Friday, 4 August 2017

Is Travelling With Kids Important, Yes I Say!


Whenever my heart says, lets go.. travel... Budget, time, schedule, etc etc always say No. But there’s this undeterring attitude which always raises its head and asks why so?!

There's more to travel than fancy pictures, shopping, taking a break from the monotony of life. It is this desire to wander, experience, observe, absorb and learn!

In my version of existence, travelling comes with a deeper meaning. As I have moved through life, with each trip I have found myself a changed person, no matter how slight. I have found a deeper connect with this life and this world.

Travel. The word itself is music to the ears! The excitement to see a new place, new people, the food, their way of life, language they speak, their culture..everything seems to ignite a spark. It is like each and every place in this world has a different sunset and sunrise. As I stand and witness the beauty of the surroundings, I feel I have come a step closer to Mother Nature.

Having these overwhelming experiences myself, it is sheer pleasure to see my children reflecting a positive bond with the natural world. Rivers, animals, trees, birds and even the insects, my little one says are his friends! They have loved the shades of orange with the glow spilling across the horizon with the rising sun. The encounters with the tiny creatures making their way out of soil after rain while building little mud structures have given them lessons to understand the natural order of things and admire life irrespective of size and origin.

But it had not always been like this. There was once a time when I perceived travel a hassle with kids. Having travelled as an independent adult, no wonder the added responsibility of a toddler seemed to create a lot of chaos. The diaper changes, the feeding patterns, stomach upsets.. upset me a lot. I started to think that it wasn’t the right thing to travel with kids and maybe we could pursue that after kids had grown up a little. But thanks to the die-hard traveller I am married to, he did not let this happen to us. He was always there to push me out of my comfort zone and that is what travelling is all about, moving out of the comfort zone. We wandered around different climates with the little kids. Forests, seas, mountains, deserts..our kids have trotted all along.

Travelling is a great learning experience for children besides adults. It ignites their curiosity world of why’s n how’s. At a young age, they get to see the glimpses of the bigger picture of life. That life is not just confined to the school, to the house, to the parents. There is a lot to be explored. There is a lot to be learned.

Though school education is very important, there are certain things that cannot be learned in a classroom setting. While planning and packing to go on a trip develop their organizational skills, visiting different places gives them an insight into different cultures. They become flexible individuals, respectful of others. Collecting seashells from the sand, listening to the sounds of the rainforests, they learn to admire the beauty of life that lies in simple things. It also makes one learn how to be tolerant if something goes wrong, to let it go and look at the brighter picture.

As a parent, it is my preference to instill in them an adventurous streak, to go for it, just do it. Travel makes you a strong, fearless creature. After all, life is all about risking, taking chances, following your instincts. Travelling offers endless opportunities to explore ourselves, pushing us to our limits. And I have experienced this myself. Having had developed aquaphobia as a child after a drowning incident, it is with travel only that I have been able to overcome my morbid fear of water, wherein just a scant amount of water pouring over from the shower was enough to make me gasp for breath, gathering all my strength and courage, much to my surprise, I did manage to pull off a sea walk!

Quietly watching the sun go down or a mere walk in the forest sometimes prove to be a life changer. And believe me, this writing bug, which gives me immense pleasure and creative satisfaction, nowhere to be found in years’ of working in an office setting, bit me only while travelling. So explore and let your children explore the endless opportunities that are out there for you to discover!

And as they say, fill your life with adventures, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show!

In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.
                                          John Muir

Saturday, 8 April 2017

My New BFF: Fibromyalgia

Doc: “Fibromyalgia. You have fibromyalgia! All the headaches, stiffness, fatigue, it’s because of that. What you can do is not take stress, eat healthy and exercise, rest I will take care of.”

I: “I do walk almost an hour a day, 5 days a week, eat healthy as much as possible, don’t worry about things happening in life..but then how come this?!”

Doc: “Mam, given the anxious nature of you mothers and the stressful, complying-to-every-minute-of-the-clock routine we have these days, you have enough source of anxiety which of course you can just shrug off like that ONLY IF YOU TRY and I say YOU MUST.”

Welcome to the world of new-age illnesses!

If you experience generalized pain and tenderness all over the body, especially upper back, neck and head and bilateral joints for long periods of time with no medical condition to explain the pain, debilitating fatigue and sleeplessness, chances are that you have fibromyalgia.

Lately, I found myself fatigued all the time, having throbbing headaches starting from the base of the skull, waking up in the morning feeling having not slept at all, turning extremely sensitive to sound and light; symptoms worse on some days and better on others but pretty much omnipresent. Trust me, it is a nightmare when you don’t know what might possibly be causing it!

People who experience physical or emotional trauma are at a higher risk of developing fibromyalgia. With no known cause or objective tests to diagnose coupled with subjective symptoms, fibromyalgia is often misdiagnosed as another disease. I have been treated for throat infections and cervical spondylitis for many years when I should have been given anti-anxiety treatment.

But then someone above thought I had had enough, so He sent across my way a marvelous doctor. Having the right people in your life is surely one blessing in disguise. I have found solace in homeopathy in Dr. Gurshabad Singh’s hands, where my treatment is based on individualistic characteristics, with no adverse side effects. This doctor identified all the symptoms at the very first visit and reassured that I no longer will have to suffer and he did stand true to his words.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia. The treatment for fibromyalgia focuses on reducing symptoms by helping in sleeping properly and reducing the sensitivity to pain. And with experience I can say that there is nothing better than homeopathy if you find the right doctor.

But the reigns of treatment of a fibromyalgic patient lie in the hands of the patient himself because medicines can only help alleviate the pain, making the lifestyle changes, being conscious about the food one eats and maintaining a healthy weight is all that only the person himself can do. Though my medications have helped me tremendously, I sleep soundly and wake up not tired, without a heavy head which for me is a miracle of sorts, a little credit needs to be given to my shift of focus towards myself too.

I have realized very deeply in these few months that no matter how many people stand by your side during your illness, the only person suffering the suffering will be You. The one and only person who can be worried about your well-being and your health issues is You. So why not make it utmost priority and take proper care of it. Hence began my battle against this menace and the journey of seeking true health involving physical, mental and spiritual well being.

I didn’t even know when anxiety crawled into my life. And it is there every day. Every hour of the day!  And believe me, it’s there at night too, subconsciously working its way.

There have been a lot of factors that maybe said to have contributed to it. Becoming mom second time to a child who had evening colic almost since birth gave sleepless nights for months in a row. Feelings of anxiety and overwhelm, deep fatigue, agitation, feelings of isolation and rage prevailed. Being away from husband, parenting the elder one and the newborn created havoc in my life and maybe I was into postpartum distress which went unchecked. There were days when I used to cry, on what my life had become.

And nowadays it’s a different kind of maddening, “homework abhi tak kyu nahi kiya, don’t smash your toys on the TV, why have you left all the veggies in pasta; get off the dining table, NOW; water is coming out of the bathroom Goddammit, don’t splash it on every damn thing you two; it’s already 10, please go to bed!!” Just a little trailer of a usual day at my home.

But to be honest, it’s just not only the kids making me anxious, these symptoms were there before them too though not this gruesome. It took years to get correctly diagnosed because the manifestations of fibromyalgia are such that one gets confused easily. Analgesics and antibiotics were a routine, the prolonged and frequent use of which resulted in irritable bowel syndrome. Such has been my stint with this deeply-embedded disorder. And I got concerned and scared when it recurred frequently, intensified and was not ready to leave my body.

Actually it so happens that we humans have the tendency to worry, worry about everything. We want our lives to be perfect. We want our life to go by our plans. But seldom it happens that plans turn out as planned. At least that’s the case with my life and my plans! So here comes the endless worrying. This worrying-about-things thing can affect you to an extent that you don’t even know when it becomes one of your personality traits.

As far as I can remember, I used to be a hard working, quiet girl at school who put in her 101% in each and every test but never did I care for the marks that I would score. Whereas my friends would be busy counting their probable scores, I would say “itna tension kyu lena yaar.

But then what happened which changed my outlook towards life. As I look back and revise events in my life, I recollect I changed as a girl and as a human being with my father’s demise. It was a lot for us teenage siblings to cope with. My mother, the rock-solid support system, slipping into depression was another jolt we had to deal with. It was then this anxiety said Hello.

I remember my mother telling me even years later, “what’s wrong with you, you don’t look like the same girl who managed home in the time of crisis, helped me recover from depression; why do you overthink everything, worry about every little thing.” I used to dismiss it saying, “nothing has happened to me, it’s you who’s overanalyzing.”

Now all of it makes sense. I had imbibed anxiety in my everyday existence. At one point of time, I was scared of even laughing. If something made me happy, I would instantly be scared from inside that now something bad would happen. Every good thing that came my way scared me, because I thought life is going to trade this happiness by snatching something dear to me. These thoughts were the grassroots of my fibromyalgia!

The way I behaved and reacted to situations at that time was natural. Seeing my mother shattered and devastated was one hell of a thing. But what killed me literally, which now I understand, was my loneliness as I gave up my work too to make sure things were smooth at home and made her continue her job as that’s in the best interest of a depression-stricken person. All my thoughts and emotions were packed up inside of me. If I had had friends or people to talk to or share my feelings with, what now I understand, things would have been way better. That’s what I tell my husband how lucky he has been to have a huge circle of friends, but then life as ruthless as it can get, did snatch his dearest belonging too. But this guy never let this overpower his life. He kept moving on in life and didn’t drag the baggage along. A lot yet to be learned from this man!

So basically, the point is that Life will have enough chances to pull you down and smash your life like a tomato, but the choice to whether to turn it into ketchup or leave it to rot and stink will always be with you! I have learned how to make ketchup after my share of rotting and stinking, just looking for some preservatives so that it stays with me forever!

Life is no fairytale yet it is meant to celebrate!

Though haven’t seen this movie till now, waiting for an auspicious time maybe ;)  Just love listening to this song from Dear Zindagi (on repeat mode sometimes!)