Weight Gain and Self Esteem

self image

Today I’m going to share a very personal experience with you that empowered me with a great learning. I reduced approximately 48.5 Pounds in 4 months as a result of strict diet and extensive workout. Why? Because I was embarrassed of my body shape like most of the chubby or obese young people do. I couldn’t wear body fit narrow bottom jeans which is in fashion these days and trendy t-shirts of popular clothing brands which gave me a feeling of helplessness and worthlessness when I see them displaying at dummies behind glass window in malls.

I don’t feel any shame in confessing that I envied my friends who were smart and could follow latest fashion in all seasons. I got burnt in the fire of jealousy when I see them in sexy outfits that I could only dream of.

While shedding extra pounds I became super-duper excited (which also triggered hypomanic episode due to heavy cardio workouts). The overwhelming compliments soaked in deep surprise, wonder and appreciation from friends, acquaintances and relatives took me at the peak of pride and greater sense of achievement. Now, I could wear anything. I was feeling out of the world. No less than a prince charming. And yes, I felt more confident and the esteem trespassed into a bit of arrogance. I deserve that credit after all.

In a very short span of a year my ‘slim image’ got faded away as I and others got used to of it. The weight reduction no longer excited me nor did it sustain the sense of accomplishment. The sudden boost in my self-esteem and confidence was very shallow and it split like a water bubble. Now I see many overweight and obese people around me and feel so normal about them. Even some of the darling television starts, comedians who make me laugh, all of them are so confident about who they are and how they look. They always look beautiful and do amazing work in their respective domains. What they wear also looks good on them because they carry it with confidence.

In this period of severe hard work on my appearance and dwelling between low and high self-esteem, I learned that your confidence and comfort with yourself is directly linked with your self-image i.e. how you see yourself. The inferiority complex, which haunts and makes us look inferior to others resides within that we try to cover and polish it with make-up on the body.  Therefore, changing outer appearance, materialistic acquisition of goods or any such superficial thing won’t make any difference to how you feel or your emotions in a long run.

It’s not others’ opinions that matter; instead it’s our own perception about ourselves that translate people’s comments accordingly. For instance, sometime I wonder, how can these fat and bald actors take humiliating jokes and sarcasm in shows on public channel? How can obese women come on television at reality shows and perform so well with confidence? This is because; they have accepted them that way and they have a firm realization that their obesity or baldness doesn’t define them. Self-acceptance is more important before you seek acceptance in society. In order to get long lasting results we should work on inner part of our body that provide foundation to our personality i.e. thoughts, attitude and perception. Appearance is an outer part that keeps varying with age and time and it doesn’t affect much on your inner self.

We need to keep us reminding that I am the only one who can make me feel good with dignity despite all the imperfections or I can degrade myself by competing in a rat race with peers and considering myself worthless, despite having a lot of things to be grateful for, that millions of people on earth desire.

Rayan Ahmed.

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Do You Enjoy your own Company?

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You are beautiful

We normally depend on others for the sake of our own happiness. Seeking attention and making deliberate efforts to gain attention is an example when we expect others to accept or appreciate us. Often high expectations from others lead to great disappointments and eventually bad mood and in severe cases, depression.

Just imagine,why would anyone love your company when you don’t enjoy it yourself? That means there is something you get to do or let say, change/alter at your end. By taking small steps daily, we can easily adapt a self-dependent lifestyle.

1- Explore your Interests: Most of the people don’t love their full-time job and don’t get enough time to pursue hobbies that they enjoy the most. Try to spend some time daily in activities that you love doing. Work that requires physical activity or hand involvement is the best option. You can explore writing, reading, photography, gardening, cooking, dancing, crafts; anything for which you don’t have to motivate yourself. It should be something that you’re always up to.

2- Limit the Use of Electronic Gadgets: One of the reason of increasing depression today is high media consumption. It’s better to play outdoor games than computer games. Visiting a friend or calling him at your place for coffee is good socializing than Facebook or twitter.

3- Exposure to Nature: Living in a metropolitan city could be quite hectic. Therefore, exposing yourself to natural environment plays a soothing effect on your nerves and enhances your mood. Go out for a walk once a week if you can’t manage daily. If you don’t find a park in your area, just have tea or coffee in your balcony or rooftop. That 10-15 minutes would be sufficient to make you relax.

4- Volunteer Work: Giving is always better than taking. Giving back to society by helping people gives great satisfaction. There can be several ways of doing that. Join some NGO to support the cause you relate to or participate in online support groups. Time that you spend in humanitarian work boost up your own self-esteem and a give you a sense of achievement.

5- Groom Yourself: Nobody is perfect. I don’t support perfection but I believe in constant learning and improving. Internet is a blessing for those who can make a good use of it. Make Google.com your best friend. If you’ve any query or doubt, open your browser and get access to several answers and opinions on that. You can read articles on your favorite subjects, for instance, I love psychology and personality development, so I like to search on these topics. If you love cooking, you can find several recipes of different cuisines online. Moreover, internet can also help you overcome your shortcomings. Just type your problem on Google search bar and unlock endless ways to become a better person.

Finally, keep reminding yourself that God made you awesome not perfect. Don’t waste your time in pleasing others for acceptance or begging for their love and time. Someone who is meant for you will come at the right time and will love you as you’re. Because, you’re already a great person. You just need to realize it. 🙂

Blessings be upon you.

Rayan.

I’m Bipolar ! Can’t have a stable Job?

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Bipolar at Work

Although bipolar patients share almost same sufferings in their struggle to fight against their mood swings & rapidly changing thoughts that result in impulsive behavior, but amongst them, those who are working professionals have to put extra effort to act normally to secure their job. It’s somewhat easier to tackle with your mood swings at home because normally your family is aware of it. They may not understand your state of mind exactly same as you but at least you know that they have accepted you with your illness and in most cases they are willing to cooperate with you.

For a working professional, it’s harder to cope with his swinging thoughts and changing moods. He is sensitive and less tolerant than others but his colleagues don’t realize it. There are many occasions like cracking jokes, taunts, sarcasm, office politics, or as simple as work pressure that could be potential triggers for any unwanted situation for a bipolar. Sometime, a casual conversation with colleagues or serious discussion in board meeting disconnects him from his present and engages in some personal, domestic or other irrelevant issue, he keeps on thinking and trying to draw a conclusion but fails to do so.

Job dis-satisfaction is another issue faced by us. Like for me, maintaining a job for a significant period of time is much harder than getting it. At the time of joining, I get super excited for my new job and salary package and soon this excitement changes into frustration and later desperation to quit. My friends use every means to get a job and then they keep doing it for 2-3 or even 5 years. I always wonder how they could do it for so long. In these 4 years since I passed from University, I have 5 employers on my resume. I resigned from my last job in December 2012 and unemployed right now. What makes me feel good is that none of my employers kicked me out, I’m the one who kicked the job 🙂 well in any case, I lost the job !! There was a time when I was extremely worried if I could ever have a stable career like my friends who are now at decent jobs and good positions. I had a shining academic journey with distinctions; in fact I was one of the favorite students of teachers. Now I see my friends, who passed with poor grades, excel in their professional fields.

This has been a great trigger for my depression in last few years. I used to blame myself that I am not competent enough to excel in professional life. Recently, I read if my disease has some connection with job inconsistency. I was pleasantly surprised to know I’m not the only bipolar patient who is going through this. Almost all bipolar people face some kind of difficultly in managing their disease and its outcomes on job. Also, there are some tips available online how to cope with this problem at work.

I have developed my own coping strategy. I accepted myself that I’m a patient suffering from a mental disorder. Well, I know it’s hard to accept. We all take medications to live like a normal person. There is absolutely no harm in it. But we should not think that these few medicines could make us a normal person. We are diagnosed as Bipolar and we take medication and therapies to ‘control’ our illness Not to become a normal person. Bipolar treatment teaches you how to treat your illness, and you can treat it well when you realize it and accept it. You don’t have to TRY TO BE NORMAL PERSON. You can’t do that because you cannot get this disease out of your mind. OK I seem to be talking rubbish, let me come to my point.

When you realize that you are a Bipolar, then you develop your own treatment. For instance, Job inconsistency, I was very disappointed with my job performance and frequent thoughts to change career. Now I said Ok, this is a serious problem and I have to face it all my life. So counseled myself that my friends who have stable jobs are not Bipolar, of course they must have their personal problems but not suffering from any mental disease. They neither have to struggle with their own thoughts nor do they take medicines before going to sleep. They too get happy, sad, depress, laugh out loud but don’t have a fear to get into bipolar depressive or manic episode. It means they are different than me and I should not judge myself on their scale or any normal social scale of a successful professional.

I read that some people have to take even 2 years of break from work and I cannot realize the effort they put in to get back into the field. I’m sure there must be single parents struggling with their disease and earning to feed their children. There are some bipolar patients who are in sales and marketing, and have to work under too much pressure of sales target and deadlines.

OK getting inspired by it, I should apply for job that matches my skills and let’s see what happens. What if I get a job and then quit it like before… So what? I will get another job.. Oh, but it doesn’t look good on my resume.. well who cares, life is a far more greater than few employments. There are thousands of things to do and millions of ways to earn. Most important is, your happiness. Get a job, enjoy your work, and make your ‘identity’. Explore yourself.

When I thought on these points I get confidence in myself that if they are doing then I can also do it. But the key is not to compare you with ‘normal’ people. When I see my friends making good money I lose my self-esteem but if I read about bipolar patients doing well in their fields, I get enough motivation to move a step forward.