Lag ja gale Ayushma style

Hey guys, this is my humble attempt at singing Lag ja gale, a very popular and enchanting number originally sung by THE Lata Mangeshkar. Lata didi, as she is lovingly called by her fans and well-wishers, is the most respected figure in Indian music, and is rightfully given the title of The Nightingale of India.

The title of the song literally translates to- “Come to my embrace”. It is one of my favorite songs, and I wanted to record and upload it since ages. Over time, I will be learning and practicing to sing better so as to enhance your experience.

I know I have made lots of mistakes here while singing the song. However, I do hope that you would excuse me for that and enjoy my version of the song.

Thanks! 😀

Bipolar Disorder: My Coping Mechanisms

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It is not easy, not at all!

For years I was in denial that something was wrong with me even though I knew that I had lost interest in or did not have the energy to engage myself in activities I thoroughly enjoyed doing in the past. I know I was straying from my true self. As I have mentioned in my earlier posts, I would literally get petrified even at the thought of someone entering into my room, my safe haven where I would spend countless hours scared to face the world.

Bipolar Disorder- How I am Coping

Having been diagnosed with the disorder some 16 years back, I was not fully aware that the condition, although treatable, is not curable. For more than a decade, I was in complete denial that a disorder of this nature would ever take hold of me so much so that I would not be able to think what to do with myself.

People now ask me as to what triggered the onset of bipolar disorder. However, I cannot really pinpoint any event that can be considered to be the real reason(s) for my condition.I believe it is more important at this point of time to talk about how I am dealing with the disorder than ruminating on the reason.

Allow me to list down my coping mechanisms below:

  • Self-awareness

Unless one is completely aware that he or she has bipolar disorder, it is EXTREMELY difficult for the person to get treated. Accepting the fact that we will go through mood-swings and episodes of depression and mania will always be a potential challenge for us.

So how to overcome this challenge?

For me, ‘talk therapy‘ proved to be a medium. Although I stayed a recluse for most part of my illness, I later realized that keeping things to myself will never help me. I had to let my emotions and feelings out. And that for me was first through talking about my condition with my psychiatrist and two interns from Kathmandu Medical College, Sinamangal, Kathmandu. Then, it was through this blog when I first wrote my first blog dedicated to my experiences living with the disorder.

To tell you frankly, it wasn’t easy for me to express myself to my doctors or to the rest of the world. Having gone through so many relapses in the past and hospitalized for substantial periods of time, recent one being during our major festival, I vowed to myself that I will never let myself into the cruel clutches of the horrifying experiences of going into a relapse. It’s not a very nice experience to go into a relapse.

These days, I talk about the disorder with almost everyone whom I think are receptive and interested in. I joined a seven-day Brahma Kumari (BK) RajYog meditation course which has helped me tremendously to overcome any feelings of depression or elation. It would not be an exaggeration if I say that the BK meditation course has transformed me from a highly sensitive person to the one who can take this world as it comes.

  • Taking medication seriously

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Medication goes a long way towards stabilizing moods. Medication to treat bipolar disorder coupled with talk therapy reduces both the number of relapses and the severity of those relapses.

However, I couldn’t be on good terms with the old fashioned lithium. My doctors prescribed me a strong dose of lithium which is known for its miraculous properties of stabilizing your moods and is used as an effective drug to treat manic episodes. While it has a fair share of advantages to its credit, lithium is also known for its side effects. I would eternally have a dazed feeling while I was on lithium, not to forget the tremors I used to experience.

Having said that, I would strongly like to recommend and suggest that taking one’s medication regularly and diligently is the only way one can actually have control over mood swings and preventing, to a large extent, episodes of mania.

  • Music Therapy

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Music has always proved to by my best friend irrespective of the fact if I was ever bipolar or not. You might agree with me when I say that music is such a powerful force that can actually transform your mood in a jiffy.

I’ve even enlisted myself in an online course on music therapy offered by the University of Melbourne so as to get to the theory how music can be used as treatment for mental illnesses. I’ve reached the third week of the course and my journey so far has been useful in understanding the importance of patient-driven therapy. 

Well, I’m still in the process of learning and re-learning what methods or ways can be helpful for me. Since we all have our own individual experiences of living with bipolar disorder, I truly and sincerely hope that you would be able to find your own ways of treating yourself.

Comatose Me

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.”                                                                                                          –  Buddha

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Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy New Year 2017.

I want to start with something that changed my life forever, for the good. And what great time than this when we are nearing the end of a year to do that.

In my last post I had mentioned about going into a coma. Here I want to elaborate on what I saw or experienced while being comatose for one and a half months.

I wasn’t aware I was in a coma until I managed to get out of it and after my doctors and my family told me so. It was as though as I had just woken up after witnessing a puzzling dream just as we do every now and then. So, in a way, it was normal for me because nothing seemed bizarre or out of place except for the fact that when I got out of the ‘reverie’ I was taken aback to see myself lying in a hospital bed, completely immobilized.

None of the doctors who were monitoring every breath of mine while I was inside a ventilator thought that I would not make it more than three days. Therefore, they requested my parents to call each and every member my family, relatives, and friends over at the hospital ICU to have a final look at me.

However, my Aama (mother) thought otherwise. She completely discarded doctors’ claim of my survival.

“Are doctors Gods?”, she held on to this belief.

While my parents were fighting a battle of their own, I was there at the ICU completely unaware of what was going on in the world around me. For once, I was in a world of my own. A world where I had the wonderful opportunity to witness myself being adopted by one of the most influential figures of Nepal, a senior journalist, and a luminary intellectual. However, the adoption didn’t prove fateful for my new father. He died after a few days of taking me in as his daughter.

Immensely bereaved, yet determined enough to follow in  the footsteps of my newly deceased father, I organized a press conference to proclaim that I would be erecting a pillar like an Ashoka stambha in the name of my late father. And there I started building the pillar of hope.

And here those around me especially my parents had started building their own hopes for my quick recovery. It is nothing short of a miracle that I came out of the coma.

However, it took a full year to walk on my own once again. Never at any instant did I ever lose the hope that I might not be able to walk. I was dead sure that I would definitely stand on my own feet–it was just a matter of time. Time did prove that I was right!

So, here I am, ten years after the fateful incident, sharing with you my sincere feelings and experiences of being comatose. Friends call me the Phoenix for all the things that happened to me and for being the person I am now.

Thank you my past, especially that particular momentous event, for all the things you have taught me. Thank you everyone for being there for me.

When mind wanders…

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“Starry Night”- One of my favorite paintings that never fails to intrigue me every time I look at it

I don’t know how it started. All I know is that it all started with me getting withdrawn from all the things I used to enjoy the most. Lost in the recesses of my own room, I would spend hours and hours of my days regretting my past actions. Nothing seemed to spark any interest or even a momentary joy in me–nothing, niet!

I would dread even at the very thought of anybody entering into the safe haven my room was to me then. Like a recluse I kept to myself. I vividly remember how I spent sleepless nights experiencing hot flashes and chills every now and then during the night, but never had the courage to tell anybody or, more precisely, the acknowledgement that something was wrong with me.

Years rolled by as I continued to battle with this situation. Studies weren’t going that well, friends started to distance themselves from me and even my own family seemed strange and cold to me. Yet, I could not realize that something was wrong with me. I would wonder forever as to what had happened to the world around me.

Bizarre thoughts would circle my mind almost endlessly with no particular pattern or consistency. Everything seemed dull, uninteresting and blunt. It was like I was fighting a losing battle trying to figure out the world around me. But this wasn’t me. This wasn’t the person I had always known. A carefree, light-hearted, and outgoing individual.

And then something struck. What if I put an end to all this inner turmoil? What if I do something that can and will make my family happy? What if I end my life?

It didn’t even take me a moment’s time to make this decision. The thought of ending my life overcame completely in my mind and feeling. Always and almost for ever.

Until I found myself in a hospital bed unable to move any of my limbs or to lift myself up.

I was told I had been admitted for the last one and a half months and I cannot be discharged until all my fractures heal. One and a half months! And how was I not able to know that I was there for so long? Again, I was told that I was in coma for that period of time. Hmmm. (Well, let me reserve the things I saw while I was in coma for later post(s)).

Luckily, the days that followed my admission in the hospital proved to be a turning point of my life. I wasn’t able to walk for an entire year because I had a broken femur, the strongest bone in a human body which was used in prehistoric times as a weapon owing to its strength. It was then I found a mission, an aim in life.

And that was to be able to walk on my own without the help of any crutches or a wheelchair. To be on my feet once again!

With my will-power coupled with the help from my psychiatrist, to whom I owe my life, I was finally able to walk on my own without any tell-tale signs of ever having undergone damaged bones. My thanks are also due to my orthopedists  and physiotherapists without whom I would not have been able to see the positive side of my life.

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And that’s me on 16 Dec 2016

Ten years have elapsed now but I have no remorse whatsoever about everything that happened to me. I know it happened for the good. And I am thankful for it. Thank You.

 

Magical Chotu who taught us what happiness is

Hey guys, I know it’s been long since I have written anything on my blog. Thought of taking a sabbatical for a certain period of time before I felt up for it once again.

Well, to let you know, we have a new member in our family now!

Yes. We named him “Chotu” because he’s so small and cute, although we know that he would grow up one day to become not that big, but big enough for a Cocker Spaniel.

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And that’s Chotu in all his feigned ‘gentleman’ pose

We never thought or even had the slightest hope of having yet another canine companion ever since we lost our last member “Browny” who lived with us for a good fifteen years. I mean, the pain of being separated from Browny was too much for us to handle yet another emotional attachment with another pet. Well, life is full of mystery and surprises and we are extremely happy that we found such a great surprise in the form of Chotu now.

Let me tell you plainly as to what Chotu does. Well, the first time met him was after I got discharged from the hospital after being treated yet again for deliberately going off my meds for bipolar disorder. I would not like to call it selfishness because the wonderful experience that Chotu imparts on me every time I go near him or even think about is simply out of this world! The unconditional way he demonstrates his love and excitement at our sight and presence is simply very very difficult to translate in any word.

And it’s just not me who gets this feeling of warmth from Chotu. Everyone from my family and even my relatives, friends or any other visitors who come to meet us feel the same way. it is both magical and like a ‘nasha’ (intoxication). My friends, relatives and even our neighbors want to come to us or to Chotu, more specifically, because we are all intoxicated by his unimaginable ways of help us realize we still have life in us, that we can still be happy and carefree despite our daily grind of life.

That's Chotu stopping my nephew, Adwitiya, from leaving him and go to Pokhara, a popular city in Nepal famous for its lakes and mountains

That’s Chotu stopping my nephew, Adwitiya, from leaving him and go to Pokhara, a popular city of Nepal famous for its lakes and mountains

The other day my nephew was about to go to Pokhara, a popular tourist destination of Nepal, along with his sister and parents. The very morning they were to leave for Pokhara, Chotu actually sensed (and dogs have a strange and a very strong feeling about certain things as you may well know) that Adwitiya was leaving him. He tried all his methods to actually prevent my nephew from leaving the house. However, since the van was already waiting for him, Adwitiya whispered a few words of consolation into Chotu’s ears and parted.

The evening Adwitiya was back from Pokhara, Chotu knew no bounds to his happiness and excitement. He licked Adwitiya and my niece, Smriti, as much and as hard as a two-month Cocker Spaniel could and would! Haha!!!

See what Chotu does

See what Chotu does to me! Haha

Well, Chotu is definitely a gift from the heavens to all of us. I am greatly indebted to Chotu for all his great and magical ways of keeping all of us so happy and upbeat. I thank him for showing what love is, what true happiness is!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nepal Earthquake 2015

I was at home working on my laptop when Saturday’s devastating earthquake struck. When I ran to the stairs (I was on the first floor), the whole staircase was swinging like hell. I thought I would not be able to make it to the ground floor. It felt as though the world around me would collapse and we would all die. Luckily nothing happened to me and my family.

However, it was not the same everywhere.

In my neighborhood, the second floor of our neighbor’s house collapsed. The floor was under construction and a laborer was working inside when the quake hit us. The worker fell to the ground and sustained serious spinal cord injury. He was rushed to the Trauma Center in Bir Hospital at the center of the Kathmandu City.

Earthquake destroyed our neighbor's house

Earthquake destroyed our neighbor’s house

 

It is needless for me to say that the earthquake caused much destruction of lives and places of historical importance in Kathmandu and 10 other hilly districts of Nepal. I am only going to express my feelings about the earthquake and the destruction it caused. The internet is already overflowing with reports of the the quake, more tremors and the aftermath of the quake.

I will also mention an NGO who is working tirelessly to help quake survivors. I saw Clean Up Nepal work firsthand when I went to volunteer there yesterday.

I was at the Clean Up Nepal office to attend an orientation of a needs assessment survey to be done at Sindhupalchowk district. Sindhupalchowk is the epicenter of the second major earthquake which took place on Sunday 26 April 2015. The most affected region is reported to be Sindhupalchowk, a district although being close to Kathmandu is one of the least developed and impoverished ones in the country. It is reported that the district of Sindhupalchowk sustained the most damage to lives and property compared to other affected regions.

The Clean Up Nepal team has worked out that 75 Nepalese Rupees (US$ 0.75) is all that is needed to provide daily shelter, clean drinking water and food for one person in the district.

The death toll in the district has reached 3,656, which means the number of survivors in the district can be in the range of 25,000 to 28,000. Since official records are yet to be collected with the possibility of people still buried under the rubble, it is hard to pinpoint the number of survivors in the district. Even then, the cost of sustaining the survivors can be roughly calculated to be to the tune of US$18,750 to US$21,000.

It’s the tenth day since the first earthquake (7.9m) struck on Saturday and we are still experiencing intermittent tremors of smaller magnitude. However, with the right effort and aid it is certain that Sindhupalchowk along with other affected regions will soon be able to bounce back.

We have to rise and we will rise.

Earthquake-affected districts of Nepal 

  1. Bhaktapur
  2. Dhading
  3. Dolakha
  4. Gorkha
  5. Kavrepalanchowk
  6. Kathmandu
  7. Lalitpur
  8. Nuwakot
  9. Ramechhap
  10. Rasuwa
  11. Sindhupalchowk