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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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2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families

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

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
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2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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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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