Episode 4 – Mimansa Singh Tanwar speaks about Mental Health Amid Novel Coronavirus Pandemic – Mental Health First – Priyanka Nair
Nivedita was 9 years old when she learned about her disability, it was hard for her to process what all she was listening about her but she let herself believe that there was a problem. It made her anxious and irritable and she refused to go to school, she would come back crying and yelling from school.
She could not understand that why is it necessary to sit still during class and not go out and notice the flowers in the garden. Why her teachers were complaining about her in PTMs or why children refuse to make her part of their team while playing and refuse to play with her?
She was suffering from a problem. A problem which was unknown to her, a problem she never thought of a problem because it was a part of her, and she was happy. She had a hard time concentrating on things and was unable to focus, it has been there for a long time and now she knows why.
At such a tender age it is difficult to process things and also sometimes easy to manipulate the truth. Nivedita’s mother, Sukanya was a special educator by profession and had hands-on experience of dealing with special children. With her experience, she knew something is wrong but as we merely accept any kind of disorder, her mother too chose to live in denial. Soon things went out of hand and Sukanya was left perplexed and devasted. There is this thing about mental disorders in kids, they could be misunderstood for being mischievous and naughty when in reality sometimes they might be dealing with a real problem.
The 9-year-old kid was diagnosed with ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) after immediate counseling followed by her school meeting. She was dealing with a lot in school, having a hard time focusing on studies, memorizing things, speaking, and reading, she would lose her belongings in school and forget her things. She was mocked and criticized often. She could never understand what to do about it, it was her inability to pay attention no matter how hard she tried but no one believed her.
Her classmate would call her a crackpot who forgets everything and made fun of her, teachers were having a hard time dealing with her. It was then, her parents were called by the school authorities and they openly discussed Nivedita’s situation. Her mother was trying to stay strong and also agreed to what was being mentioned about Nivedita’s situation because she has been observing similar symptoms but never wanted to believe them, she felt helpless for a moment and tears rolled down her cheek thinking about her future.
Nivedita was a very cute little girl with curly hair, chubby chicks, and an unusual sparkle in her eyes. She saw her world differently where everything was slow and limited. She was never in rush and her unorganized nature never bothered her. She loved to spend time in her little garden, she would water the plants, play with mud, and talk with plants.
Her mother, on the other hand, was constantly worried about her, now with the diagnosis when the problem was clear the next big challenge was to help her deal with her disorder and make her life-ready. Sukanya thought a lot about it, how she can help Nivedita, how to build a sense of resilience in her child to not get affected by what others say about her, she was deeply engrossed in her thoughts sitting in the veranda watching Nivedita talking to her plants.
As she moved to grab her cup of tea from the table suddenly Nivedita came and gave her a tight hug saying, “Mumma for whatever reason, I am the way I am, and I’ve tried really hard to not let it inhibit the things that are important to me but I fail to focus, but come maa look how I can focus on the thin veins and nerves of each leaf and flower petal.” Have you ever observed the beauty each plant offers? I have seen it. You know why?
Because they are in no rush, they are always calm and humble, I nurture them with water and they bloom, they grow slowly but they grow every day, and seeing them I feel so happy and you should be happy too. Tears rolled down Sukanya’s cheeks but this time it also bought a warm smile on her face, with hope and faith mother and daughter hugged each other and sat calmly looking at their beautiful garden. Sukanya noticed how focusing on the problems takes away the joy of being in the moment and sometimes for the butterfly to sit on its flower the flower needs to be calm and patient too.
Much love and gratitude
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