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Soul Assassin

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Childhood days of mine were prized and to be precise, distinctive. As I resided in a hospital neighbourhood, I could always smell the scent of medicines throughout the day. Favorite hobby during those days, to have a conversation with both in-patients and out-patients. On weekends, I would get up early in the morning and start my inspection (kind of stupid) at the hospital. No one used to question me or stop me as I was senior to most of the people who worked there. Literally, I have been there since my birth. I have witnessed many scenarios there: my favourite one, post-pregnancy.

Whenever a baby was delivered, information would be passed to me (as I was the younger one in the surrounding) and I would rush to the pregnancy ward, caress the tiny hands of the baby and fight with the nurses to take the baby with me, which they never allowed. Four babies per month, they were my 10-day siblings. After 10 days, mothers were discharged. In the gap of 10 days, a lot of incidents would take place. Mothers-in-law would curse their daughters-in-law for not giving birth to a male baby, wives would insist their husbands undergo a vasectomy, and much more. But a common strange incident confused me. The mothers would be holding down their babies and staring through the windows as their tears touched the ground. Though I was a child, I knew those tears were not an outcome of happiness.

This happened during my 10th grade. My mom called me to see the newborn. I would never forget her birthday, the day after my birthday. Her eyes were so cute that I visualized a galaxy in her pupil. She had blue eyes, which is very rare in our locality. Her mom was smiling as she was placing a kiss on her forehead. That was the last time I saw her. She missed her checkup for a month and after two months all I heard was she hanged herself to death. My mom tried her level best to explain to me, about this. But I didn’t understand anything at that time.

Reason: Post-Partum Depression (PPD)

Most of us have no idea what this is, including me. A doctor close to me, enlightened me about this.

We have visualized that attaining motherhood is blissful, where mothers appears radiant and fulfilled, but motherhood isn’t all rosy. It is traumatizing for some woman. The physical exhaustion after giving birth, the emotional adjustment of becoming a parent, sleep deprivation causes PPD. PPD may exist for 2 weeks, if it exist for more than 2 weeks, the mother should be taken to therapist.

Sooner you find out, sooner you are safe. Don’t hesitate to ask for support, to share your feelings and to get some rest.

Parents and family should understand that whatever they say or do during PPD is out of control, an involuntary biological happening. All they need is a good pamper.

Depression

Depression is a sign of mental weakness that is brought on by traumatic life events. It is all in your head and real men don’t get depressed. These are some of the common avalanche of bullshit that circles around depression. This is nothing but, nasty myths.

Failing in an exam, inability to get a job, not getting what you deserve may not depress you. I have seen people boasting that they have depression just because someone talked harshly with them. Depression isn’t a joke that you can relate it with everything.

Depression is a medical condition in which your brain chemistry, function and structure are negatively affected by environmental or biological factors.

Some Causes

  • Genetic Vulnerability
  • Personality Traits
  • Prolong stress
  • Changes in Neurotransmitter level
  • Hormonal changes
  • Lack of social support during stress

We may feel upset following the death of a loved one or the end of a relationship, this may raise the risk of depression. But depression isn’t always about negative incidents. It may arise suddenly and inexplicably, even when things in your life seems to be going well.

Depression isn’t always mental. Depression can manifest fatigue, insomnia, hypersonia, chronic muscle aches (back pain). Men often experience depression differently than women. Men often speak up less and receive the help they need because of their masculine character that the society imparts. Men are far more successful when they attempt suicide.

Let me illustrate how it feels during depression

It feels like your head is burning in pain. The voices and nightmares take their toll, continuously stabbing you with fear. Lot of anger and sadness. Sometimes you feel chest pain, headaches, break into sweat and rarely faint. You cry a lot or you stop feeling anything and become numb. It will be like drowning, it’s like an addiction, you want to get out of it but at the same time you don’t. It will be like alternating between feeling sucked in the past and worrying about the future, for instance feeling stupid for something you said, and ruminating on that. You lose motivation, motivation to survive. When you are, all alone in a room on a dark night, all you think about is ending your life so all your pain comes to an end. You see a sharp object and you think of piercing your heart with that, that too in broad daylight. You will be sitting down on a couch surrounded by your friends, having a good time and tears starts to roll out. Sudden sadness would surround you. You cry all night, wake in the morning trying to smile and have a normal day.

Depression is such a cruel punishment. There are no fevers, no rashes, no blood tests to send people scurrying in concern, just the slow erosion of self, as insidious as cancer. And like cancer, it is essentially a solitary experience; a room in hell with only your name on the door.

People with depression never open up easily. Note it, when they burst into anger, it was never them. It is just the mental disorder they carry. All they need is someone to help them to the carry their weights. They need you more than they need them.

And to people who are battling with depression, here I quote;

These days would pass soon. You are a solo warrior, if you can fight the battle alone, you could win this alone. You have been knocked down. You felt pain that most couldn’t handle. You never ran. You always found a way to stand tall. You are unbreakable. All this is going to end soon and you are going to show the world who you really are. You are going to inspire millions and millions of people out there. Stay strong.

Ending your life, suicide doesn’t end the pain. It just passes it on to someone else. Think of people who need you, who love you. A kiss from mom, a hug from dad, a kick from a friend, a love from your partner, are you gonna lose these things forever?

Inspiration doesn’t lie in success; it lies in the battle to succeed. All of you out there are, an inspiration to someone

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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.

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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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        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.

        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
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