My maximum mind,
like the maximum city I live in,
was full of energy,
riot, colour, excess.
Life was hurried, breathless, exciting,
and moving at a furious speed.
My catchphrase summed up my belief–
‘You succeed only if you exceed’.

From time to time, though,
thoughts would rattle me,
a kind of whirlwind of emotions,
rather tough to string into words–
frequent, uncalled, random;
from which turbulent springs they arose,
I had no idea nor ever tried to fathom.

The show went on,
my mind incessantly cluttered and clogged up,
noisy, crowded, dense,
I kept an incredible pace,
lusting to win every single race.
Probably, I craved to be like those neon bulbs,
bright billboards that queue up the city,
forever bright, forever incandescent,
never turning off,
till I started feeling there was something seriously amiss.

First I presumed I was past the delirium of youth,
hence the slowdown.
Or else, it could be the chilly winds of middle age causing the blues…
I tried putting up a brave front,
like the city I live in,
bursting at its seams,
yet capacious, allowing everyone to live out their dreams.
I kept pledging more and more of myself,
the city’s turmoil merging somewhere with the confusion of my inward self,
my heart thumping relentlessly, unforgivingly,
till one day my mind-body coordination went for a toss.

Doctors called it an anxiety disorder,
my legs failing to bear my own burden.
I watched helplessly, as Cassandra did,
while the soldiers emerged from the Trojan horse
to wreak havoc.
Life went out of control, out of sync,
I had no clue where life was headed
and when sleep deserted me three days in a row,
That was the final blow.

I tried to seek help
but before I could whip up words,
anxiety would tighten its grip.
And then one day, I suffered a total breakdown.
I was shattered.
That is when a friend took charge
realising the potential hazard.
She arranged immediate help,
consulted one doctor after another
but my monster mind was tough to handle.
Nothing seemed to work
but finally I met a therapist,
a gentle, kind man,
who seemed to figure out what had wrecked my ship.

He engaged with me patiently,
convincing me, mine wasn’t a lost cause-
‘PAUSE’, he confidently urged
for what had happened to me
was nothing more than a bend in the road.
His simple advice – ‘one thing at a time’
became a cardinal tool for me to manage my mind.
Slowly his positivity started rubbing off on me
and I began by accepting the damage
and also the tools to manage the damage.

Slowly, I began to respond.

Sangeeta Kampani, 62, worked with the IRS and retired as a Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi.

Featured image credit: Pixabay