As a kid, I was naturally more anxious and timid than my peers. I was too afraid to raise my doubts or concerns, answer questions in the class or perform on the stage alone. As I grew up, my personality developed and I became more outgoing and confident. But I still experienced anxiety and panic attacks during my teenage.
Probably because the tendency to overthink never left me. I could spend the whole day after school contemplating how certain things could have turned out to be better. I have always suffered health-anxiety which means that even a harmless twitch or pain in my shoulder made me feel as if I suffered from some severe disease. Due to this, I have got a variety of tests done very frequently to the extent of being labelled as the 'sick child' of the family.
I quit my decent-paying job at an MNC three years ago to prepare for the Civil Services Examination. I started experiencing panic attacks much more frequently either during the day or in my sleep.
And the remaining period of the day was consumed by the constant fear (anxiety) of having another panic attack. Naturally, it affected my mind and concentration levels deeply thus adversely affecting my studies. My life was in double jeopardy when I experienced failure in my exam and my relationship.
That breakup affected me tremendously! Never in my life, have I felt so dejected and helpless. I would wake up crying every day with this emptiness in my heart. Everything felt unreal. At that point in time, I perceived going to a psychiatrist as a 'failure' to control my own mind. But later, I didn't quite feel like seeking help from the psychiatrist. Meanwhile, in order to become fitter and fight (suppress) my anxiety, I started running Long Distance because it gave me a sense of control over my body.
But the delay in my treatment for anxiety just augmented my problems and intensified my symptoms. In a few months, I reached a point where the physical symptoms of my anxiety knew no bounds. I forgot what it was like to have a healthy body. I was constantly living with anxiety. I started to have negative thoughts about everything. My sleeping pattern went upside down.
There were many days when I didn't even want to wake up because I felt the day held nothing for me. Just a few days before my first Half Marathon, I started experiencing panic attacks even while running. My debilitated mind and body were evidently giving up. I found myself stuck in this vicious spiral from where I saw no escape. I felt like a stranger in my very own skin. Ultimately my suicidal ideations increased so much that I could not trust myself with my life anymore. And that was when I decided to seek help.
My life changed for the better when I met my psychiatrist in October last year who then diagnosed me with depression and anxiety and put me on medication as well as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). When I had lost hope in myself and everything around me, my doctor rescued me from my despair. I had to take a complete break from my studies but continued running in order to stay active and fit. During my depression, I participated in 8 Running Events. (2 Half Marathons, One 15K, Rest 10K).
It took me a while to get hold of myself again. Self-acceptance was no cakewalk. All my life I tried my best to suppress my vulnerabilities and 'habitually' camouflage it with a stronger and confident appearance. But while being in therapy, I realised the importance of acknowledging all my emotions regardless of their nature.
And gradually when I started embracing my imperfections and learnt to live comfortably with it, was when my true healing began. With the passage of time, I started realising how the cultural taboo surrounding mental disorders instilled a sense of inadequacy and inferiority within me, at the same time developing a feeling of shame within my well-educated family. I knew that this was not normal and something had to be done about it.
Hence I created my website and Instagram Blog 'The Anxious Girl' wherein I started sharing my experiences and information about various Mental Disorders and the importance of Mental Health in our everyday lives. The response from people was overwhelming. Hundreds of people have reached out to me in a matter of a few months.
I was able to help by encouraging them to seek therapy even connecting them to a mental health professional or just by empathetically listening to them.
I didn't want anyone else fighting with their mental health issues out there to feel as if they are alone in this journey because I know how terrible that feels.
Helping people in solving their problems and making a difference in their lives has always been something I have connected with and found my purpose in. Hence helping people through my blog really helped me cope up with my depression. Simultaneously pursuing my newfound passion in illustrating acted as a coping mechanism too.
It's been exactly a year since my treatment started & my purpose is growing stronger and stronger just how I am.
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