Reality Check

We all live in a myth that we all are the directors of our own life. The truth is, we are not. Life happens and we just adjust to the changes and keep moving. We come across many inspirational quotes about life every day, but how many of us actually understand them and follow through?

In the past two years, since the pandemic, many of us have had a harsh wake-up call and forced us to change our priorities, our way of living or thinking, our approach towards life in general. The more time passes, the more I realise that life is to be lived one day at a time. Sometimes, even thinking about the next 24 hours is too much, that time; live every moment. I have even perceived that happiness and fulfilment is in the little moments.

We are currently biting off more than what we can chew to embrace the new reality post Corona virus. For some, the worry, the sorrow, and the sadness associated with the death of their loved ones or feeling of isolation will last too long. For others, the impact this virus and isolation left on the mental health will linger even after all this is over. And for a few others, the realization of the importance of family turned out to be a blessing.

While there are a lot of motivational quotes, awareness and help available on the internet, there are many misguiding and wrongly provocative materials and articles also easily available. Unfortunately, many people feel that’s the reality and fall prey to it and regret later.

The virtual reality is starting to feel like real life. On a daily basis, on many social media sites I come across quotes like “you have to thrive, not survive”, “be the leader of your life”, “if you are not something, then you are nothing”, “hustle now, rest later”, “disappear for some years, and enjoy later”, “date only to marry”, “be a gangsta”, “the relationship broke because you deserve better”, “don’t give chance to others, be independent and spoil yourself”, etc.

I am not saying all the above quotes are completely wrong, but the meaning extracted from them by people these days is wrong.

Let’s get to reality:

  • You don’t always have to keep thriving; these days if you survived your day, you did a good job.
  • Our future is unpredictable. We all seen it in the past two years. Life happens, change is the only constant. Only control your thoughts, don’t try to control your life.
  • Others perspective of success is not necessarily your perspective of success. Same applies for having fun. Do what is suitable, convenient and comfortable for you.
  • Taking rest, having days off is extremely essential in today’s times. Don’t fall sick or drain yourself out in hustling all the time or showing the world how much you work.
  • Take accountability of your own bullshit. Sometimes, the relationship breaks because both the partners are not on the same page, or you were the toxic one, or your partner’s needs changed and opted out. Besides cheating and abuse, there is free will, and you and your partner are allowed to change your mind. No one owes you anything, and neither is your partner a bad person that you keep saying you deserve better.
  • You have no need to disappear to earn money and then enjoy or rest later. You can do everything simultaneously. Having fun, taking breaks, going on a vacation, or going out with friends and family, and most importantly, keeping in touch with your loved ones is very important for healthy living. You never know which moments become only memories or when you will see the person for the last time in your life. Make beautiful memories along with earning money.
  • Sometimes it is essential to ask for help. Everyone has the capacity to be independent, but asking for help is required sometimes.
  • No work is big or small. A man can choose a career in cooking and a woman can choose to be a carpenter. Do what you like, do what gives you peace.
  • Accept that you will die one day. Embrace it and don’t live life as per what internet tells you or shows you, or what you see others doing on their stories. Don’t compare and don’t judge a book by its cover. More than half of pictures and stories posted on the internet are fake.
  • Failure is necessary to grow. Failure and success are not opposites. They both are part of the whole.
  • Problems may be inevitable, but so is our approach towards it. If you can change anything, change it, if you cannot, leave it. It’s ok to quit sometimes.
  • Your energy is finite. Please use it wisely. Don’t let the artificial internet world be an energy vampire. Trust me. Majority of the stuff you see is bogus or fake.
  • Allow yourself to simply enjoy an experience with your partner. Be present. Not every person you date will be “the one”. If it’s meant to be, you will marry that person. Or else leave in dignity.

Waste time this year; go for long, rambling walks. Write poems or try a new recipe just because. Pray, paint, laugh at yourself or simply watch something on the TV. Take your dog to the beach or just sit by the shore and enjoy the winds and coffee. Our world is obsessed with being productivity all the time. We feel guilty of wasting our time even for an instance. But the reality is, our “unproductive” hours are the most soul-shaping parts of our lives. SLOW DOWN!

2021 in Retrospect

2021 was an incredibly hard year for many, including me, but I am hopeful that 2022 will be better.

This time last year I was enthusiast about the year 2021 as the entire world was suffering from Corona Virus, and was looking forward to hear the news that the pandemic is over. Who knew that 2021 turned out to be worse, and would shake up our lives? We seen the virus being less dangerous at times, but most of the times, it was still spreading fast. In India, we had a very unfortunate 2nd wave of Covid. Way too many people were critical and lost their lives, including a member of my family.

Gosh, who would have thought that we would face something like this? My heart goes out to those who lost their loved ones or suffered from crisis financially and emotionally. It feels so surreal, yet, here we are, at the end of another year that many would just write-off and forget, including me.

As this year started, I was faced with an unexpected health issue which required an emergency surgery. As the year progressed, Junior had a surgery to get his tumour removed. Then we faced the deadly 2nd wave of Corona Virus, where a family member lost his life. As we were just recovering from the loss, my parents tested positive for Covid, in which my father’s health rapidly declined. During the same time, Junior too fell critically ill. The E. Coli bacteria had made a comeback and Junior had started urinating blood and throwing up.

In all this mess, I had to take care of myself and would get myself tested for Covid every week as I had to step out of the house for Junior’s treatment. My anxiety has broken all barriers this year. Besides stressing about the outcome and thinking about the worse case scenarios, I had developed a lot of physical symptoms which I have mentioned in my older post.

Well, it doesn’t end here. As my father and Junior were recovering, my mobile got stolen. When I asked the Universe “can this year get any worse?” I wasn’t challenging it………ha ha ha ha! But right before the year is about to end, I was robbed.

With the daily barrage of bad news from around the world and in my personal space, the only thing I knew was to keep myself busy and out of my head, if I was to maintain my sanity. Which to my surprise, I successfully did by finally overcoming my anxiety. All these unfortunate events gave me some time to self reflect and the first thing that came into my mind was “I cannot live like this and be a slave of my own mind and thoughts.”

This was the best thing that happened this year. I am not saying I have cured my anxiety, but now I very well know how to control it and not drown in it like I did all these years. I am still working on myself and learning about myself every day. By God’s grace, everyone is in good health now and fortunately, the year is ending on a good note.

In my endeavour to stay positive, I started to appreciate and find joy in small, everyday things. That’s the first thing you can do to start living a mentally healthy life.

I always thought that I had made a lot of positive changes in my life after my separation from my ex husband. But this year made me realise that I was not even half way there. The biggest change that I had to make was in my head, and I am proud to say that I came full circle. The hapless events were a blessing in disguise for me.

What this year really taught me was 1) focusing on the positive, no matter how small, 2) acceptance, which helped me in handling conflicts and uninvited events with a better prospective, 3) health is wealth, mentally and physically active life is the need of the hour, and 4) having a hobby, which can turn into a side income, as well as keep you busy in doing something you love.

So, in retrospect to 2021, it was an opportunity for me to take a step back, reflect and make some positive changes. Who knows what 2022 has in store for all of us? All I can wish for a better year and look forward to it in enthusiasm.

Here’s wishing you all a Very Happy, Healthy and A Successful New Year! Please stay Safe and Positive!

Anxiety

We all have heard and read about Anxiety a lot before, but do we really know what it is? As you all must have noticed that I haven’t posted any blog post in a month; it’s because my anxiety had worsened. What triggered my anxiety? Health!

This phrase “Health Is Wealth” is something we have been hearing since childhood. But exactly last month on this date I truly understood its meaning. My parents were diagnosed with COVID-19, inspite of being double vaccinated. What was worse, my mother recovered, but my father slipped into COVID complications. I thought, “How could this be happening? My parents are vaccinated. At the worse, they can have mild symptoms; it cannot flare up so much!” But it did happen. My father’s symptoms and post COVID recovery was terrible because he has some underlying disease. What opened my eyes was, if he was not vaccinated, he would have not survived. The vaccine actually saved my parents life. They were a breakthrough case, but somewhat mild.

Since I already suffer from anxiety since years; my mind made me think the worst case scenario. What made me insufferable was; Junior too falling ill at the same time. And not just sick, his health was grave. Junior got a UTI (E. Coli) which affected his Bladder and Kidneys, and he started urinating blood, vomiting and stopped eating.

I was in a fix, as I was in self isolation because I had met my parents’ everyday when they tested positive for Corona virus. I had no option. I got myself tested for Corona Virus, I tested negative and got out of the house on the 10th day of self isolation. I had to save Junior. Being a responsible human being, I informed my Vet about the same, maintained social distancing and wore a mask at all times even though I tested negative. I also retested myself on the 14th day and tested negative again. I was relieved. But my anxiety had already started playing its part.

For the first time in my life, I realised that Anxiety is not just a mental illness, but it also affects you physically. Besides being continuously anxious about my Dad’s and Junior’s health, following were my physical symptoms:

  1. Sweating a lot
  2. Breathlessness
  3. Short breaths
  4. Low oxygen (but recovered quickly)
  5. Fluctuating body temperature
  6. Sore throat
  7. Heavy head
  8. Panic attacks
  9. Fatigue
  10. Stomach cramps
  11. Severe acidity
  12. Blurry vision
  13. Less concentration
  14. Irritation
  15. Hot and cold flashes
  16. Racing heartbeats

I faced all of the above 24/7 for the entire month.

Aimlessly I kept looking for solutions on the Internet for a remedy to reduce my anxiety. I tried going to the gym, did yoga, did meditation, journaling, did breathing exercises, spoke to close ones, went for a walk, etc etc etc. Nothing helped for the long run. All these were temporary solutions. I stopped going to office for work, I stopped cooking, I stopped painting, I stopped answering phone calls, and many other things. My entire concentration was on my Father’s and Junior’s health. One thing good that I did was; I removed Google from my phone. Google only increased my fear and flared my anxiety.

What I have learnt from this dreaded experience is “HEALTH IS WEALTH”; whether it is physical or mental. Money, dating, house, cars, partying, etc. All of these come later. It also taught me to take care of my health (physical and mental) from now on so that when I am old, I do not face the consequences what my father faced. My mother is relatively healthy and had no side effects or dreaded symptoms because of the virus. She recovered in no time. But my father went through a tough time. This horrible time also showed me the true faces of people whom I called family and friends. However, some family members and friends stood by us rock solid and I am grateful to them.

Today my father and Junior both are out of the danger zone and on the road to recovery. So am I, from my anxiety. From now on, I am not just going to be physically healthy (which I already am), but will also work on a long term solution to manage my anxiety. This experience also made me change my priorities in life in a good way. I wish and pray for everyone’s good health and happy living.

Do NOT be a Google Doctor

This is such a common issue these days. Everyone thinks they know everything about their body or symptoms they have by just a simple search on Google. If you Google a symptom, or just any symptoms; you will be inevitably told that you have some grave disease or illness like Cancer or most probably you are getting a heart attack. Symptoms tend to reflect the fact that something is wrong. Assuming that you know what’s wrong with you can delay a much-needed trip to the doctor.

How many times have you been sick and decided to Google your symptoms? I guess – all the time! We all are guilty of this. It’s cheaper than going to the doctor, and obviously, home remedies are always there to our rescue. Let me get this straight. In today’s times, not all home remedies are effective, and trying to study your symptoms on Google is not a clever idea.

Looking for answers about your symptoms on Google is practically a nightmare. A simple headache will be classified as a brain tumor out there. You are basically inviting more trouble. And this is not applicable for only humans; but dogs too (or any pet). Let me share my personal experience for the same.

Whenever Casper fell ill, I was quick to turn up to Google for all my doubts. Instead of giving me relief, my anxiety increased each time. Google results are not reliable. And the Vets have studied and practiced for many years not to be faced by a Google doctor. Every time I would go to the Vet and bombard him with questions which I had searched on Google. Eventually he got tired and told me to not come to him if I felt Google was a better doctor than him. And you know what, I was always wrong, or let me say – Google results were always over exaggerated than the actual problem.

For Junior, I made it a point to never open Google. Sometimes, I do get tempted, but then I immediately keep my phone away. Trust me when I say this, we misdiagnosis ourselves, we freak ourselves out, we delay in getting actual help, some home remedies turn out to be harmful and dangerous, and in turn, our pets suffer.

Doctors spend years in college for a reason. Google is only good when it comes to searching for a good doctor, checking spellings of a medication and reading about general medication which has already been prescribed. Health misinformation is the biggest symptom of our increased anxiety. This can lead to weaken immune system leaving you more vulnerable.

Your habit of Googling your symptom is bad for your health. Getting a professional help at an early stage will prevent grave diseases and also save on a lot of bucks, which you would have spent by misinformation from Google and ended up in an emergency situation.

This will not only save your life, but also your pet’s life. Diagnosing your pet’s symptoms online will give you the same results as of yours. It’s a slippery slope. And our pet’s health will go downhill in no time. Online symptom checkers are almost always wrong, and most of times; even home remedies. There are many harmless and without side effects medical options available, please opt for that as prescribed instead of becoming a doctor at home as well. Times have changed, weather has changed, and our living style has changed. Therefore, many age old home remedies are not effective anymore. However, no one even knows about our pet’s health better than the vets. So NEVER try any home remedies on your dogs. Do not risk their lives just because you think you are an expert after doing some searches on Google.

Becoming a responsible person means being able to consciously make decisions which is for our betterment, as well as for our pets. By taking professional advice from a doctor or a vet will save us a lot of trouble. All the doubts in our heads also gets cleared, we do not increase our anxiety and we give our pets also accurate diagnosis and treatment, which in turns leads to a healthy and long life for all of us. Make yourself and your pets happy, and DO NOT Google your symptoms. Google a good doctor and approach them.

Redesigning Life after Lockdown

It’s a restart for many of us, or let me say – majority of us. For some a mental restart, for some a physical restart, and for some both. However, this pandemic gave a lot of us a new perspective to life and an opportunity to start again.

Life is not the same for many of us. What we once took for granted; have now become our priority. Many bonds between people have been destroyed and many became stronger than before. A big change is noticed in many of our lives. Good or bad, the pandemic played it course and left a huge impact on us for many years to come. 

The Corona Virus claimed many live, and tackling loneliness among those left behind has made it worse, with some people more affected than others. More and more people worry something will happen to them and no one will notice. Those who have lost members of their family or close ones; feel the least able to cope with the after effects.

Besides Corona Virus, many are dying of heart attacks. Staying at home from the past 18 months, going out only for essential work, businesses closed, no socializing or physical contact like before and the fear of contracting the virus has left many people anxious about their present and future, which has lead to a sedentary life and increase in stress levels.

I am not immune to any of the above. The only difference is, I am living with a dog and that has helped me to stay positive most of the times and live an active life even in the lockdown. But my mental health too had gone for a toss. Some days I felt like I wouldn’t survive financially, and some days I would feel like life was not worth living after all. However, Junior being around at all times helped me not slip into depression and actually redesign my life, sort my priorities and be prepared for anything in the future.

My biggest realization in the lockdown was that life is beautiful and meaningful only with your loved ones and family around. There were times when I used to get irritated if my mother or father would call me often. But today, I value those calls. Sometimes I would get tired giving Junior continues attention. But now, there is nothing more important than spending as much time as I can with him. I have also realized that saved money is the actual treasure and wealth. YOLO (you only live once) is only a concept. The pandemic also taught me not to blindly run behind money, but balance life by paying attention to your health and also spending time with family.

Time and again, the quote “grass is not green on the other side” have been proved to be right. This hit me once again when I was talking to one of my cousins who live in a different so called modern and advanced country than mine; and she said “many countries claim to be advanced and modern than the other, and then in the first place, how did the virus enter their country? And if it did, then how come they took so long to mellow down the virus? And also, how lakhs of people died in their country? So stay where you are and value your country. The grass is not green on the other side.”

We have once again realized the importance of the basics like washing hands, covering our mouths, valuing relationships, exercising, eating healthy, and most importantly – being nice to one and other. Mental health is as important as physical health. And since the pandemic has increased the number of people getting depression and anxiety, not just in adults, but even in child, it is very important to redesign our lives and adopt more flexible and broad minded thinking. My vet told me, there has been a massive increase in the number of people and families adopting or buying cats and dogs during the lockdown. In a way, it is good as far as people consider them as family and do not abandon them once the countries open up.

It is very easy to change your life when there are restrictions. But what will happen once the lockdowns are lifted and life gets back to normal? This is where the actual challenge comes. Will we be consistent and disciplined? Will we stick to our redesigned life? Will we maintain our new behaviour and stick to the new routine?

Collectively, we can and we should use this pandemic as a rude wake-up call for all of us and help bring about a positive change in our habits and lives, and create and new and better normal.

Social Media vs. Reality

The benefit of social media is that it helps us connect with others and share our experiences, but an undeniable negative aspect of social sharing is that we essentially only ever see a highlight of people’s lives, which is generally the opposite of their actual, everyday experience or lives. Social media has a big role in people’s lives as generations tend to live more digitally. However; in society there are many issues and negative outcomes rooted from social media.

It is extremely easy to create an account on any social media platform, which leads to anyone having access to anyone’s content. Anyone can access to what is shared, uploaded, tagged, etc. and viewed in matter of seconds. Social media makes it easy to create a version of you that doesn’t always tell the whole story. So how can you tell the difference between social media and reality?

It’s easy to look at others social media feeds to feel like they are living their best lives. But most of the times, the reality is way too different. Lots of people feel FOMO (fear of missing out) when they see what others are doing online – it can seem like everyone is having more fun than you are. If you’re feeling like this, it’s important to remember that social media doesn’t show the whole story. If social media is getting you down or giving you serious FOMO, consider taking some time out to focus on some of the other things in your life that make you feel happy.

It is also important to remember that some people create social media posts for a job. It’s not uncommon for some social media influencers with big followings to get paid hundreds if not thousands of dollars by companies to pose with particular products. People who run social media profiles as a job have a lot more time to perfect their social media feed. Some social media influencers even use professional photographers to help them create the perfect photo.

Let’s talk about people’s perspective that are influenced by seeing other people’s posts and consider their lives as nothing but a waste. I have a friend like this. She will always call me up to sulk about how miserable she is compared to others. Her statements are, “you know how ordinary she looks, yet she got such a romantic boyfriend, and look at me; my husband is so vanilla” or “how do they get so much money to travel all the time?” or “look at her skin and figure, so perfect” etc. At some point of time, haven’t we all felt this way?

But let me tell you this, time and again I have come across articles which point out the reality behind those perfect pictures. We humans are so desperate to show off our so called perfect lives, that we have even involved our pets into our selfish motives. I had read an article where the pet parent threatened the dog to get a perfect picture. When we see that picture, we automatically assume how cute the dog is and how well trained he must be to pose for a picture like this. But in true honesty, there was fear behind those cute eyes because he was threatened. Besides animals, even small kids are pressured for pictures. Another article pointed out that a mother scolded her kids at the park to get a nice picture. But as always, after seeing the picture, we assume what a great mother she is to have such well mannered children.

Another harrowing impact on common people is what social media has portrayed as perfect bodies and clear glass skin. The impact is so bad, that a normal man is forced to have 6 abs and a normal woman is assumed to have an hour glass body. People are fat shamed, thin shamed, colour shamed, etc. on social media. Even bullied for choosing sexuality or affected by racism. It is getting from bad to worse. Infact, many have even lost their lives for getting that perfect picture.

Besides this, most of the social media platforms have become hook-up platforms. Many people, married, single, divorced, etc. are only trying to connect with others for hook-ups and flings. Cheating has become extremely easy, as more than half of the cheaters use social media platforms to find or contact their lovers. Appropriate relationship boundaries have become blurry. Social media seems to have added fuel to the fire of infidelity. You don’t even have to find somebody who is in your neighborhood. You can flirt and exchange sexual communication with anyone who is willing to do it on planet Earth who is holding a Smartphone.

Life has become easier with the advent of technology and social media. Distance has been reduced because now you can remain in contact with your loved ones every second, but the drawbacks of the increased use of social media aren’t unknown too. Talking about real, offline relationships, the effects of social media is more adverse than good. Hundreds of friends on social media, but how many can you lean on when you need someone.

Please remember, no one has a perfect body or skin. Don’t get under the knife to achieve the impossible. Don’t go broke trying to show others the wealth you don’t have. Don’t threaten your kids or pets to display a fake perfect family. Don’t travel just for the sake of photos. Instead, connect with likeminded people and have a healthy social circle. Promote your business on social media. Stay connected with family and friends who are far away. Use social media to make your life easy and simple. Not to compare yourself with others and make your life miserable.

Social media is not reality. Take control of your life; compare yourself to what you were yesterday than comparing to others on social media. Take everything you see with a pinch of salt. Remember, never believe everything you see, because from far even salt looks like sugar.

Bullies

I had taken a break last week from uploading a post. The reason for that was, I was fueled with anger. Today, in this post; I am writing everything from the heart and experience.

My country India is going through a tough time right now. We all are scared not just about the Corona Virus, but about our survival as well. Every single day we hear and read about deaths. All this has increased a lot of anxiety in majority of us. We are already living in fear, but there are some who add up to the stress.

Last week, some Anonymous had left a nasty comment on my page which said, “I am a self-obsessed, male attention seeking, ugly whore, who’s own marriage is wrecked and now is wrecking others marriages.” I am not too sure if this comment was left by someone known or some anonymous who actually took the effort to read my posts and then leave a nasty comment like this. Besides this, someone else left a comment on my dog Junior that in such bad times, I have kept a dog and spending money on him instead of donating.

Let me start by saying, yes I am divorced and there were a lot of factors which lead to my divorce. How does that mean I am a self-obsessed, male attention seeking, ugly whore? And by just being divorced, does that mean I am going to break others marriages? Even Bill Gates got divorced. Does that mean his wife is now going to break others marriages! What I don’t understand is, if you have so much guts to leave a disgusting comment like this, then why “Anonymous”, show your face and leave your name. I will be more than happy to clear your misunderstanding.

Regarding my dog, he is with me since 9 years, and I may not eat but see to it he has been fed rather than donating to people who can’t even follow basic protocols of wearing a mask on the nose and putting others life in danger. I do my piece of social work and I do not need anyone’s validation.

Fake WhatsApp messages, daily propaganda of news channels, irresponsible citizens, lack of support from the Government, etc. and then, there are internet bullies who are spineless, no work to do, no guts, but just leave assholic comments because they don’t have to face the person.

But this isn’t new. I know of someone, who would be so possessive about her boyfriend, that eventually her relationships turn toxic and she would end up being single all the time. She would always blame other women if her relationship turned sour. Something like, “she was his ex and now she is trying to get him”, or “I will not let my boyfriend meet this girl because she is divorced and want others husbands/boyfriends”. However, all her relationships failed because she was insecure within herself. And that insecurity she would display on others making even her friendships toxic. Constantly playing a victim card, not working on yourself, and always blaming others makes you a toxic person and a bully.

I have always been bold and open about my personal life. I try to spread as much positivity and encouragement as I can through my experience. In such tough times, if you can’t be good to yourself and other people, then atleast keep your mouth shut and don’t be a spineless bully.

Stress, depression and anxiety are already silent killers. I am a strong person and I can hit back. But many have committed suicide because of bullies. When the mindset is already in fear because of the pandemic, why create more chaos. When a marriage is breaking, why blame only the other woman? Your husband opened that space for the other woman. If he was true to the wife or happy in the marriage, he wouldn’t have opened that personal space. Correct your husband first. Or I must say, as I have mentioned before also, sometimes we too are toxic, for which our partners seek love outside. Being divorced doesn’t mean I am lonely, desperate and available. No one wants a divorce, but sometimes it is inevitable.

Let’s all be humble and fight this together. If you can’t be good, don’t be bad either. Keep quiet and mind your own business. Regarding dogs, we all pet parents are capable of doing anything for our pets to keep them healthy and safe. We all do our set of humanity gestures. Just because we do not post it, doesn’t mean we are not helping others. If you are frustrated with your own life, I have said before, seek professional help if nothing is helping you.

I can take criticism well, atleast show your identity. I have a fighting spirit and I am getting stronger every passing day, again through experience. I request all those who think about committing suicide because of bullies, that never for even a second think of giving up your life. You are strong, you are enough, you are wanted. These bullies display their insecurities, they need help. Not you. If I can do it, so can you.

Be the one with a mountain to climb…

“Do not go gentle into the good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” An amazing poem by Dylan Thomas which speaks about those who actually live out their lives will better see how life has been bright for them, before going towards the sleep of death. It emphasis that older men should fight fiercely and strongly against death.

I fell in love with this poem ever since I read it. But the message I want to portray here is that if you resist something, you give it power fueled by your own fear of it. Fear is a darker lower vibrational emotion; but, if that is what is keeping you from your happiness or freedom, then that is where the answers will be found – go into the good night.

By nature, I fear and panic a lot when something goes wrong even in the slightest manner. I put my life on hold till the problem is solved. But this is not how it should be. Being an over thinker, I put myself in such a bad position, that even my body falls ill; which in turn makes me go into hermit mode.

We fear failure, rejection, embarrassment, disappointment, etc. This hampers our daily growth, and, achieving our goals and dreams. I always find it hard to believe when each and every one around me tells me that I am a very confident girl or I am a very strong girl or I am fearless. Needless to say, no one knows the amount of fear I hold within me. When there is some random noise in the house, I fear that the ceiling will fall down. Where there is a short circuit happening 10 apartments away, I fear there will be a blast, and, how I will save Junior. When it is thundering, I feel the lightening will strike my building and we all will burn down. All these are silly things, but they hamper my daily activities, which in turn hinders my growth.

I am working on myself daily. It is a day-to-day struggle. There are times when life throws one blow over the other at me, but I still keep going. Because it is better to fight it out than to live life in fear. When I will be on my death bed, I want to be proud of myself and die peacefully knowing that I didn’t let myself down at any moment in life.

But you know what else keeps me going? My dogs. Yes, had they not been my motive to live, I would have fallen into depression long before. I know I have spoken about this many times. But today, it is a little different. Fear is a natural, powerful, and, primitive human emotion. Sometimes fear stems from real threats, but it can also originate from imagined dangers. Like the ones I face. Look at the irony, I never get scared of real threats, but I fear my imaginations. And this type of fear is more dangerous, because imaginations have no limits.

How my dogs have helped me? They divert my mind. Since my fears are imaginative, diverting my mind helps me calm down. Junior would randomly come to me looking with puppy eyes, and I will get up and start playing with him. When I lie down in bed, and I have no control over my thoughts, Casper and Junior would snore loudly, dream, move and fart, and mind is just diverted in a fraction of a second. My dogs are extremely important to me as I live alone. This wouldn’t have been the case if I would be living with my family.

Fear is unavoidable, and, when I have excess anxiety, my body and brain starts shutting down. This is one of the cons of living alone. Your mind starts playing tricks where you get consumed by it and fear the unknown. I stupefy when my friends tell me that it’s so amazing that I live alone. But as I always say, the grass is not green on the other side. And again, if it hadn’t been for my dogs, I would have not survived alone.

Today, I would like to share only two tips to help anyone suffering from imaginative fear like me. And that is, DO NOT resist it, and, celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Also, do not get confused between intuition and fear. Sometimes, it is our gut feeling telling us that something is genuinely wrong. Other times, it is just your imagination. Learn to differentiate by finding the core of it. But please, do not try to resist your fearful emotions. Let it come; Let it flow freely. Feel every ounce of it. Remind yourself that your anxiety is a store house of wisdom.

Many a times, imaginary fears are an outcome of old traumas. For me, this is absolutely true. And I know those traumas very well. Fortunately, I now know how to deal with them, but I am still working on the side effects that were left on me and that is the imaginary fears.

I now do not resist my fears. I feel it when it starts. And then I snap myself out of it by appreciating my courage. Till date, I have survived and thrived 100% of my bad days. Every time I don’t allow fear to keep me from doing something that scares me, I am making myself stronger and less likely to let the next fear attack stop me.

Start encouraging yourself by converting the outcome of fear into a positive thought. Transform all your fears into empowering visions of success. Take action in the face of fear. Be realistic. And celebrate every success. Make it a habit to celebrate than to sulk. Went one day without smoking, celebrate. Followed your diet for a week, celebrate. Received your degree, celebrate. Rejoice every good thing and make it a habit. So that when you have your next anxiety attack, you have more things to celebrate or be grateful about than to drown deep into fear. Small celebrations will one day lead you to the top of the mountain and shine. And then when you look back, you will realize that all the fears were nothing in front of your courage.

Remember, Fear is what MIGHT happen – not what WILL happen.

What Anxiety Feels Like!

Palpitations, want to cry but cannot, excess urination, fear of something might go wrong or something bad is going to happen, uneasiness, etc. Sounds familiar?

I am not an expert or a doctor. Neither do I know any big and scientific words. So today I am going to explain to you my anxiety problem in the rawest language and how I deal with it.

First let us understand the difference between depression and anxiety. Depression is when you live in the past, and, recall the bad times, and, cannot get over it. Anxiety is when you want all your answers today or you want to figure out the answers to your thoughts right away but are unable to reach a decisive conclusion. The fear of the unknown is what causes anxiety!

I suffer from overthinking which leads to anxiety. I am not on any medications right now, but if the need be, I will not hesitate to take professional or medical help.

So, here is how I go through the episodes of my anxiety, or in simpler words – Panic Attacks and tips on how I deal with it.

  1. Starts in the evening

Every time I am about to get a panic attack or just an anxiety chapter, I start feeling uneasy from around 5pm or 6pm in the evening. I get this gut feeling that I am overthinking something and am going to get a panic attack soon, or maybe just have a bad evening and I need to stable myself from now. The moment I realize this, I finish all my work at the earliest to ground myself and let my emotions flow.

  • Excessive worrying

It is normally something that triggers me. For example, if I came across an animal abuse video or an article of a sudden death or the latest – coronavirus death, etc. To be honest, I do not get triggered easily; I have a very strong mind and will power, but if it is the wrong day, I will pretty much get triggered by anything. This will lead to excessive worrying about that situation. Sometimes when I do not know what has triggered me, I will worry so much that my mind will reach the year 2050 and think what I will be doing that time!

  • Restlessness and irritability (feeling detached to things)

I become extremely restless. I will pace around the whole house, keep checking Junior if he is alright even though I know he is fine. I will keep changing the TV channels or would just do some random work or start cleaning the house. Cleaning the house helps me in staying calm. In this time if someone calls, then I unfortunately end up removing all my frustration on that person. I always avoid meeting people or talking over the phone till I am blue in the face. It will invariably lead to a fight.

  • Difficulty in breathing. Headaches, pain in the chest, neck, and shoulders

Due to overthinking or a triggered situation, I start panicking which leads to difficulty in breathing and results in excessive pain in the chest, neck, and shoulders. Sometimes, it feels like getting a heart attack and I will not make through the situation alive.

  • Fear and going radio silent

This is my worse and biggest symptom. I start fearing the unknown. Even if I know the reason of my anxiety, I will still fear that something bad is going to happen. One by one, I will start over thinking about all the situations in my life which will lead to impossible thoughts and an unknown fear of what if it never gets better. I also feel I am bringing everyone else down with my anxiety. So, I resist from sharing my problems with others.

  • Panic Attack

Not always do I reach this stage, but when I do, I feel I will not survive the night. I normally get panic attacks in the night only. There is an unknown fear. They last till I fall asleep after crying my eyes out. My heartbeats are super-fast, I have frequent urination, I am crying nonstop and worrying about something that has not happened yet and may not even happen. I have difficulty to control my thoughts at this stage and my hands and feet become cold and start paining.

Being a strong-minded girl; the frequency of my panic attacks is very low. This was not the case earlier. Earlier I used to get panic attacks every week. Now I may get once in 6 months.

This is how I feel and what I go through when I have one of those bad days. I have never got any thoughts of suicide. But once I get back to normal, I feel very guilty of ignoring Junior during that period. But you know what the best thing is. Dogs are so smart that they understand when you are not feeling well. When Junior realizes that his Mumma is not doing well, he will reach his favourite spot, lie down and constantly stare at me or he will come and sleep on my lap. That sweet little boy will never trouble me during that time. By trouble means, will not keep patting my shoulders for treats or bark or run around. In a way, I can proudly say that till this day if I have not gone mad, is only because of Casper and Junior.

There is one trick I have learnt how to deal with my anxiety. The trick is, SELF LOVE. I know it sounds familiar and heard a lot of times. But SELF LOVE is the best medicine for all times. Whenever you are feeling anxious, let your feelings flow. Do not resist your feelings or forcefully think positive thoughts. Never trust everything your mind says. Because only 10% of the things happen of what we have thought. Sometimes, even that does not happen. Everyone has their own struggles and battles. You do not have to put on a front to make others comfortable or happy. Depression or Anxiety comes from a place of self-doubt which was a result of rejection or abuse or cheating or death or or or………. The list can go on. But if you practice SELF LOVE every day, you will get through this with ease. Keep telling yourself that you are a good person, you have not done anything bad to anyone, so nothing bad will happen to you. You are beautiful/handsome. No matter what, GET UP, DRESS UP AND SHOW UP. Dress up tidy every day. Do your nails, get a haircut, treat yourself with a lavish dinner occasionally, exercise, and play with your children or dogs. In short, purposely stay happy. Soon it will become a habit. Remember, no one comes to save us. We must save ourselves. Our happiness is in our hands.

My anxiety started when my first boyfriend (before marriage) cheated on me. I was young that time and I did not know what a panic attack was. But I constantly kept getting it and named it “breathing problem”. But yes, we have deep wounds which are not healed, or they keep repeating, like in my case, whoever I dated or married, I was left for someone else. So, I never got a chance to heal my wounds. And was labeled as an over thinker. But now I don’t give a piece of shit for others, for I have Junior and what more can you ask when you have someone who loves you unconditionally and the most loyal creature on this planet. Walking him, playing with him, feeding him, and doing everything that is required for him is making me stronger every passing day both physically and mentally. Casper and Junior are God sent to me. Had it not been for them, I would not be here writing this blog.