So many people today struggle with mental health.
Everyone has problems.
That’s what you are most likely to hear when you try to voice out your pain and dilemma to a senior person or even to your closest friend. Two years ago, I embarked on my journey to adulting and to be brutally honest, I did not enjoy a single day of the ride. As I was thrown between people I did not know and situations I would have wanted to stay away from, I realized that you can only resist to a certain extent. Once the pressure of ripples starts to hurt your back, you need to let go.
How you let go is a different matter altogether.
The first time I felt like I did not want to continue with this adult life was during the seventh month of my job. I had been lucky to find the job that I did not really sign up for and for the people who guided me through the way but over the period of time; I also realized that everyone has an ulterior motive of pushing others forward. This severely hindered my mental health.
A leader was not helping because she wanted her team to grow but for what she would get if she shows the number. A senior did not want to teach because he could have helped his “disciples” become better at their work but because nowhere else will he get a chance to show his authority. I was indeed passing my days in the “real” world that is supposedly very different from what we learn about in our schools, colleges, and at homes. The “real” world comprises of people who are completely desensitized to emotions, whose conversations are driven by the principle of profit and loss and for whom growth only means “personal” growth. Ethics for such people only exist as books and pills they loathed to consume and chose to discard during their periods of adulting.
I was saddened and extremely angry by the fact that no one, not a single person prepared me for this. Everyone’s same was the only answer I received and I was not content. If everyone’s the same then, why did I not turn into them?
The worst part of the experience was when I was made to bear the responsibility of other people. Just 7-8 into my job, a 20-year-old (my age in 2016) was made responsible for a “team”. I tried my best to look at the opportunity positively and nurture people but soon realized that I was only leading them to an existential crisis. Being a part of the team that had no scope or future outside the workplace and developing a skill that most people would not demand till next few years, I was driving people to the gates of hell.
So, I reacted and overreacted. I spoke up and lost temper for people I was responsible for and for myself but eventually, I had to give up. How long can you speak to the walls? How long can you endure? I stopped because of my own selfish reasons because I did not have the strength to bear anymore.
I had my first major panic attack last year, just a day before I received an award for “special contribution” to my team but no one knew how guilty and conflicted I felt for accepting it. This major attack was preceded by a series of anxiety attacks, the consequences of which were my complete disinterest in any social activity, a minimal attempt on my part to interact with anyone in my family and friend circle and the complete elimination of the reading habit, a hobby that I could never imagine leaving behind. To this day, I only read to pass my exams, without enjoying a single narrative.
When I was preparing for my assignments, I had to wake up till midnight in order to read all the necessary study material and that was the first time I realized the worth of a habit that I was losing. I cried. To this day, I have had several such attacks that I had endured alone because whenever I tried to talk about it, I became the one who “is yet to learn the ways of the world”.
One thing I learned during this period was to “unlearn” anything that my parents had told me about people and make judgments purely on the basis of observations. But the problem is that when I felt conflicted I only blamed myself for overreacting. I did not for once think that the reason why I am having a hard time accepting things might be due to the difference in my mindset and others. They weren’t necessarily wrong but they made choices that I would not have made had I been at their place. They turned out to the people I could not look up to and the ones I am afraid of turning in to if I give up. My difference was unacceptable while I was told to make adjustments. Irony at its best!
I have learned that people aren’t necessarily good or bad. These words are mere construct to provide sanity to an individual but making way through the grey areas of disgust and empathy is not always easy and it’s definitely not easy to learn selective judgment. But my mental health was worth it.
This constant conflict of how “the world is” and how “you are” and the fear of “how you will turn out to be” has led to a series of extreme worries and days when I had not wanted to wake up. I wouldn’t lie that I did not think about the extreme measure but I never made my mind to do it or to even feel motivated enough to do anything that would end my chapter forever. The reason being that I knew that I had to move on, eventually. If I did not like my current situation, I had to make the change to better my mental health.
The struggle at the moment is to figure out a way to do it. I am hell scared to make the next move and not at all ready to bear the same things again but I don’t have the motivation of giving up my mental health. It’s difficult to explain but I am living somewhere between existing and not existing and I am trying my best to fall on the former side. My mental struggle has made me realize the importance of “choice”. So, I am choosing to work for the life I intend to live. It’s not easy but I think it’s worth it. That’s all I can conclude for now.