Of Mountains and Mental Health

Very long story ahead: April 2016, I decided to live in Himachal Pradesh and started my own hostel with three guys I had met in Goa in Dec 2015, on my 22nd birthday. I have always had the tendency to trust people quickly – and it has mostly worked in my favour. My parents thought it was one of those phases that I was going to get over soon but it didn’t take them a lot of time to realise that I was pretty serious about settling in Himachal. Obviously they rebelled. They tried all possible ways to convince me that this life wasn’t good for me. What I was doing wasn’t just ridiculously unconventional but probably not the right path for me. However, I, as a 22 yr old, thought to myself every morning when I woke up – “what more could I ask for? I wake up to the grand Himalayas, with the person I love right next to me, in the middle of apple orchards, having my own dogs, people who make amazing breakfast for me & of course, the travellers from all over the world keeping me company. At night, when I go to bed river Beas sings lullabies as I fall asleep” I didn’t know when and how, but slowly, it started to crawl in, first the low mood, then I loss interest in things that excited me, there were days when I didn’t get out of my bed for 3 days straight and even though I had studied psychology for 7 years of my life, I couldn’t tell what was happening to me. I knew something was not right. I wasn’t able to think straight. I was irritated, I would easily cry. Sometimes I’d cry for no reason at all. I made it difficult for people to love me. The fact that I was the “host” at @thelosttribehostels – there was a constant smile on my face covering up all of it. As the days got shorter in August of 2016, it all felt way more cold – I could feel my body not listening to me, my mind not refused to obey. One random day, I decided to leave for Spiti, as I crossed Rohtang pass, I had no signals for almost 5 days. My mother panicked. She called everyone possible but I was impossible to reach. I had gone with a purpose – it was time to understand what was happening. I was not okay. I knew I needed to address it.

With a lot of push from my parents, I decided to move to Bangalore. It wasn’t until October of 2016, when I started to go in for personal therapy – that I found out that I was in clinical depression. I never discussed this with anyone. I don’t think I was okay with talking about how I struggled to get out of my bed every morning, it sometimes took me 30-60’mins of convincing myself to get up and fill a bottle of water. I had a huge support from @maitraiyesharma and she was there for me without asking me any questions. The only place I felt comfortable speaking of it was in my therapy session. It’s been more than 3 years now when I started therapy back in Oct 2016 and it went on till Jan 2018. I moved back to live with my family in April 2017, and decided to work on @amrutamofficial.

The reason why I decided to write this story finally is because I know a lot of people glorify living in the mountains. It is beautiful, it is absolutely dreamy too. But only every few talk about the gloomy evenings that can get you to feel extremely lonely and worthless sometimes. Mountains are heavenly but they are not for us. They are ruthless especially if you are prone to a mental health condition like mine. My grandmother suffered through depression all her life, and my father had his phases too. When I went through it, I had studied enough of it to help myself get out of it. For me, prioritising mental health is not just a part of life but the way of living altogether. I’m not really going to conclude anything here and just leave this right here for you to contemplate on it.

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