World Mental Health Day Workshop

It was a day when our peer support community came together for a day of learning and sharing. We at Bipolarindia had planned a full-day Workshop to mark World Mental Health Day on the non-clinical aspects of living with mental health diagnoses: the mind-body-spirit aspects of healing.

Conducted at a Hotel in suburban Mumbai on Sunday, the 8th of October, it saw enthusiastic participation by our community, some of whom travelled from as far as Chennai, Karnataka, Nashik, and Pune to be part of this event.

Vijay Nallawala, Founder of Bipolarindia, in his brief intro, traced the decade’s journey of the organization, how it led to the Mental Health Support Foundation being registered as its apex entity, and the significance of a holistic health approach for sustainable recovery from serious mental disorders such as Bipolar Disorder and MDD.

Shrikant Kshirsagar, a highly experienced Yoga Trainer, kicked off the day with its first session on Pranayama in an interactive session. He spoke about the importance of breathing right and posture in our well-being. The participants tried out a few pranayama practices such as Bhramari, Anulom Vilom, and a very gentle form of Kapalbhati.

He regaled the audience with his sense of humour and Shrikant exemplifies

Next up we had a speaker who is also on the Core Team of our pioneering initiative for livelihoods for persons with mental health conditions, Asha Pillai. A Finance Professional, Asha is a Global Group Planner at Shell. Hers is an inspiring story of a person who lives with bipolar disorder and has scaled such success in the demanding Corporate World.

Her theme is ‘Self Care’. It was a highly relatable talk as she shared her own self-care routines and how she sustained herself juggling several responsibilities. The themes touched upon were how Therapy had been a mainstay of her support as were her colleagues. She counts her close friends as a critical support system for her in times of health crises.

On work-life balance, Asha said it was important to draw boundaries. She tries to cut herself off from work post office hours and on weekends. Also, she requested a work schedule that matched her peak energy cycle. She has quite a few hobbies and passions, among them being baking, her pets, being in nature, and taking breaks for vacations.

Having ‘been there and done that’ makes Asha’s insights so relatable and useful for our community. Her humility and authenticity set her apart and we are privileged to have people like her passionately supporting the Foundation.

Interaction continued over the lunch break where participants connected with others for the very first time in person, in some cases. Helping the community bond together even more strongly!

Strategic Interventionist Tanvi Singla has been trained under Anthony Robbins. Her theme, ‘Self-Energise’, was so apt for the day. Her back story was compelling and truly inspiring! How from being a Beauty Pageant Winner, she put on 20kgs of weight: her diagnosis with a mental health condition and the treatment for it had been the cause. She is visibly much fitter now (and super energetic as well)!

The second part of her talk was on all the secrets of her leanness and good health.

Her key part of the talk was on the ‘mind’ aspect of virtually everything we do. Perspectives, attitudes, patterns, and limiting beliefs and how we could identify these and overcome stumbling blocks in our march towards our goals. A brilliant, thought-provoking session by her surely had all the participants energized!

To bring the curtains down on an invigorating day, an Improv session by Varsha Kini. A Corporate Trainer with TCS, Varsha is amazingly versatile. She realized that Improv helped her cope with her Depression and anxiety better and thus thought of taking it to other people who might benefit.

In the interactive session, she not only got us to practice Improv (and have a lot of fun while doing so) but explained to us the principles behind it. We realized that it helped improve concentration and alertness, in negotiations (yes, that too) and is actually a fun and mindful activity.

Much gratitude to Shrikant Kshirsagar, an avid supporter of Bipolarindia since 2017, and our in-house facilitators in Asha, Tanvi, and Varsha, for giving it their all to the enthusiastic audience.

Some key insights from the day>

1) Breathwork! Importance of how we breathe

2) Who would have thought that Improv can help us in so many ways besides the enjoyment bit!

3) Self Care pyramid

Self-love> Self-care> Self Discipline
If self-care arises out of self-love rather than as something imposed on us, would be easier to sustain it and also enjoy the process much more!

4) Recovery from a severe mental disorder needs a 360-degree approach.

5) For work-life balance, drawing boundaries is so important

6) The only person who can really prevent me from fulfilling my true potential is me:
My attitude, approach, and actions are key determinants

Finally, the BIG insight from the day that left all of us moved, better informed and with loads more of self-belief:
We are all connected: never felt this more strongly!

~ Vijay Nallawala, Founder of BipolarIndia.

Mr Nallawala is also a part of our esteemed Unhurry Editorial Board.

Leave a Reply