It was only when I lost my mind that I realised that all that mattered was the mind. – This might just seem like a very candid statement off a meme on Facebook. But what it really is, is a open-hearted confession by a young Vijay Nallawala. Author of a gripping book A Bipolar’s Journey, he has experienced the torment of Bipolar Disorder. Through this book, he lives to tell the tale. And it’s one that you cannot forget. To make certain his intent to create awareness and care for Bipolar patients, Vijay Nallawala founded Bipolar India. This is India’s only open forum that addresses and cares for those who suffer from this mental health issue.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
The way society rampantly labels, fables and loosely uses terms for mental health issues annoys me, frankly. As particular and aware as we are about anything that affects our physicality from our hair to our toe nails, we are yet to be that learned about our minds and brains.
Bipolar Disorder is a severe and chronic mental illness also known as manic depressive illness, It is a brain disorder that causes unusual and dramatic shifts in mood and energy levels, writes Goregaon-based Nallawala. What we can toss up for mood swings or crankiness may be the onset of a genuine physiological problem, if it lasts for months or years in a person. Bipolar patients are those who are initially unable to control these repeated trends, swing between extreme mania and depression and experience day-to-day tasks as unviable. Extreme cases of Bipolar also lead to suicide, Nallawala said to me.
Why you need to read A Bipolar’s Journey
Vijay Nallawala’s semi-autobiography narrates his life with little reservations. In it, he tells you all – his childhood, his successful entrepreneurships, his marriage, everything. And how all of this was affected, lost and then regained through effective treatment, self-belief and adamantine family support. That’s the biggest takeaway from A Bipolar’s Journey. It is a journey you need to know because it is not a journey that ended. Rather, it is one that has triumph and hope as its final parting words.
It is spine chilling to know how all that was going well can suddenly be flung to the darkest depths, for no apparent reason, no external cause. It is far more unnerving how a perfectly running human life can be completely out of array, wreaking havoc for all. But Nallawala had to go through this. He did. And now lives life positively – controlling his illness with the right medication, doctor’s advice and strong will power. He has a profitable life going, a happy family and most significantly, has helped thousands more. With founding Bipolar India, Nallawala has become a beacon of constructive hope in the field of mental health in India.
What is Bipolar India?
Bipolar India is an online and offline support forum founded by Vijay Nallawala in 2013. The lack of adequate knowledge, awareness and research about Bipolar Disorder spurred him on to formalise this forum. It works to provide support, scaffolding and sustenance for Bipolar patients as well as caregivers. Organising regular conferences, meets and providing valid information, Bipolar India has successfully become a go-to for mental health in India.
It has in its panel of experts leading psychiatrists, counsellors and psychotherapists. Together, they reach out to those in need to tell them what they need to know – that they are not alone, that consulting a psychiatrist is necessary but not an evil and that when you can accept your Bipolar Disorder as something you can surmount, you will surmount it. Through Bipolar India, Nallawala also hopes to gradually challenge and change the Indian government’s outlook, policies and budget allocations for mental health in urban and rural areas.
Bipolar India also has prevented close to 7-8 suicide attempts by Bipolars in the recent past. Sometimes, we are what we can save. When we save lives, we are more alive.
A Bipolar’s Journey is an open manual that takes you through all that Nallawala did to surmount the beast. “People tell me so often – you are lucky, I am not like you or that we can’t do it like you did. But that’s far from the truth. I decided to do something about it. And that’s the message I need to share”, he says. It is hard to believe that this now calm, serene and smiling man was once severely distraught or depressed. Now a Personal Branding Coach and Storyteller and a very spiritual person, his life is brimming with the passion to reach out rather than turn away from life’s possibilities.
I hope this account has inspired you, clarified some notions and makes you think a little more about mental health’s significance. When we talk about mind over matter, it is mind that always matters.