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Our feelings can sometimes get the better of us, and there might not be a logical reason for them. Then how does one take control back from them?
It was a workday morning midweek, perhaps a Tuesday. I had come home from a fantastic yoga class, I had been seeing not one, but two amazing psychologists (in different cities), life was good. I had no complaints, nothing really was bothering me. I had a lot on my plate, and still do, but I’m moving through it.
And yet I felt it.
It had been coming up for the past few weeks: the dread at the pit of my stomach, the trembling in my fingers, the tears that seem moments away with almost no provocation.
Minutes later I was in tears. Why? It’s been several weeks and I still have no idea.
Of course, “shit happens” has never been a good enough explanation for me so I’ve been scrambling through reason and complete illogic, to find an answer. Lately there is no one overarching reason. It’s like a rebel without a cause, a nervousness looking for a reason to doubt.
One of my psychologists told me not to have an adverse reaction to anxiety but to get to know it. One common complaint of those of us having anxiety, is the “anxiety about having anxiety.” As sufferers of said anxiety, we want to stop it, crush it, destroy it, snuff it from existence. And yet it persists.
Because of late I do not get overwhelmed mentally – my mind is calm, and my body stressed. But still sometimes it is a part of me, and that eats away at me. So, I struggle with letting it be.
My other psychologist tells me that it’s okay so long as it’s just my body – and not my mind. My day-to-day life stays uninterrupted. But since my anxiety is purely physical in nature, I have had some opportunity to observe it, to be a neutral third party in its presence. Anxiety, in itself is not a bad thing – fight or flight responses serve a purpose. Or at least they served a purpose.
It truly is a piece of work, a marvel of biology, that finds little place in our civilized world. It is a misfit, an alien, a spiritual fossil, that isn’t completely outdated, but still struggles to find its place.
My friend called anxiety a bitch the other day and I have to agree with her. Because anxiety is that voice inside your head that tells you no, nothing is going to be okay and no matter what you do it will all come crashing down.
Because it’s you. Because you deserve no better.
Anxiety is that toxic friend you read about in all those listicles: “ten reasons your friend/boyfriend is an energetic parasite.” But in this avatar, without reason, without real danger, it creates the biggest most toxic relationship with yourself, because it wastes physical, mental and emotional energy on largely useless fears and doubts.
It lurks there in the dark spaces just beneath your skin, lying in wait ready to pounce and to attach itself to any random thought that may float across my mind.
People ask me what I’m anxious about and I do not have an answer for them. It’s like I’m drowning but they cannot see the water, only the fact that I’m paddling. They don’t see the abyss that threatens to swallow me whole.
The best is they tell me not to worry, that everything will be fine. You understand that I would be capable of that reasoning if I were rational. It’s not like I don’t understand the concept.
Bless their souls for trying to help, but I know there’s only room for two of us on this battlefield: the bitch and me.
Each healing journey has its ups and downs. I sometimes cry for no reason, and I’m others ridiculously happy. I sometimes harbour an anger so uncontrollable, that I scare myself.
It feels like there’s something wrong with me, yet I can’t find the root how to nip it in the bud. Believe me I want to, anyone that’s facing this monster does.
As I sit here, my limbs trembling looking out at the afternoon sun with a crystal clear mind, my thoughts wander back to something I learned, believe it or not, through a meditation app on my phone.
It talked about a happy mind being like a blue sky – with white fluffy clouds on a sunny day. What they said was that the blue sky always exists within your mind, it never goes away. Sometimes there is stormy weather, but it’s always there, somewhere within. It’s just a question of finding it.
This resonated with me: the idea that homeostasis was still a reality, just one I had to embody. And so I struggle through it because at the end of the day, besides the fact that I now know that this is not my permanent reality: I don’t want to let it win. I am not my anxiety, and I will not allow it to define me.
I feel lucky that I can subdue it, that I feel I have the power to do this. I realise that not everyone has this option and so I do not judge others who do not follow suit. But because I can, I must.
I owe it to those who live within the never-ending storm.
Image source: a still from the movie Dear Zindagi
Mira Saraf was born in Canada, grew up in New Delhi, and went to a British School half her life, and an American school the other half which has, as a result, made her grammar read more...
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Rajshri Deshpande, who played the fiery protagonist in Trial by Fire along with Abhay Deol speaks of her journey and her social work.
Rajshri Deshpande as the protagonist in ‘Trial by Fire’, the recent Netflix show has received raving reviews along with the show itself for its sensitive portrayal of the Uphaar Cinema Hall fire tragedy, 1997 and its aftermath.
The limited series is based on the book by the same name written by Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy, who lost both their children in the tragedy. We got an opportunity to interview Rajshri Deshpande who played Neelam Krishnamoorthy, the woman who has been relentlessly crusading in the court for holding the owners responsible for the sheer negligence.
Rajshri Deshpande is more than an actor. She is also a social warrior, the rare celebrity from the film industry who has also gone back to her roots to give to poverty struck farming villages in her native Marathwada, with her NGO Nabhangan Foundation. Of course a chance to speak with her one on one was a must!
“What is a woman’s job, Ramesh? Taking care of parents-in-law, husband, children, home and things at work—all at the same time? She isn’t God or a superhuman."
The arrays of workstations were occupied by people peering into their computer screens. The clicks of keyboard keys were punctuated by the occasional footsteps moving around to brainstorm or collaborate with colleagues in their cubicles. Most employees went about their tasks without looking at the person seated on either side of their workstation. Meenakshi was one of them.
The thirty-one-year-old marketing manager in a leading eCommerce company in India sat straight in her seat, her eyes on the screen, her fingers punching furiously into the keys. She was in a flow and wanted to finish the report while the thoughts and words were coming effortlessly into her mind.
Natu-Natu. The mellifluous ringtone interrupted her thoughts. She frowned at her mobile phone with half a mind to keep it ringing until she noticed the caller’s name on the screen, making her pick up the phone immediately.
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