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A Letter to Anxiety: I Will Always Win

Hated Anxiety,

How are you doing? Not too well at controlling me, I believe? I hope you’re far gone and not lingering anywhere close to me. But, we still have a lot of talking to do. I am writing this letter because I don’t wish to meet you. Before we end this, my heart tells me that I should vent out all the nasty things that you did to me. Please bear with me.

 “It takes very little to be truly content and happy.”

clone tag: -1619985688396156539This is the last sentence of the first and the last post I wrote on my blog. I wrote what I truly believed. I wrote it without hesitation for I was embracing everything that life offered with utmost joy. I embraced challenges, failures, and isolation just as much as  I enjoyed comfort, achievements and togetherness. I was working hard for my goals and always found myself achieving more than what I desired. For instance, when I thought I would only travel to Nepal in 2016, I amazingly got a chance to travel around Europe – alone! Of course, I may have erred here and therimg_05962e and subsequently there were ups and downs in my life, but, there was nothing I couldn’t deal with. I was a normal person who had never known obsession or fear of the unknown.

I came back from Europe with ambitions and realizations I’ve never had before. The ambition was to study in Europe. The realization was that despite being absolutely in love with elongated period of singlehood and solitude, it’s time I seek human touch or companionship in life.

In no time, I found myself impulsively trying to get hold of everything, all at once. This, I believe, was when you showed up; except that I didn’t quite see you yet. So I boarded the bus to travel eight hours to an unknown city with no plan and just this vague idea of writing a research proposal which I needed to study in Europe. It didn’t really work out because at the same time, you suggested that I plunge into finding companionship first. img20160709211635Now that somehow worked.

img_20160904_034435

I met someone and found myself falling head over heels the same day. I didn’t find anything wrong with it because he didn’t either. I felt rather annoyed when people said “You’re going too fast” or “you barely know each other.” We were not doing anything deliberately. We were effortlessly the way we were since the day we first met. We were like the simplest pieces of a puzzle that happened to bump into each other to fit together. We were like a hand in glove.

img_20160913_1054322We were not in a relationship nor expecting one for we believed in uncertainty of future and certainty of this very second. Since there was no name to it, “living in the moment” is what he said it was- and I? I simply smiled ear to ear. We bared our souls to each other and they had the same vibrant colors. I lived few of the happiest days of my life – fearlessly and abundantly. I would like to believe that he did too. But you, anxiety, were standing right at the door waiting to ruin things.

No one calls terror.

You probably know already that I never called you or welcomed you inside, but you were adamant about being a part of my life. You imposed yourself on me while I kept trying to get rid of you. You were so powerful that I couldn’t win over you and felt helpless.

The last four years, I learnt how important it was to love my own self before I could love anybody else. So I loved myself a little more each day. I understood the importance of relationships just as much as I understood the importance of being strong and independent. My friends counted on me when they were messed up for my piece of mind, love, trust, freedom, space and what not! I always thought I’d make a great companion whenever the time comes. I was in love with my thoughts, my ideas, my values, my dreams and my plans. I was in love with the fact that I wouldn’t give up on my values even if it meant leaving people and places. I was in love with the person I had shaped myself into.

But for four months, you kept on trying to kill me.img_20161230_1550522

You were so callous that you didn’t kill me all at once. Rather, you captivated me to put me through torture and pain for a long period of time. I felt like a fish out of water. It felt like pins and needles being stuck inside my body, one by one and sometimes all at once. You attacked my self-esteem and once it was reduced to ashes, you put me through losing my self-respect, my integrity, my dignity. Whenever I tried to win myself over, I would lose. And eventually, I lost sleep, appetite, weight (well, thank you for that! I had been trying for years) and control over my senses, my emotions, my words and my actions. You drove me to drinking alcohol almost every night. And I smoked like a chimney. These two were the only antidotes I had. Sadly enough, even they backfired and physical sickness added to my misery.

No matter how hard I tried to cork up my struggles, I couldn’t. For as long as our fight went on, I screamed and cried for help but you played so wicked and smart that you wouldn’t let anyone enter the battlefield to help me. I went down in the dumps when you made it look like those I sought help from or those who tried to help me were rather on your side.

Anxiety, you plundered my courage and stuffed me with fear.fb_img_14790548640702

I questioned every little thing about the person I trusted from the very first day we met. I found myself consistently gauging every word he said or wrote to me. If he missed doing something as simple as holding my hand, calling me ‘baby’ or kissing me goodnight, I would put myself through the pain of believing that his feelings might have changed. The girl who had no expectations or worries got reduced to tears for she feared someone else might fill her place and he’ll no longer want her. I understand your intention might have been to warn me, but I didn’t need to be warned as much as you thought I did. The mind-movies you showed me of every possible thing that could go wrong only added to unwanted physical symptoms and exhaustion. You changed me from being fiercely independent to becoming ridiculously emotional and terrified. You simply ripped me apart.

I want to tell you today that I was not the only one bearing the brunt of what you bestowed upon me. You made me put an amazing man through the discomfort of being with the person I had become. It was nothing like the beginning of our time together for now I was constantly clingy and needy, despite hating it myself. He was the only support I needed, but he was the support I was too scared to ask for. To see me break into a thousand pieces was no easy job for him. To hold me tight and put the pieces together was scary for him for he feared how I would function without him. To see me wretched was just as painful for him as it was for me. Despite wanting to help me, he started drifting away. I complained, cried, begged in front of him whenever I felt that he wasn’t there for me. I blamed him and even abused him for all that I was going through. He didn’t anticipate this and therefore, didn’t know what to img_20160906_2016412do. He didn’t deserve to be put through this pain. He wanted to be my strength and not my weakness.

What I had become was not what he chose or would ever think of choosing. I wish there was a way to make him understand that I didn’t choose it either. In fact, it was you who chose it. I hope that, at least, now you would take the blame for pulling us out of a precious bond and putting us into a toxic one.

I want to tell you that we both have given up on what we had for your constant control over me had made things ugly. I want to tell you that it doesn’t worry me anymore and I no longer think about how I can make things right with him because I know I cannot. What worries me now is being in a clueless state when I think about how to put the pieces of my dreams, my plans and my ambitions back img_05922together. I see everything brutally damaged and scattered in places I can’t seem to find. With churning down my self-esteem, the first thing you made me believe was that I was good for nothing and that I was of no value to anybody.

The belief turned into reality when you pushed me so much that I couldn’t study or understand things I was studying. From being a dedicated student to being the one who shirks all responsibilities and tasks; I started questioning my existence. I was not lazy, but there were days when I didn’t want to come out of bed. I didn’t want to end my life, but I did feel suicidal at times. You were a terrifying mental condition that affected nearly every aspect of my life.

img_08522Anxiety, I want to tell you that you almost had me. I love and hate the word ‘almost’. It’s one of my most favorite and also my least favorite word. I think ‘almost’ is one of the saddest yet the happiest words in English dictionary. Almost holds failed potential. I hate it when I have to say that I was almost good for him, but I wasn’t. But I love it when I have to say that anxiety almost had me, but it didn’t. Yes, you almost had me. You pushed me off a cliff when there was no one to catch me. I hit the rock bottom and guess what? I got up and walked on.  You almost killed me but you couldn’t and I have read somewhere that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. So after having told you how evil you were to me, I also want to thank you for making me stronger.

I am writing this letter because I am not embarrassed anymore. You probably already know how I am trying to put together all the shattered and scattered pieces around me.  I want to tell you that I look at all the pieces with childlike curiosity because sometimes I can’t even remember where they belong. But, believe me when I say it, I am going to make something really beautiful and creative out of it. I am going to let flowers grow in even the saddest parts of me. I understand you enough now to beat the ways you try to manipulate my thoughts.

img_10752I am writing this letter to you because I want to end this with you on a good note. Thank you for being kind enough to only kill parts of me and not all of me. But let’s not see each other anymore. I want to live my life like before – oblivious to the endless possibilities of awful things that can happen along the way. I never invited you before and now that I know exactly what you look like, I cannot let you anywhere near to me. I cannot let you steal my precious moments of peace and joy. I cannot let you steal my sleep and appetite. Please don’t choose me. Because I never chose you. I have already defeated you and won, but, if you ever wish to fight again, I will be ready in the battlefield to wave my victory flag at you. I will defeat you without letting you hurt me so much.

I will always win.

Not lovingly,
Not yours,
A conqueror

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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