ReliveNow founder and CEO, Amna Asif, shares her own struggle with anxiety and her journey to discovering the path where she discovered her true potential
It has been two years since I got an opportunity at The Nest I/O to lay the foundation of ReliveNow. It all began with my own struggle with anxiety when I was looking for jobs after graduation. It was a feeling that kicked me right in the guts, repeatedly, leaving me nauseous and unable to accomplish even the simplest tasks – tasks such as breathing. Of course, along come other medical ailments, including but not limited to, neck pain, fatigue and migraines. I knew that being picky when looking for jobs would worsen my condition. Being an individual, who craves constant, meaningful interaction, I knew sitting idle at home was no longer an option for me. I decided to alleviate myself from the numerous self-implied labels on jobs and applied to one that I knew deep down, would be considered as little beneath mediocre in the fantasized business world.
It was a difficult decision. I spent innumerable hours, thinking, going back and forth between my decision, battling it out between my heart and mind. Needless to say, it was one of the most difficult period of my life. The stress grew, morphing into full force anxiety, and I was left every day, feeling worthless and more fearful of the future than before. I’ve had a strong support system. I’ve had not one, but two incredible best friends who have been there for me, through thick and thin who listened to me rant about my issues. Deep down, I guess I knew the answer, but like all humans, I needed reassurance, that listening to it was the right decision.
The next day, I accepted the position at a reputable organization as an HR executive. The experience as a corporate worker helped me to learn a lot of things that I would not have learnt otherwise and got many opportunities to share my ideas and implement them. During my depressive state, I had, many a time thought to seek for online counseling. However, to my surprise, there were none at that time. It was then that the idea for an online counseling service was planted in my mind. One and a half years of getting to know the realities of the corporate sector, I decided to submit by proposal to the Nest I/O. The acceptance of the proposal and the choice between a steady flow of income to starting a venture from scratch is another story to tell.
ReliveNow is something so close to my heart that I have learnt to perceive challenges as opportunities and learnt to work not according to resources, but according to the magnitude of the goals. The two year roller coaster ride has been replete with successes, learning, as well as, challenges. In March 2019, when my interview was featured in BBC URDU, I was over the top. It was the first time when I felt that my efforts could make a positive impact on people’s lives. This belief helped me grow ReliveNow from an idea on a piece of paper to what it is now, an organization with sedulous workers striving for a social transformation. Though our steps are small at this point, we hope to achieve even more in the years to come.
I feel that there is a dire need of awareness regarding mental health issues. As Pakistan advances towards success, it is important that as a society we accept mental health issues and remove the stigma attached to mental health help. When we develop a supportive society, only then we will be able to prosper as individuals and as a nation. I believe that talking about mental health should be as normal as just simple talking. It shouldn’t be considered a want but rather, a need. And that is what I plan on doing. Not everyone is equally blessed with support or peace of mind. It is immensely important that they understand how much mental health matters.
It’s been two years to when I founded ReliveNow and I am glad that I did!! I think it would be safe to say that this is THE BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE, because it inspires me each day. It is said that when you have a vision, every minute of your life is spent in working towards that vision. For me my vision of ReliveNow is what drives me every day and makes me jump out of bed each morning and thank God for this opportunity.