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Shakti Perspectives: Priyanka 

I have always been extremely aware of the term “mental health” and how it can impact our daily lives despite the limited resources that were available in my home country, Indonesia. Not until I came to Melbourne, did I start to dig in deeper and realised just how many problems there were within the ways we address mental health problems and tackle them as a society. Self-care to me has evolved drastically, from growing up in a conservative background where we are always taught to bottle up any feelings we have, and to always lead this picture-perfect life, leaving very little to no room for making mistakes and improvements to now becoming this concept of honouring my mind, body and soul and embracing the uncertainties, failures and changes that life brings to us.

In light with the recent events of this global pandemic, something that I would like to discuss today is our journey with grief and loss. Every one of us have suffered some type of loss this year in different aspects of our lives and have truly lost the definition of “normal” that we used to have. As someone who has anxiety and often feels misunderstood, nobody truly speaks on how losing someone you love is one of the hardest pains and trauma an individual goes through in their lives, let alone facing that loss during a global crisis. At the end of the day, I believe that the people who affect us the most are those who we truly let see us. However, everyone should know that their feelings are valid no matter how small or irrelevant they may perceive it to be and vulnerability is an act of strength and courage, not a weakness by any means. If you are in a moment like this right now, you have to understand that this feeling is temporary and you are not alone. In return, by making it through the tunnel of this hurt, you will come out stronger and more compassionate and you will learn things about yourself that you never would have if you hadn’t experienced this loss.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned for my mental health from this loss that I have suffered is that not everyone has the same heart as you that’s maybe one of the toughest pills to swallow. It is one that everyone should grasp to create a resilient mindset in life. The most difficult feelings we experience with them, change us for the better. You cannot control what happened, but you can control how you heal, and grow from it. Let this be a lesson in control. Sometimes we lose people we never thought we would. Sometimes the people we trust the most hurt us. We can only control the way we react. The way we grow from the experience and when you come to peace with that, that is when true growth as a human being occurs.

Mental illnesses should not be thought of any differently from physical illnesses. In fact, I believe the two are inseparable. The whole body is connected and interwoven, the two cannot be separated. The stigma surrounding mental illness keeps people from getting the help they need to get better and causes them to hide their pain. Receiving help and normalising speaking on these issues needs to be incorporated into our daily norms of living and when we heal from the hurt, we realize that we deserve more than that depth of damage. Sometimes it can be an extremely gritty process, to take note of all the times we slaughtered our instincts or did not stand up for what we wanted. My advice is that at the end of the day, moving on is about forgiveness. Understand that this experience, this human being, served a beautiful purpose in your life.

Come to terms with that, sit with it, and find peace within it. That is the only way to truly move on, because when we forgive due to seeing how this experience made us better, we stop ruminating over what we lost, we stop ruminating over negative emotions, and we start to focus on what we gained and how we built out new foundations within ourselves. Let this pandemic serve as a reminder that “for a star to be born, there is one thing that must happen: a gaseous nebula must collapse. So, collapse. Crumble. This is not your destruction. This is your birth.”

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