13 May 2021

Mika Zaikova: Stop, think and take a deep breath

Mika Zaykova, 79, is an economic analyst and financial expert, currently an MP in the 45th Bulgarian National Assembly. This interview is part of series of conversations with popular Bulgarians on mental wellbeing, organised by our Bulgarian member “Skin – mental health platform”.  In the run-up to the European Mental Health Week, Skin calls for an open conversation about mental health. 

Tell me about your fears. What scares you? Were there times when you couldn’t handle them and needed help? 
I’m scared of the things that are out of my control. For example, I am worried about the health of my relatives. Whenever they go on a journey, I ask God to protect them. There must have been moments of weakness, but I’m a tough girl. 


Tell me three (five, ten – choose) things that help you deal with yourself and the world? 
Yes, I have my own tricks. For example, when someone or something makes me angry, I say to myself, “Stop, think and take a deep breath.” When I find myself in a difficult situation, from which at first I see no way out, I start doing something else, I throw it out of my head for a while, on principle “The morning is wiser than the evening”. Then a sober head solves the problem.   


But there are scary moments too when you think you can’t take it anymore. Such a moment for me was the death of my husband. On my way back from the funeral, a TV producer called me. This was in the midst of the crisis of 2014. They wanted me to do an analysis. Then I said to myself, “If you refuse now, you have given up, and the one who has always admired your courage will be disappointed in you.” And the next morning, I went on air after having worked all night. No one understood what had happened to me the day before because I was not in mourning. Mourning was in my heart. And since then, when I have a problem, I say to myself, “Tighten up! He’s next to you, and he is watching you.” 


As an expert, what is your attitude towards the economy of wellbeing, on which, for instance, the Finnish EU Presidency was focused? 
It is good for the economy and development of a country to give its people an income adequate to their work and expertise so that they feel financially comfortable. At the same time, the state and society should provide a modern educational system, a health care system accessible to everyone, to take care of the development of culture, mass sports and conditions for affordable recreation. But, honestly, I don’t like purely consumer society because money becomes a fetish. That is why it is difficult for me to restrain my views on the topic in a frame, and now, after so many years, I believe that money and material gains are only part of the basis of life. There are many more important things in human relationships to make a person feel happy. 


What gets you out of your skin, and you think it can and should be changed? 
Many things, unfortunately. Humans are social animals and cannot feel happy when their people suffer. And the Bulgarians suffer because they are ruled by ignorant people. Absolutely incompetent people, on top of everything corrupt and very greedy, who cannot defend national interests in the name of their own well-being. That’s what frustrates me. People and their problems make me sad, and I try to help. My relatives can’t make me angry because I love them 🙂 


Why is being in your body the best place you can be? 
Because I feel comfortable in it. 


This interview was first published on “Skin – mental health platform.”

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