Reasons to Stay Alive

Life is precious of all the treasures. Let’s come to a state where living itself becomes a state of joy!

The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness is not good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more?  And after the Pandemic, things have shattered us up to such limit, that repairing it will take years.            

I always believe, human race runs on only 2 sentiments, i.e. Fear and Greed. You make someone worry about aging; they will run to buy an anti-aging cream. You scare someone about the harmful effects of a particular food; they will immediately run to buy organics. You influence someone about some benefits of an investment scheme; they will put in their entire savings in the greed of getting back more. You tell someone you are an expert in predicting the future and their future looks weak, but you have solutions to it; that person will be immediately driven by fear and greed.

In the era of smart phones and social media, people are worried about missing out on something. Everyone feels comparing their selves to others, where they feel they are left behind. And when we fail to cope with or handle all the pressures, we feel it’s best to end it all. The best way to deal with life’s pressure is to remain calm, in any situation. To be calm becomes a kind of a revolutionary act. To be happy with our own non-upgraded existence and to be happy with our own messy human selves would be the best remedy.

There is no exact definition of normal. It differs from person to person, situation to situation. Wherever you are, at any moment, and you feel like you are walking around with your head on fire and no one can see the flames, pause for a moment and look around. Can you smell the fresh brewing coffee? Can you see the beautiful flowers blooming? Can you see a smile on some stranger’s face? Or even the clouds outside your window? You see, there is something beautiful in the simplest things. It is us who make everything complicated.

There are some very simple reasons to stay alive. Even when everything has come crushing down, there is always a reason to live.

  • You still have to listen to some beautiful songs
  • And the uncontrollable laughs with your siblings or friends
  • How about trying out some tasty food
  • Or let’s just read a new book
  • And there are many goals to achieve yet
  • Let’s just Netflix and Chill
  • Travelling to the countries you always wanted to go
  • Listening to the sound of the rain
  • Grandparents/parents massaging your head
  • Meeting the love of your life
  • Wearing that dress for a special occasion you have been waiting for
  • Or let’s just make some nice Tea/Coffee
  • Beat of all, play with your dog and see him/her getting old and be with them

You see, life is simple and the joys of life lie in the things that we already have. Aim high, but do not fear living in the present. Have dreams, but do not get distracted from reality. There are times when nothing is going right. No matter what you do, you feel the whole world is against you. No solutions in the horizon to solve your problems. Even then, there are millions of reasons to live. In such situations, stay calm and patient. And repeat to yourself that your situation will change. It does not rain forever.

Above all, live for yourself. Depression and Anxiety are story tellers. Don’t believe everything you think. Most of the times, the gravity of the situation is 1%, and the remaining 99% is created in the head out of fear, greed or ego. Let loose for some time. Sleep over it. Wake up, make yourself some Tea/Coffee and analyse your situation and your surroundings.

Life had punched me in the face back to back in the past 10 years. I had tried giving up on life 10 years ago. One simple act prevented me from taking that step and ever since, I have never thought of ending my life. Since then, I have always found a reason to live and enjoy the moments. And when my situation is very bad, even then my dog’s mere presence is my reason to live.

Life is waiting for you. You might be stuck here for a while, but the world isn’t going anywhere. You are in a hurry. So calm down and take your time. Hang in there if you can. Life is always worth it. Three in the morning is never the time to try and sort out your life. Once the storm is over, you won’t even remember how you made it through. You are alone, I am alone. Yet we are together. Everyone is struggling in some or the other way. We are made of flesh, but also of stars. If your life is hell; keeping walking. Why would you want to stay in hell! You were there before, and now you know the way out. Don’t give up or give in. Calmly walk through it. 

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.

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.

Flying with a Dog

When I started this blog, my intention was to share my personal experiences in various aspects of life, specially associated to dogs. I am no expert, an influencer or a psychologist. I only write what I have personally been through or have firsthand experience with. I have been exposed to many different variants of life and I relish sharing the same with all of you. I was lucky enough to have learnt about flying with dogs in an airplane through a friend of mine who relocated from India to America with his wife and fur baby. Let me share this escapade with you guys.

Last year, I was planning to shift to America with Junior. I had asked my vet and another friend of mine who had relocated overseas about the procedure, and, their experience. The procedure that time included:  

  1. Getting your dog microchipped
  2. Getting him a passport
  3. Getting his medical checkup done from government approved clinics or centers as per the requirement of the country travelling to. The same then needed to be submitted to the consulate
  4. One had to travel within 3 days on getting approval from the respective country
  5. Dogs fly in a crate as per the size norms and that too in the luggage compartment

While, all this sounds stressful, my friend told me that it would be better to hand over all the paperwork to a designated agency who specialize in dog air travel. That was cool with me.

Junior and Jack

So some months ago, when my other friend decided to travel, he asked me about the procedure and I explained him all of the above. To my surprise, when he came back to me after enquiring at various places, I got to know that many rules had changed in just a year; not to forget the additional recent restrictions due to COVID! So, to my shock, almost none of my advice was useful to him.

Now, my friend was adamant to take his dog with him in the cabin as he suffers from depression. I am not much aware of India having any rules for emotional support dogs and I had never heard of anyone travelling with theirs dogs in the cabin from India.

So here’s how he made it to America with his dog and wife by his side. Let me inform you, his wife is an American citizen for which he was given permission to travel as at the moment no International Flights have resumed to fly without any reason. First, he started the paper work (medicals and passport) of his dog on his own. In the meantime, he looked for flights which were going to America from India in COVID19. He had two options, a direct flight or a via Europe flight. The first confusion was here itself; whether a dog will be comfortable to travel 13 hours straight in the flight or give him a break after 8 hours’ flight in Europe for 3 hours and then catch a connecting flight.

At the Airport

We were contemplating, until then he continued with the paperwork, his packing and his depression. While all this was going on, I shared a personal experience with him about microchipping the dog. One time when I was at the Vet, I had seen an American couple adopt a stray dog from Mumbai and they had come to the vet to microchip him. And the experience was so bad for my eyes as the dog let out a loud cry when the vet inserted a microchip in him. This experience was almost 7 to 8 years old. My friend and his wife panicked that if it is this painful, then their dog will probably fall ill and they will have to take a flight after he recovers. He did more research and came to the knowledge that now even the microchipping process has changed and it is not that painful. He went to his vet and got his dog microchipped and his dog was absolutely fine. Thank God!

By this time, he had decided to take a via Europe flight. Since my friend was suffering from depression from many years, and he was already stressed out about shifting to a new country due to unavoidable circumstances, he had no option but to have his dog by his side. His dog has been a massive support system for him since 4 years and has helped him mentally way beyond expected. Also, he panics when he flies, so he wanted his wife and dog with him. So, he applied for all relevant permissions to fly with his dog in the cabin. In addition, due to COVID19 only American Citizens are allowed to transit in European countries from India. He being an Indian Citizen would not be allowed to land in Europe. So he requested and applied for permissions to even land in Europe for transit with his dog and wife.

A blessing in disguise came through. Because of restrictions, COVID19, and his severe depression state, all his applications got approved as there were very few people travelling. Now, the time was coming close to actually travel and his depression got severe thinking about flying and comfort of his dog, but he was determined and his wife too was a great support; so we started planning out about how to make the journey comfortable and hassle free.

In the plane cabin

Since his dog is a Cocker Spaniel, a small cute dog who required less space physically, yet needed space to sleep or move around a little, he decided to consult his vet and take an anxiety pill with him just in case his dog gets uneasy in the flight. Besides that, he put him on a harness instead of collar and made him wear a t-shirt to feel cozy and easier to handle. He also made his dog walk outside the airport to relieve himself. Muzzle is a compulsion at Indian Airports, so he made sure he had it and kept a little food and some treats with him. In the airport, his wife made sure that they were away from people to avoid any accidents. His dog is extremely well mannered but my friend’s anxiety had taken over and he was over precautious, which was good in a way. He didn’t feed his dog atleast for 2 hours before the flight to avoid him throwing up.

Transit Airport

They decided to board the flight last. Fortunately, everyone was comfortable with the dog in the flight and they received a lot of help as well. His dog went off to sleep in the flight. When they landed in Europe, he walked his dog, made him attend his nature’s call at the animal designated area and relaxed and then boarded his next flight. It was a smooth journey and all the officials at all the airports were extremely helpful and courteous.

Today, they are having a great time in America, and, his dog experienced the first snow as well. What started with a lot of confusion and misinformation, followed by a lot of hard work of my friend and his wife, depression attacks and anxiety, panicking and sweating, ended with a smooth effortless journey and a happy ending. This entire episode was completely new for me and I am glad to have experienced this and share this adventure with all of you. The most important thing I learnt through all this was if you are determined then nothing can stop you. This is the strength and love of dogs. They even take your depression away.

Happy, relaxed journey in the flight

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.

Life would be RUFF without you!

Had we ever even imagined that in our entire life time we would be in a situation like the ones we are in today? Arrogant humanity always thought that among all living beings only humans can write a sensational story in the world! But here’s a nano organism called corona-virus – proved the opposite of this!  But the fact is that the mind is more powerful than the body and it’s all a matter of acceptance! We all panicked first when the lock-down was first imposed, and, now we are adopting to this new lifestyle which has come to be known and the “new normal”.

In India, the lock-down was imposed on the 24th of March 2020 for 21 days initially.  My first few days went in utter panic as to how am I going to stay at home alone with Junior. I also feared Junior’s walks and well-being for staying locked in for 21 days. But as days passed by, the fear subsided and I started to accept the realty and make adjustments to living the new lifestyle. Junior, I must say, has been such a patient dog that he too adjusted to the new normal. As such, Dogs have a keen sixth sense and usually know when they should behave how. I read quite a few articles where some people adopted dogs during the lock-down to give them company; on the other hand I also hear stories about some people who chose to abandon their dogs as they either feared contracting the virus or just didn’t have enough money left to support the dog due to going out of work. Now, after 3 months and with some relaxations in place for the lock-down, I am reading that many who adopted dogs during lock-down are giving them up for adoption again. It is said Catastrophe reveals character, and those who are treating dogs as toys are in my opinion not worth being called humans.

I am a dog mom and under no circumstances I would ever abandon my dogs. Whether I have to get married, leave the country, the pandemic, any natural disaster, lack of money, etc. My dog is my baby and just because he is an animal, does not make his importance any less.  During these though times, I have tried to make Junior’s life as comfortable as I could. I agree it wasn’t easy, but, if you have the will, you will find the way. In these 3 months, I did have my ups and downs; I too got depressed and anxious for some reason or the other.  But I never let that affect Junior.

We lost a young and talented movie actor to suicide around 2 weeks ago. The whole country is mourning his death; Infact, many young kids who were his die-hard fans also committed suicide as they grieved over this news. There are a lot of speculations to why he took such a drastic step; some say he was in depression due to work, some say he had family issues. While the truth has gone to the grave with him, his demise has raised many questions about people suffering from depression. The reason I mention this is because, he had a dog too named Fudge; A very cute and adorable Labrador. It makes me wonder; didn’t he think of his dog before taking his life? Where was his dog when this happened? My mom always says, when a person wants to take his own life, it is just a matter of seconds, and if in those seconds someone calls or talks to them or diverts their mind, this can be averted. I can say this is 100% true. I remember the time when I was ready to commit suicide and just in the nick of time, Casper jumped on me and started licking my tears. That was the first and last time I had ever thought of taking my life. After that incident, I pledged to work on myself and my life, especially for my dogs. Had it not been for Casper, I wouldn’t be here right now writing this. There are many people who have come forward to adopt the late actor’s dog. I hope he finds a wonderful house, and, I also hope people understand that a dog is for life, not just for a global pandemic.

Are dogs really good for you? Let me share my views on this based on my personal experience:

  • Dogs are just not cuddle partners. In fact, they bring real health benefits. They help lower stress levels not only in adults but also in children. Dogs have also been linked to lower blood pressure.
  • Despite of gyms being shut and the inability to go out for walks, I have been physically active because of my dog. I literally have the best buddy to work from home, who gives me continues breaks by tapping on me so that I get up from my chair and give him a treat or give him belly rubs.
  • Dogs keep you mentally sane – Due to Junior, there has never been a dull or boring moment in all these days
  • Dogs are very alert and Junior is usually at the door even before the bell rings. Their sixth sense make them extremely intelligent companions
  • Dogs make you forget HATE; as such the word HATE does not exist in their dictionary
  • My dogs not only saved my life, but If I am even just sad, they cuddle me and all my sadness is driven away. Even though I feel I am taking care of my dogs, the reality is, they are taking care of me
  • I automatically become more attractive to people when I say I have a dog J hahaha true!
  • I sleep well and fearless at night; I practically need no one to talk to, because I keep talking to my dogs and they listen without judging me
  • My dog’s social media account has more followers than my personal account (rolling eyes)
  • I have made more friends in the past few years because of my dogs
  • If I am on the phone for too long, he starts growling and barking at me to hang up, sometimes it’s the best thing to end a boring phone call J
  • He is the best excuse for me to come home early as I do not like socializing a lot
  • I love my space and when some people want to hang out with me uninvited, I suddenly remember I have to take Junior for a walk J

Let’s all us pet parents agree, some way or the other we have used our dog’s excuse to get out of a boring or unwanted situation. Isn’t it? The only disadvantage of a dog is, their short lives. Apart from that, I am a very happy and content person now. And I cannot thank God enough for sending my dogs to me accidentally. This lock-down made me realize, we need very little to live happily, and if you have the company of a dog, life is still so beautiful even though there are speculations that the world in going to end. It’s really all about being content with what we have, and what we can make out of it. We can either sit and crib today speculating the tomorrow; or we can live today and have fond memories of it tomorrow. The only thing to remember is today can never be lived again, and the last thing we want is to tomorrow repent wasting our today!