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The Man In The Mirror

Updated: May 14

Trigger warning: There are references to suicide and suicidal thoughts in this article


Are you okay? 

Monday 1st February 2021. This is a date that I can not forget. The exact sequence of what occurred that day remains a mystery as my mind was all over the place and still it is difficult to remember all the details. Though I can remember how I was feeling and the overspill of emotion, as if the imprint still remains in my body. It was dark outside, likely around 5pm and I was on a regular daily Teams call with my manager. Government COVID-19 lockdown regulations were still in place and I was sitting at my desk in my bedroom. My bedroom that felt like a prison cell. I do not remember the exact conversation but I vaguely recall her asking me to do something as was normal. This time, I wasn’t listening or paying attention - I just could not focus. Her words were going in one ear and straight out the other. My mind was distracted elsewhere thinking about everything that was happening around me. Happening to me. 

 

I felt like sh*t.  

 

I looked like sh*t.  

 

I could feel words and emotions stuck in my throat, but couldn’t get them out.  

 

I felt trapped.  

 

I could feel tears waiting to burst out of my eyes; a dam waiting to break.  

 

My body was physically hurting all over from all the built up emotion.  

 

Then the question came from my manager... “Are you okay?”

 

Someone had finally asked it in a way that wasn’t condescending.  

 

“No”, I replied. Then the flood came. The overspill of emotion just flowing out of me as they had nowhere else to go.

 

The tears wouldn’t stop. Someone had finally opened the pressure valve and I just couldn’t stop crying. Everything was all jumbled up in my brain and I couldn’t get any words out.  

 

I was looking at myself on the screen. I looked like a wreck with tears running down my face. The sadness and misery etched in my eyes. I switched the camera off whilst staying on the call because I couldn’t look at myself. My manager was asking questions to understand what was going on. I tried to explain but I don’t even know what I said. It is still all a blur.  

 

Questioning Everything

 

During this period, I was studying part-time for an MBA because I wanted to develop myself professionally. I thought I would be in an environment where people were inquisitive, interested in the truth and where rational debates could take place without being personal. I was questioning everything that was going on in terms of lockdown and the effect that it’s going to have on people, not to cause pain or angst but because things didn’t make sense to me.

 

In late 2020, I had taken a module on modelling and analytics and one of the tasks was to find examples of how data is manipulated following examples that the lecturer had shown us. Whilst watching news bulletins, I realised that I could use what they were showing as an example! 

 

To me, none of what we were being told on the news made any sense. I could see the daily contradictions that were being given to on a macro-level and also at work. Do one thing one day and the complete opposite the next. I’ve always had an analytical and inquisitive mind and I was wanting to make sense of everything simply by attempting to have a rational conversation with people. However, I was surprised and confused in equal measure that no-one wanted to have a conversation about the state of the world where someone might have a differing opinion. I quickly found out that to question cultural and social norms is a dangerous thing.  

 

I was reading articles to see what other medical professionals and scientists were saying about the situation in the world and I shared these with friends. Not because I necessarily believed what they were saying but to have a discussion as rational adults. They quickly inferred that I was mad for reading these kinds of articles and that I should stop sharing them. “Huh? What?” I was confused. I was just having a discussion with friends. Friends that I have known for the past 20 years. I could not understand their responses. The same happened with family - constant arguments and snide comments.  

 

I didn’t understand what was going on. Nothing was computing in my brain. It felt like I was being silenced. It felt like my tongue was being cut out and my voice being taken away. I was looking around and seeing everyone lose their heads; following illogical instruction as if they were entirely logical. I couldn’t understand it. I questioned whether it was me. Was I the mad one? My self worth was plummeting at a rate that I couldn’t keep up with. Eventually, I told myself that I was the odd one out (I’ve always felt like the odd one out since a child). I told myself not to say anything and to shut up. I didn’t want to face any more abuse and wanted it to all go away.  

 

Day by day things were building up inside without anywhere or anyone to release the pressure to. I still tried to reason and have a normal conversation with friends and family and ask them to see things from another point of view. Sometimes, I find it difficult to not say anything when someone needs to speak out and stand up for what is right. But it failed. It felt like I had failed. As difficult as it was, I decided not to bring it up again for my own sanity. 

 

Monday 1st February 2021 is when all of this came to a head. In the weeks and months prior, I found myself having unintentional arguments with people. This included friends I’d known since primary school, friends on the MBA course and family members. I was being ridiculed for daring to have an opposing opinion to what the majority of society believed. I didn’t agree with lockdowns at all as I could foresee the economic effect it would have on everyone. I could foresee the effect it would have on people’s mental health. The irony. 

 

I was deeply sad inside. The arguments weren’t intentional. I thought I was surrounded by people with open minds, where we could discuss our opinions and be respectful of them. We don’t have to agree on everything. Life would be so dull and boring otherwise, wouldn’t it? 

 

The name calling hurt – “conspiracy theorist”, “tin foil hatter”, and others I won’t repeat here. To be honest, I only had half an idea as to what these things meant. I brushed it off as much as I could. When things were getting awkward, I would crack an awful dad joke to lighten the mood. But really this was suppressing how I was truly feeling. It was a mechanism for me to avoid conflict and hide from myself.

 

No reply

 

I was in a WhatsApp group with a few MBA course friends. It was always a lively group where everyone would joke around, discuss course material and generally have fun together. We were discussing what was going on in the world at the time (what else was there to do or talk about!?). I sent a few messages in the group giving my opinion on something that someone else had shared but there was no response this time.  

 

“That’s odd”, I thought. Maybe they’re just busy with life and they’ll respond later. Still no response a few hours on. So I messaged one of the group members privately asking if everyone had gone quiet because of my opinions.

 

“Yep” was the reply.  

 

A one word reply. I thought that was odd because we had always been on good terms. I apologised and said that I didn’t want to cause offence to anyone.  

 

No reply.  

 

I thought this was getting a lot weirder now. That nervous and anxious feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when something terrible is about to happen was now inside me. What had I said that was so grossly wrong? I couldn’t understand. 

 

I sent that person another message.  

 

No reply.  

 

That was it. That was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. Everything that I thought was good in my life was disappearing at a rate of ten to the dozen. I was alone and isolated, physically and mentally. 

  

What was the point in living? I never intended to cause trouble. I was sharing my opinion. What was so wrong with that? I told myself that I’d be better off dead to relieve the burden on everyone.  

 

The train station 

The days that followed were the hardest ever. The lowest point in my life. There was nothing to live for anymore. Everything around me was now black, and I was peering into the abyss not knowing what was happening to me.

 

My local train station is a 5 minute walk from where I live. “Go there and never come back”, I said to myself inside. I wanted to relieve myself of all the misery and suffering that I was experiencing. I thought that I wouldn’t be alone and isolated anymore because I wouldn’t be here. That would fix everything.

 

The suicidal thoughts were at boiling point. I walked out my front door into the barren street, which is normally full of cars going up and down the main road. I  began to walk. The station was getting nearer, and nearer, and nearer. The adrenaline was kicking in – nervous sensations, sweaty palms, my heart beating faster. This was it. This was the end.

 

Suddenly, about half way there, a voice inside told me not to do it and turn around. At this point, I felt like I had gone totally f*cking insane. My mind was pulling me in all different directions and I had lost control of absolutely everything.  

 

One voice in my head was telling me to go and end it all, another voice telling me to turn around. A tug of war ensued with me being stuck in the middle of it all. I was being blown around anchorless and rudderless, getting windswept in whatever was pulling me around. I don’t know how long this went on for as all concepts of time and reality disappeared. I don’t know if it was seconds, minutes or hours, it just seemed to go on forever.

 

I listened and I turned right and walked away from the direction of the station.  

 

“Now what do I do? I can’t go back home in this state.”

 

I knew about a telephone support line that was provided by work. I’d been looking at it in the days before and hesitated to call them. My mind flooded with thoughts: 

 

“What were they going to think of me?”  

“Would my manager find out?”  

“Would I lose my job?”  

“Is someone going to come take me away and lock me up?”  

“Will I get sectioned? Although that might not be a bad thing. At least I’d get some space away from everything.”

 

“Just do it”, I thought to myself, “There’s nothing left to lose”. I called the number. beep beep beep. The line didn’t connect.  

 

That’s it. No one wanted to listen to me, so I’ll head back towards the train station and do what I planned on doing. The inner voice was back again and told me to call again.

 

The call connected. The woman who answered said she was from the United States, which threw me off. I was confused. Did I have the right number? 

 

Then the barrage of questions: “What’s your name? What company do you work for? What’s your date of birth?…What’s your address?”. I’m surprised that she didn’t ask for my inside leg measurement too.

 

My mind was racing and all I needed in this moment was to let it all out. I couldn’t even think about the answers to any of the questions I was being asked. What was my name? When was I born? Where do I live?  

 

After remembering who I was and where I lived, I started to cautiously say what was on my mind. I was pausing for long moments as I was trying to formulate what I wanted to say in a way that wouldn’t trigger her as it had done with other people in the past. I felt like I had to tread on eggshells so as to not alienate this lifeline that I had been thrown.  

 

I didn’t have the courage to vocalise my emotions due to being shut down in the past and it felt like my body had to remember how to speak and express myself without being judged. I got some stuff out of my system, not knowing if it made any coherent sense. I must have been on the phone for at least an hour. I didn’t want it to end.

 

After the phone call, I was grateful that there was someone listening to what I was saying without judgement. I could slowly start to somehow rearrange the thoughts in my head and make sense of them.  

 

I was emailed a few documents by this lady, one of which was a leaflet about low level depression. My initial thought was that this wasn’t low level depression. I didn’t know at the time what it was but I knew it wasn’t that. I didn’t question the label too much but be grateful that someone was trying to help. I know now that this was the beginning of a massive spiritual awakening. 

 

Some of the other documents provided were somewhat helpful and made me feel slightly better at the time but I know I needed something more. I could feel sadness all over my body. That feeling of intense grief that you get and no matter how hard you try, it won’t go away.  

 

The days dragged on. I wondered if I would ever pull myself out of this black hole that I found myself in. Everyday I looked in the mirror and hated what I saw. I couldn’t even look at myself, so I stopped looking. There were days when I’d be boiling a pot of water, staring at it and thinking of dunking my head in just to be able to feel something different. It was living hell – being alone with just you and your thoughts.

 

There were days where I wouldn’t log in for work in the morning. I didn’t even tell my manager. “What was the point? What does it matter?” Even though there were lockdown restrictions, I needed to get out the house so I often walked out my front door and kept walking. At other times, I would get into my car and drive up and down the motorway. I knew I could say I was a key worker if I got questioned about being out of the house. To be honest, I didn’t really care if I got stopped. To this day, I still don’t remember exactly where I walked or where I drove but all I remember is the feeling of needing to get out. I needed to drive these thoughts out of my head in any way possible.  

 

“I want to go home” 

There was a period of about 7-10 nights where I locked myself in my bedroom, turned off the lights and silently cried for hours under the duvet. I didn’t want anyone else in the house to hear. I knew the stigma that exists around mental health, especially in Indian culture.  

 

I repeatedly whispered, “I want to go home, I want to go home”. I was puzzled about whom I was talking to. I was in my home, so why was I saying this? It was a longing to not be here. I can’t explain this fully but I knew that this place wasn’t really my home. Maybe I'll explain more in another article.

 

I knew I had to get out of this dark pit that I had found myself in. I didn’t want to feel sh*t about myself anymore. I just wanted all these weird, dark feelings to leave and never come back.  


I came to the realisation that no-one was coming to save me and that this is something that I had get through alone. I had to dig deep and find that inner strength. I’ve been brought up in such a way that if you get beaten down by anything or anyone, you have to get back up again and carry on. I didn’t know any other way to be.

 

Looking back, this was the hardest part of it all. You can easily slide into a pit of despair very quickly, but getting out of it alone is a long, hard slog.  

 

Signs

“I know what I’ll do now - I’ll doom-scroll through social media. That’ll make me feel better”, I thought. 

 

One night on Instagram, I saw a post that said, "11:11". I took no real notice of it at the time, and carried on doom scrolling.  A day or so later, I looked at the microwave and I saw the time It was 11:11. Then another day, on the cooker it said 11:11. Everywhere I looked there was this repeating number. It all felt weird, and I wanted to find out more. I went in search of that Instagram post I saw. I found it and read the caption about what it meant, but still wanted to know more, so continued to research it further. Was this a sign? Was someone or something trying to communicate with me? That voice that told me to turn around just a few days earlier was communicating with me again in a different form. It gave me some hope… I’ve gone totally insane anyway, so any bit of hope will do.  

 

Similar messages were soon popping up everywhere. I realised much of what I was looking at on social media was unhealthy, displaying the façade of the perfect life. Without thinking too much, I unfollowed all blue tick accounts and those that made were making me hate myself. Instead I began to follow those that inspired me. I stopped watching and listening to the fear-porn on TV and  radio as this was contributing to way I felt about myself. The constant negativity blaring was blaring into my psyche. I was clearing the negativity from the outside to make space on the inside.

 

I disconnected myself from my childhood friends as I knew I wasn’t in a healthy space in having tense conversations. They added me back into WhatsApp groups several times. I sat there quietly each time, and just left again. Not because I didn’t love them, but because I knew this wasn’t healthy for me. My priority was to sort myself out first, and search for people on the same wavelength. Being in a situation where you are at constant loggerheads with each other isn’t wise, so I had to remove myself from such.

 

As the late Michael Jackson famously said:

 

I'm starting with the man in the mirror

I'm asking him to change his ways

And no message could have been any clearer

If you want to make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

 

 

Freedom

 

On social media, I saw people at freedom protests in London. Then I knew that I wasn’t alone and that there were others thinking what I was thinking. I wanted to go to one as I would be able to be around like-minded people. The only thing that was stopping me was fear. Dates came and went. I eventually plucked up the courage to go.

 

The world was still a scary place and I was nervous. I couldn’t tell my family where I was going because of the fear of the consequences by being talked out of it. I found my way into London and walked over Westminster Bridge, where the protest was starting outside the Houses of Parliament. As I was walking halfway across, a wave of noise hit me. The closest I can describe this sensation is when you bellyflop into the swimming pool. It felt like I was being smacked in the face by a surge of intense energy. As I got closer, I could see and hear people cheering, whistles blowing, drums banging, people singing! “Wow! This is incredible!! So many people!”. I had goosebumps all over.   

 

I had never experienced anything like this before. I was bathing in so much uplifting energy - people smiling, laughing and having a good time. I didn’t talk to many people during the march, I was simply glad to know that there were thousands of other people on the same wavelength. I wasn’t alone anymore.   

 

A while back, in my search for like-minded people, I came across a local Stand In the Park group that were meeting up regularly on Sunday mornings. I hadn’t yet found the courage to attend one of these groups, because my old friend, fear, was still hanging around with me. I’d been on a massive protest the day before so decided to just go - if I had made it all the way into London and back again, what was the issue with driving a few miles down the road?! I had realised that I needed to surround myself with more people on the same wavelength and that I no longer wanted to face this alone. I needed that sense of local community. I continued to go every week to be surrounded by those who could all share their own opinions about anything and everything and generally have a good laugh. I somehow got talking to a few people there about ayurveda. I had some inkling of what it was but not fully aware of everything about it. A few days later someone else started talking about ayurveda too.

 

It felt strange that it had been brought up twice in the space of just a few days. Was this another sign? I knew a little about ayurveda coming from an Indian family, but had to look into it further. In my search, I came across the Ayurveda Institute UK, and saw that they had a course starting in September 2021. I looked around for other schools but didn’t find anything else that interested me. I was in two minds about signing up as I had only just finished an intensive 2-year MBA course earlier in the year. I wanted a break from studying, but then I realised I would have nothing to lose. I had nothing else to do with my time, given that I had no friends left and wasn’t really interested in speaking to family. I signed up with the intention of wanting to learn about myself, learn about what I was going through and why I react and respond in a certain way. Why I was going through this.

 

 

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” 


At this point, I was still feeling like I had been beaten black and blue. Like I had been kicked in the stomach, kicked in the head. My body was still aching, holding on to what energy or life force was still within me. I knew that I had to keep going.

 

It was September 2021 when I joined the first lecture online. The teacher, Dr Deepika Rodrigo, was speaking about consciousness and what was going on in the world. I was amazed that there was an experienced doctor saying some of the things that were going round in my head and who also saw things differently. Listening to her words gave me goosebumps all over. It was as if she could read my thoughts and was speaking directly to me even though there was about 100 people in the class. I listened and I knew that I wasn't mad.

 

As time went on and the course progressed I began to understand the fundamental concepts of ayurveda. The deeper I understood it the more I was beginning to understand myself. This was through the doshas, but more so through the lens of consciousness and how we have been disconnected from it for so long. It was becoming clearer as to why I felt the way that I did. There was something else out there hidden from us. True knowledge. A higher intelligence. That was the voice that was telling me not to leave this world yet. There is still much more for me to do here.  

 

With each lecture came a new revelation. Ayurveda as a spiritual science helped me to understand the connection between me and myself as well as that between me and the Universe. Ayurveda is my teacher.

 

As Vedic texts are written in Sanskrit, learning the language was important in order to understand the much deeper and richer meanings of ayurveda. Gaiea Sanskrit taught this on the course and her philosophical way of teaching really resonated with me. Someone had also sent me a link to Krishna Das’s YouTube channel. I was indifferent about watching at the time but eventually decided to see what it was all about. I watched the video and I was stunned as I had never heard anything like this before! I didn’t understand what was being chanted but I could feel the sounds vibrating through every cell in my being. It was as if I had been transported to another dimension where I felt nothing but peace, joy and pure bliss; Ananda. This was the complete opposite of what I had experienced so far and so delved deeper into Sanskrit music, constantly listening to it on repeat. This together with listening to the wise words and teachings from Gaiea was changing me on an energetic, quantum level. It’s hard to describe in words. 

 

Now, after having completed my formal studies, I learn more about this connection every day through the physical as well as the quantum. We are all the same – we enter this world in the same way and leave the same way – there’s no getting away from that. I found myself learning by osmosis. All the teachings given just made so much sense straight away. I didn’t struggle to understand anything really. It felt like I had done this before and I was coming home. Somewhere I truly felt comfortable. Where I can be my true self after spending so long trying to be someone else and trying to conform to what society wants me to be. This is something that I have always struggled with and it feels like I had to go through this whole process for a reason. I’ve never really been interested in material gain – having a flash car, a big house, millions of pounds to waste away. I’ve always sensed that there was more to life than this.  

 

There’s a stereotype that Indian boys should be a certain way and have certain things. I care not  for these cultural and societal norms. Who says that we need to be and act in a certain way? Why do we need to do this? Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard and it’s scary to have done this, especially alone in the darkest points. It’s hard to stick two fingers up and stand in your own convictions, but trust me, it can be done. I wouldn’t change any of this experience. Not one bit.  

 

I had no intention to practice ayurveda. I studied it to understand myself better. It’s helped me to see that what happened to me wasn’t a mental illness, but a wake up call. A massive kick up the butt from whoever or whatever is out there to do something meaningful with this time that I have been given on this planet.

 

I have been given this precious gift of knowledge and I have a responsibility to share this with those who want to know more about themselves and begin restoring connections that we have all lost over generations. To help those who want to know what they can to do help themselves to alleviate their suffering. No one truly needs to suffer.

 

I do not say this lightly, ayurveda has truly saved my life. I have immense gratitude for everything this journey so far. For every experience, whether it be perceived as good or bad. At this point, I should say that I had also sought out other practitioners of different modalities who have helped me, but I've always come back to ayurveda.


I have also attended many circles run by Mentell, a men’s mental health charity. The space that they provide is invaluable. For me personally, the charity has allowed me to leave some of that baggage behind that we all carry with us in our minds. It’s allowed me to unpack a lot of my thoughts and emotions, begin to make some sort of sense of things, and either do something or nothing with them. It’s allowed me to connect with a community of men who want to improve themselves. That’s all we can do – improve ourselves.

 

I am not perfect. We all have our faults. It’s what makes us human. Through this experience (which has only just begun), I am a different person compared to just 3 years ago. The people I have met along the way have been incredible. I no longer care what people said or did to me in the past. I bear no grudges and hold nothing against friends and family who had disagreements with me at the time. I have forgiven them through the ether, and myself for whatever was said and whatever happened. I have let go of all of that now – what’s the point in holding on to it? If I continue to hold on, the only person I am hurting is myself. I’m done with hurting myself. If I continue to hurt myself, then I cannot help you. I am nothing but grateful for this episode in my life and for everything helping to shove me onto this path.   

 

For the first time in my life, I am comfortable in my own skin. I can look in the mirror and be happy at what I see. I love myself. I still have my faults, but I know who I am.


Shree Guru charana saroja raja nija manu mukuru sudhaari
With the dust of my Guru's lotus feet, I clean the mirror of my heart

Ayurveda has given me the gift of life again and I want you to have that same gift too.  

 

A new start 


I could have stopped my journey there. Having received this knowledge and being on a path of understanding myself, I could have kept everything close to me. Inside, I had come to a fork in the road. Should I stay in the rat race and comply with cultural and social norms, or give everything up and share this message? Stay and work for a company making millions in profit, or help those in my local community who are suffering in silence?

 

My mind and my consciousness couldn’t take anymore of the madness both inside and outside of me. I decided to leave my job with the intention of helping to guide other people on their journey’s too. To help them to bring balance back into their lives. To help remove suffering from their lives, no matter how big or small it is. Why must we struggle when there is something out there that is simple, logical and effective that can help us all? No one really needs to suffer at all.

 

My entire friendship and social circle has changed. I am grateful every day for the people that have come into my life. To be surrounded by so many people living from their hearts, both in the ayurvedic and local community. I count my blessings every night. I feel free to do what I want to do as long as it is not at the expense of others. I don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed about my journey – this is why I am sharing it with you. I have realised that other people’s opinions of me is not my concern. People are free to think what they want to think, and say what they want. It no longer bothers me. All that matters is what I think of myself and for me to be true to myself. That in itself is liberation. Liberation from the mind.  

 

I share this not to inflate my ego, nor for you to feel sorry for me. I’m done with feeling sorry for myself so I don’t expect, nor want anyone else to feel that way towards me. I am sharing this so that you can understand why I am doing what I am doing now. Why I don’t really care about social and cultural norms – ayurveda is all about the individual. There is something much bigger out there. Something much more important to all of us. I share this to show that YOU are the most powerful being in all of creation. That you have the ability to restore that connection with your self and with others. Whatever challenge it is that you are facing – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual - you have the ability to change your circumstances. That you can heal yourself if you want to. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes dedication. It takes perseverance. It’s not an easy road. It can be arduous and frustrating. Everything I have written down sounds easy, but it isn’t. The grief, the misery, the loneliness, the isolation, the despair. The endless negative thoughts going round and round in my mind. It’s been a long, hard road. Numerous moments of self-doubt, moments where I had no idea if I was doing was the right thing. Moments where I thought what is all of this for?  

 

None of this happened to me. This has happened for me. For me to be of service to you. To help you, if you want help. Whatever you may be facing, you must know that you need not do it alone.

 

You must know that you don’t have to do anything alone. 

 

All you have to do is ask, let go and all shall be given.  





 

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