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Interview

Manseerat Kaur Bachhal.

My name is Manseerat . I am an individual whose super excited about volunteering, doing internships, applying for all these different courses stuff  , basically anything except for the subjects we learn at school 😉 And i guess a major reason for this is that i thought that is something that only the white kids could do well that was until i found about student led organisations and at this point i am working for 5 different organisations all in different fields , am in the outreach team of @beyond_.the._page and @stem4girls , a graphic designer at @youthopean , a researcher in @projectclap and an ambassador of @teenhealth101  ; its amazing besides all this i ve enrolled in a course in mordern art because i really like to paint , to make miniatures , i ve even started an online website where i sell all these miniatures called Despire which is something i conjured up with Desperate and Aspire so it means despirate to fulfill my aspirations. These days i am doing my best to advocate for the rights of the farmers who are protesting in this chilly winter on the streets of Delhi and a few days back i have even started my own non profit organization  @despire.balloons which is about raising the voices of teens

Interviewed by Sania Ahmad


I saw your takeover with Mark My Words and learned that you are the daughter of a farmer in India. Firstly, so much respect to you and your family and secondly, as you obviously know, there’s a major protest–probably the biggest ever– going on regarding the new bill. Could you walk us through the gist of how that newly passed bill affects the Punjabi farmers community both physically and mentally?

I think the government is paving the way for corporations to take over the farmers’ lands. So I feel like my future is black. I am thinking that I won’t be able to do farming on my ansestral  land because the corporations will force me to sell my lands to them. So that’s why you can practically say I am fighting for my survival and so are 260 million people out there including 60 people who have sacrificed their lives just to shield the rest of us.Nobody has their stuff together as much as we think they do 😉 I personally have anger issues , i just can’t control my anger and i am gonna spend hours quarrelling over something , I don’t know what happens to me rage just starts flooding and the only outlet for it is smashing things when i am so full of energy or crying when i am exhausted , so i just try to ignore petty issues  or just keep telling myself to calm downYes , Imposter syndrome , i consider it as a mental health disorder , basically feelings like fear, stress, anxiety, insecurity, conflict ; when we have all these thoughts like if i ask a question they ll know i am clueless or i was lucky to get this position ; and we show behaviours such as perfectionism , soloism, over skilling , workoholism because this is something that is ingrained especially in women and non binary people they are just  taught by the sexist society that they just  can’t be at par with the men which tends them to develop a feeling of self doubt which impacts their daily life.

How do you deal with your own mental health?

Nobody has their stuff together as much as we think they do 😉 I personally have anger issues , i just can’t control my anger and i am gonna spend hours quarrelling over something , I don’t know what happens to me rage just starts flooding and the only outlet for it is smashing things when i am so full of energy or crying when i am exhausted , so i just try to ignore petty issues  or just keep telling myself to calm down

Are there any specific psychological conditions that mean a lot to you?

Yes , Imposter syndrome , i consider it as a mental health disorder , basically feelings like fear, stress, anxiety, insecurity, conflict ; when we have all these thoughts like if i ask a question they ll know i am clueless or i was lucky to get this position ; and we show behaviours such as perfectionism , soloism, over skilling , workoholism because this is something that is ingrained especially in women and non binary people they are just  taught by the sexist society that they just  can’t be at par with the men which tends them to develop a feeling of self doubt which impacts their daily life

I am also South Asian and I know that mental health is not a very prioritized subject in our community. However, it’s getting more talked about slowly but surely. What do you believe is the main reason for the stigma getting reduced?

I think it is because of internet; social media that we get to interact with people who have similar interests , Earlier when a particular person didn’t agree with what the society was told them they didn’t had any other alternative , at the end of the day they had to be in that same social circle that is their locality , the people of the neighbourhood but now we have this option that we can interact with people all over the globe and we are learning about each other’s culture and how we how other people deal with things and we tend to incorporate the stuff that fits best for us , So i believe that communication these days cuts through all the physcial barriers and we get to find a community where we truly belong and feel free to express our views and  listen to others and sometimes incorporate those habits

Do you have any favorite mental health advocates? If so, who are they?

No because i never actually tried to explore them because as this isn’t something that is given priority to at my household so this something considered equivalent to watch some series on Netflix , and this is not something i am proud of , but  i tend to be inclined to do the latter because i am going to get the same appreciation and its a big flaw because I don’t consider improving myself just because my cousins are going to ask me to stop wasting my time on all this nonsense and tell ne to just enjoy my break .To what extent do human right challenges, economics, and politics affect one’s mental being?

To what extent do human right challenges, economics, and politics affect one’s mental being?

They have a direct impact on an individual’s health , for instance let’s take this farmer’s protest so just imagine living without parents  knowing how they are out in bitter cold without adequate clothing and on the top it knowing that the police is doing lathi charge ( using sticks to beat ) on your family members and yet here you are utterly helpless .Its deeply affecting gen Z  watching the illegal way with which the people they care about are being treated they we lose our faith in democracy or that its possible to live in a free and fair way , it has shattered all the innosence, hopes and aspirations in a very wild way. The adults on the other side are worried how they are going to feed their family if these bills are imposed or how to raise their children without them having to witness all this.

What self-care practices do you recommend?

Seek out for help when you need it , i know its difficult because what happened with me initially was people , my cousins and family to be precise used to make fun of me that i  apparently give too much attention to my emotions that this is what life is like , everyone goes through it am not an exception or someone special to this and all i should  do is focus on studying and not on these petty emotions . But trust me there are so many people who are willing to help you all you have to do is ask and just don’t dishearten yourself if someone doesn’t talk to you in a kind way , by this I don’t mean to tell you to be numb but just don’t let yourself be beaten down by a person or event . I know this is a tricky balance to maintain

Focus on yourself
You deserve it
Be confident
Its okay to feel burntout
Its not your duty to take care for the family , stay at home etc but a choice
You are a equal
You matter

I can also tell that you’re big on advocating for female rights, especially when it comes to education. Discrimination when it comes to sex is obviously a very bigoted and unjust casualty, however what is usually not mentioned is the psychological aspect of it all. Studies have proven that high levels of sexism could fuel mental illness (depression is the most common). How do you believe womxn who face this sort of chauvinism could combat mental illness and revive their hope for a better future?

Recently I started a fundraiser with beyond the page to sponsor the education of one girl and the funding were to go to Malala fund but people couldn’t get past the fact that she’s a Muslim but she is also a Nobel Prize winner, they just believed that the funds will be used for the betterment in Pakistan Though malala fund has projects in many other countries like  India Afghanistan  as well, but even if lets say they are going to help somebody study in Pakistan I don’t see anything wrong in it but people weren’t just ready to the donate because they thought that she is a Muslim another example of how toxic things can turn
.

What would you say to someone who is going through an internal battle right now?

You will get through this
Believe in yourself
Its completely okay if nobody is at your side , you alone are enough

What does mental health mean to you?

the state of our mind , what we are feeling basically focussing on ourselves and being okay prioritising ourselves even if it means saying no to somebody and being okay even if you had an unproductive day but did things you actually like 

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