People who suffer from chronic health conditions can help a lot if they bring changes to their diet. Some food can cause our other health conditions to worsen. Hence if you are suffering from any health issue, then it is best if you visit one of the best Diet Specialist in Punjab at Ruhin Nutrition consultancy. They will assist you to prepare a meal plan focused to cure your health conditions. If your nutrient intake is low, then you might develop some chronic illnesses. But also remember to not take too many nutrients, it can also lead to other types of illnesses. They eat packaged foods, sweet drinks and also fast food. It can make them obese. But if you regularly visit a diet specialist, they will make sure you are taking only good foods and less junk food. Ruhin Nutrition Consultancy - Diet Clinic in Ludhiana Address- Prem Vihar Flats, 25-ff, Pakhowal Rd, opposite Keys Hotel, F-Block Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar Ludhiana, Punjab - 141001 Contact - +918054001000 WEBSITE : https://ruhinnutritionconsultancy.com/ MAP - https://goo.gl/maps/9TcLXjmoM1Adnu1V6
Proper oral hygiene is vital for a healthy life. By maintaining good oral health, you can not only prevent dental issues but also severe health conditions. Oral health contributes to our overall well being. Individuals with poor oral health are at the higher risk of having health problems. So it is essential to maintain proper oral health. If you want to improve your oral health, then prcaticing oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing daily and regular dental checkups will help you achieve optimal oral health. If you are still facing issues in achieving optimal oral health, consider contacting Ludhiana Dental Centre, the best dental clinic in Punjab for all your oral health needs. Ludhiana Dental Centre Address – 1-F, F-Block SBS Nagar, F Block, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Ludhiana, Punjab 141013 Contact – 9803200800 Website - https://ludhianadentalcentre.com/
As a teenage girl living in South Africa, my life has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Born into a humble background, I reside with my parents, younger sister, and brother, with my father being the sole breadwinner after my mom lost her job due to the pandemic. The challenges brought on by the outbreak have affected me academically, emotionally, and mentally, forcing me to adapt to new circumstances and develop resilience amidst unprecedented difficulties. 2020: A Year of Turmoil In 2020, I was in grade 7, trying to find my footing in a new school. Just as I began to settle in, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, turning my world upside down. The loss of my parents' jobs compounded our financial struggles, leading to anxiety and uncertainty about our future. The school's kindness in providing grocery packages helped alleviate our immediate food concerns, but the mental toll was immense. The transition to online classes added to my distress. As a top student at my previous school, my slipping grades left me feeling like a failure. The pressure to live up to the expectations placed on me by my scholarship and my own high standards overwhelmed me, leading to bouts of depression and self-hate. When in-person schooling resumed, I found solace in the company of my classmates, and the support provided by the school helped me pass the year, albeit not with the results I had hoped for. 2021-2022: A Blur of Emotions The following years were marked by a rollercoaster of emotions. The lifting of COVID-19 protocols allowed for more social interactions, but I struggled with anxiety in large gatherings. Balancing my studies, personal life, and the challenges of the pandemic took a toll on my mental health. The disruptions caused by the pandemic led to curriculum cuts, affecting my learning and grades. Facing personal struggles, I withdrew and resorted to unhealthy coping mechanisms. While I found comfort in my group of friends, I was hesitant to open up about my problems, wanting to be the strong support system for them. I joined robotics and coding to find a healthy outlet, but the pressure to excel in these areas added to my stress. Despite achieving relatively good marks, I continued to feel unsatisfied and burdened by self-doubt, leading to a constant feeling of inadequacy. The pressure from school, home, my scholarship, and myself weighed heavily on my shoulders, often making me feel like a failure. 2023: The Journey Continues As I turned 16, life remained challenging, with financial struggles continuing to impact my family. Problems within my friend group added to the emotional strain, causing divides and reshaping our dynamics. Despite coming to terms with my grades, I still grappled with occasional disappointments in myself. Throughout this tumultuous journey, my dogs have become a source of comfort and strength. They, along with my family and true friends, keep me going and give me the will to face each day with renewed determination. Conclusion: A Path Forward The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected my life, presenting numerous challenges and obstacles. As a 16-year-old girl from a humble background, I have been through emotional turmoil, academic pressure, and financial struggles. Despite the hardships, I have persevered, adapting to new circumstances and finding solace in my passions and loved ones. As the journey continues, I strive to embrace my imperfections and learn from my experiences. I acknowledge that my struggles, though personal, are valid, and I should not downplay my emotions. My resilience and determination will continue to guide me towards a brighter future, pursuing my interests in coding and robotics, and supporting my family through our difficulties. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has left lasting scars, it has also taught me valuable lessons about strength, compassion, and the power of resilience. As a 16-year-old girl in South Africa, I look forward to the day when our world heals from the pandemic's wounds, and together, we emerge stronger than ever before.
My wedding was in June, 2020 just after quarantine. Every woman does want to have a baby and lives with passion of beacoming mom. So did I. I had to wait almost 6 months to get pregnant. When I appeared to know that I was pregnant I was over the moon. I can't say I had really hard time during pregnancy. I was just sensitive to the smells so I couldn't cook meals and nothing more. However, I didn't know how hard days were waiting for me. At the end of May, 2021 I was informed that baby's water was gone and almost non left. We made several chech-ups but the answers were the same. So I had to go to the hospital. My baby was too small to be born but the doctors decided to take it out after five days of treatment otherwise it was really dangerous for me and baby. Because my temperature was getting higher and higher. They took my baby out by caesarean section in 29th week of pregnancy. It was too small that could not breathe itself. My mother prayed for me and baby all the time, my parents did everything they could so that I and my baby would get better and let it live. After a week baby started breathing himself. It was the biggest happiness for the whole family. We were at the hospital for about a month. Then we went home holding my baby in my arms. Thanks God he is now a healthy boy. He can run, jump, say several words, understand everything he hears, play with his dady and he loves his little brother, too.
Warning: Depictions of self-harm. Readers discretion is advised. Harvey's music blasted from his laptop, causing everything on his desk to vibrate. His pens and keys shook against the commanding sound waves, which jumped from its epicenter like an earthquake. He had turned the basement of his rental house into a DJ club. He was surprised a neighbor hadn't come banging on his door yet with fire in their eyes, asking him to shut it. “I ain't no therapist, but ya'll got the gist!” He sang the lyrics to his song even louder. It was a Thursday evening, and tomorrow was going to be his debut as a DJ at a local bar. There was no choice but to erupt his basement into an eardrum-smashing destruction - practice was all that filled his mind. The next verse featured a harsh rap which Harvey chanted along: “Money, cash, bank, the coins are in my fanny! Ya'll fuckin' mofos want empty hands, saying love, love love!” The music then spun into a dubstep-style track for a half minute, until the next verse arrived: “Ain't no fuckas saying no to ya'll dimes, just buy them bitches before they mine! Love ain't real, ya mental shit only wants to feel-” Cling! Harvey twitched and stopped his rap abruptly, startled by the loud clang below him which pierced his ear, even through his rowdy music. He directed his gaze below the table at the source of the noise. His lucky penny, which dropped to the concrete floor of his basement thanks to the loud vibrations of his table, was finishing its twirl before flattening. Face-up was heads instead of tails. “God dammit, can't believe I lost my groove just ‘cause of a coin,” Harvey muttered, and paused his music. He bent down to pick his penny up under the table. And that's when he heard it. Not the sound of his music; not the clinging of his coin. It was a faint rumble from upstairs in the house. Harvey glanced up to the ragged ceiling of his basement, pretending to see through the wood. His own music still echoed in his ear, making it hard to tell if he was only hallucinating. He looked back at the coin, peering at its shiny heads surface. It reminded him of a certain conversation he had with his housemate, Samuel, just a few days ago. “Dude, what if I told you I'd off myself based on the flip of a coin?” Samuel asked while sipping a beer next to his friend at their dining table. “The fuck? You're messed in the head, my guy,” Harvey replied, putting his can down and raising his eyebrows to his friend's weird statement. “Then the coin better land as a tails. You gotta support me for Friday night's party, it's my DJ debut!” “Haha, true that.” Harvey's eyes glared at the penny for only another second before a dark feeling of unease filled him to the brim. Samuel had never made such a joke before during the three years he knew him. Wait, he can't be ser-! Before the thought fully passed through his mind, his body moved before his brain. Without picking the coin up, Harvey dashed down the hallway to the stairs of his basement. He leaped a few steps up and reached the first floor of his house without issue. That was when the rumbling noise from one more floor above had become real. There was shaking between the walls, yet no footsteps bounced into his ear. “Shit!” he gasped. He ran to the next staircase, and flung himself up to the top floor of his house. In front of him was the door to his housemate's room. Grabbing the doorknob, Harvey gritted his teeth when it wouldn't open. “You fucking idiot!” he screamed and clenched both his hands into stone to brace for impact, and readied the kick of his life. His body flung at the door, shoe first at the knob, and he jumped as if delivering a karate hit. Thump! He watched the knob cave into the cracked wood, until splinters emerged. Finally, on the fifth attempt - Thwack! - the knob fell through the crack of broken timber, and Harvey barged into his friend's room. He reached to the back of his pants for his pocket knife - a small Swiss Army blade which featured multiple tools - and glanced desperately around for the silent Samuel. After performing a three-sixty, his eyes landed on - The closet! Harvey gulped. With his head covered in sweat, goosebumps devouring his skin, and every limb jittering, he swung open the sliding door to Samuel's closet. “Fucking hell.” The sight of his unconscious friend, hanging on a rather thin rope tied into a noose, was almost enough to give him a heart attack. Instead, his chest sank like a ship, and his hands twitched while reaching for the rope to cut it. With every back-and-forth movement of his knife, the tears around Harvey's eyes grew. By the time his friend dropped to the floor, those tears had already trickled down his cheeks. “Wake up, please, I'm begging you!” He dragged the fainted Samuel out of the closet, laid him on his back, and began performing CPR on both his chest and his mouth. After what felt like forever, Samuel's eyes slowly opened.
I will tell about my quarantine days. I have written my diary about pandemic's feelings. I'm copying and pasting in my diary and fill world news. 8 March 2002. A special holiday that all women and girls look forward to. While we were celebrating the holiday with our friends, we were talking about Covid-19. We didn't think that the festive mood in the family circle in the evening and the smiles on the faces would stop smiling after a week. 14 March 2020. Preparations for Navruz, our national holiday are in full swing at the school. But none of us knew that we couldn't be together at the celebration. 15 March 2020. Quarantine was announced in Uzbekistan from 16-March everyone took it as a relaxation at the beginning. we weren't interested in how long the quarantine lasted, because we were in the home circle. 16 March 2020. Everyone is at home. My dad is farmer, so he was at work even during pandemic days. Since we were at home my mom used to cook different dishes. My little sister and little brother adn I played different games to keep from getting bored. 21 March 2020. The Uzbek people celebrate this tradition every year. But today we were at home. 25 March 2020. I started to get bored at home. I went to my library and chose a book. The book name is “Khumoyun and Akbar". I read in the evening and thought about the book during the day. 7 April 2020. Same days. My dad difference foods for us. My dad sometimes wouldn't come home beacuse he worried about us getting sick or infecting Covid-19. Doctors and farmers were the real heroes during Covid. They were brave and helped their people. 10 April 2020. “Effort is not in getting all, but in giving up all” parch of “Khumoyun and Akbar” book 11 April 2020. I taught to my little brother and little sister about alphabet and chess.My brother played well Rubik's Cube. We played hide-and-seek game. 12 April 2020. I missed my classmates, my teachers and my friends. I didn't know who I missed?! 24 April 2020. Today began sawm.I celebrated my friends with sawm. 1 May 2020. My brother was sick. My mam took care of him. 2 May 2020. My brother started getting better and it turned out to be just a cold 5 May 2020. I read new book again. The book name is “Classmates” by Muhammad Khoshur. I read by cry :( 8 May 2020. Today is my cousin's birthday. I couldn't go to for celebrating. 9 May 2020. Today is a day of remembrance and appreciation.My dad went to graves of my grandparents. “If a person cannot write his pain, he suffers” parch of “Between two doors” by Utkir Khashimov. 3 June 2020. People in the tenth hous fell ill. My mum cried for this and called my aunt. My aunt is virusologist. She said this news is fake. 21 June 2020. I haven't written for a while.My cousins got covid, they were in the infection hospital. 28 June 2020. We bought sewing machine.Sewing is my hobby. 9 July 2020. My cousins came home from hospital. 19 July 2020. At home alles sick. My mum was very sick we thought my mum was mortal. I am in mess my dad too. we took care of mum every moment I afraid losing my mum. I will pas my heart for my mum. 22 July 2020. Our house turned into a hospital. The smell of chlorine gave us a headache. My dad took care of my mom to such an extent that I saw real love and affection in it. 27 July 2020. My mother started to recover. Quarantine began ease. 1 August 2020. My mother is fully recovered. I have to say this for the last word. It was terrible to see people die before your eyes. You just watch but you can't help. I am glad that I was born in Uzbekistan, because our President did not worry us. We overcame this disease together. Excellent conditions were created for students. Online classes were given on TV. Special online TV channels were active. These kanals even now conduct various clubs and exercises. Online education has surrounded us. now it has become a very convenient educational system. Humanity has understood that money can buy medicine but not health. You can buy books for money, but not knowledge. Money can buy food but not appetite. Eid, a Muslim holiday, was celebrated at home. Eid prayers were not performed in mosques. The world has seen many differences and separations. The world has seen a lot of good and bad. The world has become more aware of the value of health and human life. Learned that panic is the worst habit This is a world of trials… And we must persevere through all trials and overcome them by our faith. If we had known the reward of patience in times of trial, we would have smiled at these trials.
Aside from introducing myself, I'm really unsure of where to begin. This probably isn't the beginning of my story but it's definitely a start. Have you ever heard someone say, "I had to grow up too quickly" or "I didn't have a childhood"? Those simple statements are the literal definition of my life. At 9 years old, I didn't know how to be a child. I never played with friends, went to sleepovers, or had birthday parties. I was too busy taking care of my two younger siblings. Making bottles, getting them dressed, changing diapers, cooking meals, giving baths... the whole nine yards. I was raising children that I didn't create. I was raising children as a CHILD. My "parents"? They were drunk. They were high. They were fighting. They were passed out. They were somewhere else. One of my earliest memories includes packing lunches for my sister and I before school. We lived in a little trailer in Powell, Wyoming and we walked to school every day. Rain, shine, snow, sleet. We walked. One morning on our way out the door my sister asked for popsicles. Being a child myself, I grabbed us some popsicles and tossed a knife inside her backpack so we could open them on the way to school. Here we are two young children probably 6 & 9 walking to school, eating popsicles and minding our own business. That is until we finally arrived at school and my younger sister's teacher decides to go through her backpack in search of something - but what she finds instead is the knife. Landing my kindergarten sister in the principal's office. Before long the school officer is involved, my parents are called and all of us are sitting in the office. I can remember the tears rolling down her face as the school officer explains how serious this is. Little does he know, I'm the one who put it in there this morning. As he scolds my sister, I can feel the rage welling up inside myself. Because I know it was my fault. The only other thing I remember about that day is getting whopped later that evening after school. It was "MY responsibility" to get us both to school. It was "MY responsibility to make sure she was safe. It was "MY responsibility".... But I was 9. I was supposed to be the child, not the adult. It should have NEVER been my responsibility to set an alarm. It should have NEVER been my responsibility to wake up my younger sister and get us both ready for school. It should have NEVER been my responsibility to begin with. However, looking back now I realize I'd gladly take that beating all over again because it meant that my sister wouldn't have to. I was forced to grow up early. I never got a childhood. I was "mom" to my siblings. I was the adult in my home. Even though I was only 9 years old...even though I was a child.
We often undermine how much maintaining a pleasant space around us can contribute positively to our state of mind. Of course, having a nice budget to decorate and create the office of your dreams would be great, but you don't necessarily need that. Things as simple as maintaining the space around you clean and organised can go much further than any of us imagine, until we go from living in a cluttered space to living in a a space that has... well, actual space. Particularly in relation to remote working, besides this general rule, these are just some of the little things you can do to help yourself feeling and performing better: 1. Keep your desk tidy, and as free of objects as possible. For example, since I like to keep my furniture to a minimum, I only keep by my side the essential documents I might need in any of my working days in my working backpack. It works as an archive, avoids an extra piece of furniture, and is always ready to go if I need to leave for work purposes in a hurry. If you have too much, consider getting a simple piece of furniture that you can have next ot your desk and will keep all your paperwork organised. 2. Transfer everything you can to a digital format - everyone give me A HANDS UP FOR THE CLOUD WHOOP WHOOP! Turn everything into a google docs, spreadsheet, etc., label it or put it into folders according to theme, and never again lose a document! You can always download the most important ones to access offline, so you can access them in a hurry on your laptop if you're away, or there's a temporary network issue. 3. Adjust your screen height to avoid keeping your neck twisted down as much as possible. If you don't have a separate screen, consider one of those standing desk additions, so you can keep a laptop at a perfect height. 4. Adjust your screen brightness to a comfortable level - bear in mind, this might vary throughout the day, according to your light environment. Dark mode is something I go for whenever possible, maybe give it a try and see if it's kinder on your eyes - mine really appreciate it. 5. Do not forget to use a planner that is good enough to help you plan a reasonable workload for the day, that helps you prioritise better, and that allows you to adapt and change your priorities throughout the day if need be. For me, this is @Audacitytasks due to its time buckets and drag and drop features (amongst others exclusive ones I love). 6. Unless literally impossible due to the nature of your work, only keep your work mobile on your desk. Even if you keep your personal one in silent mode, or even turn it around, as long as you can see it, there'll always be that temptation to have a look, touch the screen just to see what's going on "really quick" (yeah right)... If it's in another room, or at least not right there so accessible to your hand's (and thus mind) reach, you'll be less likely to be tempted to leave your desk to grab it, and probably you won't even remember it as much, as it's not in your field of vision (even if just by a millimetre). If this is helpful, keep following for more advice on remote working. You can also read my previous articles on this matter on my LinkedIn or Facebook, or see the more compacted version of it on my instagram. Hope you have fun doing it :D
When my son reached his 17th birthday, he was diagnosed with ulcerated colitis. By the time he was 19, he was rushed to the hospital with severe anemia. His colitis began to cause bleeding ulcers. His hemoglobin count was down to five when it should have been 13. Two pints of blood later and a seven day stay in the hospital, l he was released with a hemoglobin count of 11. At the beginning of 2011, the colitis took control, and the decision was made. My son would have a colostomy. He wasn't happy. After all, he was only 45 years old. A colostomy bag was the last thing he wanted. Yet, on June 1st of that year, that's what happened. He had a full ileostomy. However, that wasn't the end of the problems - only the beginning. For the next three years he was in and out of the hospital with one procedure, or surgery, or infection after another. Finally, his health began to stabilize, and he seemed to be getting better but still hated that colostomy bag. In December of 2011, my mom had an accident which forced her to reassess her living conditions. She realized that she could no longer live alone, and in January of 2012, she packed her things and moved in with me. After we cleared out her house, we put it on the market. Mom was recovering nicely from her accident but still needed the use of a walker to get around. My son's house is about 3 hours away from mine which enabled us to visit often It didn't matter that I am his mother and my mother his grandmother. He was mortified every time the colostomy bag began to fill. He would leave the room and hide in his bedroom until the sound and odor dissipated - which often was about 30 minutes While we were busy socializing with his wife and children, we were unaware of the colostomy bag. Unfortunately, he was, and it made him extremely uncomfortable. Early in 2013 a friend began doing research on colostomy bags and found a doctor who specialized in a different kind of procedure. it's called the Barnett Continent Intestinal Reservoir Koch Pouch – or B.C.I.R. At that time there was only one doctor in Florida who could do this surgery. My son made the appointment, and it was determined that surgery would be scheduled for August of 2013. The procedure is a reconstruction of the small intestine using about two feet at the end to create a small internal pouch. The stoma is no wider than a #2 pencil which enables the pouch to get emptied a few times a day using a catheter. No noise, no smell, no mess! My son was thrilled. His stay in the hospital was about seven days but he insisted during that time we bring his grandmother for a visit. “Mom, I want grandma to see that I'm OK. After all I've been through and all her prayers, she deserved to spend some time with me, and I really want to see her.” I loaded mom's walker in the car and help her climb in the front seat. The hospital was only two hours from my house, and mom and I passed that time easily since she had many questions about his surgery. Once in the hospital, we pulled a chair closer to his bed and while holding his hand, grandmother and grandson spent the next hour gloriously talking about health and family. The nurse came in a few minutes later and reminded my son he needed to get out of bed and walk. Lying in bed wasn't good for anyone so I encouraged him to follow the nurse's orders. He was still hooked up to an IV, the urinal bag, and a heart monitor. Anytime he left the bed, the pole with all the bags went with him. Looking at the pole my son spoke up. “Hey Grandma, since I have to walk for exercise why don't you come with me? I have my pole; you have your walker. we could race up and down the hallway.” My mom laughed. “I don't know about racing, but I'll take a walk with you.” For the next 15 minutes grandma and grandson walked the halls of the hospital, chatting and enjoying each other's company. Once back in his room, he lay in bed, my mom sat in the chair, and they talked and laughed about how they must have looked with him pushing his pole and mom pushing her walker. Our visit lasted another 30 minutes and my son looked as though he was about to fall asleep. I suggested we leave since mom also looked tired and I had to make sure she had the strength to withstand the ride down the elevator and the walk to the car. We still had a two-hour drive home. We left the hospital and walked slowly, stopping periodically for mom to regain her strength and her breath. After all, mom was 92 years old, and her stamina wasn't what it used to be. As soon as we got in the car, she perked up and said, “Can we stop at McDonald's? I'd love a cheeseburger!” That's mom! My son was released a few days later and the first thing mom wanted to do is visit him at his home. Mom may be gone now, and my son is healed, but I'll never forget that day in the hospital when grandson and grandmother had their Walker Derby. It definitely was a sight to behold and one I'll cherish forever.
The screaming had stopped, at least that was one thing. We could all take a second to catch our breath. On my right, my arm clung to my patient who sat rocking backward and forward on the chair. On the other side, my colleague - mirroring my position, my posture, my heavy breathing. The only difference; the fogged up glasses on her face. There had been crying, there had been grabbing, there had been attempts to harm themselves. We had prevented it. We had stopped it. We had helped. Hadn't we? The pandemic was in full swing. We had at least 50% of patients on our ward with a positive test result. Most of them were self-isolating in their bedrooms, with the others barely daring to come out. The ones that did tended to be acutely unwell and simply did not or could not understand the current situation regarding COVID-19. Our ward was locked down, nobody in, nobody out. PPE on, changed after every patient interaction, all safety measures put in place.. until they weren't. What do you do when a paranoid patient thinks you are a robot hiding your face with a mask? You cannot remove it. For both your sake and theirs. They become upset, distressed. They scream, they shout. They retaliate, they lash out. They are medicated, sedated. They wake up, and go again. What do you do when a patient feels so hopeless that they will use any means necessary in an attempt to end their life. They try to swallow toilet paper, so we have to remain in possession of it. They try to snap pens, so we hide them. They try to use clothing to stop them from breathing, so we limit access. But what do we do when we have to go in wearing masks, gloves and aprons? An abundance of opportunities for the patient to obtain and misuse. How do you tell their loved ones that you literally provided them with the means to devastatingly hurt themselves? If you figure it out, please let us know. What do you do when a patient is so thought disordered, they cannot even remember to eat and drink. They spend most of their time rolling round their bedroom floor, eyes darting round the room, too engrossed in what they can see and nobody else can. They will not even take medications for you, to get themselves better. They see you in your mask, your visor, your gloves, reaching toward them, touching them. They are scared. They are dismissive. They are unwell. 12 hour shifts, 4 days a week. Masks on constantly, chafing at the ear. Hands dry, cracked and swollen from the prolific hand-washing going on. Dehydrated, both our palms and our bodies. Changing in and out of uniform before and after shift. Washing uniforms on abhorrently high temperatures, just to be safe. Persistent home-tests to ensure we are still virus-free. The extra time it takes to shower both before and after your 12 hour shift, losing out on sleep. But we are here. We are helping. We are the NHS. Inpatient mental health facilities are challenging places to work at the best of times, never mind in the midst of a global pandemic. Patients do not suddenly stop being psychotic or depressed, just because the world is in lockdown. They are not able to socially distance. Some of them rely on proximity and closeness in order to stop themselves from hurting - both physically and mentally. Some of them have no sense of personal space. We cannot administer medications in a socially distanced manner, we cannot monitor and record physical health observations 2m apart, we cannot stay home. So here we are, and here we will continue to be.
The last year has taken so much from us. I am almost certain that I do not only speak for myself when I say the pandemic made me experience life as an hourglass that somehow both increased and decreased in speed. To put it bluntly - we've been robbed of life. Whether this has affected our relationships, opportunities or even time with loved ones, we have all been forced to make adjustments. I distinctly remember the day my country's government announced the groundbreaking news that students in highschool and university would shift to online education. My classmates cheered happily and couldn't wait to get an extra hour of sleep in the morning. However, days quickly turned into months and months quickly turned into a blur of tired eyes and a rapidly growing pile of work. Life has been difficult. However, the pandemic has also given a lot of us perspective. Perspective. What does that imply? Of course the definition of the word in this particular scenario can not be defined. To me, nonetheless, perspective meant that I noticed something I was too busy, too active and too unavailable to notice before. I noticed how much I have improved as a person. Let me explain. When I was a young child I used to write in a diary. However, not the sparkly, fluffy notebook with a heart lock on it. Surely I had one of those too, but this one was completely different. It was handed to me by my psychologist whom I visited every week. I don't remember much of this time in my life as I was only around nine years old. In addition to that, it's a part of my life that I sometimes actively choose to push away. It was not a pleasant time. Almost every night I had panic attacks and more often than not I used to ask myself if this was the time that I would die. During dinner I would go to the bathroom only to calm myself down from the anxiety that was running around my brain like a dog chasing a tennis ball on an open field. When I think of this time I quickly realize how messed up my mind was for a nine year old. Of course I feel sorry for my younger self. But I also try to let it slip from memory. That's why the experience of finding this diary was so important to me. Lockdown made my mental state so much worse than before. I have felt lonely, sad and tired. But what has made it the most unbearable are the spiraling thoughts in my head that never seem to take a break. I understand that the journey and relationship between a person and their mental health is not always a linear one. I understand that certain situations can make it harder to create a positive mindspace. But what I have a hard time understanding is why I can't just get a ticket that tells me when this suffering will be over. When the train of anxiety will leave. When I can wave it goodbye. Sometimes it's not even the anxiety itself that keeps me up all night. Sometimes it's simply the awareness of the fact that it exists, and that deep down I feel it knows me better than I do myself. When I opened the pages to that diary I was taken on a journey through my mind. It was weird. Imagine going on a vivid tour through the most personal and bottomless part of your past. I swiftly remembered writing those words. Those sentences. One part of the book was a chart where you could rate the level of fear a certain trigger made you feel. As I read through that segment I suddenly felt what I believe is the true meaning of perspective. While not a perfect line, I could still observe the progression that only a few moments earlier had been fully invisible. My baby steps were actually the size of a dinosaur's. Not one thing on the list I had made when I was nine even remotely scared me anymore. If I were to fill out the chart once more all the tens out of tens would be zeros. I felt proud of myself. It made me rethink those times that I've doubted the fact that I will ever feel better. That I will ever see that ticket in my hand. I am not cured. Not even close. But it doesn't matter because this story is not the story of how I finally became anxiety-free. Instead, it's the story of how I found the strength to keep working towards that goal. Maybe someday I will be writing essays concerning my full mental health battle, but not today. And that is perfectly okay. I have put that journal back in my closet and I don't intend to look at it for a long time. But it will always be a reminder that even the tiniest improvements are still steps in the right direction. If you've made it to this sentence, thank you. Thank you for taking a little time out of your day and dedicating it to reading about my life. I can confidently say that this little story means a lot to me, and sharing it makes it even greater. While I know nothing about your story or about your journey, I know that whatever you're struggling with will be solved someday. And who knows. Maybe you need to do what I did. Maybe the solution is right there. Maybe you need to see things from another perspective.
*trigger warning rape & cancer* I want you to take a second and think about one thing about yourself that -if you had the ability to go back in time and change your life- you would not change for the world. There is an 19th century philosophy, made famous by the movie The Butterfly Effect, that claims that if there is one thing about yourself, one trait or characteristic that you would want to keep if you found yourself suddenly able to go back in time, you would need to re-live the same experiences and make all the same decisions in order to guarantee that in the future you would retain that one quality. And it is this I want you to remember as I share my story. As a child, I did not get into trouble. In fact, the worst infraction I ever made was that I did not spend enough time in the sun, and so my parents would take my books away to force me to go outside. Naturally, I worked out a system to hid them in ziplock bags under the hedge. As I grew older, I also learned that breaking the rules held greater consequences for me than for my friends. While my affluent teenage peers were able to break curfew and notoriously climbed onto the top of the city capital to drink beer, my parents could not afford expensive lawyers to get me out of trouble. There was also a question of my legal residency. When it came time to learn how to drive, my parents taught me that I could not afford to speed or break the speed limit because it could result in my deportation. And while this lesson may have been exaggerated to keep a teenager safe, it became my truth. The key here is that I followed the letter of the law and did nothing wrong. When I was raped, I expected the legal system to protect me. In my darkest hour, when the campus police showed up, I thought that they would be on my side. While no woman should ever have to know how to report a rape, this was certainly not something I was equipped to handle alone. The campus police not only bullied me and warned against ruining the career and future of my rapist, they threatened my legal status and suggested that I might be deported if I wanted to make a formal claim. But MY story is not about my rape. It is about learning to live and remold myself after trauma and after being let down by the system meant to protect me. Two years later, I was diagnosed with skin cancer so severe that if I had not booked a visit to the dermatologist on a whim, I would have lost my eye in less than a year. I drove myself to the surgery and watched as my face was carved from my eyelid to my cheek. But once again MY story is not about getting skin cancer, or the additional two melanoma diagnoses three years later that suggest that I will likely continue to present with skin cancer the rest of my life. It is not even about the fact that I had done nothing wrong, that I had always worn copious amounts of sunscreen, that as a child I had to be forced outside and seldom spent time in the sun. It is not about the fact that the doctors did not believe me when I told them that I had never tanned in my life, because I was slim, blonde-haired and blue-eyed. In 2018 I had my first panic attack. I was attending a conference for work, sitting in a room of over 10 thousand people, and suddenly I felt powerless, lost and like I was sinking. My colleague with me at the time was a Marine veteran and instantly recognized the signs, but I had lived a sheltered and protected life, so it did not occur to me that I had PTSD, for my experience did not seem as valid as that of veterans and survivors of horrific disasters. For although I had never realized it, I fell into the habit of comparing my experience to that of others, to comparing my pain, my stress, my fear and my recovery, and finding it less worthy. But let me tell you that any PTSD is worthy of attention and every experience is valid. I started my tattoos in 2019. One on each shoulder as a reminder that I am not alone. My 'strong women' and 'warrior' tattoos are as much a testament to the resilient woman I have grown to be, as a symbol of the indelible presence of trauma. For although it is not inked into our skins, trauma can present and trigger in unexpected ways, even after years of self-work. I share my story because trauma and PTSD does not make you weak. It doesn't make you incapable of recovery or incapable of working through the episodes. It makes you human. I strongly believe in normalizing mental health for, if nothing else, we are brought together by the similarities of surviving: COVID, quarantine, the injustices and unpredictable illnesses that life throws at us. But we are stronger together. And each of us has that one thing that makes it all worthwhile.
Just one word to describe this year, and it's a 'hell'. I don't know if it's because of the pandemic or I'm just too tired, but I've been experiencing mental disorders since last year. Something 'big' happened last year, it should've been the start of my brilliant career, but it turned out to be a trigger that caused my depression. That something big was many people's dream job but not my dream job. I got that job, but I wasn't happy with that. I told my parents about how I feel, but they kept pushing me to just accept that job for my future's sake, and yeah, I initially tried to do that and tried to accept my 'splendid' destiny. But at that time actually, I started living in hell. You know, I prefer fighting with other people than fighting with my own mind. That's so freaking hard! I fought my depression, I cried every single night, I couldn't sleep, I didn't eat or drink. My world turned upside down, but no one cared, no one asked me about it. This year my condition was getting worst, I started harming my body, even trying to kill myself several times. Yeah, I was a suicidal who tried several silly methods to end her life. I tried to make myself overdose by drinking a lot of pills, I tried to hurt myself by drinking ethyl alcohol, and the climax was when I tried to kill myself by eating rat poisons. The last trial ended with me being rushed to an emergency room and needed to be intensively treated there for half a day and needed to stay in hospital for two days. Rat poisons were not good, they're the worst! I tell you, my stomach was in extreme pain at that time. I cried aloud because of the unbearable pain, the doctors and the nurses did their best to save my life by doing many emergency treatments. For the first time in my life, I experienced a horrific experience when they started entering a hose through my nose to my stomach. They said that was the method to rinse my polluted stomach. For one day that hose stuck into my nose and that's extremely uncomfortable! I couldn't even eat and only drink milk through that hose. After that ugly experience that felt like a nightmare, I was interrogated by my parents as to know why I did that stupid action. And here we go the drama. I cried while explaining my real feeling and my mental condition, I told them that I couldn't do it anymore, I couldn't do that job anymore. I wasn't a saint, I wasn't a good person, I didn't want to pretend to be righteous by kept doing that job. I thought they would understand, I thought they could see how pathetic I was after seeing me in critical condition, but I was wrong. Instead of feeling pity, my father decided to disown me. Yeah, my father was angry, and starting that day, he ignored me like a plague. We lived under the same roof, but he never saw me as if I was invisible. Do you know the pain in my heart? That's beyond painful, I don't even know how to describe that. My mother was a saint. She hugged me at that time, saying that I just need to do what I want to do and that I don't need to force myself to do something I don't want to. Do you know? That sounds like Calum Scott's song titled No Matter What, and that's my favorite song anyway. I lived in hell after that. The place that once I called home, now it's a hell. I was jobless so I stayed at home all day, doing nothing. The anxiety attacked me so many times that I cried over the smallest things. The smallest things like when my internet getting slow, I cried. When my computer mouse stopped working, I cried. When my sister didn't answer my call, I cried. I cried every day and that's tiring. My depression wasn't different. I felt so depressed, I completely changed my habit. I used to be a clean freak, my room used to be ant-free, but now my room is ants palace. I didn't even want to take a shower, I didn't do the skincare routine, I didn't even eat and drink. I was a complete mess. You know, there's this guilty feeling inside my heart. I've disappointed my parents. I don't blame my father for his cold treatment towards me, I know he's just very disappointed in me. I just keep blaming myself for everything. I don't know whether it's caused by my depression or not, but I really can't stop blaming myself. My family was poor, I should've given them a better life, but I failed. Lately, I have also experienced a worse physical condition every time the anxiety attacked. I experienced breathing difficulty, my chest was stuffy that I couldn't breathe properly. I'm also scared when I'm outside and meet people. I'm afraid that they would judge me. That's suffocating, that's terrifying. I know I need to see a professional's help, but now I'm jobless and penniless so I can't do that just yet. I can only distract myself by writing since originally I love writing. Writing is like an escape, I feel safe when I'm writing. I hope one day I will be able to get through these tribulations and proudly say, "Once upon a time I lived in hell, but now I'm happy like in paradise."
My relationship with food is highly complicated. Good food is woven into the very fabric of my personality. Nothing cheers me up more than a good meal. Food teaches you patience. Either waiting for the food itself to be finished, or being patient with yourself to master a meal. Food teaches you caution. You can hurt yourself a multitude of ways making one dish. Food teaches you passion. Safe ingredient choices aren't the most delicious ones. Most importantly, we need food. We can't survive without it. So why would food be at all bad? The very reason food is good, echos my problem with food. I like too much of a good thing. I lack self-discipline. Food takes over. I eat and eat until the frustration goes away. Until I am emotionally content and physically drained. I let my emotions guide me and not the physiological signals God has so carefully placed in my body. I am the target, and food is the enemy. But no longer. I will no longer stand in perfect silence; allow people to shriek, “you're not fat!”, as I ponder at the appearance in the mirror that is so far from my personal standard. Food may be the enemy, but I am the conqueror. Call me David, and picture Goliath as a huge potato. I will win. And food will bow before me.
It's hard to pinpoint the exact moment I started having issues with my body image or self esteem, because those struggles are typically culminations of years of negative experiences, self-doubt or blatant insults regarding one's physical appearance. I have had people tell me I am ‘skinny', I have had people my own age and older point out love handles and cellulite, I have also had people grow frustrated and angry at my struggle with seeing myself on camera. People's negative words stubbornly lived in my mind, while compliments I would receive from friends and family were just them “being nice”. When I started allowing the opinions of others to dictate my own view of myself I can't remember, but I can remember when I first started slipping into extremely dangerous, harmful and unhealthy habits. Comparison- we all fall victim to it in some form or another. Whether we are comparing looks, financial status, career or success, we are inadvertently telling ourselves that we are lacking something- that we are not measuring up in some (or all) categories. I first started comparing myself to my friends in middle school. I went to private school, and most of my friends lived in nice houses and were well off. I did not and my family was not. So, there was that. I also realized I was a lot less calm and cool than my friends, louder and, in many people's eyes, just annoying. I remember a boy in my 6th grade class telling me, in front of a group of other kids that, “nobody likes you.” It was a real vote of confidence. I was still lucky, though, because I did have a small group of really supportive friends. Unfortunately, I could not understand why they wanted to be my friends, and I compared myself to them, too. There was a time when I wanted to take pictures with my friends; I even wanted to take pictures of myself. Sure, I had my negative thoughts about not being as pretty as my friends, or pretty enough for the boys in my grade, but I owned who I was and had not yet been infected by the idea that because I didn't look perfect, I was inferior. So one night in 2012, my little 11 year old self posted a picture of myself on the then relatively new instagram. I remember getting hyped up by some of my really sweet friends, but my gratitude quickly disappeared when three boys, simultaneously (they were all friends, and apparently couldn't do anything alone?) commented “ugly”. These boys- who were a very bland spectacle- were popular, well-liked and put on a pedestal by me and other girls. Whether they were ‘joking' or not is unknown and honestly irrelevant, but I was not in on the joke, I was the butt of it. I think I deleted the picture shortly after. While I battled my fair share of self-doubt in middle school, I graduated from 8th grade relatively unscathed and with a decent amount of self-love left. High school was a whole other animal. Again, I had some really good friends, but they couldn't always be there. I definitely looked on the outside how I felt on the inside- nervous, vulnerable and uncomfortable in my own body. And I think some people preyed on that. I was never physically hurt, but rude and personal comments, along with snickers as I would pass by certain people in the hallway were enough to cut through what I had once thought was thick skin. Even with my loving friends and family, my anxiety and essential lack of confidence started to prevail. Somewhere around the end of freshman year, I started to eat. A lot. I was depressed, hurt and empty. In a time where most people my age were savoring youth through football games, and school sports/clubs, I was tucked away in my room, because I truly reached the point where I wanted to stay there. I missed school a lot because of this, and my lovely, incredibly strong mom did not completely understand, but offered endless love and support. This love and support led to me finally seeing a professional about my issues when I was a sophomore, and I did find a lot of peace in that. However, I still had deep rooted issues that I was not addressing. Around the beginning of senior year, things had picked up in terms of socializing, but I had found a new enemy: myself. Once I would get my eating habits on the right track, I would have a bad day and fall right back into my old ways; it wasn't simply physical, it was mental. Eventually, I started making myself vomit, and I would abuse laxatives. I was hurting my mind and my body. This went on for about two years, until I finally reached the point where I couldn't do it to myself anymore. Who am I doing this for?, I asked myself. The answer: not me. I had been so caught up in making sure I was living up to what I thought others wanted, that I had neglected the 11 year old girl inside of me who felt ugly and needed love. I don't think I could do that to her again- I love her too much. This is me closing that door once and for all. I still have struggles, but I know one thing now: I am enough, and I always have been.