Hi. My name is Niraj Chandan. I have had mental health issues for twelve years. I am on medication. This post might help some people get a better idea about mental health issues so I think it’s worthwhile
I went through through normal teenage experiences like thrill highs and lows. But what happened in my adult life was something I couldn’t have imagined I had never heard of or read about mental illness.
I was very much interested in exploring the outdoors and how happy I felt. I trekked quite a bit and travelled. It felt great. I started staying in a small village. I mean like staying for long periods like nine months at a time. It was exhilarating. I did housework in a very quiet place. I got groceries and painted my house. All that was cathartic. I was, however, lonely inside and dying for a romantic partner. After three years of rural experience I was not feeling comfortable at all and came back to the city. I met with a psychiatrist immediately. This was in early 2002 when it still not widely talked about. After taking medication I felt a bit better. The loneliness however was overwhelming. I was without any romantic partner for a significantly long while and it was pretty disturbing by now.
It was during this period that I suffered major depression (or clinical depression) where one is unable to carry on even basic duties of everyday life. I was having suicidal. It was at that time that psychiatrist suggested I go through a series of electro convulsive therapies. I read about it and took them. After taking four ects I felt pretty relieved.
It was during that time that I met a girl. She was nice. We met often. I used to explain to her my condition. She was understanding and supportive. We kept meeting for a couple of years. We met my psychiatrist several times. He was very thoughtful and was completely non judgmental.
He did warn her about my mental health issues.
We got married. I was still having issues with my mind and used to meet the psychiatrist almost every month. Most times my wife accompanied me.
It was clear that my mental health issues persisted even after marriage. At that time I couldn’t do much let alone work.
After a couple of years of marriage I started helping a blind man who made handmade candles.
I made a small website and advertised on Google.co.in. We got steady orders. I kept doing more work. This time it was for our family business of used industrial equipment. I again made a website and advertised on Google.co.in. I used to get steady inquiry by email from far off places all over India. My father was soon able to sell significant stock of our inventory.
It was at that time that we had our child. Fatherhood made me more deeper intellectually. I was trying to understand my illness and what was important and what was in my mind. All through these years I was on medication and met the psychiatrist almost every month.
My thought patterns were however draining me. I used to get stressed out. I was having trouble taking a bath or going out of home for longer periods. It was at that time that I had to take several ECTs again. The number of ECTs I had taken in total were eighteen.
We had our second child. I was quite unwell. My wife was very encouraging and understanding all the while. I was having trouble managing. Despite being sick, I felt happy when I was taking care of both children. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go out of house for long periods of time.
I am still on medication. I have been able to start physical exercise. I am feeling physically a bit better. I try not to get paranoid or anxious about my thoughts. I try to help my wife with things I can do. I have been able to walk for a longer distances. I do have bad days. I try.
Niraj can be found on Twitter.
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