Real life mental health stories: burnout was the catalyst

This blog post is part of an interview series for mental health awareness week. In this series, different people give their perspective on living with a mental health condition.

In certain cases as with the interview below, people have had the courage to reveal their identity. This is brave, as it can be difficult and daunting. Congratulations to them!

Who are you?

My name is Pooja. I’m an electrical engineer by education and a product manager by profession. I have been a mental health advocate for a few years now and talk about mental health challenges openly.

When was the first time you became aware you were suffering from a mental health issue?

About 2 years ago, when I realized I had experienced a burn out. But I had a lot of issues bottled up for a very long time.

What were you feeling/what did you experience that made you aware of it?

Loss of sleep, appetite and interest in things. I felt lonely and miserable. I constantly had palpitations and didn’t know why. It was a complete emotional breakdown.

What did you do about it?

I realized I needed someone to talk to but I didn’t want any random advice. I wanted to feel like myself again. Therefore, I sought therapy.

You don’t need to wait until you have a mental breakdown/ burn-out before you go to therapy. Everyone needs to vent and sometimes, it becomes crucial that you find someone who is trained to help you in exactly the way you need.

How do you feel now? How did taking those steps make you feel, and have they helped?

I feel amazing now! Therapy helped me understand myself, realize what’s important. Since then, I’ve removed negative people from my life completely, focussed on being happy and positive. I recently introduced the “Pyjama Mindset” which is a mindset concept to push you to be happy and feel lighter all the time.

The important steps in summary that helped me were:

  1. Focus on what makes you happy.
  2. Spend time getting to know yourself.
  3. Remove toxic people from your life — can be anyone who doesn’t believe in you, match your energy, isn’t a true cheerleader, secretly wishes you fail.
  4. Believe in positivity. Practice it.
  5. Focus on growing internally. Know your values and don’t compromise on them.

What are your lessons learned with regards to mental health, and work?

It is important to prioritise your mental health over everything else, every step of the way. Every experience you have teaches you a lot about who you are and therefore changes your thinking, attitude and likes. Get to know yourself every step of the way.

What are you doing today, to actively manage your mental health?

I’ve made sure I prioritize myself when it comes to investing emotionally. I’ve completely removed toxic people from my life. I practice gratitude everyday.

Can you name one thing/ person you are grateful for each other? Write them down. Go back and refer to it when you feel down.

What are your next steps?

Focus on personal growth. My values are key to my growth. I enjoy spending time with myself, understanding my thoughts and celebrating my successes. There’s absolutely no place for negative people in my life.

I intend to speak about my struggles in public and hopefully create a judgement free, supportive community.

Mental health awareness needs all our attention. I want to reach out to as many people as possible and create an inclusive, diversive and helpful communities where everyone can share the struggles without judgement and get help.

What would you like to say to someone who is suffering in silence from a mental health issue?

Please do not judge yourself for the way you feel. It’s completely normal to feel whatever you are feeling now.

Seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness. Focus on getting better each day. Don’t chase a destination, focus on the journey and making small changes each day.

If you are reading this, know that a stranger who’s been through a rough childhood and, a burnout – among other mental health issues -, is rooting for you. There is always a way out.

I believe in you.

Where can people find you?

  • Reach me on my Instagram account: Pocket Brownie
  • My website focussed on frugal living, positivity and mental health
  • Or if you prefer, connect with me on LinkedIn

Author’s note: please do not contact this person if you have negative intentions or to share hate messages. This person has been brave in sharing their story and my intent is to spread messages of hope and positivity.

Please be respectful of all the people who shared their story. I will not tolerate any negative behaviour or actions and will report this via the platform you use.




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