As far as I can remember that within the family and among the relatives I was known as a “bhitu mei” (scared girl). I feared darkness, noise, glass breaking, doctors, anyone who spoke loudly… I was always full of nerves. In school too the label stuck on. Teachers commented that I was a good child and a very shy child. Somewhere that tag made me feel that being good was equivalent to being shy, obedient, and fearful. Breaking rules was almost a crime for me and hence I never broke rules. Some teachers would joke and say that I am always so anxious that it seemed that I am carrying the load of the world on my petite, fragile shoulders; and that I would perhaps have a heart attack by the time I was in my 10th Standard.
I can’t comment if reinforcements become a reality. However, just before my class 10 board exams, I got an attack of an auto-immune disease called Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) in which muscles get paralysed. I was hospitalised the night before my exams and therefore, had to drop that year. Two years later I got another and a more serious attack of Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Recovery from this was trying and often would break me down emotionally. These two episodes changed me as a person. I was full of rage, felt that I had been wronged but deep within I feared losing control of my life.
As I grew older fears manifested in many forms – insecurity, uncertainty, anxiety, panic, anger and at times, acute sadness. Sadly, neither I nor anyone around me realised that “fear” can’t be one’s personality. It was only when I started studying Bach Flower Remedies that I started understanding nuances of my emotions. Fear was no longer vague, I was able to break it down and figure out what was the root of a particular fear. Yet, my anger outbursts didn’t subside. On one such occasion a friend was by my side and she helped me understand that what I was going through, needed help. This realisation that I need help, encouraged me to take actions to heal myself.
Here’s how I fought my fears:
- Admitting to myself that I needed help. As long as you are in denial or ignorance, you will suffer. People can help you but you are the only person who will understand when to seek assistance.
- Alternative therapies like Bach Flower Remedies, Aromatherapy, Yoga, Meditation, Dance and Chakra Healing helped me in releasing fear and build confidence and courage.
- Therapy can work wonders but only when you find the right therapist. And that can be a challenge. I had gone to three therapists before I found the therapist just right for me. Now, you may ask, how will you know who is right? My little advice is that you are going for therapy because you are stressed, unhappy and need help. So if the therapy is making you feel worse about yourself, then it’s a signal to change.
- Writing my book Phoolproof was a healing process for me. In 2018, I was going through a very tough phase of my life and I wanted to be alone. Working on the book helped me seek out solitude. I was alone but not lonely. I spent a long time with flowers and studying about them. This made me sensitive to others and be happy. The joy of holding the book was a victory.
- I also realised the importance of having friends… the 3am ones. I am lucky to have a group of six friends who I can fall back on anytime and who will never judge me. It’s a group where each of us feel secure and are there for each other – even if we are in different cities just being able to laugh and talk our hearts out is therapeutic.
- Finally, my spiritual practice that helps me help others and change myself. A spiritual philosophy can work like an emotional compass. In my case it has helped me treasure life, value each moment and be a source of happiness for myself and others.
All these things have contributed to making me a strong person. However, I must add before I sign off, that anxiety can emerge again and hence it is important to work on oneself every day.
Meet the Writer: Jhelum Biswas Bose
Author, entrepreneur and flower therapist, Jhelum Biswas Bose has worked in the beauty industry for 15 years. As a beauty journalist she has worked in lifestyle magazines like Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health and Harper’s Bazaar. Later she switched roles and headed the marketing of Sephora and Satya Paul. After that she took a break from work to address her health issues and used that time to learn various forms of alternate therapy. Jhelum now runs her own beauty brand called Jhelum Loves, offers healing, conducts workshops and continues to write articles, poems and short stories.