Recently, we came across Ayusha Bhajanka. She’s been doing some great work for the cause of the nation and beyond. Unfortunately, Indian media doesn’t focus on the good things that really matter to each of us. However, We, at TheCheckerNews.Com, can’t overlook the tremendous amount of good work that she has been continuously doing for us.
Ayusha with whatever little resources she has, is dedicating her full time and effort towards raising mental health awareness of the people around us. She is an active Quoran, blogger, writer, podcaster, and social worker too. As the coronavirus-induced lockdown made us all sit at home, and feel helpless all the time, Ayusha comes forward to explaining what this mental health and illness is all about, and how can we cure the same!
We are extremely grateful to Ayusha Bhajanka for sparing some time for this exclusive interview. It was not only pleasant and knowledgeable but enlightening too. She shared everything starting from her own struggles, life journey, and much more!
Here Are The Excerpts
Hi Ayusha! Welcome to TheCheckerNews. Briefly Introduce Yourself.
Ans: Hello All! I”m Ayusha. I”m from Guwahati, Assam. A Graduate in Social Work, self-claimed Mental Health Advocate, and the Founder of Baatein Anakheesi, an organization that works towards creating safe spaces. Impassioned with my cause of starting conversations around Mental Health in Indian households and working against Child Sexual abuse, I am also a proud member of the Kidsrights Changemakers Foundation, Amsterdam, through which I am developing an Action plan to spread awareness against Child Sexual Abuse in India.
Please explain how you began writing. Also, let us know some details about your newly written books; ‘UNSAID and UNSPOKEN’ and ‘QUORAN-TINE.’ How can we buy your books?
Ans: Life has taught me a lot of lessons and made me experience things that changed my perceptions towards everything around me. But it did not happen overnight. I spent days in self-pity, asking ‘WHY ME?’, I had too many questions and no one to answer them.
As I look back today with stones in my chest, I realize that all I needed was for someone to say IT’S OKAY. I set out on a journey to remind the young people of the world like myself, that “It’s gonna be okay,” in any and every way I can.
Writing has been one of those mediums for me. I started by writing Blogs in 2016, moved on to answering soft questions about life on Quora in 2018, and published two books in 2020.
‘Unsaid and Unspoken,’ is an attempt to bring out the stories behind unseen scars and validate them. Hoping every soul who turns through these pages, would find a broken piece of themselves reminding them that THEY ARE NOT ALONE – No matter what is going on in their life – with stories about family, friendship, relationship, abuse, loss, and more. It is an anthology of true stories by real people, just like you, on their journey of trying to do life.
Direct Link To Buy These Books
Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.in/dp/9390169437
Flipkart Page: https://www.flipkart.com/search?q=9789390169436
Quoran-tine is a compilation of selected questions I answered on Quora and the various virtual sessions I facilitated during Quarantine 2020. It takes you through a roller-coaster of human life complexities answering the most commonly asked questions about your place in the world, your beliefs, who you are, and how you fit into the greater scheme of things, revolving around just one thought, “Follow Your Heart.”
You are doing so much for mental health awareness. Do we fail to acknowledge that mental health is a big concern around us?
Ans: Mental health struggles inevitably affect every individual in their ways. However, we have always been taught to tirelessly run and keep up with the World’s chaos. So much so that, we end up ignoring the chaos within. For most of us, the endless quest to do better, score higher, earn more, has helped us ignore the existence of our emotional baggage, because we did not have the time to sit and feel what we were feeling.
We created a dump yard of ‘It’s not the right time,’ in our subconscious where we dumped the breakups, failures, traumas, and everything else labeled ‘negative’. It is labeling feelings into valid and invalid that intensifies struggles into illnesses.
India is home to a large group of youth who are either unaware of the possible psychological difficulties they might be suffering or don’t feel the need to step out and seek help.
– Ayusha Bhajanka –
Making suicide the third highest cause of death among the youth, the result of stigma around mental health, and the reluctance to addressing it has only been fatal. I read somewhere that none of India’s 22 languages have words that mean ‘mental health’ or ‘depression’. While we have seen conversations around mental health rising in the past couple of months there is still a long journey ahead.
“To be able to apply a band-aid, you’ve got to acknowledge that you’re hurt,” there is too much evidence around us acting as a wake-up call for us than to turn a blind eye towards the big concern that mental health is.
How did you start Baatein Ankaheesi? Can you briefly describe what prompted you to start this?
Ans: As a growing child, a confused teenager, and a lost adolescent, I’ve always wished for space where I could be myself and talk about the things that matter or don’t. Expressing feelings to friends, family, and loved ones; the way they are makes us vulnerable to rejection and judgment, which isn’t just disempowering, but erodes our self-esteem and alters decision-making ability.
To avoid having to face such vulnerability we often bury away our emotions while it subconsciously digs a burial inside of us. Being from a small town I imagined living in a big city would be enough for me to feel at peace and in power, but when I got the opportunity I only felt alone and lost. Understanding there weren’t many avenues for people to get together and talk about their experiences, I founded Baatein Ankaheesi — To reach out to people suffering the gasps of vulnerability and normalize communication by creating a safe space for making conversations they would not normally have access to; where things about life are openly discussed challenging stigma and stereotypes.
What makes me the proudest today is that I created something that I wished for my whole life; without even realizing that there are so many others out there who needed it too. Baatein Ankaheesi will always be something that was done BY ME. FOR ME.
To know more about Baatein Ankaheesi visit: www.baateinankaheesi.com
Well. You do a lot of things. From being an active user on Quora to painting, blogging, podcasting, and also advocating for mental health-related issues. How do you manage all these things all alone?
Ans: I am motivated by my passion for learning and exploring. It’s the very pleasure of being able to do what I do that keeps me going. I write because I want people to know what I know, I make podcasts because I have something to say, I advocate for Mental Health because I’ve been on the other end of the spectrum feeling stuck and suffocated in my body just wanting to hear that it’s normal, that it’s okay to feel miserable because it’s a feeling too and feelings are meant to be felt.
I never wanted to become a best-seller or a recognized quoran or a national ambassador for mental health, I just wanted to touch lives in any way I can, and that’s exactly what I do.
– Ayusha Bhajanka –
How are you spending time at home due to COVID-19? Is it so difficult to stay at home and be productive?
Ans: I’ve gotten more work done in the past seven months than I’ve done in the last seven years combined. Since I started Baatein Anakaheesi, I was looking forward to getting done with college so I could give in my 100% to growing Baatein. Ever since the pandemic; we launched Sunshine and Hurricanes; India’s first online Mental Health Support Group program completed the two books, organized and facilitated multiple webinars and sessions, and published a mental health blog, to count a few.
But, that’s not all, some days I’m productive and responsible, other days I’m lazy and ineffective. If you ask me about staying home and being productive, in the words of Rachel Green I’d say, “The nights are the hardest. But then the day comes, and that’s every bit as hard as the night. And then the night comes again.” In all days, however, I try to keep reminding myself that this whole Pandemic is much bigger than me. And it is okay to just be. I make sure I don’t beat myself up over being at my best at all times.
What keeps you motivated and who are your real-life role models?
Ans: “As long as my lungs are breathing and my heart is beating, there is a scope of change. And I will be okay.” I have had lows in life, more often than not I believed that I wouldn’t be able to come out of it. But when I started working in the field of social work, I realized that gratitude takes a man a long way. I’m blessed in many ways. Acknowledging it, helps me stay motivated and keep going. From what I’ve learned ‘LIFE’ in itself is the biggest blessing, and is full of endless possibilities. So, as long as I’m alive everything else can and will get better.
I don’t have real-life role models, what I look up to however is the many ways in which I can be a better version of myself tomorrow. Because everyone who I could be has done their bit and there’s nothing more I can do by being the next to them. While I am unique and one of the only kind of myself.
What advice would you give to someone who is coping with mental health-related issues like stress, anxiety, depression, and irritation?
Ans: Things will get better. Whatever it is. However bad it may seem. IT WILL PASS. Maybe tomorrow, maybe the day after. But please know that it will happen. Lots of people have been through what you’re going through and came out to the other side.
Hope is one of those things that disappear with any mental illness, so for now, I hope for you until you find that hope again for yourself. You’re strong. You’re beautiful. You’re worth it. Take it one day at a time. If that seems too difficult, do it one minute at a time. And remember every minute you breathe, YOU WIN.
Finally, what’s your ambition in life? Are you moving into that direction?
Ans: If there is anything that this pandemic has taught me, it’s that things won’t always work out as you planned it. Life is an endless series of choices that we make depending upon various factors that constantly affect it, so no matter how badly we want it today chances are when we’re faced with a Pandemic we’ll give in and settle for something else. My only ambition is to participate and contribute to changing the world by being the best of myself that I know of today. And I am tirelessly being the person that I am proud of every minute.