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“It’s OK To Feel Sad Sometimes, Being Happy Always Is A Myth”

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By Rahul Keshri:

“To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Why do we need to reconnect to our soul and heart? Mentioned below, are three quick points, that might give you a perspective on just how beautiful you and your life are!

Often, while talking about depression, mental health or suicide, we tend to get very technical and analytical. While all of that is done with the kindest of intentions, and with a very empathetic heart, the challenge is – how to communicate that message effectively, so that it really reaches out to the person in need, and he/she can begin to feel more compassionate towards themselves.

I am writing this to all people. Regardless of your location, gender, age, job, and position in society, you may, at some point, feel completely defeated by life. Things will get a little chaotic and uncertain. You will get thousands of negative thoughts and emotions running through your body. You will fall in love, get hurt. You will sometimes get your dreams crushed. You will go through an existential crisis and emotional turmoil.

Once, I was at an open mic event. A girl came to the stage, looking really pretty, and filled with enthusiasm. I could see it in her eyes and her body language that she was nervous. Also, I could see that that nervousness wasn’t going to stop her from saying what she came to say.

She spoke about how she’s growing up and various responsibilities and expectations are being put on her. It’s a part of growing up; we sometimes are given a greater load than we can carry. She elaborated on how she was feeling confused and alone; that she didn’t know what the right thing to do was. She felt as if there was no meaning or joy left in friends, relationships, or her college life. She would complain all the time, sit and cry. She wanted peace, someone who felt like home. She felt abandoned and left out for being honest, most of the time.

We all go through such times, at least once or twice. So, below, I want to elaborate on some basic things that might help you have a positive outlook on such adversities.

Being Happy Always Is A Myth; Dark, Cold Nights Make You Appreciate Bright, Happy Days

Modern social conditioning, advertisement, and the media have portrayed that for a healthy life, a person should be happy all the time. There is a certain expectation that has been put on all of us that we need to have strong emotional control on ourselves and mental strength. It doesn’t work, because everybody is different. People have a multitude of strengths and weaknesses. Especially, during late teens and while entering your 20s, the world might seem like a massive place. You do feel small, given the scale at which things are happening around you. Information is pushed down your throat, and you don’t know what to do with it. Things become much more dynamic and unstable. You find yourself in the middle of a storm.

It’s very different from when you were a kid and things were provided to you. You have no idea that living can be so daunting. You walk, in a jungle, like a blind person, who is confused with all the noise, the rustling of leaves, growling noises, feeling helpless! Of course, it’s hard! Stop listening to the media to tell you how to feel. However you feel, and whatever you experience, is your truth!

You are an individual with complex psychological and biological needs and impulses. It’s okay if you are sad sometimes. It’s okay to feel lonely sometimes. It’s okay to feel lost sometimes. It tells that you have a healthy brain and you are not blindly following other people’s agenda. It tells that you are creative and you have ambition. It means that you can understand yourself, you can be aware of your emotions. That’s a power in and out of itself. Many people, just delude themselves by thinking that they will be happy when (fill in the blanks).

Only You Can Make Yourself Feel Better, Only You Can Help You

Just like when you wear clothes, it’s up to you to wash them, iron them, and take good care of them. It’s up to you to take a shower and wear your best shoes and maintain your hair and your health. It’s all a choice. Similarly, waking up and making a proactive choice to be happy, rather than just letting yourself go along with the emotions is very necessary. Proactively doing things that make you feel good and happy, not in the short run but also, in the long run, is key. People, habits, work, lifestyle, hobbies, books, exercise, food, music, etc. are all sources of positive emotions. You always have the power to decide something. You always have the power to go for a walk all by yourself.

A New Born Child Cries; From The Child’s Perspective, Being Born Is A Bad Thing

Okay, what am I writing? Let me take you on a little thought experiment. When a child is in the womb, it’s like being in heaven, metaphorically speaking. He has no work to do, he’s comfortable, food and nutrition are provided to him, he doesn’t have to move or do anything. Isn’t it very similar to the comfort zone we all seek, where we can get the most rewards, by applying the least energy? We can just sit and feel loved, where nothing ever goes wrong; you have everything around you that you want, there is no chaos and no emotional drama. But, from our perspective, isn’t it a beautiful thing? A new life is created. We can all see that the child is crying, but we are happy for the child.

We know that it is painful to enter a completely new world, where they will have to deal with certain challenges, emotions, events, people, responsibilities, pain, struggles, heartbreak, failures and successes, and everything. But, isn’t it a beautiful thing? Isn’t there beauty and peace in life? What would you prefer? Going through life never falling in love, and never getting hurt or meeting someone amazing, having a nice experience with them; and if it doesn’t last, at least you felt that.

You experience what many people will die for. You became stronger and more colours were added to your being by just going through that experience. Now, think about your school, your college, your best friend, the moments you cherish, people who might be secretly admiring you, people who might be secretly looking up to you, some people who care for you and all the creative things you have done in your life!

I know life can be messy sometimes, but if you ask me, I love that mess and I would give everything to live this mess again and again! Our time is limited, there’s no hurry. Life passes by in the blink of an eye. The future becomes present, and the present becomes a memory. Everything might not go exactly the way that I want, but I am happy about that. At least it’s not boring. At least it’s better than nothingness.

The author, Rahul Keshri, is an active supporter of PSY-FI : For a Healthy Mind and The Jigsaw Company. He manages and actively writes on his blog on Instagram under the name – ‘ Menoverse’. He is an advocate of positive masculinity and we have reduced talking to each other while casually throwing judgements, craving humane concern, and finding ourselves in fixed social conditioning. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 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.”

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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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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
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