Let me be ME

Posts tagged ‘MentalHealth’

Chin up ,Ladies !

P.C. www.pragatisharma.com

Power a woman holds in her/ P.C http://www.pragatisharma.com

High five to all the mothers!
Remember you are THE BEST.

I was in a workshop when all of a sudden my phone beeped; I had a message from my younger son with all sorts of angry emoji and text stating that I hadn’t fixed the bottle holder on his new bike.I smiled a little, but instantly I thought where I had kept the screwdriver so that I can set the holder once I am back home. The complete boredom of the workshop fizzed away. I knew my purpose for the evening.
How inconspicuous this purpose is, isn’t it? Fixing a bottle holder becomes my purpose. How stupid is that? The purpose is always BIG and something which gives you a feeling of accomplishment once you achieve it, isn’t it? Well, I’ll talk to you about it.

Without beating much around the bush let me talk about some pervasive mental state which many mothers, new or old, working women and homemakers have shared with me and are seeking a way out.
Mood: anger, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or panic attack
Whole body: fatigue, loss of appetite, or restlessness
Psychological: depression, fear, or repeatedly going over thoughts
Behavioural: crying or irritability
Cognitive: lack concentration or unwanted thoughts
Weight: weight gain or weight loss
Also common: insomnia
(courtesy Wikipedia)
Dear mommies, young /older moms / working mothers/homemakers, trust me, there is nothing wrong with you. It is just the horrible hormones that are playing the game.
For young mothers, these can be the symptoms of post-partum depression –which we don’t talk because it is unknown. I have been through a very traumatic phase hence I can relate (with experience but not clinically). For other women, it is mental flux.
We women are born with a trait – “to worry about everything and nothing too.” accept it 🙂
Dear ladies, let me tell you that if you have come out of your current negative state, then no one on the planet can help you until YOU want to do it.
Mark this in bold and put it in the mirror to see as the first thing in the morning
I AM, ME

You got married and changed your surname which you carried since birth (few change their name too), with due respect to traditions.
You decided to quit work in the name of motherhood
You chose to devote all your time and energy towards your family and then give an excuse for NO TIME for yourself
It is YOU everywhere.
But, don’t worry you still have time to take things under your control. Sharing how I fought and may help you too:

1. Think of a purpose each day: When you get up each morning, don’t forget to thank the almighty for waking you up alive.I had a near death experience hence I know what it feels to see the fresh sunlight. Think what your purpose of getting up. How it will be different from yesterday. Extract fifteen minutes for yourself before you hit the bed? Think about your day, not about work but what value you added to your life today. How have you grown as a better human being? Each day has something to offer, it depends on you on how you see it. Give time to introspect yourself.
Think, because thoughts become action.

2. Be a ruthless planner: I was told this by one of my dear friends, “you are a ruthless planner.” I thought over it and realized, yes actually I am a very strict planner. Plan your day, your week and even your month.Get yourself organized. Maintain a timetable of your daily routine like getting up, breakfast, house cleaning, Television, afternoon siesta, everything. For working and traveling moms like me sync your calendar with your children’s dairy and school routine. For instance, no matter in which time zone I am going I always keep a check on my kids and house routine. My alarm beeps as per their schedule, and we don’t miss out on anything.

3. Homemakers to treat their job as a corporate work: I was a homemaker for a very long time and was extremely annoyed with my time management. How to fix this? Treat yourself as the chairman of your household. Now make things run around it. Most important, get ready for office timing, dress up well and not into same boring household clothes. Have breakfast with your partner (on time) and allocate time for everything. You are running an organization where you are the master, manage it effectively.

4. Delegate work/hire help: Don’t try to be a superwoman, if you can’t handle then hire a help and delegate tasks. Get some free time for yourself. Even while at home I had three maids coming over for help, I was questioned this every time. It pinched me purely because I was not earning that time and I thought I am wasting my husband’s hard earned money. But I gulped it the way it came to me. I needed help and it ends there.

5. Your partner is not Gautam Buddha, talk to him/her: We very often miss out on the significant part, “communication.” Men will not understand until you scream and tell them, it is in their DNA while women will want men to understand everything without saying a word, it is in our DNA. So until you express what you are feeling how will your partner understand you.

6. Lift weights: I always find it amusing when women share pictures of festivals, celebrating in full fervor but the same women will never show up for a morning run, walk or yoga with the excuse of “too tired to get up this early”. When you can get up at 4 am at karwachauth, can be so meticulous in your festival then why can’t you be disciplined for yourself. Remember, female body deteriorates faster than a male, you need to take care of yourself without any excuse.

7. Be independent: Don’t depend on husband or driver for small chores. Learn to fix a tube light, gas cylinder, depositing the cheque at the bank, online banking, car servicing, etc . Why only kitchen work is for women while outside kitchen is all men? Learn to do everything. I am thankful to my dad and two elder brothers here who never treated me like a girl . I knew how to change spark plug of papa’s scooter, how to charge the car battery, change the fused tube light, lift my bags , banking errands. Be a help to your partner than another luggage to carry . Share your responsibilities.

8. Be financially independent and occupied : Most homemakers get an allowance from their partner to run the monthly household chores . Start saving that money and term it as your salary . Keep asking for a hike too(Oh ! common we can do this ). Get yourself busy. If not for money but to keep yourself mentally occupied. A hobby class , volunteering , blogging or anything creative , take your pick .

9. Give a big tight hug : Research shows that hugging (and also laughter) is extremely effective at healing sickness, disease, loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress. Hug your children often . It is an excellent exercise to build trust . get intimate with your partner and share a warm hug. Sex doesn’t mean only penetration but cuddling, hugging, laughing together releases same hormones that can give you pleasure.

10. Never sleep over issues : There will be fights and tiffs with children , partner , maids , boss or neighbour but basic rule is – never ever sleep with negativity . If you want to maintain silence and refrain from talking, do it but then find a way to release your negativity. My approach is, I run or lift weights. When you get up the next morning, you should have an afresh mind and a positive outlook towards the day.

I have tried to cover most of the pointers as asked to me but as I always tell myself and to my boys that, “ only hard work and discipline can change your life .”
Discipline your life with one step at a time, and then there will be no looking back. Imagine the power of universe within you. Only you can nurture a living being in you, to give life to the lost sperm and finally shaping it up who everybody later terms as “our” child.
So, dear mommies lift the chin up, walk tall and high, wear those skimpiest clothes, put the brightest lipstick and don’t’ forget to wear your widest smile because it’s your first step towards making the best of YOU.

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IndiaGate to Wagah Border- Ride for Mental Health Awareness

The two things which I love the most as they let people move forward without any wastage are books and bicycles.

“When you want something, the entire universe conspires in making happen for you”

Something similar happened with me.

The itch to ride

I suffered my first major fall from my bike on 19th March, 2016 as I remember the fateful day of my operation. It was the day when my right arm was operated upon, so as to insert a metallic plate for treating my broken bone. The accident just broke my bone not my spirits, as I was back on the saddle with the support of my fellow group riders after a prolonged recovery. To fight my fear and to face it eye to eye, I rode through the same spot on 5th November 2016. But the fate didn’t want me to defeat my fear this time on the way back a bike banged me from behind. I almost flew and landed with a thud on the right side of the body and got dragged for a distance. This one left me with almost three weeks of limping, bruises and lower back injury. When I look back at 2016, it was a year witnessing some major falls and some painful recovery period too. I was itching to get up brush off the past, and get back on my saddle to ride towards happiness. It was not easy though, the pain and the fear to fall again started sinking in my psyche too.

I was in Delhi for work in January, 2017. It was then that I shared my will to ride again, with my cycling buddies in the city. Passionate people have a different kind of enthusiasm and energy around, which never fails to attract me, so were these  riders and I was already in for a nice, long ride with them. Sai Pratyush ,my rider buddy in Mumbai helped me selecting the best bike for my ride and coordinated with Mukund of Mastermind Bike studio for the right fit for me . But this time I wanted my ride to stand strong for a cause, and I chose ‘Mental Health’ for the same, as it was close to me in many ways.

The three important men (senior and the juniors) in my life came in full support (read hubby and boys). But my little one had some sincere advice to pass on as I buckled up for the ride. He considerately said, “ride properly mumma , don’t’ have a fall this time ”.

I also shared my fear with one who is the force behind me picking up endurance cycling, Rajesh Kalra and as he always says.”Just Do it” and I was determined to DO IT!

Obstacles

It is rightly said, the greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it. There were few obstacles in our path too, so as to make our journey more glorious may be.  The tougher one came out to be the already stirred jatt andolan across Haryana. We were to pass through the most active belt of andolan (protests). We made up our minds to ride through and take a call regarding the completion as per the situation confronted.

All other obstacles were a passé. I had to face the major one: fear of rising on streets and downhill (courtesy my previous falls). I mentioned this to Saurabh (one of my riding partners) and he assured me that I’ll be fine. I took his assurance.

So, it was all set and I was ready to fly to Delhi on 2nd March 2017.

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Bike all packed and ready to fly at Mumbai Airport

Day 1 (3rd March 2017) Delhi to Kurkshetra

3rd March 2017, the day decided for the commencement of our ride and also the day to defeat all my psychological fears. Our ride was flagged off from India gate at 5.30 a.m. I and Saurabh took a deep breath, sat on the saddle and soon we were zooming through Delhi streets. So, here we were riding for a cause and we were enjoying it. The first halt happened to be at Murthal, which is precisely remembered by us for the yummy paneer parathas. Saurabh constantly accompanied me to comfort me against my fear. The weather was pleasant, making our ride an enjoyable and fantastic one. Halting at fields, clicking pictures, interacting with the local people and sipping sugarcane juice helped in smoothing our ride. By the time we reached Kurukshetra in the evening, we were dead tired. A comforting shower helped in relieving the physical tiredness. Yummy Punjabi food satiated our hunger and was a perfect full stop for the day. My inner self was already patting my back and I was thinking, “Yay, I could cycle on the highway. It was a battle which I think I was slowly conquering”.

Day 2 (4th march 2017 ) Kurukshetra to Ludhiana

We started the day at leisure as the distance to be covered was less. As usual we had our amazing paneer parantha to kick start our ride. What we thought to be an easy ride turned out to be the most treacherous one. It was very strong head and cross winds that were not allowing us to pedal ahead. We were pedaling very hard, forcing ourselves to move forward but we realized that we were cycling at snail’s pace. All this made us stop at several halts; we had to continuously sip water, drink sugarcane juice, even ORS (to keep ourselves hydrated). We pedalled with all our might after every stoppage. We kept on noticing the trees on the roadside bending with the winds, which made us realize the strength of the air currents.

Goodness finds a good cause itself, similarly Mr. Karanveer Singh and his group found about our ride on the social media. He and his team greeted us with guava juice and also a lot of encouragement. After battling the winds it was such a delight to meet Mr.Karan and his group.

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Mr.Karanveer Singh and his group

We finally reached Ludhiana by evening. Our stay arrangements couldn’t be done due to short notice, but help poured in from all sides. One of my rider friends in Mumbai, Swati Sablok’s father, Mr.Jagdeep Sablok, came forward to help us. We couldn’t thank him enough for the way he took care of us like his own children.

He received us at Ludhiana entrance and then took us straight to a cycling expo. The expo was quite wide spread and as soon as we entered the expo we were greeted by Ludhiana cycling club. We were easily recognized as cyclists firstly because of our attire and secondly with dirt all over us. It was fantastic to meet this super energetic group and all our tiredness due to our ride fighting the vicious winds vanished in thin air (ironical).

We then headed to the guest house to call it a day (a very tiring but enriching day).

Day 3 (5th March 2017) Ludhiana to Amritsar

Our tired bodies rested well and we started early. It was the second last day of our ride, and we were super excited to reach Amritsar. The route was beautiful, while the weather favoured our movement. We had a different zing in our ride today (today being the concluding day). The excitement of completion of our journey, made the hard hitting winds from all directions, quite bearable on this day. We chatted, ate good food, stopped at several places and pedalled faster every time Saurabh chanted encouragingly, “Chal puttar pedal maar”.

An old saying goes like, birds of same feather flock together, may be this is the reason we could get to meet passionate riders like us every time. We were lucky to spot few riders wearing fluorescent orange jerseys riding in the wee hours. We stopped them to inquire about their club if any. They informed us about their club called Jalandhar Cycling Club.

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With Jalandhar Cycling Club members

They lead us to Haveli, a wonderful huge open restaurant serving most delicious north Indian food we ever had. The morsels satiated our tummies, taste buds and even souls with their taste. We then bid good bye to them as we had to reach our destination.

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Breakfast at Haveli near Jalandhar

 As mentioned earlier too, the vibe attracts the tribe, so were we attracted to so many amazing cycling groups on our way. The experience was enriching as a rider.

 We reached Amritsar by evening and were greeted by the gates of the huge and pious Golden temple. Yes, the long stretch of the ride was over!

We visited the Golden temple in the evening to seek blessings and had sumptuous food at brothers dhaba. As the day came to an end at the peaceful and blissful gates of Harminder Sahib, we were the happiest souls around that day.

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For all the blessings at Harminder Sahib

Day 4 (6th March 2017) Amritsar to Wagah Border

The final lap was the shortest, hence we were totally relaxed. We started late and started to ride after moving out of the city.  We drove for a distance and then assembled our bikes to ride towards Attari. As our fate was with us throughout the ride, we met another set of riders from Amritsar cycling club. We enjoyed tea together before heading towards the border. Mr. Harminder joined us to the border, as we approached the partition line we beheld the huge Indian flag hoisting with pride up in the sky. The feelings fall short for words and can’t be ever expressed verbally. While we approached the border, I was overwhelmed with the completion of our journey.

Yes, I did it and we did it !

Take Away

This ride was mind over matter for me. I was able to overcome if not all but few of my fears and undoubtedly Saurabh , my co-rider played a major role in making me complete the ride by his encouraging words. He made me draft behind him when head winds were hitting us , he slowed down with me when he saw that I was exhausted , he did not bother about his strava average but rode along with me irrespective of the speed . I owe you a lot Saurabh !

Excuses come handy but to make things happen what it takes is – WILL

Family , children , home , responsibilities  , social image , duties ,expectation will never leave but to find a way out from all this and live for your passion is the key .

 Get up and move! Do it !

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End of the ride ,at the border with India Flag flying with all pride

P.S: Special thanks to Apollo Hospital , Sledgehammer Foundation , RiteBite ,DNA,Poineer ,My Powai for coming in full support in very short time .

“You want mamma to slap you?”

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“Do you want mamma to slap you? Do you?”

Another round of silent yet loud enough  sobs.

I could hear the hard thud, the shouting and the sobs again kind of making a repeat sequence .

This is almost every day routine that I hear before going to bed.

I stay in Mumbai and no matter how big or small the houses are, our one bedroom window will overlook the living room of the other flat. So, only way to stay within our privacy is to keep the curtains drawn .

Curtains are the barrier in viewing but not listening.

Every night before retiring for the day when I enter  my bathroom for the last round of brushing I hear this on n off . It  lasts  for few minutes for maybe more but I never had the courage to hear it for long .Other day the shouting and sob cycle went for a little longer . I stood there in the bathroom  frozen as if there was flashback going in front of me on the huge mirror in my bathroom .

I was 26 when I delivered my elder son. Too overwhelmed by first time motherhood I tried to do and get  the best for him. Right from imported diapers to a particular bottle feeder, softest clothes, cutest shoes and what not. But something was not right . I was constantly dissatisfied, angry , screaming , panicking , OCD , all my expressions and emotions were on the extreme side .

Sid was two and a half years old when he started his playschool in Gurgaon. It was a very child friendly school. I was happy but I think after a while teacher’s weren’t’. I had constant complaints that Sid was pushing , hitting , screaming and fighting with other children .I tried every possible way to explain him but things were not going fine . I was clueless.

It was about time to move from Gurgaon to Bangalore where my younger one was born .I was 29 then.

Things didn’t change much or  I was so occupied with two kids that  I didn’t pay much heed towards my thought process . Husband had erratic working hours and he had a guest appearance in the house . I was in a zombie state throughout. But, something was still not right.

Well, again it was time to move from Bangalore to Mumbai . We moved to a high-rise on 14th floor and we had a huge common balcony running across all rooms. Sid and Abhi were around 6 and 2 years by then.

One fine evening I was standing in the balcony with Abhi in my lap and Sid sitting and playing with his toys.An instant thought occurred to jump from the fourteenth floor with my boys. Shiver ran down my spine and there was a complete blackout. I have no memory of what happened next but what  I remember is ,that I was  sitting in my living room with Sid and Abhi clinging to me. I didn’t jump! Since, then I have developed extreme fear of heights. 

My situation was alarming.

Things were not fine. No, they weren’t at all. I was concealing my issue under the excuse of being over occupied.

I was under huge depression. I now knew it well .

But, why depression? Who to talk ,share or discuss?

Husband? Poor thing, he was clueless himself. Long working hours and then children taking all the time where was the scope to sit and explain. But I remember I kept on telling him that something is wrong with me. He used to come home complaining that either my car was unlocked or the window is left open or the door key is left outside. I had no answer.

I had to take charge of myself but how?

I started reading on my symptoms and relating each reaction to a particular episode. Very soon that I knew I was going through huge postpartum depression .

Suddenly, there was a knock at my door. It was my younger one asking me to come out of the bathroom.

I knew exactly what was going on in that house.I wonder no mother can harm her child until n unless she herself is under some problem .

A woman goes through lot of hormonal changes during pregnancy and post-delivery. Hormones could be monstrous or blessing. Mines were monsters. postpartum depression is not well-known; less talked, misunderstood and many times goes unattended.

I vented out my entire depression on a soft target – my son. What a horrible mother I have been? My poor baby bore the burnt and I had no idea for my uncalled behaviour.

Well, things were to go fine now. I started taking care of myself very well. I would not be ashamed if I say, I became selfish.

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Few troubleshooting strategies I adopted, sharing them here:

  • I listened to my body and mind , no one knows you better than yourself
  • I had MY time. Extract time for yourself – JUST YOU. Things will work as they are even if you are not around. You cannot make everyone happy every time, after all you not chocolate fudge!
  • I started loving myself. Love your body. Work hard on it, sweat it off, let it get dirty, pamper it. Put that liner, kajal and go out for a run. Wear the brightest red lipstick and go out in dirt. Give a damn shit to “others ”
  • Children will grow and move on, what will you do then? Get involved in anything of your choice that may or may not give you gainful employment but will keep you mentally engaged.
  • Talk and talk it out don’t keep the negative thoughts or feeling to yourself.
  • Everything can’t be perfect and why to even aim there ,be there where the fun is ? Be easy in life , in household , with children and spouse
  • If the last bite of your favourite dessert is left , ask you children to share with all the family members.Why do you have to be Mother India and sacrifice your bite?
  • Laugh the loudest ,gladly flaunt that cleavage , wear what you wish to without taking body shape into consideration , just be YOU

Depression has nothing to do with being mentally unstable but it’s more to do with emotional instability. Get a companion or better be your own companion.I strictly follow flight instructions for myself – “Before saving others wear your oxygen mask first”

It’s just one life we get, live it the fullest and the way YOU like it.