I am Jaskiran Gill, a 27-year-old presently working on a project titled ‘Turning My Mess Into Message’. As an engineer by qualification, I worked with InMobi for three years but quit my corporate job in the quest for happiness. Then I went on to work in the slums trying to heal myself by healing others. Currently, I am a Child Rights and a Mental Health Advocate and have worked with Noble Peace Laureate Shri. Kailash Satyarthi.
I was diagnosed with major depression (MDD) two years ago. Doctors informed me that it had been present for the past 12 years due to the abuse I had seen growing up. All this while I knew something was wrong, but couldn’t figure out what it was. I had always been extremely active and enthusiastic as a child before depression started taking a toll on my health. I started getting headaches so severe that there were times when I couldn’t lift my head up. I had always been a fitness freak but could not work out anymore and started gaining weight drastically. The depression was affecting not only my mental health but also my physical health.
To conquer that, I participated in Pinkathon to take my physical health and my mental health to the next level. I was aware that my mental health might make it difficult for me to get myself out of bed sometimes. But I also realised that I could either stay in bed or get up and keep pushing myself every day. I’ve learned that if you have faith in yourself and if you keep working towards your goal, eventually you will get results. Although I have participated in a few dance and fitness related events, I had never taken part in a running based event primarily because of health concerns. My motivation to run the Pinkathon was because I wanted to take a leap of faith and experience what it would be like to run alongside such a powerful group of women.
It could be terrifying for a lot of people to find out that they’re suffering from depression, but fortunately I felt relieved because then at least I knew the problem. It wasn’t particularly easy after that either, but one thing I knew for sure was that I couldn’t let the term ‘chronic depression’ win over my ambitions. So I was ready to do whatever it took to push my limits every single day. I have been working on my mind and my body because both are interlinked and interdependent. One cannot sustain without the other. It has taken me over a year to get where I am today. Running has helped me tremendously, but along with that, the healthy changes I made regarding my habits, my diet and lifestyle have made a huge impact.
I work out religiously and have been doing cardio as well as strength training for an hour to an hour and a half every day. I run every day no matter if it’s a short distance or long distance. On the days I can’t run, I push myself to walk. So, I am using my mess and turning it into a message for everyone to believe in themselves and keep fighting hard.
My Pinkathon journey has been a truly inspiring and rewarding experience. The very sight of seeing thousands of women of all age groups from little girls to ladies, to baby wearing moms and grandmothers, lace up their running shoes and hit the ground at 4 in the morning to run was awe-inspiring! A special mention should go to the men who come all the way just to cheer the ladies. The best thing about Pinkathon for me was experiencing the freedom and positivity along with thousands of women gathered at one place for a common cause – to empower and feel empowered at the same time.
Pinkathon has been working towards getting women to lead a healthy life and start taking care of themselves. Last year I participated as a runner, but this will be my first time as a Pinkathon Ambassador. The reason it is doing so well and spreading awareness is because Milind Soman is an example in himself. It’s incredibly motivating to see him so fit and healthy and watch him share his experiences with so many people, encouraging them to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Being able to witness women who inspire us through their dedication and hard work like Smt. Mann Kaur is a dream come true. The best investment you can ever make is in yourself and your health, which is exactly what Pinkathon nudges you to do. Even though it’s been less than a week, my experience as a Pinkathon Ambassador has been amazing. I have been a part of two events and have met so many people who are inspiring in their unique way. You can feel the energy and enthusiasm in all ambassadors, participants and onlookers which motivates you to do more and give it your best.
We always stress upon the need to be fit and healthy but when we say ‘healthy’ we tend to focus on our physical health alone and we forget that our mental health is equally important. We don’t want to talk about it or even make an effort to understand it due to the stigma attached to mental health and the fear of being judged or ridiculed. But in the times that we live in now, I believe that we cannot afford to ignore our mental health anymore. It’s important for women to find a support system among other women to open up about their struggles and lead by example.