I know what you are thinking – why here? After all, a company’s website is no place to discuss personal mental blocks; However, I believe that my work life is the most important part of my personal life and more often than not, one balances out another. This makes the acceptance and discussion about things that affect me every second of every day unavoidable.
For months now, I have dealt with fleeting episodes of severe anxiety and the resulting paranoia, coupled with the feeling of helplessness (also caused by yours truly), has made it impossible for me to think as objectively as I would like to and has caused more than a few instances where I behaved in a manner that is, simply put, not me.
Psychological safety is a part of our company’s value system and having a support system in the form of co-workers and company policies that allow me to seek out the help I need without hesitation, is the reason I win the everyday battle with my own mind. On days, when getting out of the bed in the morning feels like an uphill battle, it is the thought of working with an amazingly supportive team, that gives me the strength to drag myself out of the cloudy limbo that can otherwise become all consuming.
Of course, if you were to observe my behaviour around people, none of this would make sense – Being an inherently extroverted person, I have always managed to keep the darkness at bay until I am back in my own space, away from the smiling crowd of my peers.
However, that is not to say that it is an easy fight. The saddest part is that I am standing in the ring with my arms raised against my own mind. Having grown up as a fiercely to dependent person, even as kid, owing to my parent’s love and their unconventional upbringing, bowing down or giving in has never been my way; and yet, the urge to just give in and lose myself in the darkness is often, overwhelming.
There are no words to describe the helplessness that a losing battle against yourself feels like – and that is the very reason I am putting down such personal thoughts on such a public platform; Helping others feel like they are not alone is one of the best ways to feel less lonely yourself.
Even if we are all alone in this, at least we are all together..
And yet, despite the constant tussle and the unavoidable dark days, I consider myself blessed and find myself feeling grateful for the strength that I have found within myself and also for the love that is showered upon me everyday.
With parents who have stood by me through every decision I have made and a work family that makes me look forward to coming to office, every day – my blessings seem endless and it is this very deep rooted sense of gratitude that fuels my determination to wake up and fight for myself, every single day.
Mental health can be a very personal battle and yet, it is the support of those around us that can enable us to stand our ground and live to fight another day! The Japanese have this beautiful concept called the Kintsugi – When a precious bowl or vessel breaks, the Japanese instead of throwing them way, take time to fill the cracks with liquid gold or a similar precious metal thus giving the vessel strength where it was previously broken. This concept is based on the idea that cracks are not something to hide but rather, can be used to beautify and strengthen a vessel.
”The Wound is the place where the Light enters you” – Rumi
Each scar makes a vessel unique and thus, enhances its worth – a concept that can easily also be applied to us and our mental health. The individual struggles we go through define us and make us unique. Hiding our scars and battles behind the walls of stigma and dogmas does nothing to benefit either us or the society. Reaching out for help is the only way to overcome your personal battles and it further can inspire others to fight for themselves, as well. And thus, the next time you find yourself overcome with despair and an unshakeable feeling of despair, just extend your hand and reach out. Help is just one ask way.
And, for the lucky ones who find themselves in the position to be able to give help – do it with a patient ear and a kind smile. Whether it is a family member, a colleague, or an employee, if they reach out – know and understand the courage it takes to reach out for help. Of course, it is impossible to truly empathise with mental health problems we haven’t faced ourselves, and yet, a sympathetic heart and a warm embrace can do wonders for the ones struggling to even stay afloat.
”None of us are stronger than all of us” – Anonymous