Nichiren Daishonin says, “As practice progresses and understanding grows, the three obstacles and four devils emerge in confusing form, vying with one another to interfere . . . One should be neither influenced nor frightened by them. If one falls under their influence, one will be led into the paths of evil. If one is frightened by them, one will be prevented from practicing the correct teaching.” –WND1, 501 (Letter to the Brothers) feeling alone, I was both scared and influenced by temptations and temporary escapes.
“Today I, Akash Pawar, will share my experience on how I transformed my low life-state, after a series on unexpected events and deadlocks.”
In 2009, my classmate committed suicide due to bullying. In the suicide note, he expressed his inability to impress others and make friends. This disturbed me, and I did not share my feelings with anyone. As even I was bullied, I became very sensitive and reclusive, left home but stopped going to school. I did not feel in control of my life so, frequently got angry, and became emotionally reactive. So my studies, relationships and health started getting worse. I started chanting in 2012. I dropped out of 4 years academically and eventually out of college. I was very low on self-confidence. I stopped eating food. When I shared this with friends, some stopped talking to me. I tried committing suicide few times. Once I was on the platform, waiting for the train. As the train came in, I decided to get on and later jump off it. A member talked me out of it. The suicidal thoughts drained my life force. Some days, I slept for 20 hours.
Upon the advice of another member, I visited a psychiatrist in 2014. The second time I made such an attempt, my psychiatrist came to my rescue. I was hospitalized for a few days and was put on a therapy, which helped me fight off self-defeating thoughts. But therapy got very slow progress and medicines also didn’t seem to work. Chanting 2 hours of daimoku every-day, studying, home-visiting and participating in cultural events helped me to determine to never give up on myself, to continue improving myself. I conducted 5 new dialogues every-day. Somedays I encouraged everyone I met including watchmen, public servants, doctors, lawyers, students and anyone I could meet. It helped me to courageously continue even when therapy got difficult.
Through Nichiren Daishonin “More valuable than treasures in a storehouse are the treasures of the body, and the treasures of the heart are the most valuable of all… strive to accumulate the treasures of the heart!” WND1(851) and Ikeda sensei,” your life is the greatest treasure you have!”
I realized the value of my life. Soka Gakkai; with KosenRufu, gave me a new reason to live. I realized that I can turn anything around but I cannot get this life back. Although, I kept neglecting my health further. After some time, I subconsciously began projecting my emotions on SGI members causing them a lot of trouble. I started reacting from wrong perception and then felt guilty of hurting others. It was a moment to moment struggle.
In 2015 I was diagnosed with BIPOLAR DISORDER as I had more than 95% of the symptoms. BIPOLAR DISORDER IS a mental condition marked by alternating periods of extreme happiness and depression. It becomes a disorder when it severely affects more than one major part of life; namely work, health or relationships. Its symptoms are; overly happy or “high,” mood for long stretches of time, easily angry, talking very fast, racing thoughts, extreme restlessness or impulsivity, impaired judgment, unrealistic overconfidence in your abilities or powers, engaging in risky behavior, such as getting high, gambling or overspending when MANIC and feeling sad or hopeless for long periods of time, withdrawal from friends and family, and/or a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed, significant loss or increase in appetite, severe fatigue or lack of energy, slow speech, problems with memory, concentration, and decision-making, thoughts or attempts of suicide, or a preoccupation with death when depressed. As if this wasn’t enough, I suffered more as mental illness in our society is still a TABOO. When I began hurting members, doubting the Gohonzon, I stopped attending SGI activities and began working seriously to build some financial stability in my life.
Sensei says in human revolution 2,”it is not that you are a part of soka gakkai, rather the soka gakkai is a part of you.” I consciously stopped focusing on negative thoughts. Slowly I improved my diet, started studying about the mind and mental well-being, reading lots of books and joined Capoeira and Yoga classes. Yoga helped me sleep better at night, the first day I wasn’t flexible at all, slowly as it got better, yoga gave me confidence and strength, first physically then mentally. Every time I felt low, I made sure I planned my days ahead and had lots of stuff to look forward to, I consciously fought my self-defeating thoughts, changing my doubt into faith. As a result of my struggle, health improved and I began to forgive myself and respect others opinions, I began choosing who I trust wisely. Through appreciating others support, I’ve become more empathetic and been able to build strong faith. Soon I got over confident and stopped eating my medicines, again I fell sick.
I picked myself up again and kept fighting harder. The past year has been very fruitful for me, I have started my own business, began learning a new dance/martial arts discipline in capoeira, become more physically fit, got two more projects coming up this year. I am still impulsive and reactive sometimes, I’m working on myself every-day, learning new ways to constructively express myself. I am still low on self-confidence and still rebuilding my life. But doctor has stopped my mood stabilizers, now I am only struggling with my sleep hopefully the sleeping pills will stop by April too! Now my BIPOLAR IS IN ORDER ha ha.
My determination: I will fight to create awareness of mental well-being by becoming a mental health soldier. I will fight for mental illness treatment to be included in mediclaim for humans, I will create a successful business and bring joy to 5 new youth to our chapter by November 18.
Blog Contributor: Akash Pawar. Shammi’s Yogalaya thanks Akash for sharing his life experience with us and our readers. As Sadguru says… if you are really interested in knowing life in its depth, you must see how to enhance your perception. We believe that learning from other people’s life experiences also helps enhance our perception about life and Yoga is one way of knowing your inner-self. We wish you all the best Akash.
To our readers…if you have an experience that you might want to share and contribute to other’s life experiences, we would love to publish your story too. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com