“I have had some troubles being completely comfortable with myself.”
How would you feel, if everything that concerns you suddenly starts haunting you, making you feel trapped in your own negative thoughts and pushing you to work extra hard on yourself, that one day you just collapse?
Pretty difficult, right?
Well, this was just a part of Animesh Panigrahi’s life when he reflected on himself thinking, “Am I doing enough?” After completing his schooling in Delhi, today Animesh is a Music Production and Composition student at the creative hub Whistling Woods International. But before Animesh gave his musical passion some wings to fly, he often found himself trapped in negative and disruptive thoughts.
“I was an excellent student till my 10th grade. I stumbled a bit in 11th and 12th, but I always knew everything will be alright after I pass 12th grade.”
This is what Animesh used to think about himself and the world around him, but soon after he completed his 12th, he realised that life is not turning out the way he desired, and that led to a lot of self-loathing.
“I used to blame myself for almost everything. When I used to meet someone new and I used to feel that I wasn’t able to make a good impression, or they didn’t like me (which usually was not the case), I’d start spiraling in my own self deprecating thoughts. And after a long session of self loathing, I would treat myself even more harshly. It reached a point where I lost all hope, and it felt that I was never going to be okay.”
At times like this, the only positivity in Animesh’s life in these dark times was his parents’ support and belief, which as Animesh says has been there since the beginning.
On joining college at the age of nineteen, Animesh experienced a sense of normalcy after a long time. Animesh was living a steady life until one day negativity found him and clenched him in its fist.
“Towards the end of the semester, I felt a sudden rage in my body. Pretty much like I would lash out at anyone who talks to me. Only after a good 3 or 4 hours did I realise that I did something wrong. I even stopped socialising, fearing I might hurt someone, emotionally.”
Animesh decided to seek counseling and reached out to a counselor, but he couldn’t feel emotionally connected to them. Animesh’s anxiety was at its peak; he even mentioned, “I thought my brain would explode at that time.”
Despite working on his body and his personality, he was still feeling inferior to others. He would constantly have thoughts like, “Man, You are no fun nor are you any cool. Why would anyone like you?” In the midst of all this negativity, it was the only music that was keeping him sane.
“The practice of going to college every day early in the morning and attending Indian Classical Vocal classes felt divine and kind of helped me to disconnect from all the negativity in my head and felt soothing.”
In early 2021, upon one of the many self-reflections, Animesh discovered that it’s not just his brain that is beyond his control, but his body, too. Animesh observed how his heartbeat shot up from time to time; he started getting shivers and became very conscious of these things. He was terrorised by unexplainable emotions. Animesh knows that many people loosely use the term ‘anxiety’ and ‘depression’ without any backing up, so he decided to closely examine himself and then arrive at a conclusion.
Animesh was finally accepting his thought process and observed most of the things that were worrying him.
“My scooty was at the maximum speed as I zoned out and lost control. I soon came to my senses. This was the first time ever where my anxiety attack reflected on my body.”
Animesh’s attacks and frustration had worsened. Overpowered by distressing thoughts on a dingy day, while riding back home from a friend’s house, he managed to survive a panic attack. He then understood the need to ask for help.
After years of fighting anxiety alone, Animesh asked one of his friends for suggestions and luckily, he was advised to reach out to YourDOST for counseling sessions. Even after disappointing experiences with therapy in the past, he gathered courage and got connected to YourDOST Expert Ms Sheetal Rajput.
“Ms Sheetal made me realise that it’s okay to feel such emotions. She pointed out that sometimes when I try to do my best, I tend to overdo it. I was being too strict on myself and I needed to let loose a little.”
With a supportive counselor by his side, Animesh was finally able to voice out his emotions and observe the root of his triggers. Ms Sheetal advised Animesh to make a list of his issues and try to think as logically as possible about solutions. He was surprised to see how cooking up scenarios in his mind was hurting him and decided to introduce logic into his way of thinking.
To Animesh, Ms Sheetal was not only an active listener but also very approachable. Animesh’s anxiety attacks have slowly been reducing in number with proper medication and counseling. He is now able to learn how to accept things and let them run their course.
Animesh’s eyes beamed with confidence as he said, “The light at the end of the tunnel was once going farther away, but now I feel like it is coming closer.”
Undoubtedly, he is a strong and passionate warrior!
Counseling and therapy made Animesh unscramble his web of negative thoughts and nudged him to be a better version of himself, without being cruel to himself. He was glad to see the differences counseling had brought. As he said, “Sometimes you don’t need proper solutions. You just need to accept the uncertainty while finding solutions.”
He rates his journey of improvement a 3.5 out of 5, but for us, he is already a 5 on 5!
Animesh now proudly tells his anxiety,
“I survived it! You couldn’t kill me before and even now you can’t kill me. I know you will hurt me, but now I am ready to face you and I will get through you!”
The world around Animesh is changing and this time, he is the one driving that change!
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