An Unexpected Gift: The Mental Health Journey of Gasant Abarder

4 mins read
mental health anxiety

Gasant Abarder’s unexpected panic attack led him on a journey towards mindfulness, self-awareness, and fulfillment. After being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, he openly shared his struggle to encourage other men to seek guidance and healthy coping mechanisms. Over time, he became adept at identifying early symptoms and developed tactics to alleviate their impact. Today, Gasant is the happiest he’s been, and he credits his journey through anxiety and depression for prioritizing what truly matters in life.

An unexpected panic attack led Gasant Abarder to seek professional help and receive a diagnosis of anxiety and depression. As he openly shared his struggle, he motivated other men to seek guidance and emphasized the importance of healthy coping mechanisms. Over time, Gasant became adept at identifying early symptoms and developed tactics to alleviate their impact, leading to a journey of mindfulness, fulfillment, and prioritizing what truly matters in life.

Discovering the Unseen Enemy

Five years ago, Gasant Abarder, a writer for #SliceofGasant, received an unpredictable offering, one he neither anticipated nor desired. Albeit unexpected, this offering sparked a significant metamorphosis – a voyage that led Gasant to a newfound understanding of himself, the practice of mindfulness, and ultimately, real contentment. These offerings were not materialistic in nature, rather, they were mental health disorders, namely anxiety and depression, that are generally stigmatized and misinterpreted.

On an otherwise ordinary day, December 15, 2019, Gasant’s life took an unexpected turn. He suffered a horrifying panic attack, a moment that left him struggling for breath and under the false impression that he was experiencing a heart attack. At 41, Gasant found himself unprepared for the debilitating power of this invisible adversary. Despite his reputation for mental resilience, he found himself powerless against this unseen enemy. The preceding weeks had been filled with emotional distress, a sign of the impending storm.

A Midlife Crisis and the Journey to Self-Awareness

In the midst of what seemed like a midlife crisis, Gasant found himself at a school football tournament, surrounded by players who were more than two decades his junior. The question pounding in his heart was, ‘Why am I here?’ This moment of introspection and the subsequent panic attack prompted him to seek professional advice, leading to a diagnosis of anxiety and depression. His doctor attributed these conditions to a hormonal and chemical shift which hindered his ability to process thoughts of joy and rationality.

Processing the news about his mental health was challenging for Gasant. As he openly shared his struggle to cope, some friends and family members seemed visibly uneasy, a regrettable indication of the persistent stigma surrounding mental health. Conversely, he started getting private inquiries from men in their early 30s, wondering if their experiences were ‘normal’. Their queries revolved around the same concern – were they too dealing with depression or anxiety?

Encouraging Others and Embracing Coping Mechanisms

One of the primary motivations for Gasant opening up about his mental health journey was to inspire other men in similar situations to seek guidance. He had the conviction that his vulnerability could motivate others to seek help before their mental health worsened. Ignored mental health issues can be destructive, and people may resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse, infidelity, or reckless spending.

In contrast, Gasant discovered a healthier coping mechanism – his passion for football. His love for collecting rare football kits and boots brought him enormous fulfillment, and the game served as a weekly two-hour refuge where he focused solely on the sport. His psychologist backed this interest, deeming it a considerably healthier coping strategy than the alternatives.

Over time, Gasant became adept at identifying early symptoms and developed tactics to alleviate the impact. Regular therapy sessions aided him in navigating his emotional upheaval, and a prescribed regimen of antidepressants and anxiety medication offered additional backing. However, it’s crucial to highlight that this transformation didn’t occur overnight – it was a gradual process.

From Emotional Turmoil to Mindful Living

Six years later, Gasant has made significant strides since that fateful day in December. Initially, his emotional thoughts dictated his actions, often leading him to make rash decisions. As he journeyed through his healing process, he mastered the skill of living in the present, managing future concerns, and tackling challenges as they arose. He learned to reason logically, to not let the words of others unduly influence him.

Today, Gasant proudly owns an extensive collection of football kits and boots. He dreams of owning his desired car and visiting his ideal vacation spot – goals he’s confident he’ll achieve through the power of positive thinking. He affirms that he is the happiest he’s been since December 2019, a sentiment he credits to his journey through anxiety and depression. These conditions, which were initially unwelcome guests, have now become his catalysts for mindfulness, fulfillment, and prioritizing what truly matters in life.

As for football, he still plays it with passion, immersing himself in the game and savoring every moment. If his story motivates even one person to seek help, he would consider his mission fulfilled.

For those battling similar challenges, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) helpline, accessible at 0800 567 567, offers much-needed support.

1. What led Gasant Abarder to seek professional help?

Gasant Abarder suffered an unexpected panic attack on December 15, 2019, which prompted him to seek professional help and receive a diagnosis of anxiety and depression.

2. How did Gasant Abarder encourage others in similar situations to seek guidance?

Gasant Abarder opened up about his mental health journey to inspire other men in similar situations to seek guidance. He believed that his vulnerability could motivate others to seek help before their mental health worsened.

3. What was Gasant Abarder’s healthier coping mechanism?

Gasant Abarder discovered a healthier coping mechanism through his passion for football. His love for collecting rare football kits and boots brought him enormous fulfillment, and the game served as a weekly two-hour refuge where he focused solely on the sport.

4. How did Gasant Abarder’s journey through anxiety and depression impact his life?

Gasant Abarder’s journey through anxiety and depression led to mindfulness, self-awareness, and fulfillment. He credits his journey through these conditions for prioritizing what truly matters in life.

5. What resources are available for those battling similar challenges?

The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) helpline, accessible at 0800 567 567, offers much-needed support for those battling similar challenges.

6. How did Gasant Abarder learn to manage his emotional upheaval?

As Gasant Abarder journeyed through his healing process, he mastered the skill of living in the present, managing future concerns, and tackling challenges as they arose. He learned to reason logically, to not let the words of others unduly influence him.

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