I’m Not Ok. You’re Not Ok!

So the discussion veered to ‘Mental Health.’ How brave is it for someone to acknowledge that they need a mental health day, or that they are going through depression , or that they need help-I was told?

Brave as it may be, I countered, it’s often still a luxury for most families in India to be allowed a mental health day. And as much as I agree we can’t ignore depression or mental health, I wonder how many companies allow their employees this basic need.

When yesterday I received a call from an Agency at 9 p.m. while they were still at office, I wondered, how many hours people spend at their desks? In India, the time you spend at your office seems to have a direct and completely ludicrous correspondence to your work ethic…is that truly healthy? When in India, hours are spent commuting to jobs in over crowded commuter trains and buses and little to no time is spent with family- how does that help mental health? When going to a counsellor or mental health professional is associated with a person being unsound of mind and gossiped about- how is that healthy? We can ask for a sick day at work, but eyebrows raise if a mental health day was asked for- may be the pressure or stress is too much, it is assumed.

How can we claim to be sensitive to mental health- when everything we create around us, or expect from others is in direct contradiction to mental health?

It’s a luxury in India to talk about depression. It’s a luxury almost none can afford.

Till Indian companies start hiring a counsellor/ mental health professional on the payroll, like they do with HR and legal and other departments- it will always be a luxury. Till it is mandatory for every employee to get even 15 minutes where they can vent / talk to someone qualified to monitor their mental health- we cannot discuss or pretend to be evolved enough to acknowledge mental health as being important.

Till schools have counsellors and make it mandatory for children to visit and talk taking away the stigma attached to talking about mental health- we cannot assume that we are taking mental health seriously.

Till then, ‘mental health’ and our worries about them remain castles in the clouds. Unless we decide to remove the stigma and make a difference in our company lives, in our children’s lives and in our own lives- it will always remain a Celebrity first world problem and something that we will never actually even attempt to address.

P.s. -(Palat says): It’s easy talking about problems… we all have a ton of them. It’s solutions that are hard. Work out the solution rather than always looking for the problem.

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Starting Anew

So the resolutions started and I made a few that I think I can keep.

This year, I’m making ME my priority.

After a failed set of blood tests— yes the nerd in me still can’t get over the fact that these are tests I cannot study for, hence fix; I decided-: My life=My health= Me!

Change can only happen if you want it to !It can’t happen if you are not ready to make the change… so after years of letting other people tell me what they think I should do, or what could make a difference- I did the research and change has started. It will be slow. It is painful. But I’m going to power on!

Next resolution was to invest in relationships…it’s about taking the time to make a difference in someone else’s life and allowing them to make a difference in yours… So I’m spending more quality time with the people I love, meeting a few I did love once and seeing how I can get that magic back and just realising that the world is so much better when you actually connect.

December was a fun month of meetings and parties; connections and disconnections (from staring at a screen) and I had the most fun I’d had! We spend so much time connecting at the end of the year… I’ve decided to make this more of a year long feature… So here’s to late nights, bleary eyes and lots of laughter!

I also bought a planner… now for someone who prides herself on her Organisational skills, this could have been a bit much… But with the diary allowing me to focus on sticking with my plans and even giving me the freedom to make new plans.. I’m having fun!

I know… this is just Week 1… there’s another 51 to go…

But like I always say… you gotta start somewhere… and I just did!

To all the liars out there…

I have been blessed over the last few years to have been able to eliminate the majority of the negative people in my life which has allowed more space for new, fabulous and positive people in…

These people inspire me to think every day. They inspire me to be better, do more, feel more and achieve more.

But every so often you’re given a blast from the past and are witness to some of the negative people you let go of and you are reminded about why they aren’t with you anymore. These are the people who will lie about you, will try and walk on top of you just to achieve some sense of achievement. And it makes me proud.

Proud that I left them.Proud that I did good.

I am without you for a reason.

I am sorry I still figure in your conversations. And you need to spin it, to make your self the  winner…!

I don’t need to spin anything any more.

I am surrounded by winners. I am surrounded by heroes. I am surrounded by people so incredible…I become a little more fabulous each day. I am surrounded by superstars and I don’t take anything away from them to make me feel better about my life cos it’s pretty perfect … especially now that you’re not in it! (sorry couldn’t risk the childish dig!)

cuviybmwgaejimz

 

The face that I put on

So the writing has been irregular because i’ve just not felt well enough… With ‘The Verdict’ premiere just ’round the corner, it’s been rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal! But that’s not been what has kept me from writing….it’s just incredible and scary new life lessons I have had to learn.

  1. Everyone is an actor. Most people are 2, 3 or 4 faced…they say one thing to you, one to another and something else to a third! And it comes to them more naturally than it does for most trained actors! I was untrusting , as a person, before, but now I don’t even believe you when you give me your word or write it down!
  2. Class does not come from how much money you possess or what you wear… it’s ingrained in your value system, your thoughts and your beliefs. You can’t buy class- not even with all the money in the world.
  3. I care about myself! Every individual sole focus is themselves- NOT you! Your world might collapse…. but they will only worry if the ground under them move… else you are just extra noise…
  4. Just because I’m nice to you …doesn’t mean I’m your friend. It doesn’t even mean that i like you… People will say one thing and do exactly what they feel like. Most people can never more than acquaintances- passing breezes…!
  5. And last but not least- NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR FAMILY. When everything collapses around you, when you don’t have the will to get up and still fight to retain the ‘I don’t need help’ attitude- they are the ones who will help you when you push them away. They are the ones who make you stronger and they are the ones who make you believe in the power and strength of unconditional love.

And thru all the madness and all the ill health, I have smiled through pain and gritted teeth because of the strength my family gives to me. I didn’t ask for it. I pushed them away. I yelled at them for treating me like I was unwell and they smiled indulgently and bought me cake. When I had hours of work left, they took me kicking and screaming out to lunch. When I pulled an all-nighter and was continuing thru the day- they dragged me to bed.

The reason ‘The Verdict’ will be a success is thanks to my family.

They saw thru my smile. they saw thru my ‘I’m fine.’ They love me enough to take me tantrums and all and listen to my fears, put band-aids on the hurt and prop me up to make me the smiling person the world sees every day.

It is thanks to them- you can never tell the face that I put on.

 

Happy Birthday to ME!

It’s that time of year again when I reminisce on the days gone by….on the months and years gone by…. and try and decide whether I did it right…. It’s BIRTH DAY time and the one time year where I take a few moments to think about where I am and where I wanted to be.

So this last year has been interesting…

I’ve had health issues and pain; but I’ve learnt to become stronger and tolerate more pain and fight more illness…

I’ve taken on more work and that’s made me exhausted but that’s also taught me to value my time with family and friends more…

I’ve learnt to trust more and that’s made me happier on show days and allowed people to surprise me instead of me trying to control the outcome always!

I’ve learnt to say ‘yes’ more and done more than I should but have been happier then if I’d said ‘no’ and played it safe!

Am I exactly where i wanted to be in life?

Well, I’d like to believe I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I learnt a long time ago that life doesn’t play by your rules… and you’re going to have to keep improvising if you’d like the song to keep playing… I’ve had a few off keys, been pitchy at a few points… but I’ve found a beat and I’m still playing- learning new instruments along the way but still playing and fine tuning my own original tune!

Thank you Lord for yet another birth day. Thank you for bringing me a life full of experience. Thank you for all the people- the cheats, the friends, the enemies and the lovers- they have each taught me so much. Thank you for the Drama. Thank you for the Love!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

i FEAR!

Fear.

We sell fear. We buy fear. We live in fear.

We wake up in the mornings and the newspapers scare us. Where we live is unsafe, what we’re eating is wrong, what we’re doing will destroy us…we wake up to fear.

We then go to work, fearing the repercussions of a boss who may one day fire us, a client who may one day not need us, a job where one day we’ll prove we’re replaceable by someone younger, smarter and more ambitious. We work in fear.

We come home trying got do everything the same way we have always done, faring change; lest the wife leaves us, the children hate us, the neighbour bitches about us, the friends prefer other people to spend time with. We come home in fear.

And then we exercise for fear we’ll get diabetes or a heart attack or die. We eat what the newspapers say is good for us till another study prints that all that we thought was good is now bad and we may die any way and then the fears just grow and grow and grow!

Fear starts when we’re young and our parents tell us if we don’t go to sleep ‘the Boogie man will come for us’ and then as we grow older the Boogie man becomes our jobs, our marriages, our life choices …even our food!

We fear the newspapers…we don’t celebrate the victories- big or small.

We fear our jobs- we stop enjoying them

We fear our marriages- love goes out of the window

We fear our health- an the fear causes stress and a whole new set of illnesses.

We live in fear and stress and then the fear and stress finally kills us.

I don’t know how this will work… but this week’s resolution (and I say this week…. because it’s going to be tough to retrain a system which has only been taught stress and fear)- is to HAVE NO FEAR…. I mean… think of the incredible things that I could achieve just with hard work…not worrying about a negative consequence… the possibilities are truly limitless!

Try it with me? And let’s check back on how this felt!

Expecting NOT to Expect

Expectation is the root of all heartache

William Shakespeare.

Those of us who believe we don’t expect anything from anyone are lying to ourselves. We expect love and support from our friends and family. We expect growth and satisfaction from our jobs. We expect belief, trust, security and help. We expect dreams to come true and love stories to just happen. We expect.

And then we’re shocked when we’re stabbed in the back by ‘friends’ , hurt by loved ones, not trusted by work-mates and saddened that our dreams have to continuously evolve and even then may never come true. Easier said than done- stop expecting.

And if you think the external expectations that we have are hard, well take a good hard look inside. Often it is OUR EXPECTATIONS of OURSELVES that let us down even more than the expectations we have of others.

We expect to reach the top and whereas our fathers and grandfathers enjoyed a steady and positive growth in a company that they chose to work with for 15, 20 or even 30 years we need  to be at the top yesterday and if that doesn’t happen we shift job,we shift career and we work harder to be at the top at the cost of our health , our families and our happiness!

We expect the perfect spouse and hold them and ourselves to such ridiculous expectations and criteria that we both fail and end up in a bitter marriage or any even more painful divorce.

The solution? Well to stop expecting is not really an option but may be we can cut ourselves and others around us some slack. These are some truths-:

  1. Dating is hard. Marriage is harder. They both require work. When the make up is off and at the end of a bad day- all you have left is the both of you without any pretence and charade and that’s the truth. You are not going to wake up every morning perfect and he’s not going to come home every evening happy. Expect this.
  2. Don’t give your trust to everyone. Everyone may not be worth it. Even with friends, hold a little back/ Don’t expect them to hold all your confidences or bear all your burdens. That’s unrealistic. Open up slowly. Trust less. Make stronger bonds with a few.
  3. Work hard and ensure that your bosses and you know your worth. DON’T EXPECT a raise or a promotion. Ensure they know your worth and ensure YOU KNOW YOUR WORTH. This will give greater job satisfaction and also benefit your company. An unhappy employee makes for an unhappy company. If you feel you deserve more, before jumping ship and leaving the company- tell them. Give them a chance to live up to your expectations. They will only know of your expectations if you tell them!
  4. Be realistic of what you can do in a day , in a week, in a month. And make others aware so that neither you nor they over-expect from you. Aim for the stars but be prepared for the sick days, the setbacks, the days where everything goes wrong and take every moment one step at a time.
  5. Do not expect others to work to your time just because you do. Stop expecting others to live up  to your standards WITHOUT lowering your standards.
  6. TELL PEOPLE YOUR EXPECTATIONS OF THEM. Don’t EXPECT THEM TO GUESS!
  7. Be realistic in your expectations! You wanted to be able to live through some of them not die of a heart attack trying to achieve any of them.
  8. Give WITHOUT expectation. That way you’ll always be surprised.
  9. Love WITHOUT expectation. That way you’ll find love.
  10. Work on your dream WITHOUT expectation. That way your dream may come true :)!