BENGALURU: Bengaluru-based Sangeetha Param, 24, was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder in 2014, but she believes it is okay to be ‘imperfect’. The TEDx speaker has been applauded for being so honest on stage that she openly admits to forgetting her lines. Param says,
“I believe it’s okay if I mess up. Life gives you more chances.”
Though a TEDx speaker who spreads awareness about mental health and cancer, Param has been rejected by many colleges and schools when she tries to hold sessions. “I don’t have a degree. Since I just have the tag of a ‘depression survivor’, I get rejected many times.’But she continues to share her story and has even written two books, Echoes in my Attic and Keys to Acceptance, which she will launch at Urban Solace on February 6.
Param realised she had to seek help when she had suicidal thoughts in 2014. “I was nine when my father was diagnosed with cancer. Being the older sibling, I had to be the pillar of support for my family. I lost my innocence at a young age when I realised that death could come knocking anytime.”This instilled a fear of being abandoned and led Param to turn towards self-harm when a friend accused her of causing issues in the friend circle. “My emotional pain turned into physical pain when I cut myself. I got addicted to it,” she recalls.
At 19, she landed a government job and looked at it as life offering her a second chance. She started working during her graduation but she was sure that she didn’t want to become a doctor or an engineer, fearing she might run into someone from her school and college. “I pushed people away thinking that they would leave me when they saw that I still had the same issues,” she says.
When she admitted to her father that she has suicidal thoughts, he was taken aback but he understood as he’s seen his mother suffer from postpartum depression and schizophrenia.Param consults a psychologist and a psychiatrist today and believes finding the right expert is the key element in getting better. She, along with her father presented a speech ‘Depression is the cancer of mind’ at the TEDx in January this year. “We brought two stigma to the stage - cancer and mental health,” she says.
Param has been invited to represent India at the International conference on stress anxiety and depression on April 25 and 26 in London and at Annual conference on child care: Mental health psychology on April 12 and 13 in Toronto. She’s crowdfunding Rs 5,00,000 for her expenses. To contribute, visit keto.org/fundraiser/mentalhealth or write to her at email@example.com.