“I was diagnosed with Lmyphnode tuberculosis in 2016. It was the most painful part of my life. My daughter was just 2.5 years old at that time. I had 15-17 tumors all over my abdomen, starting from throat to liver and radiation was not possible because of it. I was on medications and steroids. Due to lack of awareness, whenever anyone would hear the word TB they used to freak out thinking I’d transmit the disease to them.
It was the worst form of TB that could have resulted in cancer if it wasn’t diagnosed in time. It took 2 months, CT scans, and a biopsy to confirm if the cells are not maligned and it can be cured. I had to leave my job to undergo 11 months of treatment.
I clearly remember when I met a lady after 6 months of my treatment, she stepped back when she saw me knowing I had TB and turned to walk at another side of the road, it broke my heart.
There waited another challenge which made things even worse- financial crunch. I could not work due to my illness. My in-laws started taunting me for sitting at home and doing nothing. All this took a lot of toll over my mental health.
There is this thing about depression, if you live in denial it makes things worse for you. Mine came as an after-effect of my critical illness.
I started learning about meditation, Nichiren Buddhism and educated myself on Mental Health. I started writing and sending hand-written letters to strangers as a sign of hope and positivity.
The more I wrote the more I felt cathartic. I began to form connections with like-minded souls, who are suffering in silence, dealing with a lot of mental distress. I found my purpose.
It’s been 4 years since then and I’ve been listed under the top 75 mental health bloggers in 2020.
My work for raising mental health awareness is still not well-received by many people around me. One of my own cousins slammed me for talking about good mental health.
Whenever someone bashes me/ trolls me, I think about the people who actually like reading me and appreciate my efforts. I get up and show up every day for them. What I do is not for me, it is for others and through others, I heal.” said Priyanka Nair