MyStory : “I Was Spending My Life In Terror, Every Few Hours Panic Attack Would Hit & Leave Me In Pieces”

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“It creeps in very silently. There is a very high chance that by the time you realize that there is something wrong with you, you will be covered in cold sweats with a heart rate of 140.”

After my dad passed away, 6 days after my 10th boards, I was packed and dispatched to Kota. The goal was to not let this loss get to me, and mess with the crucial years of my academics. A logical thing to do to a teenager, except that it doesn’t work. It just snoozed the alarm which was destined to go off any time in future. Ticking like a time bomb, it went off two years later. I wrote my 12th boards, gave my engineering entrance examinations, and absolutely messed up. I couldn’t clear any of the entrance exams I appeared for, and my board’s marks were not impressive as well. That meant only one thing, one more year in Kota. It felt like a sentence.

The first panic attack I got was in my hometown (Bhagalpur) itself. It was just a few days before leaving for Kota again for my repeaters’ year coaching. It was the middle of the night, and I woke up with cold sweats. My heart was pounding. The feeling was so terrible that I was convinced I was going to die. I was gasping for air. The feeling was similar to the one when you accidentally skip a step, the only difference being that it won’t go away and that there were no steps. It was completely random. I thought I was going into cardiac arrest, I tried jumping up and down, to enhance my blood flow. About 20 minutes later, the feeling started dimming down. I felt better again. I went back to sleep and forgot that anything ever happened.

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One month later, I got a panic attack again. This time it was in the middle of my class. In one of the classes, my teacher’s mic developed a technical snag and the sound started getting distorted. That single event was enough to trigger a massive panic attack. It may not seem like the most logical thing but that is how trigger works, any random thing can pull it off. I ran out of the classroom, without giving any explanation to my teacher. I kept pacing towards my PG accommodation. Thinking absolutely nothing, just trying not to pass out on the way. My vision was blurry. I was completely disoriented. I don’t remember how much time it took me to reach, but I remember just gulping down a lot of water when I got back. The feeling again subsided in some time.

This pattern repeated, and the frequency of panic attacks was now increasing. Now even when the attacks subsided, I didn’t feel so good. I was fully convinced that one of these days I am going to drop dead from one of these attacks. I tried talking to my mom about it, but what was I supposed to say? She herself was taking anti-depression pills. It would have been unfair to expect any sort of support from her. I couldn’t even explain my symptoms. I wasn’t sure what I was going through. I remember feeling completely alone. I used to go to a nearby park in the evening and weep for hours. I started doing all the things I always wanted to do before dying. I learnt to play snooker. I went to movies alone. I even went to a doctor, who wrongly diagnosed me of jaundice and even started treating me for it. My life was completely miserable. I was spending my life in terror. Every few hours a massive panic attack would hit and leave me in pieces. In addition to that, by this time I didn’t even know that these were panic attacks.

I finally decided to get my heart checked up. I went to the most expensive heart surgeon in town and told him my symptoms. I remember, he prescribed me 11 tests.  I sat in the sun outside the hospital the whole day waiting for my reports. The reports came and the doctor said I was completely healthy. Then he did something that completely changed the course of events. He referred me to the psychiatry department. The psychiatrist listened to my whole life’s story and finally explained what could have possibly gone wrong. I may not have realized it, but my subconscious mind had been in extreme pressure for the past two years.

With the demise of my father, I had assumed way too much superficial responsibility on myself, even for the things that were not even in my control. Add to that, the ‘pressure cooker’ lifestyle of Kota. It all burst out when I failed to clear any entrance exams. This sent my brain into a fight or flight mode (the same mode in which your brain goes into when a bull is chasing you. Only difference was that this bull was invisible).

The mere explanation of my symptoms pulled me out of the depression I had slipped into. I had a therapy session every 15 days. Some medications were prescribed too, which went on for the next one year. The panic attacks didn’t disappear overnight. I kept having them for months even after my diagnosis. But my battle with anxiety disorder taught me a lot of things. Things don’t scare me easily now. I developed an appreciation for my life which I never had before. I started respecting the health of my mind. I started protecting my mind in the same way I protect the rest of my body from injuries. I developed a mechanism to recognize information which would injure my mind. I started staying clear of toxic people. I started feeding on as much positivity as I can. I started taking risks. I started living my life for my own happiness before anyone else’s.

One thing I always advise people is that whenever you feel that there is something wrong with you, something as slight as an anxious sleepless night, go and talk to a doctor. Many people have ignored their mental well-being and have ended up killing themselves. Medications for your mental health is not a bad thing at all. Stay clear of people who ask you to “just take a walk in the park” to heal your mental disturbances. If you can’t heal pneumonia by taking a walk in the park, there is no way you can treat a mental medical condition by taking a walk in the park.

– Ankit Shrivastav

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

‘Happy Fridge’: The Key To Bridge Food Wastage And Hunger Problem In India

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Rahul Khera and Gautam Jindal, volunteers (aka hunger heroes) at Feeding India, were among the many Delhi NCR residents accustomed to seeing hungry children pick up half-eaten burgers or stale sandwiches from the dustbin and savour those with the brightest smiles. Like many others, they also had the will to promote equitable food distribution but was perplexed about the approach, until they learnt about the community fridge initiative which has gained unprecedented success in Saudi Arabia and few other European countries. Meanwhile, community fridges were already being installed outside restaurants or in public places in a handful of cities like Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Coimbatore and Kochi.

Say Goodbye To Throwing Away Excess Food Because Now You Can Donate The Food To The Needy – Happy Fridge

Thank you for overwhelming response for the Happy Fridge concept. We need more funds from you to install more fridges like this across India. With the limited funds avaialble Feeding India was able to install three fridges only. Kindly donate here http://bit.ly/happyfridge

Posted by The Logical Indian on Saturday, October 27, 2018

Needless to mention, with a shocking 103rd rank in the Global Hunger Index and a food wastage estimate of around Rs 58,000 crore – India was perhaps the best country to implement such an initiative. With Gautam’s help, an enthusiastic Rahul invested his own savings to install a ‘Happy Fridge’ outside his residence at Sun City, Sector 54 in Gurgaon. Set up in 2017 by these Feeding India volunteers, the fridge in Gurgaon has inspired the NGO to scale up the project across India.

No one has ever become poor by giving
– Anne Frank

‘Happy Fridge’ fostered many smiles

It didn’t take long for the local residents to learn about this laudable endeavour. They welcomed it, as wastage of excess food was a recurring problem in almost every household. “Intimating the localities was no mammoth task, thanks to social media. However, it was difficult to spread the word among those who actually needed the food,” shares Rahul, who went from auto stands to slums, inviting rickshaw pullers, ragpickers or roadside vendors to avail the community fridge any time they feel hungry. “The security guards of our residential complex played a huge role in explaining how the fridge works to the beneficiaries,” he adds.

The operational and maintenance costs of the ‘ happy fridge ‘ are being maintained diligently by the community members.

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Making memories, sprouting awareness

“I remember one young man who had arrived from a village looking for some menial day job. Somehow he had run out of his paltry savings and had no money to buy one decent meal a day. For about a month, our happy fridge was his solace, till he earned his first salary from a housekeeping job,” shares a jubilant Rahul.

In another incident, a truck driver returning in the wee hours of midnight was starving after a whole day’s hard work. He had run out of cooking fuel at his home, so our fridge was at his rescue.

“The residents keep all sorts of palatable dishes in the happy fridge, ranging from dry snacks, fruits to cooked meals. Sometimes, they even keep raw vegetables, to ensure not a single bit of good food ends up in their trash while other people go hungry to bed,” reveals Rahul.

On an average, each happy fridge supplies around 10-15 meals in a day. The gratitude and pure smiles of the hungry souls after a fulfilling meal are more than enough to continue to motivate Rahul and his neighbours. In fact, inspired by him, many other communities in the Delhi-NCR region set up community fridges in their areas.

Feeding India will set up 500 Happy Fridges

Since the past few years, Feeding India has been a prominent organisation working in the forefront to solve the hunger problem in India. Primarily, they were involved in redistributing leftover food from weddings and parties among the underprivileged people in different cities of India. Their volunteers, better known as “Hunger Heroes of India”, worked actively to bridge the gap between food wastage and food crisis.

“We used to get a lot of calls from individual households to collect their excess food. However, unfortunately, we lacked the manpower and planning to launch our programme on a door to door basis. We were desperately looking for an alternative when we learnt about the community fridges,” shares Srishti Jain, co-founder of Feeding India.

After interacting with Rahul Khera and other campaigners of community fridges, Feeding India decided to amplify this extraordinary project throughout the length and breadth of India. Presently, they have launched the #FightFoodWaste campaign to install 500 community fridges – nicknamed ‘ Happy Fridge ’. So any passer-by – be it a kid going to school without a lunchbox, or a labourer returning home late at night with no promise of a dinner – can now grab a pack of biscuits or a bowl of ‘dal-chawal’ (rice & lentil soup) to satiate their hunger. Click here to contribute for ‘ Happy Fridge ‘ and ensure India never sleeps hungry again.

Feeding India also urges everyone to make a promise to stop wasting food and instead consider donating it to those in need.

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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