Hello! Who are you?
Hi, my name is Veena Nair! I'm 48 years old and I am from India.
I live in a small town, Palakkad, in Kerala state. I am married to a Naval Electrical engineer and we have 2 sons. I am a retired naval officer from the education branch and am presently not employed.
I love music and dance, especially Indian classical music and dance. I am a student of my native dance form, Mohiniyattamm, and am also learning to play the instrument, Veena, for the last 10 years.
I also pursue spirituality very passionately as a means of making myself a better person day by day. For me, spirituality has been my pillar of strength and has helped me to refine and define myself.
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What is your struggle and when did it start?
One year after I joined the Indian navy, I got married. This was in the year 2000. I moved and was just not comfortable with the environment, the type of people I was surrounded with. After we got married, I found my husband to be very different from how I knew him. He would talk less and come back home, sit, and just watched TV.
In the meantime, I was expected to manage the household. I started feeling lonely at that moment. We would never go out on weekends and talked little to each other. I started feeling lonely and depressed, cursing why I got married in the first place.
Seven months after we got married, I got pregnant and felt very happy at the thought of being a mother. However, as days progressed, I started feeling more and more tired, lonely, and depressed, and started gaining weight.
One day, I even started thinking of committing suicide. I used to cry a lot without reason. One day, I mentioned to my husband that I feel like jumping from the thirteenth floor where we were staying. But the only thought that stopped me was my child.
I was referred to a psychiatrist and he told me that I was experiencing clinical depression and advised me to do a lot of walking to avoid medicines. But my condition did not improve, and therefore I was put on fluoxetine during my 7th month of pregnancy and admitted to the hospital for a month.
I was very happy in the ward with my female friends and was just not feeling like coming home. Meanwhile, my parents came and I started feeling at home. They were with me during my delivery and post-delivery and I could continue my work only because of their unconditional support.
My husband, at that time, was very insensitive and selfish, a different person from who I knew.
From my understanding, I was not compatible with my husband. As a result, I developed a strong dependence on my parents, which my husband did not like at all.
I was on medication from 2002 to 2006 and finally, my psychiatrist told me to stop my medicines in December 2006. I consider that day a big successful moment for me. I did it all by myself with God's grace.
I feel lonely and depressed at times, but only momentarily. With social media, YouTube, and of course books and a bunch of good friends, I have been able to stay on track.
How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?
I feel that I fell into depression because of my inability to handle my marriage.
But I also believe in the saying that there are no accidents and everything happens for a reason. I had to evolve as a person, but didn't and that's why I got into a depression. My parents could see me struggle and my husband too after some time.
Thankfully, he became empathetic to me and completely changed.
In our place, any sort of mental illness is a taboo. My parents never mentioned my struggle to our relatives. My father always believed that it was my marriage that wrecked me and always used to feel guilty because of it.
My husband also hid these aspects from his parents, and so they too did not know what was going on.
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Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?
In my earlier days of depression, I was always searching for a why?
As part of my search, we went to an astrologer. He mentioned that our relationship would become better if we visited Rameshwaram and take a Dampathi Snanam (it's taking a bath in the ocean as a couple - taking a dip 45 times).
My husband has been raised by a communist father and he was never into spirituality. I strongly believe that things started changing for the better after this event, which I came to call my divine intervention.
By this time, my older son was 6 years old and we had our second son a year later. My husband had changed and was now very affectionate and took good care of me during my pregnancy.
According to Sanatana Dharma philosophy, everything happens because of the supreme power. The whole world is functioning at his will. We cannot control external situations, but it is our responsibility to take care of our inner world. Our mind.
While it is true that our environment impacts us, we can choose to step away from toxic environments. I have the responsibility to change myself only. The rest will take care of itself.
Spirituality helped me evolve as person and that reflected in my actions. Spirituality is a constant process. Lord Krishna mentions in Bhagavad Gita that the spiritual process extends to birth after birth. He mentions that helping humans is the real service to God, and that is the essence of spirituality.
What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?
I have an overactive mind and I just cannot sit idle. Whenever I am not working, I try to keep myself busy by attending courses, learning something new, and pursuing passions and spiritual practices.
It is our duty to take care of ourselves. Prioritizing yourself is not selfish. The body and mind are connected and hence it is essential to take care of both.
I value the mind more than the body. So for me, it is very important to exercise, read, watch good content, be in the company of good people, sleep well, and meditate.
It does not matter which religion you follow, God is one and it does not matter in which form we pray. All we need is an open heart and good intentions.
Have you shared any of this with people around you in real life?
I mostly talked about my struggles with my parents. My husband knows my struggles too, together with some of my close friends.
I never discuss these things with people who are incapable of understanding and are judgmental. Being judgemental is not good. It only sends negative energy to the other person. It is mentioned in Bhagavad Gita to be in the company of good people - people who inspire you and help you to grow.
If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?
Human beings are social, and so we need to be surrounded by good people. People whom we can trust and ask for help.
If that's not an option, ask for help from the almighty. He will send somebody with the answer. Do not suffer and lose hope.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, YouTube channels, or other resources for you?
- Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins.
- If Truth Be Told: A Monk's Memoir by Om Swami.
- Happiness Unlimited by Sister Shivani.
- Autobiography Of A Yogi by Paramhamsa Yogananda.
- The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
Where can we go to learn more about you?
You can connect with me on LinkedIn!
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