Being yourself is hard

A few days ago, I was having a rough evening and I asked a friend, “Do you ever feel like being yourself is hard?” That question progressed into a long conversation and gave me a lot to think about. Today, I feel ready to write some of those thoughts down.

We are all wired a certain way. Some of it we control and some of it comes from the experiences and events we’ve had to live through. And the way we are defines our relationships with people. You could be the kind of person who likes to talk about what you’re feeling. Or you might be someone who doesn’t share much or shares in their own time. You could be someone who takes things seriously or someone who doesn’t.

Just like these, I have my own quirks. And they make some days and experiences hard to live through. And on those days, I ask myself, “should I not be this way?” or “Am I being someone wrong by being myself?”. The choices I make, the morals I try to live by and my faith in people are the three things I struggle with the most. So the question is whether being the way you are is supposed to give you hard days.

And the answer is absolutely. I have my reasons for being the way I am and maybe that’s something that doesn’t align with the way someone else is. No matter how much I’d like it to. I make certain choices and find out that I chose wrong. I try to live by certain morals and fail. I put my faith in people and they don’t come through sometimes. None of that equates to me being wired wrong.

I try (and often fail) to live by certain morals because I believe that’s the right thing to do, even it makes my life harder. And I put my faith in people because I’ve always had people who put their faith in me. I am the way I am because it works. It just doesn’t work everyday.

It’s not supposed to be a formula or a cheat sheet that lets you skip all the hard days in your life. You can’t switch to being someone else that may seem like they have their life figured. More importantly, you don’t need to. You are exactly what you were molded to be. And if you allow a spiritual opinion, you are exactly what you were meant to be.

You being you isn’t supposed to be easy because what you’re doing is being someone that no one has ever been or ever will be. And I pray this thought helps you brave some of those hard days that come from being yourself.

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