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.

Hang in there!

I have never seen a strong person with an easy past. And what I know for sure is that tough times make people tough. We love being mentally strong, but we hate situations that allow us to put our mental strength to good use. All we really have to do is, hang in there, acknowledge our feeling’s, have patience, and wait for the storm to pass. In these tough times of the pandemic, having a calm attitude is very important. Because the right mindset is half the battle won. 

COVID_19 has plagued the world and brought it down to its knees; not only is it taking lives, but also will result in a huge economic disaster. Let’s talk about the problems and mental health of people facing all over the world due to the lockdown and COVID_19. I only want to tell you, you are not alone and we are all in this together.

As I read many articles, I realised that this lockdown has taken a toll on a lot of people’s mental health. Particularly, I read this article of a 21 years old boy taking his own life. We would never know what a person is thinking or going through just before taking their own life. In such times, having someone by one’s side is so important. So please keep checking on your people who live alone. I too live alone. But as I have said before, my dogs have kept me sane at all levels, and at all times. Yes, there was a time once years ago that I too had considered suicide. I sat on the bed all prepared to take the plunge. But just in the nick of time, Casper jumped on me and started licking my tears of. That very moment I kicked back the plan to give up on life and live. This may be probably why even this lockdown has not affected me much. It is not that that I do not have any issues right now; but I have learnt that having problems is a part and parcel of life. How you deal with it, is all that really counts. Yes, I do have my well-wishers and near and dear ones with me. But throughout the day and night, I am alone with Junior and it will never be enough for me to stress on the fact that he keeps me sane.

Me and Mine

Many a times when I am alone in my thoughts, especially in the evenings and nights; I linger onto my past and present and put myself in a state of fear and panic due to over thinking. But one thing for a fact is, till date whatever I have over thought, only 10% of it has ever come out to be true. Remaining 90% have always been a complete waste of time, and not only unnecessarily puts me into a troubled state, but also those in front of me to whom I vent out to. I sometimes do not even trust my gut as I do not know if it is my intuition telling me something or my defence mechanism stopping me. We humans are very complicated. And that’s why, accidentally my dogs came into my life and helped me sail through the ups and downs. So much so, that Casper even taught me how to let go. He taught me that everything is temporary, so make the most out of life TODAY. Don’t hold on to anything if not given freely, whether it is friendship, relationship, job, etc. 

Life is not fair. The only thing that makes life unfair is the delusion that it should be fair. When times are tough, it can be very difficult to follow your heart. I believe fear and greed drives a person into taking decisions that most of us regret later. Trust me, the biggest fear doesn’t really exist. Thoughts drive through our minds all the time. Like traffic, they might flow smoothly. But they sometimes also back up, causing a traffic jam. When they collide, the impact can truly throw us psychologically, making you anxious, depressed, or generally distressed. However, just because they are driving through your mind, it does not mean they represent an objective reality. They are often more a figment of your imagination than an observation. So, for a life that flows smoothly, it is essential that you not believe everything you think.

Sometimes it is going to hurt a lot more, when you feel alone. Sometimes it is going to get tough, when you feel you are in a dark place. The first thing you got to realise that you have to love yourself. It is all about self love. Fall in love with yourself again. Make an impact in this world. All we know is life is short. We all sleep with plans for tomorrow. But many people did not wake up; and here you are, still living. Life is living. There is the good, there is the bad and there is RIGHT NOW.

You cannot or rather should not wait on somebody for your happiness. You cannot endlessly wait on somebody to make your life better; You and only you have to do it for yourself and leave your mark. Help someone or lift them up when they are weak. And maybe when you are at your weakest, someone will lift you up. Because we all struggle. Make sure you make your mark in this world, because someone didn’t make it alive today. But you did. Keep living, keep fighting, and do not give up.

Casper and Junior

Most of us are more worried about the financial losses we are facing because of the lockdown than the virus itself. Others are worried about court dates. Then there are many worried about paying rents or being evicted from their houses by the landlord. Some children are living with abusive parents whose only escape was school. Some people are living with abusive partners whose escape was going for work or meeting a friend for coffee. The list of problems is endless. But what I learnt from my past experiences is that, these bad days will pass. Though, like a kidney stone, but it will pass, and there will be sunshine again. And as it’s said, we do not appreciate the sunshine unless there are rains. Sometimes it will take years to become successful. Sometimes it will take a lot of punches to hit back right.

Till then, relax, reset and then restart. We all know what the symptoms are of Corona virus. We all know what precautions have to be taken to stay away from this virus. So let’s be smart and take care of our own selves than relying on anyone else. And one more time, this virus doesn’t spread through dogs, so do not abandon them.