My whole life was practically planned out for me at birth. My doctor Dad and my Mom wanted nothing more than for me to be a doctor. This scenario probably sounds familiar to a lot of people in the South Asian community. I worked. And worked. I don’t think many students in elementary school almost pulled all-nighters- I did. Eventually, I found myself studying Medicine in Ireland. Things were finally on track and I would finally gain my parents’ approval! But, it never really seemed like enough. I don’t blame my parents though, they just wanted what was best for me- their idea of success. However, the pressure and stress started manifesting into depression. But I figured, I was “better” than that and I could ignore it. Then I turned 21 and my entire life changed.
The pressure and stress over the years, combined with my terrible methods of coping (self-harm both psychologically and physically) finally caught up to me. I landed myself in my first (with many more to come) of hospitalizations for a suicide attempt. Soon after I was bombarded by the scariest sentence I was ever told: “you are diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder”. It’s been an uphill battle ever since and eventually the stress and sacrifice led me to discontinue my pursuit in Medicine. I was devastated because I felt like my life was over. But, my story isn’t all bad though. With time I found insight and built my resilience to adapt and find new methods of coping. I shifted my career goals toward therapy, research and mental health advocacy. I’ve learned that my reality is that my illness may never “go away” and that I can’t stop the bad moments from happening, but I can control how I deal with them. How I overcome my adversity truly defines who I am and will be.