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We all have that one friend that makes us question ourselves, why are we even friends with this person? Their energy uplifts our mood, their presence brightens the room and their sarcasm tickles our funny bone, their beauty sooths our… I’m pretty sure by now y’all can see that person’s face in your head, but in my case, this vivacious person is me. At this point of the paragraph, I can envisage my friends either gagging or rolling their eyes into another dimension.

It is true, i am the kind of person that likes to live in the present, savor every moment, and experience new things like cheesecakes with ketchup or chai with chat masala and big apple in it, because life is too short and unpredictable. But how can someone with such positivity end up walking down a dark aisle. I have friends who’ve had counseling sessions, well because the world is a messed up place, but it made me wonder why I don’t have things to talk about, do I not feel things? Where them emotions at honey? Little did I know that they were bottle up somewhere in my subconscious mind.

Last year, during my fall break, I woke up happy and cheery just like on those disney princesses who talk to animals, well that’s a whole different conversation topic to dive into but anyway, knowing that I had ten days of absolute peace and quiet to complete my assignments and study for my exams that were scheduled after the break *coughs* which in fact is a lie because we all know that unless we’re not dying of misery and with the pressure of time lodged on our backs, the motivation to study is just not there. As I sat down,  making a list of my assignments, my vision got blurry, warm tears rolled down my cheeks, the sound of my sister and mother conversing infuriated me to such an extent that I had to lock myself in a dark room to stop the noise and calm myself down. At that point I had no idea what was going on.

It happened again, a couple of months later when I was getting ready to meet my friends, a second time when I was planning a bridal shower for my friend, again when I went to university after a day where we watched the most ridiculous yet funny play of all time. I was in my classroom, taking down notes and it happened again, the tears, the escalated heart rate, my palms were sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, there’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti.  The events and the timeline made no sense to me and that is when I signed up for counseling.

The very first session, I met with my counselor. We started off with a conversation that sounded more like one of those essays that we used to write school about ourselves in elementary school. When he learned that I was a psychology major student, boy did he made me feel as if we were playing KBC (Kaun Banega Crorepati), trying to figure out the answer with no lifelines in hand. I got to know that those crying spells were provoked by anxiety. ANXIETY? The dopest person in the world, who had it all figured out, the one who wanted to be a malang and live on streets or shrines (just like ranbir kapoor minus the guitar) could have anxiety?

The state of being in denial made things worse for me. I was asked to let go of a lot of things, the first being the love of my life; Chai. The caffeine intake from 6-7 mugs a day messed me up so bad, I had to break up with it. Next step was to work on my sleep schedule.  With university hours, then coming home to students to tutor, binging TV shows, staying up late at night to complete my assignments and study for quizzes, life was a haphazard. I had to set my priorities straight. That meant giving up studies and staying home, binging House MD and stuffing my face with junk food. Nah kidding, 6-7 hours of sleep is important and entertainment is for the weekend. Also no one ever told me that watching movies and TV show was not a hobby. What? I was told to have one. But the thing that helped me the most was the breathing exercise, one hand on your belly and the other on your chest, take a slow breath in, hold it for a second, and then slowly let it out. Worked like wonder for me.

When you hear people telling you that you have it all figured out and you are the “chilliest” person that they’ve ever met, you start believing them and start living your life according to how others perceive you. This is known as the looking-glass self. It is okay to live your life like that, until you lose the sense of self and go down a rabbit hole of emotions, just like Alice. She followed a rabbit, you followed the society. Make time for yourselves; treat yourself with care and kindness. If you do not understand how to appreciate yourself and your worth, how do you expect others to? In order for yours to flourish, you need to work on yourself first. Talk to people close to you, they will help you just like mine helped me.  Seek counseling if necessary because as L’Oréal says, you’re worth it.

Written By: Izza Raza

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