MUMBAI

Mumbai, Meri Jaan

Exhausted by a 25 hours car journey within the last 40 hours has gotten me all riled up; inspired even to talk about my city. This may be the adrenaline talking or the sheer deliriousness that I’m facing, but Mumbai is the most unforgiving city I’ve ever visited in my very short life. And yet, it challenges you every twist, every turn.

I’m inclined to believe that Mumbai, contrary to where I live has a soul, a moral righteousness and rationale that is governed by emotions and adventures. I can tell you all the big stuff, how the adventures enriched me as a person and appalled me when they didn’t seem to come easy. But how do I tell you the smaller, intimate moments and memories of family, if not with words.

As I sit in the known corners of my childhood, the twinge of sadness hits close to home; the stability here is uncanny, everything in its place for the last 20 years; the trophies of my cousins’ impeccable studiousness, or the wind-chimes that ring and remind me of a memory from age 6, the conversations that turned from how do we convince our parents to let us have ice cream to let’s have a drink, and from the sheer nostalgia of it all, I fall back together.

I’ve always considered Mumbai as my past, a book I no longer read, but one that lingers as a collectible, not a cult. This time around, I picked up the book again and wrote a few pages myself. I explored its spirit, I rendezvoused with its soul and found myself falling in love more and more. You see beyond the crazy traffic, the painstaking moments of hardship and perhaps a lower quality of life, what Mumbai has is a distinct sense of belonging amidst outcasts, a ray of sunshine in the dark and the strength to stand up for itself against all odds.

Now that I’m back in Dubai, the emptiness prevails, reminding me how much more of a home Mumbai is. With food that is reminiscent of all that was good growing up and a treasure trove of family that gives and gives and gives; a home amidst all the hustle and bustle, that should realistically give me anxiety beyond measure, is the only thing that calms me down. Ironic, isn’t it? A place that should keep me on my toes with its overwhelming population and sometimes extreme beliefs and faiths, still has a place in its heart to accommodate my needs, my ideologies and above all, me.

I guess what they say may be true; we always seek something we can’t have and the everlasting pinch of a misplaced heart and its desires, I did find some peace in Mumbai. I found reasons to live and learn, hardships I seeked out just to grow and hurt that only made me stronger. And for once, even in the shortest span of time, it was filled with moments of no regrets.

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What having Anxiety feels like |

In one word, having anxiety feels like a burden. The constant nervousness, the jittery instances, the loud thumping of the heart that is felt in the back of your shoulders, your neck, your throat; it is confusing, it is frightening and most importantly, it is as harsh as the first time you experienced it. That’s at least until you learn to deal with it. The worst part about being diagnosed with anxiety is how much the thought of that makes me anxious.

It happened 4 months ago, I was woken up by extreme palpitations. I took a sip of water, tried to slow down my heartbeat and flashes of painfully worrying thoughts that reminisced my dark corners. It didn’t work for a while, until I got exhausted of trying and eventually passed out. The symptoms have got interesting and dare I say, more apparent than ever, in the last 3 weeks – chest pains, jittery stomach, hands shaking, irregular breathing, the likes. I have to agree, I’m not the most optimistic person, so the anxiety really does add to my sour take on life; but more than that, the physical symptoms genuinely scare the shit out of me some days. Ironically, they usually get much worse on the weekends, you know the time when you hope to unwind, but end up thinking about everything that’s not working out. I guess I’m hoping by putting this out there, I could lighten the burden and perhaps open a debate that could help me and help some of you who are going through the same.

There are a few things that I’m working with as of now to ensure I have some control over my anxiety and they seem to working (most days). I hope these things help you out or if you have any alternatives, leave them in comments below.

  • I’ve been meditating *GASP*. This has never been something I’ve been inclined to do, but this has really helped my sleep patterns. I usually go on YouTube, find sleep hypnosis/meditation rituals and listen to them in bed, relaxing. It has an unusually relaxing affect to my breathing, my physical jitteriness and in calming my thoughts.
  • I’ve been focussing on eating healthy (mostly). I have my days when I chow down on noodles or pasta, but surprisingly enough, hefty food really adds up to the anxiety ( at least for me). So fibers, proteins and good carbs have been in my diet, followed by very little caffeine and plenty of water. I feel as if this has a psychosomatic affect on my mind; anxiety brings out a lot of physical symptoms that startle you, the fact that you’re taking care of your body instils this feeling of self-care and wellbeing. That thought really calms me down.
  • Anxiety is really hard to explain or to talk about. Since this has been my second hit with this disorder, it somehow feels stronger. I guess it really depends on what you’re dealing with i.e. family, relationships, work or financial issues. Personally, I know I’ve made it a point to be a bit more shut down about my personal feelings; in friendships and at home. It’s a personal choice and I’m not sure if that’s feeding my anxiety, so I’ve made it a point to write in my journal every day! It helps me gather my emotions, my goals, things that are working out, and the ones that aren’t.
  • Lastly, take a time-out! Just this last weekend, I had a major meltdown; I was shaking and panicking and a whole lot of mess. I took a second to breathe; went outside with a cup of coffee (decaf), forced myself to listen to each and every lyric to the music I was playing, did a few pamper rituals and made a to-do list for the rest of the week. You have to train your mind to allow distractions from the overwhelming feelings. It’s a slow race, but you have to win it!

I hope reading this helps you; as much as writing it has helped me.

Its been 8 years…

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There are a lot of things I do not like about this month. It signifies so much and surprises so little. But most importantly, today’s the day 8 years ago; I was first inclined towards self-harm. Continue reading Its been 8 years…