Missing Blogger pt. 2

It has now been 116 days since I last posted something on my blog. I haven’t been putting it off or coming up empty on ideas. It’s mostly because I have too many things going through my mind and its been getting hard to focus on any one of them. But, today I decided to slap on a fresh coat of paint on the site and finally sit down and type this post up.

I am currently in the middle of an online semester. Online classes & labs are inefficient learning environments, so that’s an ongoing struggle. COVID-19 is still a thing and I’m pretty sure we have a second wave of cases on the way. So, the uncomfortable mask on the beard must stay where it is. I’m doing a whole lot of electives this semester and learning a lot about what people in Psych & Pols science study. Some of it is fascinating but some is downright boring.

This past summer was a long and introspective one. I confronted a lot of thoughts and tried to figure out how to embody better versions of myself. Not all days were successful. I worked on self-acceptance and self-forgiveness. The summer was also a wake-up call on friendships that drifted away when school wasn’t on. I realized that sometimes people you think or hope would stay around a long time don’t. Sometimes, people who have been around forever aren’t right for you. Time just goes on and people become more of who they are. It is up to you to recognize the kind of people you want to have around you.

The past few weeks have been tiring, frustrating but also incredible. I am finding more and more about myself. I find myself drawn to people who don’t make friendships feel like a chore. And I’m lucky enough to have friends always there for a chat or a beer or even sharing good music. I do things that make me happy. I go for walks and watch the trees turn yellow and red. I feel grateful for everything I am lucky enough to have. I am still a bit inefficient and occasionally lazy when it comes to schoolwork, but I always seem to end up with a good result, thanks to late nights and gameplay music.

These 116 days have been full of reflections, walks, music, podcasts, movie nights and baby steps towards better versions of myself. I look forward to what is to come and to giving my best to this semester. For now though, I’m going to enjoy what remains of this glorious Fall we are having.

P.S. Hope you all are staying safe. Please use masks in public areas like stores and buses & let’s get through this responsibly!

Here for you

I would like to talk about mental health.

At the age of 8, I was in a world of depression having left my home. I was surrounded by children around my age and some adults (boarding school staff) assigned to look after us. When I told someone that I couldn’t focus, they told me I was a bad student. When I told them I was being bullied, they made me shake hands with them hoping that fixed everything.

One night, I found myself unable to breathe and unable to move. For more than two minutes, I was terrified. I felt like my body wasn’t my own. It was like someone had sucked all the air out of the room. When I finally found my strength and tried to tell someone, they checked my temperature, told me I could take a day off school and said that I was fine. Because it’s easier to ignore symptoms than to accept the ugly truth that even a child can face such ordeals of depression and trauma. Age isn’t a factor when it comes to mental health.

With no one there for me, I had to be there for myself. This was not me being motivational or inspirational. This was me clawing back out of depression because no one else was around to help or listen. It required all the will power I could muster to focus on the good in my life and make the journey on my own. To discover my passion for reading and writing. To stand up to bullies. To deal with emotionally stressful days by reminding myself that it would be alright. To know that it was going to be alright.

As I eventually learnt to rise above the depression, I knew I had a clear goal in life. To be there for people like I wish someone had been there for me. I am grateful that I was spared and I am thankful that I now know the consequences of standing idle while people go through things. I have lived those consequences.

And now to you, the person reading this.

Reach out to people. To those who stopped responding. To those living in difficult conditions. To anyone, really. Reach out and talk. Don’t just voice solidarity online and then go back to your life. Practise it by talking to someone. That’s honestly all it takes. Ask people how they’re doing. Talk about your day. Give some time to the sea of people out there going through bad days.

As for me, there is no choice to make. I simply cannot stand by and let someone walk down that path alone. If I do, all my efforts to rise above my poor mental health state will have been for nothing. So I am here for you, reach out, contact me through the social media on my blog or anyway you know how. I will not judge you, I will not ignore you and I will do my very best to offer the highest level of support of which I am capable. You are not in this by yourself. Not if I can help it.

I AM HERE FOR YOU

My doctor

This is a personal one. And a long one.

Today, my sister finished 6 years of medical school. That’s nearly 50,000 hours. For the more than half a decade, I have called her countless times to find her either in class or in the library or studying way past my bedtime. As the older sibling, she was also assigned the duty of handling her baby brother’s tantrums and rants about how engineering is hard and the world is unfair and how he procrastinated all day. And somehow, she managed to make me feel better about all of it. Truth be told, she didn’t have to be a doctor to fix whatever I was going through.

Textbooks bigger than my arms and chemical terms longer than my full name. Her field has always seemed so daunting, especially since the only medical experience I have comes from House MD. We would often enjoy fun late night Q&A sesh’s where she would ask me complex questions and I’d give the most ridiculous answers you have ever heard. In those moments of laughter, I was happy I could share just a bit of the heavy burden she carries on her back.

We were sent to boarding school at a very young age. We only had one another to cope as we prepared for a life of living away from our parents and eventually, from each other as well. As a cool pre-teen, I never fully appreciated the role she played even then. No one wants someone watching over you and taking care of you at that age. But you need it. And I did. At the end of the day, I needed someone to tell me that it was going to be alright. That we’d see our parents soon. That cuts and injuries healed over eventually. That I was a good person no matter what. More than a decade since we were in boarding school together and she still does all of that. Whenever I need it. Every single time.

As incredible as completing medical school is, it’s still not the most remarkable thing I’ve seen her do. She was the third parent. She was the backbone to my parents as I snored blissfully in the back. I honestly don’t think I’d have made it this far without her.

But enough about her. As a brother there’s only so many nice things you can say about a sibling. She gets nothing but jokes about her face for the next few weeks. But for today, my congratulations to her and the people she graduates with. They go on to become the healers we need so desperately in the coming years. I wish her and all of them the best of times ahead.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

Gandhi