From What-if To What-Is : Re-decoding Anxiety

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I know I have written on anxiety earlier too, but as we keep growing in our mental health, therapeutic understanding or personal insights, it’s perhaps natural to revisit old topics and re-decode the already decoded issues.

So.

Very recently, both in context of therapy and by my therapist in one hand, and in context of more all pervasive life situations by Life Itself, I was gently but wonderfully guided and/or pushed to go from incessant mental What-ifs to more freely embracing What Is. And during this process, while on one hand I was allowed to incessantly face myriads of uncertainty further fuelling my mind’s what-ifs, same time I was slowly nudged and made to open up more to accepting the idea of shifting my focus from worrisome what-ifs to more freeing What Is.

And this gradual inner insight and this very shift is perhaps, for any mind, one of the biggest, if not the final, breakthrough in coping with such a nagging and painful mental health issue such as Anxiety or even GAD (General Anxiety Disorder).

 

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The entirety of the concept, context and potential of such a shift from, either wishful or worrisome, both kinds of What-ifs, towards more focus and able acceptance of What Is, much intesretingly is not the least limited to dealing with anxiety or bettering mental health, and such a stance almost encompasses a widest possible range starting from psychology and mental health, to (so called) spiritual disciplines and inner peace, to some of the most complex inner mastery of metaphysical or philosophical or existential appropriations of life. But, needless to say, it is perhaps impossible to cover this concept in such a vast spectrum of its significance and application in this puny post. So I shall try to only keep it within the present context of mental health and more specifically with regard to Anxiety for now.

 

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Fuel and Fodder for Anxiety :

Whoever has suffered even one hour of rabid anxiety, knows very well the foremost fodder for it. The infamous “What if?”

What if I fail in my exams?

What if I lose my job tomorrow?

What if I go bankrupt?

What if I lose that significant relationship?

What if my car breaks down during the trip?

What if I can’t find the right fit?

What if they laugh at my performance?

What if I die?

What if I… What if they.. What if life..

Anxiety is a nasty emotion but the cognition or thought pattern behind it is really a simple one – constant fear based questioning about all probable perception of threat or apparently unpleasant life events. Endless questions and perceptions strung into a single line –  What if.

And from here, anxiety further gives rise to another texture of severely dysfunctional What ifs. The more wishful and illusory type of What ifs.

What if I tried control such scary possibilities tooth and nail?

What if I tried nerve-janglingly harder to avoid such situations?

What if I ran away?

What if I (fill in every wise or unwise “strategy of survival” sentence you can think of here)

But the more we listen to our mental What-ifs, either worrisome or wishful, we soon realize it’s a simple downward spiral to more mental torture and dysfunctional lifestyle.

I don’t know about others but in my three and half decades of lifespan I have never found one functional fruitful result of either category of What ifs when given much energy and acted upon.

Obsessive fear of future What ifs have more than often infallibly led me towards more self sabotage and paradoxically self-fulfilling the exact What if that was once just a fearful imagination or at its best a chance possibility. Or, the other range of more controlling, desperately strategizing avoidance tactic based What ifs have inevitably perpetrated age old dysfunctional patterns, both mentally and externally. Anyone who has seriously toyed (an amusing oxymoron?) with What ifs at any point of their life can tell that it is not only a nerve-wreaking, futile, self sabotaging exercise but also one of the biggest phrases fueling our illusion of control.

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Besides these, another very crucial psychological layer of our mind that often hinders working optimally at any of our old familiar mental health issues and is often seen as a layered self sabotage to any therapeutic process too is this Same, yet more Subtle “What ifs” around facing our deepest core issues, without feeling afraid or threatened and the need to control and stay stuck. Just a layer of such a What-if-based avoidance stance I have covered in a previous and related blogpost, yet such potent and subconscious What ifs in therapeutic contexts, and with regard to the willingness to genuinely and openly work on our own mental health issues perhaps demands a more detailed post, which I shall hopefully post sometime in near future.

In short, in any and every context, these What ifs are no good and no help.

Hence.

If we could perhaps take the mind off from What if (and it’s not an easy overnight process I know!) towards a more grounded mental focus and inner embrace of What Is (things as they Are at the current moment, real, in the Now) then anxiety could lose much footing.

 

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How to focus on What Is :

Again, the context and spectrum of application are widest possible fields. But to keep it within our present subject – To train the mind to keep focussing on What Is – that is, What Is really happening in the here and Now. Without judgements. Without knee jerks. Without going fanciful and fearful future mode. Or control mode.

To first understand and become aware that the simplest linguistic logic behind an anxiety ridden “What if…?” is that it Has Not Yet Happened. For, had it have already happened, you would no more linguistically too frame it as “What if it happened?” Every ‘What if’ is then a simple question about some future. Not “What Is” happening right now. And if that is true, then look around and find out “then What Is happening in the Now?” Obviously, something different from that imagined or probable threat. Something else that you can focus on currently, also work on, nurture, enjoy, be grateful about. If so, then if we could only turn our mental energy and focus in being ‘Here’ doing ‘This’ and enjoying ‘What Is’ then not only the mind gets not much empty room to catastrophize the future, and in turn turn it into a self-fulfilling prophecy, but also me gain a more calm, balanced perspective and space to optimally give our best to the Now, which highly likely could lessen such probable risks too.

If we constantly with awareness can train our mind to focus on, nature and enjoy What Is, then –

A.. High chances we will be able to help ourselves not create such a probable unpleasant situation/danger in near future. (Study with full attention when you still can. Enjoy your job fully, hence perform better. Invest more energy in more systematic wealth building, hence more future savings. Nurture that relationship more, so that it thrives in a healthy manner. Take care if your car, so it serves you better. Prepare your public speech more confidently, and see the results.) Giving every What Is our optimum attention.

B.. Also, IF your What Is seems not really that pleasant, rather already to some degree unpleasantly similar to the expected future threat, then to train the mind to be able to accept What Is still loosens the grip of excessive control mode and resistance and fight or flight mode, which again are most common roots and off shoots of Anxiety and stress.

Without even getting into any so called spiritual or metaphysical benefits of practising an inner stance of embracing What Is, this mental strategy is healthy and functional even purely from a psychological and existential point. For, it is given that we can better our inner and/or outer potentials only when we are not investing our obsessive anxious nerve wrecking mental energy and attention to fight or flight mode, rather having acknowledged our current reality or life situations can fully focus on more accepting, calm and balanced resolution of it.

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No fear-based, fretful What if ever allows any such calm and poised mental and/or physical presence to any situation. No fanciful, knee jerking, control freak What if ever allows our mental perspectives to be balanced or our physical health to be ‘not too stressed’ and optimally available.

That is precisely why certain closely related psychological therapeutic tools such as Acknowledgement of our real issues honestly, Without Self-judgment, with Loving Self-acceptance, acceptance of externals without hidden Blame Games, Taking Responsibility, as well as several other “seemingly” (but actually not!) more of the so called spiritual tools, such as Mindfulness, Gratitude exercise, Present Moment Awareness are all part of the same vital mind training.

 

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So, the biggest battle against anxiety could be won considerably it we tried – albeit painstakingly and consistently, over time, for its not an overnight feat – to train our mental focus to disengage from holding conference with myriads of What ifs inside our head, and habitually focus on being fully present, and more so appreciative of our What Is, our here and Now, helping us to be more aware, grateful, and thus optimally available to the Present, which in turn, most often than not on its own creates more room for a stable, saner, secure, more pleasant and peaceful future.

Love and Light to every mind,

Take care,

Nivedita

 

Author and © : Nivedita Dey, 2017

Blog owner and Founder, Sojourners’ Cove ©, Editor in Chief, Carrot Seeds © (Get your FREE Copy Download here)

Image courtesy and © : Source websites

Yes, Mister! I Am Not Good Enough!

(a rather blunt and direct rendezvous with dear mind..)

Ok, yes.

So, I accept, I am not good enough!

Yes, I am not good enough a body you might usually be lusting after – none of the lanky legs and carrot waists and pear taut pink small breasts you might fantasize about, and keep exemplifying before me, making me feel like an undesirable, unfeminine piece of flesh.

Yes, I am not good enough a face you might dream of beholding – plastic perfect, fair white flawless, seductive eyes, sharpest nose, plumpest lips. Honestly? No, I am no possessor of all such good(s) enough, which you keep erecting before me, making me feel far less of a Goddess.

Yes, I am not good enough a brain who can solve, leave alone all arithmetic of life, even grocery bills, like the Einsteinian IQ geeks you keep propping up before me, making me like an Idiot and a lesser being!

Yes, I am not good enough a thinker or philosopher with the deepest mind, sharpest wit and sharper wink, who solves every existential question paper before time, who, I presume, you admire so avidly, making me feel so dumb and uninteresting.

Yes, I am not good enough a gifted genius, who can write the most profound poetry or paint the most realistic flesh and leaves or sing in the sweetest voice, from the tender age of whatever. No, I possess no such extraordinaire in me, like the creative genius and genii you chase, making me feel so useless and inadept.

Yes, I am not good enough an achiever, with international laurels on my brows and alumni seats in the hallowed halls of some Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Boston or Timbaktoo, like some apparently seen as ‘favored’ children of life, for whom alone you may prefer to reserve a seat right next to you in the theatre, making me feel I am just a lacklustre proletariat at the cineplex of life.

Yes, I am not even good enough a human, of the type who can ceaseless smile and silently sacrifice for all – or the sweetest thing on earth who can light up the room of your heart even without lighting a tiniest candle, like the unrealistic ones you keep worshipping, making me feel I am no Enchanting Sacred Priestess in my own way.

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by Helena Weirzbicki ©

I accept, I am not good enough! – that is, if these are the qualifiers to be called good enough.

But qualifiers to what? To Life? To Love? To Joy? To Selfhood? To Dignity? Do I have to be “good enough”, more so in these enlisted ways, in order to be eligible to the unconditional oxygen supply to my lungs, or for the abundant beauty of this world to be granted to my eyes, or to find the warmth of a fireside and the quenching of a cool drink – or to celebrate myself and my life? – or for that matter if at all, even to be celebrated by others who know the real meaning of worthiness?

I accept, I am not good enough. I wear fatty chunks on various parts of my body. I openly sport freckles and greys and messy hair-dos and make-up less face and just comfy and no couture clothes. I am often confused to the core, trying to calculate the ifs and buts of life. I am no deep philosopher who you might only ‘sapiosex’ with, though albeit I am a sapiosexual myself.  But for me, both the spirit and the flesh have their individual importance too, besides collaboration, and hence what may begin with ‘sapio’ may run down to (rather rise up to) just ‘sex’ too! And no, I am no seamless, hiccup-less, by default a natural demi-goddess in bed too, if that’s another of your qualifiers for ‘good enough’! No, I am no creative genius, and am merely toying around with scraps of ink and pastels, that too to mostly humour and catharsize myself. I am no sorted out saint or a Superwoman with no hang ups whatsoever. I am No Way the Best!

But, what the heck! So what if I am not the Best at anything? Am I not the Best version of Myself – the One and Only available copy of a book called ‘ME’ on the shelf?

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by Wassama Al Agha ©

And BTW – if I may add –

Perhaps these less-than-lanky legs and heavy waist needed to be exactly so, as they were meant to carry my unique journey’s weight through every roughest and smoothest roads of my life for almost past four decades and will continue to do so – and I am so proud of them for that!

Perhaps these embarrassing-for-many and less-then-pear-taut breasts deserve a bravery badge, and I really do not know how to call them ‘not good enough’, as they are still around, doing perfectly well, even after years of thoughtless groping and brazen abuses having scarred their softest heart like hell. I actually call my rather stretch-mark-wearing twins one hell of a Survivor!

This so called dullard head and duller IQ have been my friend (or, er..frenemy, but so what?) when almost everyone else had backed out from being around, hastily concluding that no good could ever come out of me. My less-then-admirable IQ helped me understand and assess the more valuable assets in life than a bloated head and IQ itself – perhaps the real value of a fuller plumper heart!

My less-than-a-philosopher mind is an Unique maze – at times astounding – at other times dysfunctional – but certainly I don’t find it the least uninteresting – I don’t know why you do – for it keeps me good company, when overseen by bit of a training, often pointing me more and more to the endless wonders and mysteries and lessons of life I am yet to understand. I am loving to learn befriending this ‘not good enough’ wonderful (and a bit messy) mind of mine more and more!

My pen? It gives me vent – and nourishment for my soul – and though I may never come up with a profound Nobel winning piece you may adore, yet my poetry reflects my innermost authentic heart to myself, and that itself is so so much good enough for me. My pen and I are best friends to the core!

My paintbrush? It’s like a kind neighbor, knocking on my door occasionally with a meagre pea soup when I am down with a flu, who need not churn up gourmet food to be valued and cherished. The strokes may taste amateur and unpalletable to many, but they bring out the colors of my Soul and nourish my inmost appetite. I am all for my crooked canvas strokes!

And oh! Yes, may be, this shoulder bearing my pesky achievements, lowly laurels and apparently less-than-bourgeois university badges may not urge many to greedily rub shoulders with mine, but these lacklustre shoulders – oh what precious friends they are! – forever carrying my unseen, unheard baggage and proud badges of toughest classroom lessons I learnt in school of my life. Tell you a secret? Even besides the metaphor, I think I am a bit in stupid Love with my real oldie ‘sholdie’ for the broadness of (besides heart) the bones it wears!

No, I definitely don’t ceaselessly smile bright, or pretend to. I cry often. I cry a lot, even at a drop of a hat at times – and I love my real pearldrops. They’re at times shinier, more crystal clear and brighter than the brightest damsel smiles.

No, I don’t make relentless sacrifice for the world. My foremost world is very small in diameter – its first citizen being Me myself. So I ensure I meet my own needs first and only then turn to giving to the world – be it my time, energy, heart, hand or whatever else. For I am sly enough to know I cannot pour from an empty cup.

And lastly, about lighting up your world without having even to light a candle, just with my feather-light presence and vivacious smile? Well, sorry, but I love to be Real and show you, my Love, even my darkest shadowy sides, and my totally knee-tottering Real vulnerable presence. Perhaps, you, my Love, just need to use a real candle to help your eyes find the immense brightness and treasure even in that raw, shadowy but unpretentious side of mine.

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by Emilii Wilk ©

My body, with all its fats and creases and warts and wrinkles and signs of sunkissed ripe age, is good enough for Me!

My looks, however plain Jane, no-diva, far-from-picture-perfect, at times ruffled, at times rustic, but all times Real, are good enough for Me!

My brains, howmuchever weird and toasted, grilled and roasted, at times leading astray, at times busily counting penguin feet at bedtime, yet often quick to decipher a wonder here, a magic there all around me, are good enough for Me!

My gifts, however underused, rusting, un-achieving, underrated, overrated, crooked, clumsy, babyish, still learning while erring, are good enough for Me!

My story and the humble halls I walk, of all success and failures alike, are just perfect and good enough for Me!

To know that I AM Good enough, I DO NOT need to make it to some Premium Life (pun-intended) membership right now, nor to flaunt the neatest, fastest, fascinating catwalk on the ramp of life, figuring out my every itenary at the perfect ticktock of the Social Clock, nor need to whine and feel miserable and write myself off, if I see co-walkers zoom past me with more finesse and faster speed than I, or with a greater clarity and control from a much early age, chalk out, sort out, all the blueprint and architecture and mastery of how to “be” and “do-s” at their lives! After all, I AM not my co-walkers. It’s my story, my diary, my canvas, my colors, my hands, my eyes, my feet, my own gumboots, for God’s sake! And well, if all of these components are just mine and just about me, then – what the heck! I AM Good Enough for ME!

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“Rest” by Helena Wierzbicki ©

I AM Good Enough – as a human,  as a woman, as a Divine expression of the Sacred Feminine – and the Masculine too, (which, btw, at times flippantly gets slammed as the ‘tom boy’ – but I Love that boy inside the girl in me too!) – I AM a Sacred Priestess, a wildchild of Mother Earth, a Beloved of Life, Whole and Complete, and yet paradoxically, working out my Unique Expression of that Perfection ever so increasingly, through all the sunshine and mud-patches of this journey with this whatever ‘ME’!

I AM Good Enough as ‘ME’!

I am Perfectly Beautiful as ‘ME’!

I am a Unique One Piece Wonder of Life, and my only calling to such an incomparable gift from above is to Just Happily Be ‘ME’! – while simply working at becoming a better expression of ‘ME’, at the most.

So, there, mister mind, I rest my case.

Take care, dear mind (and overthink a bit less!)

With Love,

Me..

 

 

Author & © : Nivedita Dey, 2017

Image courtesy & © : [featuring three contemporary women artistes with a subaltern and non-stereotypical take on Selfhood – Helena Wierzbicki from Buenos Aires, the Iraqi artiste Wassama Al Agha and the Polish painter Emilii Wilk]  © individual artistes & Source websites

 

A Return Gift for My Lovely Readers – with Thanks Galore!

Last year in May I began my journey of speaking up openly about my mental health issues and blogging about mental health awareness and my personal battle and survival. Ever since so many of you all, my dear readers and/or fellow survivors have been around, reading, interacting, supporting, encouraging and passing on the torch. And I can’t begin to tell how this decision to blog about mental health has changed my life! This May the blog completed a year. And I also can’t thank each one of you, my followers, readers and motivators for making Take Care Dear Mind a success.

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And with immense gratitude for the strength and transformation this blog and all of your Love towards it and me brought forth, here’s a return gift – and quite an unexpected one even for myself. It was almost as unexpected as conceiving a second time even before this firstborn could complete its toddling first year. 😀

But this firstborn of a blog had given me such joy and confidence at my metaphoric maternal flare that by this year January I was already ready for the second. Albeit not another ‘blog baby’. But this time to take the cause of Mental Health Awareness one step further, off the virtual-grid-only to both online AND in person and amidst real people, face to face. Thus, this March, the second one was birthed!

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Associate Blog as a proud sibling to..

 

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Meet Sojourners’ Cove. An endeavour dedicated to raise Mental Health Awareness through Real, face to face bits with clear four parted objectives.

A. To raise awareness about mental health and mental disorders among people around us – by conducting Real, face to face Awareness Drives.

(The awareness drive initiative of Sojourner’s Cove, named “The Green Hour”, kicked off in the mental health awareness month of May this year, with cohosts The Cafe Store and Innerwheel Club of MGM, in Kolkata, India.)

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B. To encourage and support survivors to open up and seek professional help, as and when needed, and to conduct varied related survivors support/skill development workshops.

C. To create a cross-country (pan-India) directory of trustworthy and committed professional mental health experts who survivors can be put in touch with whenever anyone enquires for the same.

(The prevalent treatment gap between silent survivors and the serious confusion of “I got no idea who to safely seek help from” was getting a bit upsetting for me as I myself  have experienced decades of misdiagnosis and even (unfortunately) brazen unprofessionalism and malpractice by so called mental health “professionals”. Hence this felt a sheer necessity. The said pan-India directory of licensed mainstream mental health professionals, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and other alternative/holistic wellness centres is readily available, if anyone wishes to use it. Just write in!)

D. To run a quarterly e-magazine entirely dedicated to mental health, with real life survivors and mental health professionals writing/contributing to the content.

(I can’t even begin to thank the core team and honorary contributors enough, who made this issue possible. Immense gratitude to mental health professionals/psychotherapists/ counselors who wrote for this issue, such as Dr. Sangbarta Chattopadhyay, Yuvraj Kapadia, Namrata Chattaraj, Shubhika Singh, Sushmitha Philipose, photographers and artists such as Girbban Paul, Gunjan Chowdhary aka Mad Hermit, Amartya Dutta at Ornaate and many more, besides of course, Yours Truly.)

And that’s the bonus, a Free Return Gift here for all my lovely followers and readers..! 🙂

The Inaugural Issue of ‘Carrot Seeds’, a quarterly magazine on Mental Health –

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Please get a FREE DOWNLOAD here, of your copy of the magazine! 🙂

Read. Reshare. Pass it on. It’s a Gift of Love. And absolutely free.

Also, the Sojourners’ Cove official YouTube channel is up and running, in case you wanted to drop in and take a listen to my (wise :D) rantings and drop a hello by.

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You could also drop by to meet the newborn and say hello to us on Facebook or you could also tweet some Love to the not-yet-a-toddler on Twitter. The baby’s already crawling everywhere I guess. Quite a handful for a horribly introverted and mental health survivor mom, no denying!

Also, as always, I would love to hear any feedback, suggestion or further comments on the magazine too, and if you enjoyed the Inaugural issue of Carrot Seeds and if and how you want us to make it more “crunchy” in the next issue.

As always, am sending you all much Love and Light for your health and recovery and mastery at taking care of your precious little (and mighty) dear minds.

Nivedita

Author/ Blog Owner/ Founder at Sojourners’ Cove : Nivedita Dey ©

All images (except baby stockshots) courtesy and copyright : Sojourners’ Cove ©, 2017 and blog associate Take Care Dear Mind © (at WordPress.com)

Feminine Sexual Energy & Mental Health

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Today’s blogpost doesn’t fall under hardcore clinical psychology or even mainstream psychotherapeutic topics perhaps. Yet I have never been a sucker for ‘mainstream and hardcore only’ approach to mental health – or be it any human issue. I believe human beimgs are a multifaceted transdimensional specie and even the most basic human experience is made up of multidimensional factors and waking up holistically to being attentive and caring for each aspect leads to human health – mental health, physical health, emotional and practical wellbeing. The realm of mental health too needs a holistic understanding and approach is my personal take. Hence this post today.

While the title says Feminine Sexual Energy it’s a MUST to mention at the very onset of this article that this no way implies that the topic is therefore not relevant for ‘men’s mental health’ or male readers. Both human science and psychology have long accepted what spiritual discourses told us since eons – each human individual, of ANY gender, possess BOTH the Masculine and Feminine aspects – the Anima and the Animus – in varying degrees. NO individual houses ONLY one of the two aspects. Hence using Feminine Sexual aspects for improved mental health applies equally for Both male and female readers. So, read on.

What do I mean by Feminine Sexual Energy?

First and foremost I do NOT mean Only sexuality or sex energy. Feminine Sexual (Creative) Energy as I use the phrase is the energy or drive of creativity and procreation and sustaining, Flowing energy present in every human. Without getting into too much of metaphysical or socio-anthropogical narratives, it can be safely said that ‘That aspect in the human psyche and/or energy that essentially creates and collaborates and holds space for the tribe from a very grounded and Flowing awareness of one’s own being’ is termed as the Feminine Sexual energy.

So. When a woman has sex or gives birth to a baby it is that energy. But also, when she paints or writes or designs her entrepreneurship blueprint it is that same Feminine Sexual (Creative) force at work. Similarly when a man composes a musical piece or basks in the porch watching the sunset and clicking photographs he is tuned into his own Feminine Sexual Force of creativity and collaboration. Or when a man nose deep in his daily corporate rush manages to surrender to The Flow of life and thus achieve murderous deadlines without getting burnt out because he often pauses to watch the skyline outside his glssspane and deep-breathe in bliss – it is the same Feminine Sexual energy he is tuning into.

Before proceeding let’s understand This –  My subjective understanding of this topic coincides with the narrative that realizes that BOTH Masculine Sexual and Feminine Sexual Energies in their True Essence are most functional bipolar aspects present in each individual which in archetypal term is loosely called the ‘True Masculine’ and ‘True Feminine’ archetypes – whereas, culturally the human mind has distorted both and what most of us now operate out of are, again commonly termed as the ‘False Masculine’ and ‘False Feminine’ stereotypes. In the portions beneath wherever I am referring to the Masculine Energy of stress and counterproductive adrenaline I mean to refer to Only what’s in archetypal linguistic loosely and commonly termed as that False Masculine. In reality the ‘True Masculine’ operates out of the Healthy and functional stances as much as the True Feminine – and likewise the False Feminine is equally dysfunctional and harmful as False Masculine modes.  It is beyond this post’s capacity to discuss it in detail but for a better understanding here’s a quick Chart I tried drawing up for you my readers –

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Cortisol Vs Oxytocin and Mental Health

Masculine Sexual Energy is primarily the drive of what Neuroscience will call Cortisol and Adrenaline. The hormones responsible for “fight OR flight” and survival mode. These are NOT evil in the least. AND every woman too possesses these hormones. Any human individual. Cortisol and adrenaline have their own place in human life and functionality. Without these, neither much of outer/professional/social growth would be achievable nor basic survival instinct would be able to protect our specie from real threats.

But as is with any thing, too much of a good thing is undeniably harmful. These “fight or flight” Energies were there to be used for “Real” threats. But human mind – often laced with deep seated insecurities and low self esteem and skewed self-percection and perception of ‘the Other’ begins misusing these hormones and drives – almost like substance abuse for quick relief. Today’s lifestyle, be it for any gender, has become excessively complex – primarily due to unnecessarily complicated and/or unhealthy and dysfunctional mental perceptions. Nowadays we tend to be plugged into our “Cortisol and Adrenaline Kitty” non-stop. PTA meetings of our children send anxiety rush up the parent’s spine. Every purchase online/offline triggers competition and survival of the fittest hormones so we can outdo our neighbor in their material thriving. A late bus, a bad traffic, a teenage heartache, a financial loss, a bad term report, a desire denied, a want unfulfilled – every damn thing has increasingly become a cycle of “fight or flight” and “chasing – hunting – acquiring”.

While this “chasing – hunting – acquiring” is essentially the Masculine Sexual Energy and definitely needed in every human experience yet to overuse and abuse – (which is that same skewing of the essential and functional Masculine Energy into the ‘False Masculine’ mode) – leads to tremendous harmful effects on our mental health – undoubtedly even on physical health. It is exactly here that each individual striving for mental and physical wellbeing needs to up and plug more into their intrinsic (True) Feminine Sexual Energy – that aspect in each of us that Flows, breathes deep and relaxes, trusts the process, thrives in ‘Being’ more than in ‘doing’,  collaborates instead of cut throat competing, builds a sense of healthy interdependent community of tribe and “Creates a space of inner wealth” and transmutes this creative and healing energy to oneself and to others. This is the first step to human health – of any nature.

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The Sheer Therapeutic Feminine Energy & Mental dis-orders

Anxiety/Depression : Anxiety is rooted in mental patterns of too much controlling, resisting and worrying – a distortion of the Essential Masculine Sexual Energy traits of hunting and procuring and self-preservation. The True Feminine Sexual Energy on the contrary is deeply Trusting  and Flowing Energy aspect of the human persona and undoubtedly in the presence of Trust in the Flow of Life anxiety gets disarmed to considerable extent. Depression, likewise, often arises out of faulty Self-perception, low self esteem, a sense of denial and deprivation. True Feminine Energy being rooted in Inner Completion and complete Surrender facilitates stances of Self-worth, Gratitude and total trust in the process of life that helps debunk dysfunctional mental patterns of lack and victimhood and in turn depression.

Stress, Burn Out, Aggression (and most Personality Dis-orders) : Personality is the sum total of an individual’s persona, attitudes and perceptions. True Feminine Sexual Energy which is Essentially Life-giving and Creative, once it’s tapped into, reshapes dysfunctional personality and mental patterns too. The True Feminine Energy that is Trusting doesn’t rush, stress or use power struggles of the mind to survive or derive identity. It is collaborative and nurturing and doesn’t need aggression and mental unhealthy manipulations for survival and self-worth. Tapping into our Essential True Feminine thus can easily displace stress, burn out, patterns of aggression and personality dysfunctions.

Childhood issues and Relationship Addiction : Most dysfunctional mental patterns can be traced back to early years of development, faulty childhood patterns, trauma and unhealthy coping skills. Dysfunctional childhood wounds often manifest as later year abadonment issues, severely dysfunctional relationship patterns and relationship addiction too. But the True Feminine Sexual Energy is so deeply Self-assured and Compassionate that it can help us face our childhood wounds without fear and work our way out of it with compassion. Archetypally speaking, the True Feminine in each of us holds transgenerational memory and strength of “Holding Space” for their Masculine (any gender) or “men” when they go away hunting/fishing/gaming with other “men” or simply go into their “Man Cave” and archetypally “she” uses that opportunity for Self-nurture, Self-growth, Creativity and tribe building and equally functional lifestyle. Tapping into our True Feminine Sexual (Creative/Collaborative) Energy thus facilitates debunking neurotic mental patterns around abadonment issues, unhealthy codependent relational clawing and relationship addiction too.

True Feminine Sexual Energy is deeply Self-assured, self-focussed and simulataneously nurturing and nourishing the Self and Others. Hence it becomes a Vital Key to work towards improved and functional mental health.

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Let the Oxytocin Rise

Known as the Happy hormone, it is linked to our inherent mental space of perceiving abundance and feeling gratitude and the sensation of thriving in the Flow blissfully. Oxytocin can safely be used “almost” equivocally to Feminine Sexual Energy hormone.

Science tells us Oxytocin is released each time we encourage certain mental thoughts and actions.

Self care – Self-care is core essential to good mental health. Prioritizing the Self, nurturing our own physical and mental basic needs, allowing ourselves proper food, rest and relaxation is crucial to healthy mind and recovery. It is a MISNOMER that Feminine Energy ONLY gives and gives until all spent. Be it psychology or spiritual philosophies, all teach us that we can never give what we don’t have ourselves. Until we nurture Self Love and Self-care no man or woman is capable of giving it and the True Feminine Energy knowd and honors Self-care above everything.

Slowing Down – Every time we unplug from our inherent Masculine “go getting/hunting/meeting deadlines until burn out” mode fueling anxiety and stress hormones such as Cortisol and Adrenaline and choose Slowing down, we open up avenues of more Flow, more mindfulness and more Oxytocin. Rush and controlling attitudes are opposite to the Feminine Energy that is deeply Intuitive, Flowing and Meditative and operates on “holding space” and “creating breathing space” for oneself and for all others.

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Guilty pleasures – When Feminine Sexual Energy is the topic, sexuality and sexual acts can’t go untouched. Albeit with an emphatic “Caution” attached, debunking old moral codes of “guilty pleasure” from our psyche and opening up to so-called tabooed Feminine Sexual Energy does much good to mental health. We as a society are often not comfortable talking about pleasure, more so of physical or sexual textures. But repressing even basic and healthy amount of such experiences often lead to layers of psychological dysfunctionalities. Feminine Sexual Energy or even the hormone Oxytocin flows abundant each time we open up to physical touch, physical excercise and even sexual touch. As a society we have for eons condemned very natural sexual acts such as masturbation too. To explore and self-stimulate, giving sexual pleasure to one’s (male or female or transgender) body is again the healthy empowering of that True Feminine Sexual (Creative) energy.

A Strong Word of Caution here although is that Sexuality being the strongest driving force often gets hijacked, distorted and addictively overused by our Mind to take our attention away from deep seated discomforts and issues and hence acts of sexual pleasure or masturbation can soon become an unhealthy escape if not correctly used with much conscious alertness and in a healthy frame of mind.

But that doesn’t also imply that we throw the baby with the bath water. Tuning into one’s own body and sexual pleasures and rejuvation of the whole being through healthy expression of sexual acts, – with a partner Or by self-stimulation – and even non-sexual physical touch such as hugs, cuddles or holding hands, be it with a friend of same or opposite gender, is again the vital tapping into the Feminine Sexual Energy is each of us. All such sexual and/or non-sexual physical intimacy and acts release Oxytocin and helps us bond with ourselves foremost, and also with our significant human connections, which again facilitates improved mental health.

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Other often condemned pleasures such as a weekly sleeping in, a day away from work lists or family responsibilities to just go out with ourselves on a solitary picnic or walk, a longer time sipping beverages in the bath, basically Self nurturing healthy amount of Self indulgence promotes better mental health.

Our Mental Health – and even physical health and practical wellbeing – is linked to being in the space of surrender and trust and The Flow – plugging out of the culturally distorted, harmful and falsified mode of the Original Masculine Sexual Energy of the Hunter, hunting and chasing and procuring – outwardly speaking at regular intervals – and inwardly as a mental stance, constantly – and tuning in increasingly to the flowing and nurturing, creative and collaborative Feminine Sexual (Creative) centre of our Being.

Take care,

Nivedita

For further related reads: Go here (on True Masculine) and/or to this one (on True Feminine) here.

© & Author : Nivedita Dey, 2017

Image courtesy & © : Source websites

Physical Therapy in Mental Health – Guest Article

Whilst it may be true that there is a vast difference between mental and physical health problems, it is also a proven fact that exercise and various aspects of physical therapy can be very helpful for those suffering from issues of the mind. We all know and understand why approved physical therapy and exercise can make us feel better and healthier than before, but this article undercovers the lesser known truth behind the connection of this type of activity and mental health treatment and recovery. Before we start, let’s just pause for thought and think about the incredible services to mankind that mental health professionals render and let’s give them the thanks and respect that they undoubtedly deserve.

Physical therapy 101
For those who have yet to engage in physical therapy, this form of exercise is usually carefully designed for each individual and depends on their actual condition as to what activity is required. For the likes of sporting injuries and post operation recovery, physical therapy is vital for overcoming these potentially permanently damaging issues. Each set of exercises is usually centred on the limb or joints or area that needs the most attention and in order to get the best out of this therapy, you must adhere to the instructions as closely as possible. Your body requires this specialist attention if it is to make that complete recovery in a suitable timeframe. Even though your bones and muscles may eventually heal, if they do so without the correct set of exercises as part of the process, it may be impossible to ever reach those levels of fitness and coordination ever again.

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Why physical therapy for mental health patients? 

So although it may seem a little odd to look to physical therapy for mental health patients, it has been part and parcel of this treatment for some time and with some excellent results. Mental health teams are usually made up of specialists that work in a number of fields that include physicians, mental health therapists and physical therapists. These healthcare professionals all have a vital role to play and they must also have a solid relationship with both the patient and his or her family. As far as the physical side of therapy for mental health is concerned, this can be misunderstood, but without these team players, the recovery process would be seriously hampered.

Here we look at some of the known benefits of physical therapy for mental health patients:

• Endorphin release to the brain – This scientific fact adds weight to the argument because endorphins make us feel happier and generally improves our mood and sense of wellbeing.

• Self-Esteem – After a bout of physical exercise, it is quite natural to feel good about ourselves. Associated weight loss and muscle growth are also connected to this important feeling.

• Reduces fatigue – The fitter we feel, then the less likely we are to feel sluggish and tired throughout the day. Burning off some calories for 30 mins or more regularly is the absolute best way to shake off that lazy feeling.

• Participation – If you can get your friends and family to join you in some physical activity, then even better. By sharing this important therapy with your nearest and dearest, your mental health will continue to prosper.

• Achievement – Setting reachable objectives and goals are a vital part of any recovery process and by adding some physical therapy into the mix, you can start feeling much better at managing life once more.

• Cognitive function – This important ability can be improved by taking regular bouts of exercise, your coordination improves as does your cognitive set of skills.

• Sleep quality – Lack of sleep has long since been one of the reasons for poor mental health. Some vigorous exercise is really just what the doctor ordered and will help you to hit those sleep targets each and every single night.

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Role of a physical therapist in treating a mental disorder

Okay, so we have looked at some of the great benefits of physical therapy for mental health patients but how would a therapist be able to design the best possible program for each student? Here we have broken down the 5 key elements that a qualified physical therapist needs to apply when treating a mental health patient effectively:

• Baseline – Each new patient should be carefully assessed and a new plan needs to be built on their personal level of fitness. The physical and mental health should be considered and a goal needs to be set that can be reached within a realistic timeline.

• Exercises – Some exercises may be better for one patient than another and these exertions are key to that reaching that road to recovery. Look at the age, sex and fitness level of each patient and also the type of mental health issues that they are currently facing before deciding on the best exercise regime.

• Consultant – Not only will the physical therapist be responsible for significantly aiding the overall mental health of the patient, they should also act as a fitness consultant all the way through the recovery program.

• Mobility issues – These need to be addressed carefully and factored into the overall recovery program. If they are affecting the individual’s ability to train, then steps to address these areas must be taken.

• Medicine – It is known that some drugs can have a negative effect on the way that individuals can move and exercise. These need to be fully investigated before the treatment begins. Patient safety is paramount and only a certified physical therapist should be trusted with this responsibility.

So there we have it. These are the main reasons why a physical therapist thoroughly deserves their place on the team of mental health patient recovery without whose help it might be difficult to get the best and optimum results.

Author : Dr. Vidhi Jain, Physiotherapist

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Author Bio:
Nominated as ‘Best Physiotherapy Consultant’ in Noida, Dr.Vidhi Jain has over 7 years of experience as a Physiotherapist. She is currently practicing at Vinayak Physiotherapy in Noida as HOD of the Physiotherapy Department. She also writes for Medlife International Private Limited, an online pharmacy store operating in India.

Edited by : Nivedita Dey, Owner – Editor, Take Care Dear Mind.

© takecaredearmind.wordpress.com

Image courtesy & © : Source websites/author

Question of Suicide and Social Stigma

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I have always attempted to keep this blog as real and up close and personal from day one and have covered various much relevant mental health topics even as I walk through them myself. So here’s another.

Speaking of walking, that’s what birthed the idea of this post. Currently, walking a lot. A time when aimless, directionless miles of walking begins to feel cathartic against the strong urges to walk out of life itself. Urges of walking out for good on everything called existence gets catharsized through literally walking miles while imagining like a daydreaming child – What if by such walking one day I could reach the earth’s circumference? – and then one more step and I would be out of this planet – free, floating or walking back to my real Home!

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Silence Doesn’t Help!

Yes, of late thoughts are yet again on and off plain suicidal. And if I have always written on issues like derealization, anxiety, depression, panic disorder and so on, while in real time battling them myself, (writing has always been therapeutic!) why should I shy away from writing on this? Mind had protested with “But it’s.. after all.. Suicidal thoughts.. They will think it’s attention seeking.. Or.. Too much stigma..!” I had smiled. Exactly! That’s why this blogpost is all the more necessary.

Why do we shy away from talking about Self harm and Suicide??

According to WHO reports, about 800,000 people die due to suicide each year. The country where I am writing from, India, 10.9 per 1 lakh people have been accounted for death by suicide by WHO 2015 statistics. In 2012 our National Crime Reports Bureau (NCRB) reported more than 1 lakh suicide cases. It’s a global phenomenon with 1.4% of all death worldwide caused each year by suicide.

Suicide is a Real issue. Real issues need real talks. Real solutions. Not stigma and shaming and shying away in awkward discomfort! 

For full size map and detailed WHO reports :

http://www.who.int/mental_health/prevention/suicide/suicideprevent/en/

 Suicide if Most Often a Silent Prowler – 

One such evening, while walking for miles aimlessly, with raging suicidal thoughts inside, I was thinking how, to every fellow pedestrian or passers by, I must be appearing quite normal, healthy, just another person going somewhere. Only I was aware of my own intentions. With that thought suddenly emerged another thought. I looked around and suddenly wondered how many faces on that busy street were thinking similar suicidal thoughts. 

Look around please, as I did that evening. You will find endless faces commuting to workplace and back home. Strangers sipping tea on roadside tea stalls (or coffee shops, depending on which part of the world you’re in.) Faces in the bus windows looking out. Teens walking back from school. Housewives with heavy shopping bags. Local boys playing cards or board games in a corner. Salespersons, shopkeepers, cyclists, bikers. They all ‘look normal’. But how do we know if their Dis-eased (Not ‘diseased’! Just out of ease) mind, much exhausted, is not silently making the last elaborate plan to cut short life? 

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It is a common and risky misnomer that people who talk of suicide often don’t do it finally, but is only attention seeking. It is also a dangerous misnomer that those who look ‘normal and happy’ are not even entertaining such terminal thoughts. Most successful suicide occurs Suddenly, with hardly any proof that they were thinking about it or were serious about their spoken intentions. 

Psychology categories the topic of suicide under ‘suicidal thoughts with no suicidal intention’ and ‘suicidal thoughts with medium to high risk suicidal intention’. Question remains – How do we tell for sure who’s having which??

Common Causes of Suicide 

Depressive disorder, chronic anxiety, prolonged trauma and several other mental health issues and disorders often become a primary motivation to the secondary issue of suicidal tendencies. Low coping skills, repeated frustrations or failure, severe self-loathing or low self esteem, despair, repressed mental torments, repression and silent suffering, due to all the fear and stigma around mental health issues – all these and more could silently fuel on suicidal thoughts and intents.tumblr_msyvwkk2sd1qcjn0zo7_500

There are a few common signs of someone considering suicide, besides the telltale sign of repeatedly mentioning it as an option. Here is a very detailed and useful list to risk assess and what to do 

https://www.suicideline.org.au/worried-about-someone/recognising-suicide-warning-signs/

‘Abetters involved in every suicide’ – Social Stigma, Blindness and Apathy

Being a borderline personality survivor (my professional mental health expert might pull me uo for using this tag again! Often diagnostic tags become our mental prisonhouse.) I have had, through my lifetime, several phases of strong suicidal tendencies and intentions messily attempted. I personally know the rabid stigma and lack of awareness and empathy around the topic of suicide. Those could be easily termed as the other significant murderers or abetters involved in every successful suicide.

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My personal tryst with it.. 

A couple of years back, severely traumatised by a repeated negative pattern of my life experiences, when I had again grown extremely suicidal and people realized I might have attempted ending my life, the scene changed rapidly from sad to funny to shockingly dismaying. Closest friends/BFFs send in texts with “How could you even..?? You’ll never hear from me again! Am so disgusted!” Family and relatives badgered the life out of me with righteous lectures of how such attempts show a weak will and escapism. Some even threatened to bring home a police to “save me from my stupidity”. Close acquaintances began avoiding interaction. There was a scintillating silence that brooded for months. Though, I was much relieved to be left alone, this clearly shows us all what enormous lack of awareness and empathy works around this topic.

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Suicide survivors all over the world not only have their original trauma (whatever issue made them attempt it in the first place) to cope with and heal but also the heavy burden of social taboo, unsolicited advices of righteousness, the tags of ‘Weak-willed Escapist’, increased non-employability, social shaming, avoidance and the list goes on. Besides these, if your country has criminalized suicide, God save you! 

Why Decriminalization of Suicide is a Must 

I don’t care if religious beliefs judge suicide as some “Sin” claiming one will rot in hell.

What are our churches, temples, mosques, religious institutions and teachers doing to spread Mental Health Awareness and promote greater mental Heathcare?? 

I don’t see why society should slam suicide as ‘Escapism’ and ‘illegal’.

What is the society doing to prevent suicide and self harm?? Just criminalizing it?? If criminalizing real mental torments and dis-orders that push anyone to end their life helps, please carry on! 

Worldwide when there exists till date so much lack of Mental Health Awareness and Stigma that hardly strugglers are allowed to open up in public and/or seek suitable mental health professional support, then criminalizing suicide seems nothing but a sheer convenient hypocrisy!

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The concept of “punishment”, legal and/or social, is inherently reformatory in its intent. What reformation of a suicide attempt survivor do we, as a society, expect? Legally penalizing a person tormented inside with mental illness or depression or other debilitating thoughts around failure or despair is Not Only Senseless but Outrightly Dehumanizing! 

Our Suicide Laws need to change. Some argue that decriminalization may lead to increased suicide rate. I don’t think so. No serious suicide attemptor thinks for even once, “Oh but the law may punish me..”. If at all decriminalization of suicide results in more ‘attempts’ it is then a blessing in disguise. As it can only reveal more cases of genuine silent sufferers – or even people who have certain dysfunctional neurotic manipulation tendencies which too needs professional help and healing.

 

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The linguistic around suicide too needs drastic change. One may be said to “commit” murder or rape or acts of crime. To call an act of suicide in the same breath as “committing suicide” linguistically further stigmatizes the real issue and socially disempowers us to see it empathically. Language is a social/individual mirror. As we keep saying “commit suicide” we are only revealing our blindness towards a far deeper real issue that is crying out for our help and a shift in our old no-good perspective around it.

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These DON’T help!

Don’t say things that don’t help rather push a desperate person even more –
Need help?
India:
International Suicide Hotlines :
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If you’re feeling suicidal, find a way to come out of the closet and talk about it. Life is precious no matter how despairing it may seem. It’s your life and you can ultimately choose what you choose, yet before you pull the plug, are you sure..very very sure..that it is the only balm and solution to whatever you’re struggling with? I know you might have given life umpteen chances and are now exhausted. Yet.. Can you give it one last chance? Talk to a close one. Or to a professional expert. Pick up the goddam phone and dial a helpline. And even just go on long exhausting cathartic walks like I do, which can soothe a traumatised and suicidal mind with a false sense of “walking out” on life while in reality you’ll still be “walking” and hopefully towards healing and brighter days.

Take care,

Nivedita

Disclaimer : (More so because in my beloved country Suicide still remains criminalized!) This blogpost is intended towards spreading more Awareness around the causes and reasons of Suicide thus to be able to socially be more equipped to prevent such misfortunes. This article No Way aims to glorify, support or instigate suicidal tendencies and/or acts of suicide. The writer of this article is Essentially Pro-Life and under No circumstances does/will advice such acts as any reasonable human option. It often emerges as a despairing option for millions, hence needs to be empathically understood and suitable community/professional support extended. This article only aims that.

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© & Author : Nivedita Dey, 2017

Image courtesy & © : Source websites

The Billion Dollar Industry of Numbing!

We live in a culture of extremes and constantly keep swinging between two extreme binaries of most things in life. One such thing is our Emotion. The current culture globally speaking goads us either to drown ourselves in our emotions and feel the heights of passion, be it positive and productive or negative and destructive, and the excuses it throws at our restless hearts and minds are such as YOLO or Just Do It!  Or it surreptitiously lures us to numb our human feelings and just cut the connection with our true deep emotions in the name of..again YOLO or Just Be Happy! And we often don’t realise that there’s ‘A Billion Dollar Industry of Numbing’ ceaselessly at work to mint money out of our numb senses and emotions. Nor do we most often realise what devastating ill effect this is having on us and our mental wellbeing and health.

How the Industry promotes ‘Numbing’ :

Which industry? Well, which industry not? From entertainment industry to hospitality to airlines to pink lingeries to flavored condoms to kids animation to a hair pin! Everything keeps promoting endless ways we could be constantly running away from facing our deepest innermost true feelings, more so if those are somewhat negative and disturbing, to forget ourselves in something more desirable and fanciful. And we grow up in a culture which conditions us from childhood to make good use of them.

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Kids are handed over video games and expensive gadgets than being taught to have quiet times or to paint or journal to self express.

Teenagers and college goers feeling empty and incomplete inside are lured with false notions of romance and fulfilment, “How to make him/her fall for you” columns and when that fails there’s plenty of alcohol and drugs then available to numb the heartache and increased sense of emptiness.

Grown ups and professionals have clubs, parties, alcohol, one night stands, bigger cars and better targets as ready tools to forget how it really feels inside under all that stress of rat race and unhealthy competition and out and out materialism.

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How many have seen even a single television commercial on their entire life? All of us I guess. What did we like about it? The joy promised? The hope of a better “emotion”, right? The psychology behind any successful advertisement is to trigger emotions other than what any viewer is feeling at that moment. It’s always geared towards a “greater and better” emotion than being experienced currently so that the viewer will fall for the “promise of greater happiness” through the possession of the product.

Deep seated inner lack of Self worth is wiped off with one dab of ‘the new and perfect make up base/aftershave’.

Deep rooted sense of inner disconnection is dismissed with the flick of the newest smartphone or app on the block.

Malls and movieplexes are buzzing with the mantra,  “Feeling low or bored? Come to us! Forget your woes.”

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Interestingly even our non-materialistic and human circles too unwittingly pass on the parcel of Numbing. Parties and frolics and hullabaloo round the clock with BFFs and social circles so readily and efficiently draw us away from our deeper and truer emotions and numb us with false sense of ‘connection and belonging’ amidst some really deep seated issues with loneliness and inner vacuum.

We are constantly numbing our emotions, esp the unpleasant ones. And frequently some healthier and positive ones too.

Each time we curse the world and stick to cynicism we numb that priceless emotion of childlike trust.

Every time we recall one last failed neurotic romance we refuse to give the healthier version of Love one more chance and numb our feelings.

Whenever we hit the gym (for anger or stress management) or light a cigarette or do a rave we are numbing our truest emotions churning inside and yelling out for our attention.

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The current global industry doesn’t approve of slow speed, slow gait, silence, solitude or meditative attitude. Because that opens us up to facing our truest inner feelings. These help us to un-numb. And while the global economy is running on the ‘Culture of Numbing’ how can the television channels and news media and glamour magazines and beauty industry or fancy gadget brands allow such anti-numbing products? The global market and Stock exchanges would come crashing down if we all just woke up to facing our emotions deeply and working on healing them.

Why numbing is a lethal drug :

If you’ve tried decluttering your home like I am nowadays, you must have noticed it’s so much more easy to push clutter inside a box or under the bed than spilling open the entire cabinet on the floor and going through the useless stuffs examining them one by one and carefully discarding the useless old unproductive items. Only problem is clutter remains as ever and soon shows up again clogging up useful space even more. Same with our mind and thoughts and emotions. It’s way easier but disastrous to numb our senses by pushing our truest inner emotions with and under all that numbing opportunities being sold outside. The real issues never get noticed nor deconstructed towards a long term functional healthier emotion. Numbing as ’emotion management’ is Not at all sustainable a tool any given day.

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Moment the movie is over we remember our own realities.

Moment the shopping spree has to stop due to pocket crunch we again feel the inner lack.

Moment that hottest sex is over and done with we again feel unfulfilled and disempowered.

Moment the hangover or substance halo around our brains clears we feel the extreme emotional vacuum or turmoil again.

Moment the next professional target is achieved or increment bagged we return to the same restlessness of ‘what next.. what more?’ because deep inside our truest emotions are still crying out,  “I don’t feel enough. I don’t feel complete. I feel empty inside.”

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It is just as true for apparently functional people and more so for mental health survivors. That depression or anxiety or obsessive compulsive itch or dissociation trauma may get temporarily distracted  with such numbing techniques but CANNOT be sustainably disarmed. The ONLY way those will slowly heal us by facing our truest and deepest emotions, howmuchever difficult or unpleasant they might be. Or it’s just an endless downward spiral of agiant whirlpool.

 

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My mental health expert has a favorite line which they keep sticking up on my face quite often – “Therapy and sorting oneself is not a spa!” And it really isn’t! In any efficient module of therapy we are repeatedly made to really touch and work with our truest emotions and discomforts inside. No spa job indeed! But what the hell. Those beauty spas and discs and bars will run out of significant amount of business if we instead chose mindful and meditative quiet to face our genuine inner emotions instead of numbing them with these ceaselessly luring industry.

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Sit quietly. Breathe. Listen to your emotions instead of running away to speedily numb them with readily available endless products and lifestyles. Work lovingly with them. Get professional help if needed. Do whatever but don’t turn your gaze away and numb yourself. Numbing is deceptively lethal. Numbing NEVER heals. Only getting in touch with our emotions does. Trust me. I have been there, done that – all of it. Only now am learning to say no to numbing, instead connecting to my deepest emotions to help them heal and find sustainable and genuine peace.

Until next time, take care.

© & Author : Nivedita Dey, 2017

Image © & courtesy : Source websites

Postponed Gratification, Mental Health and CBT

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Though I am not a religious person I do follow a certain weekly ritual and the good or bad part of any ritualistic discipline is that after the initial excitement of a new practise begins to fade and it becomes a long drawn process, the mind often begins to question why you took it up in the first place and if there’s any merit in continuing. Sly bummer our minds! So even this morning as I was getting ready to initiate my day of fast, a thought resurfaced, “But do I even feel the original resonance to this regime? If not why continue with just an empty ritual?” I wasn’t paying attention to that question but an answer walked right in nonetheless. (They always do if you’re really listening.) It said, “Yes, today is that day of the week when you even more practise Postponed Gratification.” Whoa! Now that was loaded! And it made me think on the insurmountable merits of this so called faded-initial-resonance ritual too. For truth is, Any ritual is but a disguised disciplining of the mind and body. That thought then lingered on and fuelled this new post.

What is Postponed Gratification?

In a world of 2 minutes maggi noodles, fast paced online transactions, quickies replacing old-fashioned love making and so on, gratification of our wishes and drives postponed most often immediately brings out one knee jerk – Yikes!

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A culture that’ll only destroy! 

But that phrase is a million dollar phrase I guess, especially in context of good mental health. A healthy mind needs much training and taming, like an untamed but potentially good circus tiger. And one of the Best tools I encountered during my mind training (read – therapy) is the concept of postponed gratification. Muchhhh to my deeply resisted uuurrrggghhh feeling each time my able psychotherapist initiated a cycle. But over the years and pushed to extreme cornered situations I have grown to appreciate the real benefit behind such a seemingly excruciating exercise. More so because of my serious mental health issues that are greatly helped by it.

Postponed gratification is the idea and practise of not giving the mind (or the body)  any of its wants/whims/wishes as soon as it throws up one on your face. Definitely not the harmful ones. Not even always the seemingly permissible ones.

How does one develop this habit? 

By trying to become aware of the mind’s sense of urgencies and consciously choosing to postpone whatever the seemingly urgent want/need is. And not necessarily only in case of the obvious harmful ones like impulsive food binge, impulsive urgent sex drives, uncontrollable smoking or alcohol, impulsive shopping and so on – but even for the seemingly harmless mental bits that arrive with a “right Now!” sticky note. For, trust me, the mind is sly enough to know it’s easier to recognize the more obvious ones. Hence it often carries on its dysfunctional maneuvers guised in so called healthier urges too.  So it could be

– watch a good movie..right Now!

-read that great book..right Now!

– do that act of kindness..Now!

– speak your mind..right Now!

– finish this blogpost..Asap!

To remain alert enough to catch any action or thought that demands attention “instantly” and to systematically choose to pause and postpone it is the key.

But Why this Strange Cruelty?

It isn’t strange. It isn’t cruelty. Though it seems to be both. Once my mental health expert had said, “Any impatience is a red alarm!” and oh yes, they’re. People who suffer any mental health dis-order don’t realise how the mind is the real culprit behind most of our seemingly hardcore clinical issues. In reality, if delved deep, most often our clinical depression has the cognition of impatient unmet wishes, our general anxiety demands answers and reassurances against mind’s worry-story with such urgency that it cyclically refuels that very anxiety. Our OCD has components of urgent short term solution against contamination and fears through immediate compulsive habitual measures and most bipolar and/or borderlines like I know very well what role the mind’s sense of urgency and immediate gratification plays in feeding our dis-ordered minds. Hence, a healthy practise of delaying mental/physical gratifications, of any texture and theme, from time to time, serves as a valuable therapeutic tool to discipline the mind and empower our Self against our mental health issues and struggles to a huge degree.

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It’s Not cruelty. Rather an act of kindness to yourself.

CBT and Postponed Gratification :

I am no CBT expert hence I won’t know if it’s a common tool under the same but after almost three years under a very efficient mental health expert who uses CBT too within their Integrated Behavioral Therapy, I at least do know mine uses it more often than I can blink my eyes (albeit with extreme irritation and resistance from my mind even after so many years!).

But if therapy catered to any of our comfort, it would be some useless therapy going on for sure. Hence, in spite of my resistance saga, I do see after all these years, how regularly this tool was/is still applied and how it’s been helping me grow and heal.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy takes on the flawed mental cognitions we hold onto that forms the very foundation of our dysfunctionalities. Hence in CBT, the mind’s dysfunctional needs and preconditions of urgency and immediate gratification of whatever the mind is screaming and kicking for, threatening to go on the next rampage of panic and pain and self harm and the entire package, is systematically addressed and challenged – and thus the mind is gradually trained to learn new cognitions and reprogramming that then paves way for a saner and more functional mind.

How this habit helps specific mental health dis-orders

Again, I am no psychology expert, hence I can’t/won’t theorize but speak solely from my own tried and tested (by fire!) experiences. The habit of postponing mind’s tantrums and threats unless immediately gratified with what it wants for its survival is indeed very helpful in disarming a myriad of mental dis-orders. For example –

Depression most often has the mental cognition of “I want that Now! But no way can I.. So am terribly depressed!” and then to gently and lovingly remind the mind that its wants and whims, however legitimate or not, can’t always be met and the habit of postponed gratification strengthens the mental muscles to exercise patience, prioritising and will power to rise above the depression.

Anxiety and panic attacks almost always demand, with terrified knee jerk reactions, resolution of all worries over perceived doom and immediate reassurances of safety and survival. The tool of postponed gratification aids the mind to stay with the anxiety and panic, without needing immediate verification of survival and slowly deconstruct and disarm the baseless mental stories of terror and doom. It allows us to overcome one of the most potent and self sabotaging traits of our mind – the violent knee jerk.

Dissociation and Derealization bouts Kill! Well, not really but our mind under such bouts “really feel” Deathlike and all survivors of these two dis-orders know how we violently fight the terror inside and try to escape it Asap. Postponed gratification gently forces a derealized/dissociated mind to stay with the terror, the blur and the taste of almost real deathlike sensations with an ‘acquired’ calmness. For these disorders cannot be helped without we staying calm while facing each attack more and more. There are no staple quick fixes for dissociative disorders and the mind’s violent knee jerk yelling to get out of a spell immediately does more harm than help.

OCD on the other hand I have found toughest and almost impossible for me to postpone compulsive gratification of ritualistic cleansing against unwanted thoughts of contamination or fears. But I guess when postponed gratification gets slowly ingrained as a background trait, the severity of the flurry of obsessive fears and anxiety related to OCD too perhaps goes a notch down. I have never tried directly implementing the rule of postponed gratification to my OCD yet as my anxiety and depression and derealization are slowly getting reprogrammed with the same, I do notice my OCD too has gone down much, and something tells me it’s all interconnected. OCD is often based, again, on illogical mental rules, judgements, fear, flurries and anxieties and those when increasingly calmed down with this habit along with other therapeutic tools, OCD too is perhaps bound to take a considerable backseat.

Borderline personality aggression and self harm traits too get effectively tackled with a stern and prolonged practise of postponed gratification. To feel the blood curling rage inside the brain nerves and every cell wanting to pull the plug, slash the wrist or pop the pills, yet to heed a gentle but stern “Hold that thought! Not yet!” message from the saner/Adult part helps as we continue practising this habit. The opposite also is true. Acutest depression phases too, often verging on serious suicidal thoughts find a renewed resilience to postpone this mental urgency to escape pain and flip the switch. It’s a habit and may need sincere practise, especially with any borderline mind’s typically sly manipulative strategies often unknown to the person themselves. Yet, once it becomes kind of a default setting, even this dis-order is greatly aided by the habit of postponed gratification.

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Even as am writing this, I am currently, (once againnnnn, Phew!) put under a kind of imposed phase of postponed gratification by my mental health expert and running almost ten days. In the past few days, often the mind has tried tripping on its own stories of anxiety, depression, negative thoughts and derealization too but it’s also been a wonderful opportunity to, time and again, almost daily, stop and further train the dysfunctional mind with this very habit of postponed gratification. And though mind is chiming in for me to add the adjective ‘cruel’, I am just smiling at it and ending this post with another adjective – ‘priceless’ is this therapeutic/psycholpgical tool of postponed gratification.

May be you could try it too. Whether under your mental health expert or by yourself – may be try picking one mental urgency you would try applying this tool consistently and see how it helps you.

Till then, take care,

Nivedita

Author & © : Nivedita Dey, 2017

Image courtesy & © : Source websites

Touching Base with Our Depression, Anxiety, Derealization, Trauma, Whatever Else!

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All of us who struggle with some serious mental health issues or dis-orders know very well how afraid we are of our own mind. We have seen its potency and power to within seconds overwhelm us and rip our sanity and peace into pieces time and again. Most mental health survivors fear their own mind more than our specific sufferings per se. We shiver at those familiar nightmarish mental agonies we have faced again and again and feel if only we somehow didn’t have to go through them or face them! How to overcome these most painful conditions of our mind and how to never again have to touch them, go through them.

Yet the paradox I learnt through my last few years of rigorous psychotherapy under an equally rigorous and unflinching professional is this – we begin to clearly move towards that recovery stage or space of not having to go through or endlessly face our extremely painful mental nightmares Exactly BY GOING THROUGH THEM and FACING THEM PAINSTAKINGLY YET PATIENTLY! (I guess quite a few of you are now about to close this tab right away and hop onto some other window.. But.. wait!)

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I know it sounds terrifying yet let me reiterate the bitter medicine much “cruelly” (a trait perhaps I have by now picked up from my mental health professional?! 😀 am sure any of us survivors working with the really committed and proficient ones knows what am talking about!) – There is NO OTHER WAY OUT! Having said that let me also say that it Isn’t That terrifying as our mind tells us it is. This knee jerk you might be having right now reading these lines are just the mind going on an ‘exaggeration of terror’ mode which isn’t at all accurate. So here’s a list of How to Face for a specific dis-orders that has helped me much and still does.

How to Touch Base with your.. 

Depression – One of the most trivilized-by-onlookers disorders, depression, be it chronic or cyclical or manic in nature, can be Extremely painful and debilitating. No “Oh, just cheer up!” or “Think positive! Get over it!” really helps. Depression lies deep inside the psyche and a depressed mind hardly heeds pep talks. So, besides a prolonged cognitive reprogramming of the mind and those depression inducing thought patterns, with therapy, the  other fantastic tool is what famous writer Eckhart Tolle in his book Power of Now calls “watching the pain body” inside us. Popping pills and sleeping away and not facing that severe heaviness around the chest and head inside Will NOT help an iota. Instead, going deep inside, staying with, really feeling that heaviness and ache and touching it from an objective awareness helps Immesenely. Immediately an objective awareness takes the frontseat and as you distance your awareness from your feelings, a sense of empowerment steps in. Try it. I use it often when relapsing with my cyclical depression.

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Anxiety and Hyper-restlessness – The biggest problem with anxiety is the obsessive nagging fear attached. We try to not think, not worry, distract our thoughts, grow extremely restless to somehow stop the anxiety from gushing on, put on the TV, pick up a book, plug into internet and social sites or run out to a movie hall or shopping mall. The relief is temporary. We all know that, don’t we? Anxiety too, like depression, is wired with faulty thought patterns and and clauses of the mind. Running away from de-constructing those real thoughts never helps. Here too, besides cognitively going step by step to find out which belief system is causing the anxiety, which in itself is another way of facing and touching it, the other method is to Stay with the incoming waves of anxiety, Watching one’s Breathing while even shaking in worry. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh frequently talks about “going Home to Yourself to attend to your inner suffering” and trust me it helps much. The irritating irony of anxiety that I realized is – firstly you’re anxious. Next when you start running away from paying it attention, the second layer soon becomes “Ohhh! Whichh present crisis or impending catastrophe am I not taking note of, what am I missing, which might come up from behind suddenly?” It’s a nuisance alright! So do just the opposite. Go in, stay with the waves of anxiety, look into its eyes, while Watching your Breath. As we watch the anxious thoughts from that same objective distance, the waves most likely will get lesser and lesser potent.

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When You Notice Nothing Else Except Just Your Breath!

Derealization – Ouch! Hardest one to stay with and face! I go insane with mental agony trying to stay with each bout of reality blur. BUT.. if you’ve read my recent post on derealization (link attached right below this) then you know I long discovered there was No Way out for me than Facing my derealized images and world. No matter how terrifying. In fact, just last week I had to stay put with a strong blur of derealization for full four days, over 100 waking hours and just on my own. It was disturbing and painful but wasn’t That powerful or terrifying as initial days Simply perhaps because I have been over the years put to practise facing and staying with a blur more and more. The first layer of terror (of the very idea/memory of having or facing a derealization attack) having diffused by repeated facing and remembering that it wasn’t that deathlike, nowadays to tackle the second/actual layer of discomfort (of the blur itself) has become easier.

https://takecaredearmind.wordpress.com/2016/12/11/derealization-therapy-and-kung-fu-panda/

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The Paradoxical Cure to Derealization – To Really Face the Feeling of Unreal!

OCD – Toughest to face and stay it! Precisely because if you “touch” it the obsessive thoughts of contamination or catastrophe shoots up and the compulsive need to undo it by repeated rituals too rise. I till date haven’t been able to “directly” touch and stay with it. But here too “watching the mind and body parts” plagued by OCD while practising Mindfulness exercises do a lot good. Firstly mindfulness just lifts the attention from the thoughts of any “contamination or catastrophe”and fixes it to the Present Moment task at hand. Secondly the objective distancing of awareness from deeply identifying with the mind and body feeling contaminated releases the very discomfort of it. You could try it. It did help reduce my soaring OCD to a great extent.

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To Stop OCD Thoughts – Not possible. Rising Above and Disempowering it – Yes! You can.

Guess that’s all for now. But am also leaving a few very useful links to related materials that did help me a lot and might help you too. Do check them out. 🙂

1.

2. Thich Nhat Hanh – audio series – Touching Life – Come Home to Yourself

http://tnhaudio.org/2016/11/01/touching-life-come-home/

3. Here’s a whole collection of relevant and quality talks of Hanh

Thich Nhat Hanh: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLOKevHfxV053vUtVoEudsDtU14lf6aDOW

And

Finding Your Inner Peace (through Mindfulness and watching the breath)

4. An earlier post by me – Deconstructing Depression https://takecaredearmind.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/deconstructing-depression/

5. Guided Mindfulness Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn – Breathscape and Bodyscape

Or

A very similar one and based on J K Zinn’s model

These varied resources have been of immense help in my journey and battle against my mental health issues. Hence sharing these with you all – of course with extreme gratitude to my professional mental health expert and caregiver who introduced me to most of these concepts, tools and people, in the first place. I do hope these will help you all immensely too.

Please feel free to drop a word in the comment box or to get in touch via the contact form to say if this was helpful. Or whatever else you want to ask/say for that matter. For the more we connect, share our experiences and our journeys through our battles, the more Light and collective strength moves right in.

As I say – Together we fight! Together survive!

Much love and healing Light to all dear ones,

Take care,

Nivedita

© & Author : Nivedita Dey, 2017

Image courtesy & © : Source websites

What Purpose behind Dis-eased Minds, Broken Lives?

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Have you ever wondered why you got a Dis-eased mind and what’s the Grand purpose, if any at all, behind Life making you fight, Day in and day out, a fierce battle against mental health dis-orders  you face? I have. Often. Found my answer too. But none of the answers serve to cheer one up on rather bluer and cloud cast days. On those days questions regarding if this life is worth living with such glaring and remission-less mental health issues keep resurfacing. What is the meaning of suffering excruciating mental health issues for as long as you can remember and yet live on? What’s the purpose of a Dis-eased life and mind?

I know the answer somewhat. Somewhat I  also don’t know The Answer. But I know this – each of us has to find our own purpose. IF not a long term purpose, which becomes particularly difficult during blue days or relapse phases or tough times revisiting – at least the short term, more ‘in the Now’ purpose.

So here’s a rather personal how-to..

P-onder over the helpful questions : Existential questions, especially for people with chronic or cyclical depression or bipolar disorder or any of the dissociative disorders, tend to be Neverending. From a more personal and exhausted “Why ME??” it can go on to “Why life form on earth?”.. “Who decided what’s Reality?”.. “Is there meaning in Existence?” ..”Is there no escape?” ..and a torrential downpour of other equally impossible questions. Often resulting, with extreme cases, in relapse of more depression, or dissociation and existential crisis, with risks of suicidal thoughts being back. I learnt after years of therapy that in moments such as these asking the more constructive and helpful questions, while deliberately saying No to the mind repeating self-sabotaging questions help. Just might help. Why me? If you have a helpful hypothesis, use it. Or Chuck that question. Meaning behind the Universe existing? You might NEVER find out Mr/Ms Einstein Jr. Nor will I ever. So Chuck that question too. What is my purpose in living on this way? Ah, now that’s slightly easier to find out or decide on. Asking the right and helpful questions while minutely choosing to ignore the harmful and no good ones Do help I guess.

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U-nderthinking may nag the mind but Overthinking will kill : In fact, the more I overthink any questions, the more obsessively tangled I get in it has been my experience. So I may ask. I may try introspect. After a point, I also drop it if no rays shine through – and Get My Booty Moving out if my Contemplation Couch – to become busy in even a simplest chore. Make tea. Wash the vessels. Finish showering. If needed come back to the brooding and heavy questions only later. When you start overthinking, perhaps remind yourself overthinking CANNOT help you find meaning behind anything, rather will hinder your perspective farther. Ask. Seek. Take a break. Get moving physically. Revisit later.

R-oot for yourself : I often in such dilemma moments look back at my entire life journey and take stocks. Of course, there lies a slight risk of triggering all our self pity and victimhood remembering how miserably tough a journey it has been and perhaps still is. But here too, I try take stocks of more constructive memories than sabotaging ones. What have been the strengths? Which milestones? Which small achievement? Perhaps just a tiny patch of sunshine amidst a vast dark and muddy dungeon. But I latch on to that and ask – Is there any way that small kernel be seeded and left behind? (Yes, I know even in that the operative ‘Blue’ word Very much still there is “..leave behind. Let’s be honest. When depression or a sense of endless purposeless suffering resurfaces, it’s not magic wand to get rid of a “I am tired. I want to leave!” sensation. But Question that Does help one Pause on that note is perhaps that one potential sunny kernel to be planted “Before” we leave it behind. Trust me that’s a Key I find helpful when exhaustion to continue and neaninglessness of it hits me.)

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P-assion Paves the Path : So, even for finding a rather Short Term goal and purpose behind an exhausting battle and journey, that one or two sun-kissed kernels we could plant and leave behind serves as a good deed. For me, leaving behind as much recorded material on my mental health battle on my blog (or if ever in future, in a book) is one such seed of a short term fuel. (That’s why even this evening I am back here utilizing another episode of exhaustion and meaninglessness to “leave behind” this blogpost. I run a food and a poetry blog too. Leaving behind some yum recipes and some deeply resonating poems too at times give me that extra reason to “seed before I leave”. I am a psychic medium too and recently took up a very special personal endeavour to leave behind something potentially useful for later day fellow psychic students or practitioners and that too has been helping me put in the extra time with a sense of short term purpose. So find that one thing or two you feel passionate about. May be the way you are suffering. May be your Very pain has enough passion in it for you to redirect it to leave behind valuable seeds for fellow strugglers. Love your pain? It’s common. No probs. Make that pain your Passion BUT to a productive end, not to wallow and relish it. Do that first. “Leave” will by default get postponed for that episode busy over what you can “leave behind”.

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O-pt for Small Steps But Take a Step After All : Beyond asking and finding a short term meaning to live on and leave behind some valuable by product of our miserable and Dis-eased journey, now comes taking the action. When down with severe depression or dissociation episodes I Know it may seem impossible to even Lift a hand. But after two rigorous and painstaking years under my able mental health expert, I Also Know by now that lifting that finger (or head) is, honestly, a bit easier than I/we may “feel” it is. With practise and repeated practise today I have come somewhat closer to jerking myself out of a bluest and numb inaction and vegging out in pain to a snap “Ok! Get up! Move your ass. Get this done first.” skill. Pain numbs. Depression numbs. Derealization rages and weakens every cell. But if mind can make us So Terribly Weak it can Also turn around to a “Get up! Let’s do this!” battle cry. I have personally experienced it. So next time try it. It’s difficult but not impossible to acquire and master this skill. Am still halfway but I hope to master it someday.

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S-et an Intention of Your Legacy : My life experiences haven’t been easy nor very prosperous (in any sense of the word, and only from a distorted dis-order PoV I mean, for it’s just we/our minds who decide what’s ‘prosperity’and what’s lack after all!) and definitely not a “legacy leaving” one per se. But again, it’s I who decide what I define as my legacy left behind. It’s each of you who decide the legacy value of whatever tiny bit you decide to leave behind I guess. One single blogpost has a potential to touch hundred lives some day. What if I am not around that day? Does my not witnessing lessen my legacy? One single painting you paint and leave behind has the potential to infuse hope in someone who’s almost giving up on life some distant future. One poem, one paper, one song or musical composition, one vlog, one YouTube upload, one meeting with a friend who’s struggling too, one experience shared, one smile, one hug – is As Potentially Huge a Legacy as any treasure of Tatunkhamen, I tell you. We may Never know what of us touched which one life and that life in turn touched how many hundreds later. But there’s NO need to know. Mysteries of Life are Magical. Yes! This a 34 years of torturous and glaring mental health battle, abuse, trauma and what-not survivor is saying. I believe in it. Staunchly. So before wondering why not leave decide what legacy to leave behind.

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E-merge as an Unsung Hero But Hero Nonetheless : Today unsung. Tomorrow perhaps defeated in this battle and gone. (I am NOT supporting OR propagating pro-suicide. I AM Very Much Pro-life. Having said that, let’s say under some unfortunate moment, anyone loses just one battle. It’s being realistic about the serious risks of mental health issues the world needs to re-realize and not being any defeatist and anti-life.) But even if one person found that one buried and germinating seed of each of our legacy we choose to leave behind that’s enough to make this torturous and “seemingly” purposeless journey of suffering and battle against mental health dis-orders Worthwhile. Even if you’re a hero to just one human life, still a hero indeed! IF not that too (and that’s 99.99% unlikely if I/you Have done the above bits!) even then I/you shall emerge as heroes in our own eyes. Is that any less?

Also,  want to know my passion and purpose I keep going back to? It’s this one quote below –

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Once again, my blogpost is done. Draft-less. At one go. Just talking to you all, my dear dear fellow survivors, and Again,  Like each time, am feeling so much fog-lifted and at peace. So I tell you – Ask the right questions, find a short term purpose, using your Passion, even if around your sordid pain, redirect and Get Going to work on a legacy. Trust me, the mind Will grow quieter and perhaps even happier as you keep taking those small but steady steps.

Love you all,

Take care

Nivedita

 

© & Author : Nivedita Dey, 2016

Image courtesy & © : Google stock photos/original websites