I have had my own share of ups and downs just like every other person and I think I have been able to handle it pretty well because at the end of the day, I have always found myself happy in my own space. The way I understand mental health, I think it has a lot to do with how happy you are with YOURSELF.
Being an introvert has also helped me a lot. A person like me would generally expect less from people and things around him/her. I choose not to let my happiness depend on the elements I am surrounded with.
About 7 years back (2011), when board exams were the most important thing in my life, I was preparing for engineering exams. Not because I wanted to, but because I didn’t know what else to do with my life. FYI I come from a very small place in Jharkhand where career counselling is not in fashion. So, I decided to do what my friends were doing and that’s how I got into engineering. Since, I was always inclined towards art, I went for architecture which was (in my mind) a combination of art and engineering. I got into a reputed college and made my parents proud and happy, but I knew that I was not happy with the direction in which I had pushed myself. By the end of the third year of college, I lost interest in architecture and almost felt like it was over for me. I almost made peace with the fact that I was going to be doing this for the rest of my life.
It took me some time to realise that I was being unfair to myself. So, I started sketching and painting in my spare time. I continued with my education on the other side (because you obviously want the degree if you have already spent money on it). I started uploading my work on social media and some supportive souls help me gain some confidence. I managed to sell a few of my artworks too. In a few months, I felt like I am on the right track.
It was sometime during 2014, our whole batch was supposed to go for an architectural training for a couple of months. Guess what? I didn’t. I skipped it. I didn’t tell my parents about it and spent the entire time making artworks. I didn’t sell any of them, but I made them just for myself. It made me happy. It gave me confidence. It helped me understand who I was and who I wanted to be. I was scared too because it was a risky move. My parents would think that I was wasting my time. I could see the disagreement in their eyes. It used to break me at times, but I never stopped. I would sleep right next to my laptop and would wake up in the middle of the night just to see if someone had liked or commented on my new posts. My artworks were my passion and no matter how tired I was, I liked working on them.
Today I work as graphic designer and live my life as a happy human being who is positive about life.
The room that you see in the video (access the video on our Facebook and Instagram pages) is where I made so many artworks and listened to so many old Bollywood songs. Now a days, my mother just tries hard to not let it turn into a useless store room and keeps it the way it used to be.
So, the few things that keep me happy or ‘mentally healthy’ are my passion for artworks, my love for dogs and fondness for Bollywood music.
Bottomline – Do what you like. It keeps you happy and that’s what mental health is all about. It’s THAT easy!