Thanks To Women’s Web & Timely Medical Help, I’m Able To Make The Most Of My Opportunities Today

I felt seen for my views and opinions. My input was valued and my interest in LGBTQIA+ and mental health were recognised. Everything was in my favour, yet I felt I could contribute a lot more.

A couple of years ago I did a three-month-long internship at Women’s Web. It came after a period of not working at all, after leaving my first job after college, which had left me scarred.

People often said that a job is only a means to pay your bills. I went with it, got hurt by a workplace that was unsafe for women, and even more when workplace sexism, politics, and harassment (sexual and psychological) was seen as ‘hota hi hai par isi me kaam karna padta hai’ (it always happens, just lump it and work with it!)

I wanted to snap, ‘nahi hona chahiye’ (no, it doesn’t have to be so!). When I actually managed to say so, people agreed but also stated that this isn’t an ideal world. What added to this trauma was that I wasn’t getting paid on time, and my final settlement is still due to date, five years after I quit the job.

I was unable to cope with reality, fell victim to depression and anxiety attacks, and had a fear that the workplace cannot be safe for me.

Taking that first step to conquering fear

When I could gather the courage and feel safe enough, I applied for a remote internship at Women’s Web. I was excited but I was still suffering and hence, had a really difficult time waking up every morning. I was scared that one tiny mistake will lead to harassment, and would often get triggered at the thought of it.

I was definitely glad that I was working with some very supportive women, and soon it became clear to me that I should not have to settle for a workplace that did not feel safe. Here, I had a voice. Slowly, I learned that it was okay not to know and ask for help.

My colleagues took out time to be available for me on video calls to explain things. They shared their experiences of dealing with triggers. They asked me how I was doing. In fact, at a later date when I worked on an independent project with the team, I was asked every day how my health is considering I was just diagnosed with ovarian endometrioma.

I knew I wasn’t Living Up To My Potential

Despite getting all the help I needed, I had a nagging feeling that I could perform a lot better. I did not know what was stopping me. For the first time, I had a place where I felt a sense of belonging. I wasn’t singled out as a problematic “feminist” because intersectional feminism was a norm at Women’s Web.

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I felt seen for my views and opinions. My input was valued and my interest in LGBTQIA+ and mental health were recognised. Everything was in my favour, yet I felt I could contribute a lot more. Sure, I was new to the corporate side of things, and there were many things about editing a piece that I wasn’t aware of. But, here was a safe space for learning.

So, what was I still missing!?

A healthy mind and body can do wonders

I have since started medication for depression and anxiety disorder, a year ago. My life has changed, drastically. I cannot even express the change I feel. I was hesitant when the psychiatrist prescribed me pills. I mentioned my distrust to him. He simply said, ‘You are looking for a better quality of life, these medicines will give you that. Have faith and take them for a month, and then come to me.’

God, I realised after beginning medication that I had been missing a lot in my life! My head was always on overdrive, I did not understand the concept of resting. I was anxious about situations that hadn’t occurred. I was constantly living in the past inside my head. Adding to this, I had a laparoscopy to treat my health condition, endometriosis, in 2021 as well. It helped with reducing pain and constantly worrying about a future that might not happen.

Beginning 2023, I have been able to work as a freelance writer in ways I couldn’t in the last few years. I know my capabilities, am confident about them, and am not afraid to quote what I know I deserve.

Focusing on the present

Do I have regrets? Yes.

There are moments when I feel, if only I visited a psychiatrist earlier, if only I could have had the focus and determination earlier, if only this, if only that. I try to not look at the missed opportunities and years of my life consumed by untreated health conditions.

I focus on what I can do today. I look at the opportunities available in the present and am definitely grateful that even when I wasn’t in my best form, I was able to build connections that are bringing me opportunities today.

When I think about it, all I feel is that a healthy mind and body are luxuries. So much can be achieved when one is not consumed by illness, and definitely, treatment for mental disorders/ illness feels like a boon. I am filled with gratitude today to receive the treatment I need, knowing not everyone can afford it.

At the same time, Women’s Web has played a significant role in my career, and I cannot end this month without expressing my gratitude to the platform and its people.

Image source: a still from the film Bend it like Beckham

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About the Author

Akankshya Abismruta

Freelance writer, researcher, and book reviewer. Words at Women's Web, Purple Pencil Project, Bookish Santa, Cesurae. Translation enthusiast. read more...

14 Posts | 46,958 Views

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