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Life-A Constant Challenge

October 31, 2017 • Huafrid Billimoria • Male • 22 • Mumbai

Dogged by a learning disability (dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia), ADHD (Attention Deficiency Hyperactive Disorder), depression, OCD and physical symptoms resulting from subsequent treatment, my early childhood was not all rainbows and sunshine. I learnt to face bullies with humour, and tackled issues with unorthodox solutions. As years passed, the attitude of running away and acceptance of the inevitable has morphed into the ability to anticipate new hurdles and indeed, look to the future with resolve.  

I breezed through school into one of the best colleges, then two high-profile jobs without the ability to use a pencil or a pen. With a keyboard I can still knock it out of the park, whenever I can.

Having metamorphosized from a fat bullied kid into a fit man trained in Mixed Martial arts, despite dystonia, that was the end of being bullied. My next Hurdle? The prospect of a long – term career, that one is sure to test my abilities to the fullest. I’ve had some of the most wonderful support during the fight back. There were folks who didn’t hold my hand but importantly showed me the way. When I look back I am amazed. All of them had successful careers but still took time out for me and for my life. That’s who I want to be.

So I am here because of all I went through. It led to anxiety attacks and sleepless nights due to fear and depression, for which I am still on pills and it is fine to accept it and grow out of it. I have reduced them and I have been doing so well since I accepted what I have, and what I face, and now I encourage and educate others on how to be different and proud!

There are so many like me with their own sets of challenges and my mission is to guide them, just like the people who pointed out directions for me. As a result I desire a career that will give me the opportunity to do just this. Therefore, I am pursuing an MA in Social Work in Disability Studies and Action from TISS (Tata Institute of Social Studies, Mumbai).

Despite my type of disability being recognised by the government, there are still so many glitches and anxieties you need to go through to gain acceptance. When I was born, my parents didn’t know what hit them. Gradually we were all educated about my condition. I was told I could not handle numbers or tables, wouldn’t be able to study from a mainstream school, and wouldn’t be able to write (that being my major disability). Despite these hurdles, I graduated with distinction from one of the best schools in Mumbai (St. Mary’s, ICSE). During the tenth standard board examinations, I wrote my own paper because I was scared about letting someone else write for me. My body started shaking so much that I couldn’t even drink water from a bottle, so holding a pen to write was much tougher. After that, I was diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Dystonia, so I had to opt for a writer. Nevertheless I got distinction in my HSC. During this time my entire right side was affected with dystonia. I went on to crack the JEE exams to get into the best Hotel Management college in India (IHM-Mumbai), passing with an overall 70%.

From being ragged, bullied, and told that I was useless, I have come a long way. While I still struggle with anxiety, insomnia, depression, I am not giving up. And in keeping with my belief I have a tattoo that says “Never Give Up”. I believe in conversations, not chats; in listening, not hearing; in getting it right, not achieving; in sticking, staying to the course, not digressing.


TAGS #acceptance #bullying #depression #dystonia #learningdisorder #mentalhealth #perseverance