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“I Was Emotionally Ill But Everyone Around Me Said I Will Be Fine”

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By Neha Mishra:

Silhouette of a girl smoking.
For representation only. Source: Flickr.

I smiled looking at the smoke I exhaled. It was me who was inhaling through those poisonous sticks and exhaling the smoke. I was becoming pro this thing. The girl who was always against smoking was smoking and destroying herself for someone else.

I was emotionally ill but everyone around me said I will be fine, that I just needed some time. But, they were not right. I was injured, an injury only I can feel because it was not visible like any other crack in our body. I was breaking emotionally and I had no one with me except for the few friends who suggested I would be fine if I stayed calm. The days I spent around other people but, after my office hours, it was just me in that small room; sitting with no emotions, no fear, no happiness, no sadness. A blank me not knowing where I was going. I became so hopeless that I use to cry in the middle of the night sitting in the dark because he left me. A guy I dated for 42 odd days or may be less than that. He became my pillar of support because he was gentle with me.

I felt as if the world had fallen over me, I had nowhere to go. I felt like I don’t exist. I started doing every possible thing to distract myself but at the end it was just me in the mirror. I was afraid of my own face. I left my job, the city, my hobbies, my dreams and started running like a ‘failure’. But I knew this had to end somewhere. At least, that’s what everyone told me, “You will be fine, you just need to give it some time.”

I gave all the time in the world, but I was getting worse. And then finally I was tired of my own tears, I was envious of seeing people smiling and I started realising that it’s not about giving time.

Eventually, I knew it’s only me who could fix myself. I started loving my loneliness, I started building my dreams again. I realised that despite everything, I am still going to live without him. The emotional breakdown is not bothering him!

Everything has got a breaking point, that does not mean ‘the end’ (at least, not for me). I understood that a part of me has gone with him which is not going to come back. I needed to be determined to fix myself.

Today, I am smiling again but still love my loneliness. I do miss him but I do not cry over him anymore. I know I am broken but I also know some scares are good to make us learn.

Once you confront your loneliness you tend to enjoy your own company which ultimately leads to a good aura around you. And the more you share, the better the chances of getting healed of your emotional illness.

Also read: How Poetry Has Helped Me Deal With The Dark Phases Of Loneliness.

#LonelyButNotAlone is Youth Ki Awaaz’s campaign to start conversations around mental health and how we experience it in the urban landscape. ‘Where is home?’ is a continuing audio-visual series that features young people’s stories about coping with loneliness, depression and other mental health issues. Write to us at rachit@youthkiawaaz.com if you are a filmmaker, photographer, animator or an artist and would like to feature your work as a part of this campaign.

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  1. Shivangi Singh

    you’re so brave and I concur with you – not everything just resolves its own self if it is “given some time”. More often than not we ourselves have to get up and do something about it, even if that simple action is just co-existing with the negative emotions, as in your case.
    a break up with my boyfriend last summer gave me anxiety and although it will soon be a year since, the anxiety hasn’t left me. I believe it is here to stay, but at least I am learning how to live with it.. Sending loads of power and positivity your way xx

  2. Neha Mishra

    Thank You Shivangi. 🙂
    All the best to you as well to stand up for yourself again and live your life to the fullest.

  3. Indira Singh

    Please, I understand your emotions and I feel your pain, I would say to you are those tears you are shedding worth it for someone who doesn’t care for you any more ??? Why do girls contemplate suicide and thoughts of “I can’t live without him” its all hogwash, he is out having fun while you are drowning in sorrow ?? think about it !!!!!!!!
    Go out in the world and enjoy your life, no guy is worth all the agony the best way to look at life remember if you miss a bus or train or flight there is another one you cn hop on. you will love and live again and perhaps one day say to yourself “how stupid was I to waste my time for him” pull up your boot steps and go have fun.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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