The Internal Struggle of Loving Yourself

Have you ever struggled with yourself? Maybe constantly battling with feeling valid or just a whole lot less invisible?

This internal battle is no joke. Loving yourself isn’t easy.

It’s easy to be numb and go through your day every day and not realize that something isn’t feeling right. It’s not easy to realize that you are numb and how can you find a way to feel again? Even better, how can you feel good about yourself again?

I don’t like who I have become. I’m doing my best as a mother, wife, business owner, and dancer. But I’m not doing my best as me. That’s probably because I’m so focused on doing well on everything else, I haven’t found the time for me to know myself anymore.

Life changes so fast that if you don’t actively keep up with yourself, you are easy to lose. All of a sudden, I don’t know who I am anymore. I know my labels. But who am I? The person I can see at the moment, I don’t like very much.

I know that I have to look inwards and figure out what makes me happy internally. I have to figure out how to move myself past this phase. If I’m internally happy, I can be a better mother, wife, business owner, and dancer.

It’s work and it’s tiring on top of everything else. But honestly, I don’t want to be miserable. I want to love myself. Because it’ll make it that much easier to accept the love that everyone else wants to share with me.

The Battle With Depression

So this is something I’ve been dealing with most of my life. I don’t know if it’s a chemical thing or a personality thing or what. When I read Eat, Pray, Love, and Elizabeth Gilbert mentions that her therapist said that she would battling depression on and off for most of her life because she has a tendency towards it, I was like “Yes, that’s literally what I felt like I’ve been doing”.

The American Psychiatric Association provides the following definition for depression:

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

The funny thing for me is that there usually isn’t a huge cause for it. I’ll be wandering around just doing what I need to be doing and suddenly, I will realize that I’m just not feeling like myself anymore. It’s not like some big event always causes it (although that has happened as well). It almost feels like a bunch of little things that stack on top of each other and when I look up, I’m under the weight of all of that stack. I end up feeling like no one gets it. I end up resenting people for not understanding how I feel. I end up feeling like I’m a hole that I will never get out of.

I remember feeling that way when I was younger but I didn’t realize what it was. I’m really good at continuing to put one foot in front of the other so I would just keep doing whatever I was supposed to be doing (school, work, etc.). I think when I finally visited a therapist for when I had it really bad is when I learned to recognize it for what it was.

It comes and goes. I’m in the middle of trying to pull myself out of it right now. The best thing about recognizing it and beating it is that once you do it one time, you know you can do it again. It is tiring. It is overwhelming. But it is possible. I’ll continue to put one foot in front of the other and find love and happiness where I can. I’ll find help where I can because I know that it’s not possible to do this entirely by myself either.

The American Psychiatric Association also says that:

Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.

So if that’s you, please know you aren’t alone. There are a lot of us out there and we work hard at finding contentment and happiness. It’s not an easy battle but it’s one that is worth it. So get help, talk about it, do whatever you need to do to fight it. Because I promise that not being depressed really does feel good.

Something Not Many Indians Talk About….Breastfeeding

Man, I wish I would have known more about this just so I’d be ready for how difficult it would be, how much it’d affect me as a new mother, and how my emotional self and rational self would battle. 

It’s definitely not something a lot of people talk about, at least in terms of what it would take from me to get to the point where I could do it. Here’s the thing: Breast milk is supposed to be the best thing for your baby. However, there are circumstances that can arise that don’t always allow you to be able to give your baby breast milk or maybe not give it to them in the conventional way.

Let’s start at the beginning. I had done the research to find out if my epilepsy medication would affect my breast milk. After getting cleared from the ob, the neurologist, and the pediatrician, I just assumed that I would breastfeed my baby as soon as she came out the door. Yeah, so much for that.

The first problem that hit us that affects a lot of people is that getting a baby that knows nothing about eating via their mouth to actually latch on and start eating. While it’s supposed to be natural to both of you in some sense, it’s not. The lactation consultants at the hospital try to help but in all honesty, they weren’t that helpful to me. We couldn’t get my baby to latch and she wasn’t eating much. The nurse scared us when we told her the baby would be latched on for maybe 5 minutes. She said that she couldn’t release us from the hospital if that’s all the baby was eating. 

Then came my blood tests. Somehow, without anyone realizing it, I had lost a lot of blood. My blood count dropped the two days following the day I gave birth. The funny thing was I showed no signs of it. My doctor wouldn’t discharge me. The nurse told us that if I had to stay one more day past the 4th day, my baby would have to go home and I would have to stay. So, in order to prepare for that, we started giving the baby formula just in case I wasn’t able to go home and feed her. Luckily, I was discharged at the same time but we had lost a whole day of trying to breastfeed since I was getting a blood transfusion in order to raise my blood count. 

The first week with a new baby is hard enough. I tried to breastfeed but giving her formula was the only way we knew she was getting fed enough. I must have cried 100 times in this first week. It was so hard. I felt like a horrible mother. Rationally, I knew that as long as my baby was getting fed, that’s all that mattered. But I wanted to do it on my terms and I hadn’t gotten a choice in the matter. 

Next came pumping. I tried that the first day I was home. Nothing much came out. Which meant we stayed on formula for a bit. I knew I had to see a lactation consultant. I tried one recommended but she just made me feel guilty for not breastfeeding right away and for not starving my baby until she learned how to latch hon correctly. I don’t care what anyone says. Starving my baby was NEVER an option. We found another lactation consultant who really was much more compassionate and understanding and knew that it took work to get there. She is the one who finally showed us what we were doing wrong so I could get my baby to latch. I also started pumping regularly after I saw her. 

So I learned how to breastfeed but another thing no one tells you is that it hurts like hell. Who is used to that kind of pain? I tried and tried but it hurt so I kept pumping because that didn’t hurt as much. Another 9 weeks went by. I was pumping every 3 hours. I was planning my life around pumping. I knew at least my baby was getting breast milk. But it’s hard. Pumping is a serious commitment. You have to keep doing it every 3 hours because otherwise your body will think you don’t need the milk and will reduce the amount you produce. It got to a point where my baby was sleeping at least 6 hours through the night and I was still waking up every 3 hours. 

This lack of sleep is one of the factors that convinced me to try breastfeeding again. I needed to sleep. I got tired of waking up all the time. So I decided to give it another go. And I’m happy to say that we have finally got it down. Somehow, all of a sudden, at 10 weeks, my baby and I both seem to have figured it out. 

It’s been a rough road. And I’ve learned that the end goal is that your baby is healthy and well-fed. I did know this but I had to really learn it, if you know what I mean. Not any one of those feeding options is the only right one. You have to do what’s best for you and your child. Do whichever makes you the best mother possible for your child. If it’s formula or pumping or breastfeeding, be proud and know you’re doing the best you can. 


Ahhh. The family life. Have many of you have heard that phrase “when you marry the person, you marry the family”? In the Indian culture, this is so true. There is no separation for the couple from the family. The couple becomes an extension of the family instead.

Now, this isn’t such a bad thing. I really like having a big family so having another group of relatives to hang out with is great.

But what happens when the family gets demanding on your time? What happens when they expect you to follow their rules of when, where, and what you should be doing? What happens when they call the shots without even considering what you need or are available for?

I’m pretty lucky in the sense that both sets of parents for me are really understanding about us having our own lives and knowing that we will make time for them as much as we can.

But I definitely am aware that, in this culture, this is rare. There are a lot of parents who expect a lot more than that from their children and their spouse. I don’t know if it’s worse if you are the son-in-law or the daughter-in-law. I think it probably depends on the situation and the relationship the child has with their parents to start with.

Let’s add one more complication. The expectation that we grow up with to be the perfect daughter-/son-in-law.

I think I was supposed to be able to cook everything, clean to perfection, have children, raise them, look perfect, have multiple talents, all while holding down a full time job after achieving a degree or two. I totally failed. I think I’ve accomplished maybe 2 or 3 of that long list. Maybe.

It weighs on me that I don’t fit the idea of perfection when it comes to being the daughter-in-law. But I know that I try my best and I keep going. And luckily, I don’t hear any problems about what I can or cannot do.

Unfortunately, some people do.

The solution to this is to set boundaries. It’s not easy by any means. It’s the only thing though that will keep you from going crazy. And if you have the support of your spouse, it will at least make it that much easier to be able to do this. Boundaries are meant to draw a line with regards to what is acceptable and what isn’t. If your parents or in-laws drop in whenever they want and expect you to drop everything to entertain them, then maybe you need to ask them about calling a day before they plan on coming over to check your schedule.

It won’t be easy. And honestly, it might be a battle on its own.

But, hopefully, in the end, it’s worth it.


Yes, it’s real. And yes, it can happen to anyone. 

Depression is one of those things that unless you’ve been through it or know someone who has, it’s hard to understand. Someone may look like they have everything but sometimes, it’s not about that at all. Whether it’s based on a chemical imbalance or life circumstances, depression is one of the hardest things to battle. It’s especially difficult because it doesn’t have physical symptoms. It’s hard to see. And it’s really not all that hard to hide. 

I don’t want to discuss the hows and whys someone falls into depression. My bigger concern is how does one get out of depression. 

Have you ever gotten into a fight with someone? And no matter what, that person wouldn’t listen to anything you had to say? Depression is like that. Only you’re fighting yourself. You sit and tell yourself that there is no reason to feel like this, that everything is going well, that you are loved by many. Yet, for whatever reason, it’s hard for you to understand those exact words. It’s hard to feel okay. 

And it’s okay. It’s okay to be depressed. I think the first step to getting past it is to admit that you’re going through it. And I know that that is a really difficult thing to do. I have a hard time admitting it because I don’t want to ever feel like a failure. And being depressed especially when I know things are good or that I’m making moves in the right direction still makes me feel like a failure. 

I’m a big advocate for therapy. I think that that is the next step. 

Another thing that can be done is reaching out to people who will understand. If you know someone or have friends who you know understand these feelings or have training in the mental health field, reach out. It’s hard because when you’re depressed, it is really hard to reach out to anyone. You want to go under a bed and disappear. But getting help is really important to getting out of this state of mind. Knowing you aren’t fighting the battle alone is important. 

Depression. It sucks. But it is possibly to get past it. I have before.