‘Hold on to hope, Time will change’ – Sarah Ather Kashmiri

You weren’t expecting this. I know you dread those moments when fear slowly creeps up and you think you are absolutely alone here. You miss your childhood, your old friends and those afternoons full of joy in a room so ordinary. And here you are, in the real world. The real, cruel, mechanical, indifferent world. I know you are tired, I know you want to quit and I know it has not been easy till now. I don’t want to tell you that you are just overthinking, I want to tell you that it’s there and no matter how bad it seems but you are braver than you think you are.

The first thing you want to tell yourself is ‘It is okay to feel like this.’ In fact it is the most natural outcome of the kind of society we are a part of- Competitive and demanding.

We live in times of personalised newspapers called ‘facebook and instagram’ which precisely act as catalyst in the problem. It is crucial to look around and rationally try to reason ‘Is it actually possible for everyone in social media to be precisely as happy as they portray?’ Think about it, how many moments of the day are spent doing mundane activities that no one shares? Where are those mundane gaps that make ninety percent of our lives? It is important to realize life is hard for everyone, yes everyone. Even the rich and privileged and smart ones. And you know why? It’s because happiness doesn’t reside in things and achievements. It resides in the attitude we have towards things and achievements.

Depression is not just a phase, will not go if you just went to a park and definitely will not lessen if you just stop thinking about it. There are some crucial things about mental health which we as a society fail to teach our kids and in fact contribute in making this talk a taboo by not discussing it as often as we should.

It is absolutely necessary to acknowledge that having feelings of low self-esteem or low self-confidence is not something to feel ashamed of.

A lot of us feel that way and it is a part of our self-development discourse. Feeling unworthy or undesirable is okay, uncomfortable sure but not abnormal. In fact it has very less to do with your potential but more to do with your environment. Geniuses like Charles Darwin and Newton suffered from anxiety disorders, Abraham Lincoln suffered from depression, so did Leo Tolstoy and I can name so many more. The point is what you are going through has more to do with the environment than with you.

I want to share what I learnt while I was down with anxiety and insomnia. First thing, believe me you will be better. You will again be the same person you used to be. Change is the law of nature. Your mind state is a construct of circumstances and conditions. Believe in the neuroplasticity of your brain. Please give it time and determination. Second, I would advice, Meditate. Yes it works. It works like magic. The only thing is it takes time. But in the due time, you will evolve as a much stronger person, the person you wanted to be. I generally listen to Sam Harris or Joseph Goldstein about mind, meditation and mindfulness. They have been of extreme help. I would also advice listening to some of the Buddha’s teachings. You won’t believe how practical they are to this day. And third, change your lifestyle a little bit, add exercise and healthy diet to your schedule along with some extra care towards yourself. And above all, please be kind to yourself in this difficult time, it will pass.

– Sarah Ather Kashmiri.

Thanks to Sarah for sharing her personal experience and thoughts.

For resources on Depression and how to deal with it, check out the below links:

1) Aasra

2) YourDost

3) TED

4) Help Guide

5) Sneha

6) Satyamev Jayate episode on Mental Health

7) Quora Discussion Board

8) Live Laugh Foundation

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‘Hold on to hope, Time will change’ – Sarah Ather Kashmiri

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