Posted in Anxiety, Dear Diary, jolly june, Quarantine Files

to the only guy I’ve ever loved,

Maybe just maybe I fell for you too hard too fast. Every waking moment is spent thinking of you and wondering how you are doing. Yet lately it seems like it’s not being reciprocated.

You were the first guy I ever properly spoke to – openly. I told you about my fears, my dreams and everything in between. You gave me a lot of my firsts – first date, first kiss, first talking stage. You became my first boyfriend and i hoped you would be my last. I envisioned my life with you but now everything’s up in flames. 

For the second time I’m my life I’ve experienced heart ache and misery. For months on end you brushed me aside like I meant nothing to you. When I tried to reach out to you to see what was up because I missed you – you called me crazy and told me you were dating someone else. Maybe I’m not good enough for you. Maybe I’m not worthy of love. 

Not only did you treat me like trash but you got my family and friends in cahoots with you. Everyone’s been scheming behind my back. No one seems to remember that you were my boyfriend when I specially made sure that my parents and family met you before we became official. For someone with generalized anxiety disorder and depression my memory is sharp. 

I still remember telling you I wasn’t ready to date you and wanted to just be friends. I was done lying my family, my best friends, who had been there for me at my lowest. I needed to focus on my self and my mental health. I told you I had a lot to work on before I had a mans – I wanted to fix my relationships with my so called squad, I wanted to make sure me and my ex-bestfriend were on good terms. You being the elaborate waste-bucket I know – planned a big ass surprise for me. You went and talked to my parents, you talked to my friends, and my family inorder to surprise me.

I was on campus on April 26th, 2018, during this time you told me to have fun in Sri Lanka over the summer and then we would talk when I got back. I was already starting to miss you even before the trip. I was wondering if you would move on during my trip and maybe find someone else. I was all in my thoughts sitting in the meeting place at UTSC, writing in my bullet journal. When I was bombarded on campus by my cousins. They could tell I was sad – they told me that you went and talked to my parents, that you told them you wanted to be with me. I was shocked – I never expected you to do that, you were my prince charming. Thats when Taylor Swift was being blasted into the meeting place – they told me to look up. Thats when you walked down the stairs with my brother and sister. As y’all were talking towards me thats when my parents popped up and then also perriamma and perriappa. Then you asked me to be your girlfriend. 

Fast forward to September – I told you I wanted a break – I needed to focus on school and raise my GPA. You understood and told me okay. We would still talk everyday and text. But then I remember that night in November. You were in the hospital. My parents visited you in the hospital – i was devastated. How could you have done something so stupid?. It was in that moment when I thought I had lost you forever that I realized I loved you. You were the one. 

I knew from that moment on I needed you in my life. The dark days and all. You were my source of happiness and joy. I remember the days you used to hold me close. Now everything has changed and I’ve been brushed aside. 

I’m left to fend from my own demons by myself. You’ve put me in a constant state of depression. Everyday I’m wishing that you would walk into my life – I can’t stand to lose another person I love. Yet months have gone by and nothing. You don’t seem to care about me. 

Every night I fall asleep with tears on my eyes thinking of you and what we used to be. With a sad playlist on repeat. I go to sleep knowing that I can be with you in my dreams. 

I’ve reached the point where the pain is greater than my love for you. All you’ve caused me pain now. All I have left to say to you, is why ? Just why ? What’s your reason for all the pain you caused ? Was this really necessary ? 

-XOXO chana

Posted in Anxiety, jolly june, life, The Chronicles of Chana

the chronicles of chana – pt.1 : prologue

The Baleswarans. Close knit. Loving. Loyal. Privileged. Damaged. Minorities. Trustworthy. Selfless. We live in in Toronto – more specifically Scarborough. 


Chana was an ordinary girl. Loving family of 4 beautiful souls who she could depend on. Friends that she believed in. Living with flaws she had learned to love over time. Just a city girl trying to fit in to this world. Shy was her middle name. The type to sit in the corner of a crowded room, isolated from all the other beings in the room. She was a book nerd, loved to lose her self in a good book. Yet one vacation would change everything she’d ever known. Her life would be flipped upside down. 

I would to to hear your thoughts after reading this – leave them in the comments below

-XOXO chana

Posted in Anxiety, jolly june, uni, UofT

An Anthropological Take on My Diagnosis

Hey there ! I hope you guys are staying safe during these trying times. I’m back with a new post ! This was a paper I wrote for one of my anthropology courses at UofT – Medical Anthropology: Illness and Healing in Cultural Perspective. This paper looks at my medical diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder through an anthropological lens. So, grab a cup of tea and read 🙂


Written By: Archana Baleswaran

Mental illness continues to raise issues of stigma whether it be in a public sphere or even a private one. Particularly in the South Asian community, the topic of mental illness remains a taboo. My family growing up never spoke about mental illness or even mental health for that matter. In my culture, above all, reputation and how you present yourself to the world is of utmost importance. However, my parents would soon have to come to terms with the state of my mental health and my diagnosis. This paper will be detailing my experience with mental health, the aftermath of diagnosis and will discuss a few themes in medical anthropology – illness, cultural salience, metaphors and agency.

Vacations are meant to be a joyful and relaxing time – but this was not the case for me back in the Summer of 2014. My mom and I were set to stay in Sri Lanka for six weeks. At first, I was quite excited – but eventually, it dawned on me that I would be away from the majority of my support system. During my time in Sri Lanka, though I made many memories, I experienced extreme culture shock. I faced the issue of language barriers, not being able to communicate with my relatives, separation from my support system and a change in scenery. All these factors ended up worsening my mental health and ultimately led to my anxiety.

After returning home, I was still not my true ‘self’, I found myself remaining in bed and isolated myself for the majority of my summer. Eventually, these feelings passed but they reoccurred frequently. During these periods of relapses, I found myself not wanting to do anything – I would miss school. Eventually, with the support and push from my family, I went to see a psychiatrist. She had me fill out a couple of questionnaires and within thirty minutes I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder. Due to the severity of my anxiety, my psychiatrist recommended medication as treatment. By seeking help, I was to manage my anxiety and become aware of my common triggers. But after my diagnosis, I still had to come to terms with the stigma around mental illness. I remember my parents telling me not to tell anyone because they thought people would look at me differently. They believed that others will view me as crazy, weak and sensitive. By preventing me from telling others they thought they were protecting me from people’s judgments. Eventually, I came to terms with my diagnosis and now I wear it on my sleeve.

My experience with mental illness can be related back to a few medical anthropology concepts. Firstly, Arthur Kleinman defines illness as the experience of “symptoms and sufferings” from an individual’s perspective (Kleinman,1988, 3). This involves the interpretation and understanding of symptoms by not only the patients but also their family (Kleiman, 1988). In terms of my anxiety – my parents recognized the frequency of my symptoms and decided that action needed to be taken. Some of the symptoms I faced was excessive worrying, trouble falling asleep, and the need to avoid social situations. After getting fed up with suffering in silence, with the help of my family I was able to seek out the proper treatment I needed. Moreover, Kleinman differentiates between the meanings of illness in a few ways – one of which is cultural salience. Cultural salience refers to the ways in which certain conditions are and symptoms are given different meanings and significance. These conditions are either given a positive or negative meaning. An example of cultural salience is stigma (Kleinman,1988). Mental illness is often associated with negative connotations. Through my diagnosis of anxiety, I gained first-hand experience of stigma and the misinterpretations of mental illness. I remember back when I stayed home from school due to my overwhelming anxiety, classmates thought I was faking being ill. I also required a doctor’s note to explain my absence from school. This helps to further explain how issues surrounding mental health are not given the same attention as physical illnesses. Individuals often do not take mental illnesses seriously and think that people are lying to get out of doing something. But this is not true.

In addition, Sontag’s reading discusses, how metaphors influence our understanding of illness.  The language used to describe illness reinforce stigmas about certain conditions and illnesses (Sontag, 2001). Complex conditions are referred to in simple terms – this is turn gets used by individuals to depict how they are feeling. Often, anxiety is understood as nervousness and depression as sadness. For instance, many peers of mine use the term anxious on a daily basis to refer to their feelings of nervousness and stress. These metaphorical understandings reinforce ideas that mental illness is simple – thus it leads to poor and ineffective responses from others. Lastly, Briggs concept of agency can be applied to how I dealt with my diagnosis. His concept of agency refers to the ability to act in meaningful ways. This can be further understood as a type of freedom or choice (Briggs, 2004). My diagnosis with generalized anxiety disorder has led me to have to face stigma and brought to light the various ways in which people like me are judged. But my choice to be positive in the face of adversity, has allowed me to wear my diagnosis on my sleeve. In order to help combat the stigma around mental health and spread awareness, I did a Tedx Talk at my high school about my experience with generalized anxiety disorder. By, coming to terms with my diagnosis I was able to not only share my story with my close friends but also my entire high school. Instead of dwelling on my diagnosis, I took matters into my own hands to spread awareness about the importance of mental health.

In conclusion, my diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder can be observed through a medical anthropological lens – through my understanding of illness, cultural salience, metaphors and agency.  

References

A, Kleinman. 1988. Preface; and The Meanings of Symptoms and Disorders. In The Illness Narratives: Suffering, Healing & the Human Condition. USA: Basic Books, pp. xi-xvi; 3-30.

S, Sontag. 2001. Illness as Metaphor. New York: Picador. [Excerpt on Quercus]

C, Briggs. 2004. Theorizing Modernity Conspiratorially: Science, Scale, and the Political Economy of Public Discourse in Explanations of a Cholera Epidemic. American Ethnologist 31(2):164-187.

Posted in Anxiety, Dear Diary, jolly june, life, Quarantine Files

you said

you said

you would be there for me

you said

you wouldnt hurt me

you said

you would protect me at all costs

you said

that you would be consistent

you said that

you were in it for the long haul

yet —-

you aren’t here

right when I need you most

____________________________

was I wrong to trust you ?

was I just another piece on your chess board ?

was it all just a game for you ?

was it my anxiety that pushed you away ?

was my actions the cause of this ?

-XOXO chana

Posted in Uncategorized

the expense of protection

They tell me they lied for me 

To protect me – 

But at what expense was it at ?

2 years of nothing but lies 

2 years of waiting on him

2 years of crying my self to sleep

2 years of being treated like I’m crazy 

2 years of scheming

2 years of depression

2 years of suicidal thoughts – 

The only things keeping me from ending my life 

Was my girls specifically M,A,S,T, 

They were the ones by my side at my lowest 

They were the ones that motivated me to get better 

They were the ones who validated my feelings 

They were the ones who were there for me 

at my lowest and darkest nights

They were the ones I spilled my heart out to 

Because I couldn’t trust my family

So this ones for them. 

Thank you for sticking by my side.

Thank you for being there 

Thank you for making me realize my self worth 

Thank you for giving me the love I needed to heal 

Thank you for providing me words of affirmation

I love you guys to infinitely and beyond 

-XOXO chana

Posted in Anxiety, birthday, bullet journal, Dear Diary, jolly june, life, Poems, Quarantine Files, uni, UofT

eelam

the history of my people

runs in my veins

the stories of inhumane acts

run like a film roll in my head

the legacy of my family & tamils

keeps me going

everything I do is to honour

my blood

the history of tamils

sometimes keeps me up at night

2009 ,

haunts me

my appama and ammama missing in times of crisis

my uncle bombed to death

my aunt left widowed

how do they sleep at night

knowing they took the lives of

hundreds of thousand innocent lives

the war left

thousands of my people

displaced

killed

missing

murdered

sexually assaulted

kidnapped

dead

bombed

raped

how did they get away

with the numerous

war crimes

-XOXO chana

Posted in Anxiety, birthday, bullet journal, jolly june, life, Poems, Quarantine Files, uni, UofT

darkest days

even on my darkest

I still speak about you

with endearing terms

and spill my heart out

to anyone willing to listen

they say –

If he were the one

he would have ;

stayed

been present

consisten

they call you:

a wastebucket

a fuc boi

toxic

an ass

a cheat –

but I know

in my soul and with everyinch of my heart

the mistakes we were were pure and out of innocence

I need time to grow and bloosom

but I still have faith in

you & us

even when your actions and words tell me otherwise

I miss the old you – the real you

-XOXO chana

Posted in life, Poems

racing thoughts

all these sleepless nights

are catching up to me

meanwhile

you walk away

scout free?

how is it

that you

moved on so fast –

you took any

chance

you got

to race off

with a piece

of my heart.

my hopes and dreams

were all crushed

by you

-XOXO chana

Advertisements
Posted in life, tips and tricks

how to unwind

  • read a good book
  • sit down with a cup of tea
  • pamper your self – face masks, skin care, facial ; the whole shebang
  • paint your nails
  • watch a show from your childhood
  • garden
  • listen to music
  • meditate
  • scroll through pinterest
  • write a letter – even if its just to your slef
  • doodle

-XOXO chana

Advertisements
Posted in Poems

end.

with every 

passing day 

i lose a piece of myself 

surrounded

by chaos 

and destruction 

the weary path 

i walk 

is leading me astray 

i’m left

drowning in my thoughts 

hoping it all 

e n d s

-XOXO chana

Advertisements