Have you ever longed for a better past instead of a better future? Spent your time turning your head, looking back, at the years gone by? Ever wished your family could have been different? Or is your potential not so wasted?
I have. I think we all have regrets.
I had been laboring under the misapprehension that my mental illness was my fault. I could have avoided a depression, anxiety and even OCD. I was sure, it was all my doing.
I had always been a daydreamer, except now I fantasized about a past that never was. And I knew I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t alone in ‘dreaming a dream of a time gone by…’. I heard that song from Les Misérables over and over again. I heard Susan Boyle’s version the most. A 47-year-old, single, Britain’s Got Talent contestant – who had never been kissed. But then one day, she finally made it. Susan Boyle won Britain’s Got Talent.
It didn’t help. Life continued to suck. The world prospered as I sat glued to my bed with anxiety. And playing that tune on loop eventually tortured me more.
Nothing changed till the day I got proper clinical therapy. With the right doctor.
My mental health began to wither at age 13. Then at 29, after many attempts, I finally met a therapist in India who could help me. So I too could finally help me.
I went through a thorough treatment with medication and weekly sessions of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The primary focus was to make me functional. I used to struggle with sleep, panic attacks (sometimes 3 a day), overeating, negative thought patterns and obsessive behaviours. Then with each passing session, I felt lighter. Stronger. Clearer. Collected.
I find it heart-breaking when I meet people, (educated people) who still believe that therapists are just money makers. And that mental health problems are, ‘just-in-your-head’.
The chemical imbalance that a patient goes through is a reality. There is no dispute here. I can assure you, mental health is very real. And so is its cure.
The good news is, we stop regretting once we take corrective action.
I am 33 today. I am no longer looking back.