I gently open my eyes to the dew on the windows. It’s New Year and a Sunday. I don’t exactly jump out of bed and rush around brimming with energy. I take my time to rise, and I’m at peace. Not fretting about yesterday’s unfinished tasks or tomorrow’s upcoming work.
I smile. I’m glad this newness of emotions has stayed for the New Year. I mutter a silent prayer. Prayer of gratitude and hope that peace stays.
This calm I feel today, why is it so special? Why haven’t I ever experienced this before?
Have I won a lottery or a medal? Have I been promoted? Have my children topped their exams? Have I excelled in any of my ventures? None of this actually! But I’m content somehow.
And why do I talk about all these? Well, since the time I can recollect, I’ve been constantly told these things matter a lot, to make a man happy.
Good scores make parents happy, but poor ones disappoint them. Quite naturally, I expected ditto from my offspring. From childhood to college to this age, I was met with competition everywhere. Winning was a necessity. Losing was out of the question. Perfection was the need of the hour. And is it only me? I’m sure NO.
I wouldn’t know when it happened exactly, but the constant desire to win, the pressure to excel, and the passion for perfection, took its toll. And the lockdown added fuel to the burning embers of my mind.
I would spend sleepless nights, anticipating the worst, and stressing for no reason. I could often feel my heart thump, my BP would shoot up, my cycles were a mess, and my blood sugar was out of control. Every doctor I visited advised the same! Reduce stress. I would if I could, but my mind wouldn’t let me, I looked for problems inside solutions. I wept for no reason. Not one of the aforementioned material riches made me content. ‘Happy’ was a distant word.
And the prayers of gratitude I spoke about, are to the Almighty, for blessing me with the family I have. A family I hadn’t appreciated enough till now. For people, I haven’t been thankful enough.
My spouse, parents, and teenage kid suggested something which had till then been taboo for me and perhaps for many of us. It was the second half of the last year when after some reflection and initial hesitation, I sought medical help.
I was surprised at how I talked at length to the kind homoeopathy doctor, who patiently heard me out and pronounced that I suffered from ‘Perfectionist Syndrome’. An irrational fear to commit a mistake, an obsession to do everything correctly.
Four pills every day, and I noticed the change. I didn’t anticipate negativity anymore, I felt at ease. It wasn’t like I got careless with work, or flouted deadlines. Just that I could take life a little lightly, understand that I am a human too, and I’m allowed to err. I did not fear an upcoming task. I just knew that by being calm and with lesser stress, I could complete it well in time.
The past few months have shown me, that stress indeed could trigger many an ailment. I’m noticing a definite improvement in my BP and sugar readings. I look and feel more relaxed and glowing, perhaps because my mind is resting for a change.
So here I am today, a new me at 41. I don’t measure happiness with success anymore, I don’t relate to peer pressure and unhealthy competition, I just don’t feel the need. My life is mine, only mine. My physical and mental well-being is my responsibility and I don’t care what the world would say. I sought help when I needed it the most, and wouldn’t hesitate to if I need it ever again.