak. Even sitting up and smiling takes effort. Happiness takes effort. Life takes effort. This is what depression feels like. It’s Diwali and I don’t see the light.