7th July 2021

The Grind, The Mind and Me

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I got into the grind at a young age. Popular influencers and other personalities have a large population of the youth hooked on working ungodly hours on stuff they may or may not be passionate about, with a complete disregard for mental health and their relationships. It drives an unhealthy level of competition not with the other people but with yourself. Making you believe no matter how many hours you put into the work you do, it's never enough. I was one of those people.

I used my work as an escape. Whenever I came face to face with discomfort with my relationships and mental health, I used it to give me a false sense of security. The grind culture, at the time, just added fuel to the fire. It made me normalize it , and call out on people who didn't work enough. It bred an unhealthy amount of self-criticism and hate.

I agree that blaming others for all your problems isn't a great way to go about things. But for some people, including me, blaming yourself for every problem that's either yours or otherwise can be an even more dangerous thing. The people who preach it made the individual the only cause of their problems. Accountability is a good thing, but it doesn’t always help a person who has been pulled down by other factors like mental or physical illnesses.

"Viswanath, from what I can put together, you have bipolar depression," he said. Things had to change after that.

I was overworked and depressed. My mood was all over the place and I felt borderline suicidal. I had a sense of low self-worth and lost a substantial amount of weight in a short period of time. The doctor put me on medication and recommended therapy. It put a lot of things into perspective. It explained things from when I was a kid to a couple of days ago. The cycle was vicious and it's hard to see that you're in a loop when you're so used to it. It's hard for other people to spot because that's just how people think you are.

I love working on things I love, but the grind made the things I love my demons. You might be thinking there is also a flip side to this where my mental illness led me to my workaholism, and to a point, I'd agree with you. But the level of normalization of unhealthy habits and disregard for our mental health in the productivity community is dangerous.

It's been a couple of months since the diagnosis, and things have been looking up. The feelings and thoughts that I once thought were normal no longer are. Regarding my work, I'm slowly developing a better relationship with it, breaking old habits, building healthier ones. I feel more in touch with myself and the people in my life. I realized I had neglected a lot of my relationships with family and friends, and I am now making amends.

At this point, I'd like to implore the reader to take a moment to think about how your mind is doing and how your relationships are with the people you love and with yourself.

As you know, mental health for males is statistically less talked about and treated. If any of what I've said here resonates with you, I want to let you know that your thoughts and feelings are valid. I know life can look incredibly gray and lifeless. But I assure you that if you take the correct steps, seek help or at least talk about it to someone, life can be so much more colorful than you ever thought possible. I'm grateful for the people in my life that have stood by me, and I don't think I would've gotten through without them.

That's all for now. I hope I can write to you again soon.