Before I found about veganism, I was depressed. I wasn’t clinically diagnosed, but I knew there was something wrong with my mental health.
So I did what any depressed person would do — go online and waste time.
I remember watching a lot of YouTube videos and procrastinating my assignments.
Watching people on YouTube gave me the tiniest spark to hold on to life when I could easily have exited.
Then, I came across people who talk about veganism.
I was shocked and frustrated knowing about the issues. But at the same time, I was fuelled by this foreign wave of fire.
I devoured the flame and learned more and more about veganism that I felt it my duty to finally act.
I didn’t know such motivation could exist in me.
When one has a purpose, one would naturally go on a path of productivity rather than self-destruction.
I changed my diet, my lifestyle, and my worldview.
My mental health got better.
2 YEARS IN
I was living the vegan life and telling everyone about it.
I thought that being loud and proud is the only way to get the message across.
I wanted everyone to adopt this lifestyle for the greater good of the planet and its inhabitants.
But not many could see what I saw.
I didn’t understand.
How could people be so blind?
Or worse… how could people still choose ignorance after knowing the facts?
Even though I had already immersed myself in the local vegan community, I felt my mental health declining…again.
I genuinely thought I had got over it.
But it proved that no matter your diet, if you don’t take care of your internal and external influences or situation, your mental health will suffer.
Of course, it wasn’t just the fact that nobody cared about the animals and the environment that made me super sad. My life situation at that time also triggered the depression.
But since I had been through it before, it was relatively easier to get out of it.
One major thing I did was to cut down my responsibilities. I was stretching myself too thinly and taking on too much.
All because I felt the need to prove something.
I realised then that I am only one person and I couldn’t possibly do everything at once. And I need not prove to anyone anything.
I need only to be happy and do things that bring meaning to my life.
AFTER 3 YEARS
My theory is that once you’ve reached the third year mark of being vegan, you tend to tone down your efforts.
It doesn’t mean that you care less, though. It’s just that you’ve become more strategic and less impulsive.
Or at least that’s what I’m feeling.
At this point, I’m all about effective advocacy.
And the first rule in this (that I made up) is to take care of your self first so that you can take care of others.
You’d want to be advocating with a full glass.
I know that passionate animal rights activists may say I’m a fake vegan for putting myself first and not that of the animals.
But I’d ask, “What use will I be if I’m dead?”
If you’re putting the animals first, why are YOU still alive?
Humans are the virus, are we not? The planet would technically be better off without us.
But I value life. All lives. Not just the animals.
And I intend to stay on and help as many as I can.
We’re already here anyway. So why not strive to live in harmony?
Coming to this point of view, I am calmer yet more determined than ever.
My mental health is stable, probably the best it has ever been.
I’m focused on my goals and I have my plans laid out.
Now the real challenge begins.
Will I succeed in carrying out my vision?
Will I give up at any point?
You, my friends, are in the best position.
You get to come along on this journey and see my growth in real time.
I hope you will stick around because I do need your energy and support.
I am, after all, still human.