With 2020 almost coming to an end, the world has now known the value of several things — several little things we ignored previously, including mental health.
A lot among us, and no offence, never stop cribbing about how much life is unfair and how much privileged few other humans are. But in this inconsequential rat-race competition, we often tend to forget about those who are constantly struggling with life and yet fighting back, growing and inspiring several other people.
Here is a quick introduction to my five favourite gritty women out of those who struggled, fought and conquered — who proved that yes, depression exists, but it can be taken away!
How Katrick taught Jinisha to live life at a slow and relaxed pace!
“I’ve always had ADD and bipolar disorder (with acute manic phases). For me, relaxation time never even crossed my mind. I was always doing something. I’ve grown up with dogs, and my energy always matched theirs. But, when I got my cat, this entirely changed. Now, my cat is lazy and very proud of it. Katrick loves his morning strolls and late afternoon siestas. And, that is something I couldn’t even apprehend initially! But, I soon realised that if I wanted to bond with him, I’d need to take the time out and relax with him.
Initially, it was really uncomfortable. But, over time, it started becoming more and more easier. And, as it did, I could feel my anxious energy fade. I could feel myself becoming a calmer person, one that was capable of taking things as they come. Now, my cat and I have regular self-care sessions. We spend plenty of mornings out on the terrace just staring at the sky and watching the birds go by,” Jinisha tells how Katrick helped her in settling her mental health conditions.
How Endometriosis shaped this woman’s life!
“I got my first period at the age of 13 — always painful, heavy and irregular. My gynaecologist said the condition would improve with age. And yes, it did. But what never left my company was this pain, this unmerciful and burning pain. When I was 26, I started getting random cramps. Getting down from my bed in the morning became like a battle. I rushed to my gynaecologist. And after all the scans and tests, I was diagnosed with Endometriosis, a chronic illness I have to live with.
Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue similar to the endometrial tissue (tissue that forms the lining of your uterus) grows outside of the uterine cavity, on ovaries, fallopian tube, bowel, and tissues lining your pelvis.
The treatment my doctor suggested was of combined oral contraceptive pills. I have been taking this treatment from the past three years now with planned breaks in between. I can say that in my case, the treatment did not work as effectively as expected. Instead, it brought some side effects like weight gain and bad mood swings, but yes, I’m fighting it every day!” Read her entire story here.
How vlogging gave Hasitha a medium to inspire others!
Friedreich’s Ataxia is a genetic disorder which means the information to make a protein (gene) is disrupted. To develop Friedreich’s Ataxia, one needs two defective copies of genes (one from each parent). This defective gene forms an improperly functioning protein, Frataxin, which plays a role in giving energy to cells, and damage to this protein affects the neurons that carry signals to the brain, the spine and the heart in constant need of energy. Overall, there is constant nerve degeneration happening throughout the life resulting in the disease to be progressive. A diagnosed person will initially walk but eventually become wheelchair-users for the rest of their life. Also, there can be chances of becoming bedridden in the later stages.
Her disease pushed her into depression, and it took her a lot of time and counselling to get out of it. She knows what depression takes out of someone. Mental Health is something that HasithaI, as a disabled woman, always struggled with, and she really wanted to normalise it.
“My blogs and videos bring awareness to the public that we can live a ‘normal’ life, just like anyone else. A big plus is that I serve as an inspiration and a role model to many out there, even abled-bodies. This gives me an added opportunity to focus on mental health because it matters before anything and needs to be less of a stigma,” she says. Read her entire story here.
ADHD, dyslexia & body-shaming, Aarti’s journey to conquering all!
“My struggle was first surviving being born and then growing into the bosom of this omnipresent love — the dark shadow of not being accepted and emotionally abused by my maternal family. And then actually began my conflict of the mind-body and spirit,” says Aarti. She was a highly sensitive child and grew up with adults primarily who encouraged her different learning and supported her questioning spirit.
“As a person being ridiculed for my weight and academic under-achievement by my mother’s side of the family made me a reluctant participant in the education process. Only because I was blessed with grandparents and a far-sighted father who understood my other abilities, they encouraged my understanding of the world evolving through my own introspection and adding intuitive meaning that I could take on the diagnosis of being labelled ADHD & Dsylexic in adolescence. A struggling body image issue also became a binge eating episodic depressive and self-harming behaviour,” she continues.
Aarti later completed her MA in Applied Psychology from Amity University Noida. In the past decade, she has diversified her professional skills by training herself as NLP practitioner, Health and Wellness Coach, and gaining knowledge in Family and Relationship along with Expressive Art therapy. She calls herself a lifestyle consultant combining her acumen in psychology with her interest in food art and wellness domains, having established Adiaa Simplified Livings Solutions, a Pvt Ltd company with business interest in health, wellness, and entertainment domain. Read her entire story here.
Shreya’s experience of PPD & PMDD!
Shreya gave birth to little Shaan on 01.12.2016, and five days later, got diagnosed with a brain haemorrhage. She was immediately taken to Chennai by her husband and father-in-law.
“I was saved. Yes, I fought a lot, but soon I started getting panic attacks, anxiety attacks, unexplainable postpartum rage, and I went into depression,” Shreya calls it a horrible phase. It wasn’t easy to overcome. The worst was not knowing what was happening to her because all the reactions were behavioural. “It was a gloomy dark phase, the phase where I fought every single day to make it through another day,” recalls the 29 YO mother who has been diagnosed with a brain haemorrhage, postpartum depression (PPD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
“PPD took away one whole year of my life, and I don’t know who to blame, or how to get closure. I will never get the first year of my child back, and it hurts knowing that it would have been prevented or tackled in a better way if I had known about it earlier,” Shreya says. When she took this experience of hers online, many women, including Shreya’s friends, reached out to her and shared their experiences. She soon started Raising Shaan, where she writes about maternal mental health. Shreya is trying to increase awareness about maternal health, normalise depression, its causes and consequences. Read her entire story here.
Let’s admit it — life’s a mess, but that doesn’t mean that we would stop fighting back! Instead, we should get up stronger every time and fight all the adversities away!
Infano encourages every woman to come forward, stand for each other and live their lives, their dreams despite all the struggles and hardships. If you know someone whose story of fighting depression must be heard, please tag us in the comments below! #InfanoWomen #MyStory