This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Gulraj Bedi. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

“There’ve Been Times I’ve Felt Suicidal And Depressed, But Not Needed To Talk To Anyone”

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By Gulraj Bedi:

There’s something about loneliness and solitude that pulls me towards itself. It is something that has no description whatsoever. You need to have a fair amount of first-hand experience in order to understand it. To be very honest, solitude is something that can only be felt, it’s pretty much intangible. It can’t be described graphically or even in words.

All of us are lonely in some way or the other and we don’t even know why we’re lonely. It may seem quite strange and unlikely, that in a world which happens to be brimming with social media, somebody is lonely. Well, I have 10,000 different ways of communicating with the same set of people on the same device, my smartphone, and it happens quite often but that feeling of loneliness remains, it’s intangible but it’s present all the time.

Every lunch hour happens to be the same. I pick up my smartphone from my table, stagger towards the pantry with my eyes pointing downwards. My routine is pretty much the same and it seldom varies. My lunch hour is spent eating lunch in silence and writing useless blog posts. The only difference is the location. On days when chicken and mutton are served, I have lunch in the pantry. Otherwise, I have this habit of eating out at a nearby restaurant, preferably a KFC outlet.

A few days back, I opted to eat out at a nearby dhaba. I chose to eat at the dhaba only because of its relative unpopularity as it happens to be one of the quieter eating places. I searched the back pockets of my trouser to check whether or not I have my wallet as I stood there collecting my order.

I felt relieved when I collected my lunch, not only because of the fact that I was damn hungry, but also because this meal gave me something to do, other than standing around alone, hearing other people talking around me. It served as a reminder that I don’t have anyone to engage in a casual conversation with.

The degree of relief grew when I found my favorite table, which happened to be there in the corner of the room, where I could eat and write unobserved. I ate quickly in order to give myself a chance to write a blog-post (this one). I checked my phone occasionally, there weren’t any messages. There were a lot of Facebook posts, all of them involving  other people and not me.

So, it was yet another dull day. I was tired of doing the same things, the same way. I’ve done all the things I should: studied hard and got a job. I made myself independent. I’m there on all the social networking platforms, right from Facebook to Twitter. (Not on Instagram though). and yet, here I was, sitting alone having lunch.

It makes no difference where I have lunch. If I would have had lunch in the office’s pantry, then I would have been alone. Well, I could never  really understand why this happens to me. I always thought I was a decent enough guy, but the few friends I have, are either busy or living far away and somehow, when I meet new people, I don’t leave enough of an impression for them to consider me, anything more than an acquaintance.

To be very honest, I’ve never felt lonely. There have been times when I’ve just locked myself in a room. There have been times when I’ve felt suicidal and terribly depressed, but I’ve never felt the need to talk to anyone else. I never felt the need to talk to anybody. I never felt like sharing something with people. To be very honest, loneliness is something I’ve never been bothered about because I’ve always had this terrible itch for solitude.

You might disagree with me but I strongly believe that when you’re surrounded by people, it can be lonelier than when you’re by yourself. You can be a part of a huge crowd, but if you don’t feel like you can trust anyone or talk to anybody, you could feel like you’re really alone.

I don’t know how to be anything other than intense. I don’t know how to experience something without feeling too much or thinking too much. I’m always searching for something, always questioning and struggling to find meaning in everything. I am passionate and I am deep, and even  if I’m misunderstood, I’m totally okay with that.

You must be to comment.
  1. Saadgi Gupta

    That is actually quite true..

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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.

Read more about her campaign.

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Read more about the campaign here.

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.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

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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