A Respite

By Deepak Seshadri

To all the readers of this blog and this article, my first, I would like to extend an incredibly warm welcome. The fact that I even have the opportunity to write to and reach you all is so humbling. To those of you who may not know me as well, one of my favorite pursuits (besides scouring Sephora for new fragrance releases) is writing poetry. I typically tend to write about topics, experiences, and feelings that have moved me deeply. In this way, I hope to provide people with a sense of solidarity in knowing that it is okay to express their individuality and emotions.

 As a 24 year old South Asian man, emotional acuity has not been emphasized to me as an important character trait to have. Instead, through some rather unhealthy modeling, we as South Asians have often been taught that rigidity is a virtue and a lack of expression denotes a sense of strength. That being said, by embarking upon this journey and having you all join me, I hope to provide a safe space for people to accept and express themselves in every way. To normalize and embrace aspects of the human condition that have been unfortunately stigmatized. To explore new things, learn, and ultimately to grow. 

Through this blog, I look forward to writing about a variety of different topics. Although one of my main passions is de-stigmatizing mental health in South Asian communities, both domestic and abroad, I also hope to touch on a variety of areas such as photography/visual arts, grooming and lifestyle, poetry, and sports. I decided to kick off my blogging journey with something extremely important to me…mental health. The piece you are about to read is a collection of thoughts I had at the very beginning of my journey in graduate school. I was facing a daunting challenge ahead- moving to a new state, starting a rigorous doctoral-level program, and having to navigate forming new bonds with people I didn’t know. I hope reading this offers you all a fresh perspective on the rigors of graduate school, change, and life as a whole. Whether you are starting a new chapter, struggling to let go of old ones, just feel stuck, or even if you feel just fine, know that life is hard. Simply put. However, as we are carried by its turbulent tides all of us need a moment to just pause and reflect. And so, I offer you this…a respite. 

This message is for everyone out there. Not just those of you who struggle with mental health, but to every single one of you. I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned in my short, yet abundant life has been to never take my mental health and/or peace of mind for granted. I firmly believe that taking care of your mind is the single most important thing that we as human beings can do. For those who have high functioning forms of mental illness, your periods of peace may start allowing you to take things for granted. I know because I’ve been there. To anyone out there who hasn’t had to worry about their mental health slipping, consider yourself lucky. I know that life may get boring sometimes and it seems there isn’t much to appreciate, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Just walk outside, look up, and take everything in for a second. Enjoy it all, because doing that is so hard when your mind begins to eat away at itself. I can’t explain how many times, when I’ve started to feel anxious or sad, I’ve longed to feel the serenity of mundanity just one more time. People think having nothing to worry about is a curse but, from someone whose mind sometimes does nothing but worry, believe me when I say it’s the biggest blessing in the world. I urge everyone out there reading to never, ever take stillness for granted. Do something with that freedom, because such peace is not a luxury that is afforded to all. Create, grow, love, be kind, inspire, and live your life with a passion that stirs even the most stoic soul. Because there may come a day when you find your mind slipping without your control, and believe me you’re going to want to remember the good times as an anchor. As a way to remind yourself to keep holding on with everything you’ve got, because it gets better. I promise you, it gets better.

-DS


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