If You Have To Pretend, Read This

“Why am I sabotaging my success?”, I thought to myself on the day I was detained during my junior year in school.

I was pretending to be someone else. I had to pretend to be a strong personality, an extrovert and a smart person who could deal with bigger egos easily.

This was a new school in my junior year and I failed in my first year at this school and had to change schools later.

So basically after class 10, I change schools and I was unable to handle the new environment. And my study performance dipped and I failed class 11.

Why did this happen? I don’t know. But I know that I was pretending heavily to fit in, to avoid being bullied, to protect myself, etc.

I don’t know how to say it but I am still pretending even though the intensity is much less.

Also in my first year of college, I was pretending heavily to fit in. And I sabotaged my success again.

I made friends and I started fitting in by pretending. I did not set boundaries and I ended up self-sabotaging and dropping out of that course.

I used to think that I had to pretend because that’s what ensures survival and success.

But in a way, my self-sabotage was a blessing to me. I learnt to go within myself and grow self-awareness by journaling.

But pretending is not necessary for the long run.

Conclusion

Imagine working in an office. Would you pretend and stay under the radar just to save yourself from office politics and avoid unnecessary criticism for your ideas by keeping quiet? Or would you focus your energy on learning from the company, improving your skillset and giving your best work?

The latter does not allow pretence. The former option is a gold mine of pretence opportunities.

So if you have to pretend, let me tell you- it’s a trap.

Thank you for reading this blog post on pretence. A question for you: Do you pretend sometimes? If so, how do you reduce your pretence?

FOMO: This Will Give You Peace of Mind

I was in the mental health hospital in 2017 when I found myself in a room with 3 other families. 

One of them was N(name hidden to respect their privacy) and his mom. 

N was a teenager like me. He was a sensible person. 

I was sitting on my bed one evening and he said to me,”Anirban looks like A. R. Rahman.” And I said with a reflex,”A. R. Rahman. That level of success! “ 

I still remember the moment that came next. His mom said “You don’t have to successful like A. R. Rahman. You will be successful like Anirban(referring to me).”

This taught me that we are unique beings who are meant to be successful like ourselves. We are not here in a race. We are here to express ourselves and be ourselves. We are here to be an origianal being even if it is an original lamb than be a duplicate lion no matter how strong the lion may be. Eventually the lamb will become a lion because of its courage.

Now there’s something I must tell you.

FOMO is real. It’s called Fear of Missing Out. I am getting it. 

Some days I wake up after dreaming that my close friends have got their jobs and marriage handled and I am still in college. It’s a horrible feeling.

“I don’t want to miss out on life. “ I say to myself. 

But I know other people and I are different. We have different challenges, different plans, different destinies. 

So I just tell myself that it’ll all be alright. No one’s looking to judge me.

I am not blaming my mental health problems. I am just setting proper expectations. 

Expectations that won’t be like fake promises, that won’t show me fake timelines of success, etc. 

I’d rather have a realistic dream that has practically set timelines, than to dream big and make my mental health worse in the struggle.

I am working on blogging and I am seeing a career counselor. The problem of indecision is common among human beings. It’s nothing to be ashamed about. There’s nothing wrong about asking for help.

The moral of the story is I am just having FOMO and you may be having it too because we fail to see this simple truth in our lives that we are here to be ourselves. 

Success will come and it will come through hard work, consistency, determination, etc and it’ll take time.

Thanks for reading this blog post. Now a quick question- Do you feel FOMO sometimes? What do you tell yourself when dealing with it?

Thoughts Are More Important Than Actions

To think a negative thought about someone or something because it has fault is worse than having the fault yourself. 

“A prostitute and a saint lived in the same lane.

Each day, the prostitute would look at the saint and tell herself, oh, what a good man he is! He reads the Vedas and the Epics. He spends his time doing the God’s work and in prayer.

Meanwhile, the saint would look at the prostitute and shake his head at her profession and her lifestyle.

When they died, the prostitute went to heaven and the saint went to hell.

God said that sins and virtues were in the thinking, not in the doing.

Each got the afterlife they thought about for the other.

Don’t dwell on the mistakes of others, unrelated to your duty.

Thinking about them spoils your own karma, because it makes you angry, lazy or useless.

This is a story by Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa.” 

This exerpt is from Illumination at Medium – https://medium.com/illumination/the-prostitute-and-the-saint-743baf82adb0

We must try to think well of everyone and everything. We need to empathize and at the same time fight.

I will tell you about a situation in my life. 

I have heard about a group of people who think they are doing the right thing but deep down they know it’s wrong. And they justify it as if they have no choice but to do the wrong thing. 

It’s not illegal but it’s wrong. 

But there are some people who are so called “perfect”. They don’t have any material character flaws but they will demonize and criticise the people who are doing wrong. 

They criticise the people who are doing wrong so much that they hate and fill their hearts and minds with poison. 

Now let me ask you-

Is a person who does the harmless wrong things worse than a person who does nothing wrong but thinks the vilest thing in existence about other people?

Sooner or later the vile thoughts corrupt the latter so called “perfect” person.

I have also noticed it in myself that I sometimes feel insecure, and I tell myself that the other people doesn’t like me and want to see me. So I don’t make an attempt to see them. 

Well what if I change my thoughts to a more positive one? What if I say to myself that there’s no scientific reason why they don’t like me. In fact I can’t prove that they don’t like me.

Then things change quite fast for the better.

I think that negativity in a person comes from selfishness. It’s the superiority complex and the non-acceptance of other people’s emotions and situations that causes ego to swell in a person. 

“Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.”

The Dhammapada https://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/dp01.htm

Thank you for reading this blog post and please comment “Yes” if you learnt something useful from this post. 

Falling In Love with Twitch Streamers

I have fallen in love with SuperCatKei and itsme_fruity. Both are from Singapore. I am grateful to have found them both. It’s so fun.

On 15th September I was casually browsing through Twitch and I came across a streamer who looked extremely devoted to her music.

I clicked on her. And there SuperCatKei was. It’s as if we were destined to meet.

No not exactly. But I feel in love with her cover of “Castle on the hill” by Ed Sheeran. And I subscribed. I am attending every stream even if it is for only a small period of time.

And then day before yesterday I met itsme_fruity. She is so funny. I love her personality.

Even though sometimes I feel stupid to ask questions about some discussion that’s going on, I am working on it despite my social anxiety.

I watched a horror movie ending after a long time on itsme_fruity’s discord channel. It was fun.

So that’s the thing, I attend their streams every day. And that’s awesome. It gives me hope.

Apart from that I am amazing. I feel like I am getting better.

An important observation I made about myself was that I get social anxiety even on Twitch. I was listening to the sample of an audiobook called “How to Be Yourself” by Ellen Hendriksen on audible.in and I noticed that Ellen Hendriksen said something like what I was thinking.

Ellen says something like how one feels like they don’t belong in society and feel like an outsider so much during social anxiety that they can’t express their feelings and words.

That’s exactly what happens with me. I remember every moment I feel like I was an outsider I felt more isolated even though everything was happening virtually.

And it’s a painful feeling. Everyone with social anxiety knows this.

So I think I should work on overcoming my social anxiety.

So much wisdom and insight from Twitch?!

Thanks for reading this blog post. I have a question for you. Do you have social anxiety and how do you deal with it?

A Special Blog Post for Making You Feel Good

So for the past weeks I have been through a strange mental journey of coming to a temporary conclusion of the belief that-“Life is hard”.

You may say, “Well of course life is hard.”

I am not questioning this strong fact. But let’s ask ourselves a simple question for the sake of curiosity and truth- “Does believing in the fact that life is hard make us do work where we can give a 100% of ourselves?”

Before answering the question, I would like to give you a brief background information.

I am in the process of healing from my mental health problems. I have severe social anxiety and a little bipolar disorder. For instance, I find it hard to go out of my home on a daily basis because I am afraid of interacting with people. And I have problems forcing myself to do anything because most of the time my mood dictates every action I take. It makes me feel crazy to do anything if I must use willpower to force motivation into my soul. Mind over body does not work for me consistently.

However, I can best do the things I have a strong emotionally powerful vision for or things that I am passionate about. The problem is my curiosity questions all the powerful visions and I am not passionate about something in the Steve Jobs style.

“You have to have a lot of passion for what you do… because if you don’t, any rational person would give up.”

Steve Jobs

Now, story time.

So nowadays I am staying at home most of the time partly because of anxiety and partly because I switched to an online Bachelor of Business Administration degree(I know most of my friends have graduated but I don’t compare myself to others).

And sometimes I get two of my cousin brothers (10year old’s) visiting our home during at noon time. They basically watch anime and only ask me if a certain movie is on hotstar or Netflix. I just tell them, and they do everything else. They are experts little 10year old’s. Right??

So, one day they were watching an anime that I watched season one of years ago. The anime’s name is Tokyo Ghoul.

As I watched it with them, I got interested.

In my free time I watched all the seasons of Tokyo Ghoul, and I was particularly inspired by a character in this anime.


His name is Hide (spelled Hye-Day). He is not the hero. He is the hero Kaneki’s best friend. In fact, we don’t see much of him in the anime. But his role in the ending of the anime is significant.

He is the person who is selfless, sacrificing, a true leader.

I don’t want to spoil the anime for you. You can watch Tokyo Ghoul on Netflix.

But I just wonder, what makes a person so determined and selfless. It’s certainly not in believing that life is hard that a person does selfless acts.

One can occasionally do hard things in life, but it takes extraordinary reason to do hard things consistently and becoming successful at it and “Life is hard” is not an extraordinary reason.

So I just started experimenting with different perspectives. First, I used the belief “Life is hard” to motivate myself to study more. I studied consistently for a week for a short amount of time. It was consistent. I chose this belief from observing people in my life. It’s their belief.

But the process of forcing myself was mentally taxing and exhausting. I was not happy.

Secondly, I resumed to my normal way of being and I read fiction novels and listened to my favorite songs.

I realized from all this that an inspiring future expectation creates passion. But it is not easy to have an inspiring future expectation that is also realistic.

So I am going to my career counselor for an appointment to help me pinpoint my post-graduate plans for me.

But to answer the question- “Does believing in the fact that life is hard make us do work where we can give a 100% of ourselves?”

The answer is NO!

I know life is hard. I also know this- life is beautiful. Beauty mesmerizes us and a beautiful future inspires all of us.

And it is not possible to give 100% of yourself or myself to the work unless you or I secretly love that work.

Thank you for reading this blog post. Also, I am not a mental health or career expert. I am Anirban, I am just an average person. This was a blog post about my realizations and story. If you like this post, then share it and comment what you want to comment. See you next time!

Consciousness Work As Your Permanent Solution

In mythology, astrology, and energy healing, the term mental health issues is not used. Maybe it’s because they were unaware of mental health in ancient times. And science was not advanced back then.

But we need to see that social media and the internet was not part of life back then as well, excess sugar consumption in fast foods was not there, and climate change, pollution, industrialization wasn’t present back then.

But the point I am trying to make is consciousness is still consciousness even if in ancient times it was much simpler, and now we are in the darker ages. Consciousness work is still relevant.

My life’s journey is to move from mental health issues to a more conscious life. And I think anything that takes me there is worth writing about.

I have attended a few online meditation workshops, met a few spiritual masters including Sri M and I have a desire to become more conscious.

You see taking medication and working in a 9-to-5 job is not enough. From mental health issues to becoming a value producing citizen of the world is not enough. We need to become conscious of ourselves.

We need to live a conscious life. A life of consciousness is a life of what is true for you and the universe.

Now it is an individual journey to discover what is true for you and the universe. I cannot give it to you nor can a spiritual teacher. It is yours to find out.

What I want to tell you is the answers to your life’s problems is in consciousness work. What does it mean?

It means to seek the truth. It means to change your life to prioritize truth more than money, pleasure, etc. It means to seek God in whatever form that resonates with you. It means to not sacrifice other parts of your life but prioritize consciousness first.

Mental health is an important part and I take medication and go to therapy. But I don’t want to be limited. I want to take responsibility for life and have a vision where consciousness is a big part because consciousness is one of my main values.

Maybe you don’t have mental health issues. Maybe you have money issues, or career issues, or family issues, or self-esteem issues or some other issue. But the solution is inside you only if you look consciously.

Of course medication and therapy is important for me to survive but I am telling you honestly that those are not long term solutions. Only if I look inside and when I do, I will find the permanent solution.

Even mythology, astrology and healing are not the permanent solutions. They are closer to the truth but they are not the absolute truth.

You need to find out what it is that is the absolute truth.

Resources to get started with:

See you next time!

Hate Therapy? The Biggest Reason To Motivate Yourself For Therapy

When I was depressed and mentally ill, I went to probably 5 different psychotherapists.

Each of them has a different way of doing therapy(psychotherapy). And most of them did not have any impact on my mental health.

It was only when I found my current therapist that I feel like my mental health is getting better.

I’ll not name anyone, but I’d explain why this phenomenon of most therapy not working occurs.

I’ll not speak about different methods of therapy because I don’t know about them. I’ll write about my understanding and my beliefs.

I think the calmness and thoughtfulness of my current therapist motivate me to get better. I respect my therapist because of it.

And I think this motivation and respect also come from the intuitive understanding and belief that my therapist embodies what he says. That he walks his talk.

Most of the time, other therapists give us advice, but they don’t follow that advice. They are not happy with their lives themselves.

I don’t and can’t respect them because of some reason. Maybe because they don’t set an example for the person, they want me to be.

I think this is very important for even people of other professions- to walk their talk, be who you want others to be first, embody your truth, etc. This is a basic leadership skill.


Every therapist, life coach, and consultant is a leader who leads the clients, and patients from darkness to light. And if the therapists don’t inspire change in the patient by setting an example, then the relationship between the patient and therapist won’t work.

But what you need to do to overcome social anxiety, depression or any other mental illness is to follow your therapist’s advice even though your therapist may not be a good leader.

Just don’t keep changing therapists because you feel like they are not good leaders.

Also, the content of the advice is of little significance from my experience. The relationship between the therapist and the patient is more important than the content of the advice.

I mean who really listens or pays attention in therapy except for the therapist when there is no respect from the patient. Every word of advice goes to one ear and out from another ear of the patient or is entirely ignored by the patient.

Although when the relationship gets stronger and the patient finally respects the therapist, the patient will listen to his advice.

But until then it’s only the inspiration that comes from walking the talk on the therapist’s part that works for the patient.

So, the therapist works to the degree of the personal development of the therapist as a leader and a person who walks his talk.

Therapy is useful. And it is important.

And therapy has helped me feel understood amidst all the medication and psychological tests. I have felt better because of therapy. It has given me a safe space to speak about my feelings. It has helped me persevere during hard times.

I remember there was a psychologist at NIMHANS, Bangalore who was very polite and kind to me. I never forget her kindness. She always saw the good in me.

So go to your therapist or find a therapist near you and get therapy because it is important.

Disclaimer: The information on this page is not medical advice. Anirban Saren is not a medical professional or a doctor or a psychotherapist.

How I cope with depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety

How I cope with mental illness is simple. I write in my journal, my blog, my twitter page and my laptop. I also read books on philosophy. And when I am restless or bored, I watch Netflix or Anime.

Although time does not seem to pass. My days are very long. I feel like I have nothing worthwhile to do the whole day when I am not writing.

I also feel like I am a failure and a loser often. I don’t know why. There is no logical reason for calling myself a failure and a loser. But whenever I remember past negative events, I blame myself and call myself a failure.

My parents and sibling are very supportive. They listen to my problems and sympathize with me. They always encourage me to go out and live life. Sometimes I listen to them and sometimes I don’t.

Depression is a sneaky thing. It enters through the back door and when you are unaware, it gets a hold on you. I cope with depression by listening to music.

With bipolar disorder, where two extremes of the personality dominate at different times based on the mood. I cope with it through maintaining a journal.

With anxiety, I don’t cope quite well. But I try to not depend on my parents too much and try to become independent.

Well, why do I have mental illness? I don’t know. It happens to some people.

I hope I become a great writer, blogger, author, etc.

I think one can never overcome mental illness fully. One can only live with it better.

My plan is to write great stuff. And achieve my dreams through it.

I also think coping is possible only if you know yourself. If you don’t cope well, then probably you don’t know yourself well.

Thank you for reading my blog post. Stay tuned for more.

Journaling : How I Do It

I love to journal or write my thoughts in a diary. It is extremely therapeutic and calming. In this blog post I will share my experience with journaling.

I journal in the morning and evening and sometimes when I feel strong emotions. I know it sounds girly but trust me it’s not. Anyone who can write can do journaling.

The problem I think most people have is they don’t understand why journaling is necessary. It is extremely necessary. 

There are many benefits but I will share my personal experiences only because you can google the general benefits anyway.

For me as a person struggling with mental health issues, I journal a lot. I journal digitally, in a physical journal, on my phone, on the computer,etc. And that helps me keep myself focused and sane.

I am not saying that without journaling you are insane. I am just saying I journal because I love it and also because it is a necessity for me. 

There are many ways to journal- using prompts, using self-talk, using recollection of the day’s events, etc. And this makes the process fun. You can do it however you want to do it.

You can draw sketches in a journal. Or just write. Or do both.

Journaling is also a form of introspection. And introspection, I believe, is the most important skill a human being can learn. Journaling helps you do that.

I also think re-reading one’s  journals can help one grow more. It is the act of observation of the past accurately that creates wisdom. 

I re-read my journals sometimes. Although I started re-reading only a few months ago I am shocked by the insights I get from re-reading my journals.

But when you start writing in a journal the main focus should be to just write. It does not matter if you re-read it. You can think about that later. In the beginning just write as Iearnt this idea from Ryan Holiday from the Daily Stoic youtube channel.

The point of journaling is to introspect. To examine yourself. This is my opinion.

Thank you for reading my post. Please share this with your friends and family members and see you next time.

Role Of Racism And Casteism In Mental Health In India

The reason I am writing this post is to share with you how disturbing race or caste discrimination is on mental health.

I was born as an Adivasi in the Santhal community of India and I love my race and religion. But I also feel discrimination in society. And the reason is because of my birth.

From childhood I lived in an urban setting and my parents moved locations due to their jobs. I did not live in segregation from society in my tribal community. I lived with mainstream society. 

When I was in class 6 one of my classmates said to me in a bad language a slang followed by the word “Adivasi”. This had an impact on my thinking. 

I never felt like I could be myself when I am with non-tribal people. Because if I do become myself and act like myself I will be judged not based on my appearance or character but by race.

And they say that caste and race does not exist!

When I was a kid, I was not very social. And I did not assert myself very much. And race, in my case, had a big part to play in it.

And so when I was in a private engineering college I had to face even more racism. My labmates won’t let me do any lab work. They would outright ignore me and dominate through making groups inside the group and basically seeing me as a filth. I never felt at home there.

I am not saying my life is the way it is because of racism. I am not blaming racism or declaring myself a victim. I am saying that  racism and casteism is a serious issue. Ignoring it is not going to make it go away.

Even in high school I was being point to as the guy with Scheduled Tribe quota which created discrimination. I remember thinking,”How can I be myself here? They dislike me for my race. They dislike me because of a misconception of reservation quotas. They don’t realize that reservation is there so that we can represent ourselves in the parliament. Our communities, races and castes are far behind, economically, socially and education-wise. We don’t need a handout. We want our right- representation. That’s what reservation is for.”  I still remember the class teacher saying out aloud in class that the SC/ST people are taking away their seats. 

Some upper caste people say that their forefathers were the ones who did us wrong and they being their sons have nothing to do with their atrocities.

A thing about forgiveness is we cannot forgive. Forgiveness won’t bring our martyrs back. It won’t give us representation. Forgiveness won’t give us our rights in a democracy. Forgiveness will not undo the injustice that’s been done to us. So we cannot forgive. We want, we demand our place on the seat whether in university or parliament.

Racism and casteism has a tremendous impact on mental health. I cannot speak for others but I can speak for myself.

I never felt like I could be myself among non-tribal people. I never feel free to speak up or assert myself among them. 

In India if there is a movement where lower caste people and other races are accepted as part of India and not seen as the other, then maybe people like me can assert our identities more openly and be ourselves. That will improve the mental health of people like me.

Please comment on what you think. If you liked this blog post then please share it.