'

APMP Discrimination: Baachu’s Mental Health Struggle

Baskar Sundaram
Baskar Sundaram

Share this post »

Uncover the Devastating Effects of Discrimination: A Journey Through Mental Health Struggle

In this detailed article “Rising Above: The Baachu Story –  Mental Health Struggle ,”  where Baachu shares his personal journey through one of the most challenging times of his life. We explore Baachu’s journey through the dark days of mental health, and how he found the courage to rise above and continue to fight for what he believes in.

From June to December of 2022, he was faced with a situation that left him feeling hurt, betrayed, and overwhelmed. he was constantly battling with my inner demons, and it seemed like every day was a struggle just to get out of bed.

He reflects on the moments when he felt alone and isolated, and how he eventually found the strength to reach out for help. This article is a reminder that we are not alone in our struggles and that it is okay to ask for help.

So sit back, read and be prepared to be moved by Baachu journey through one of the toughest times of my life.

As the founder of Baachu Scribble, I have always been a dedicated and unwavering supporter of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) and its mission, constantly working to promote the organization and its certifications through creating scholarships, podcast stories, certification campaigns, and providing support and resources to the proposal management community.

However, despite my tireless efforts and dedication, I was met with a shocking and devastating outcome when Baachu Scribble’s ATO status was revoked without evidence or a fair hearing process. It has been a difficult and disheartening experience, one that has left me questioning my dedication to the industry, and my belief in the mission of APMP.

The allegations and subsequent revocation of my organization’s ATO status caused me immense pain and suffering. I have been feeling disheartened and hurt as I navigated the Professional Ethics Committee (PEC) appeal process and subsequent legal letters. 

I understand that discussing such a personal and emotional experience can be difficult, and I apologize if my account comes across as too raw or personal. However, it is important for you to understand the reality of the situation.

It’s hard to believe that just a few months ago, I was a happy, super fit and healthy person, with a thriving business, a loving family and a passion for proposal management. But all of that changed when I faced discrimination and mistreatment at the hands of the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP) board. The decision to revoke my ATO status was not just a setback for my business, but it also took a devastating toll on my personal well-being.

The stress and trauma of the situation affected every aspect of my life, my health, relationships, and financial stability.  I struggled with insomnia, fatigue, and lack of focus, and I found myself preoccupied with the issue, unable to fully engage with my loved ones, friends, students and clients.

"Rising Above: The Baachu Story – Mental Health Struggle" in Scribble Talk Special, available in all leading podcast channels.

            We had 62 students who were pursuing APMP Certifications when we were abruptly revoked in July 2022. This sudden and unexpected decision raised anxiety among our current students. We were given only 30 days to remove all APMP content from website and stop new registrations, which was a devastating blow not only to me but to all our students. We had to forego many corporate clients and students who had planned their certification from September to December.

I was unable to follow up with current students on their progress, and it broke my heart. I felt like a shell of a man, a dead man walking. I knew that our past students always referred us to their friends, and I struggled to explain why I couldn’t accept any new APMP Training to our corporate clients, current students, and prospective students.

 These people had a choice of ATOs, but they chose Baachu. I felt like I had let my students and the industry down. I was consumed by a feeling of hopelessness and despair, and I couldn’t shake the thought that I was letting everyone down. It was a painful experience for both me and my students.

It was a sad and disheartening situation, out of the 62 students, less than half were able to complete their studies, while others (mostly practitioner students) had to defer their studies. While we celebrated the success of pass students, I felt guilty that I couldn’t provide them with the support and guidance they needed to succeed.

I was puzzled with the APMP Board for questioning why even after revoking, I still posted success stories of my students. I couldn’t understand the rationale behind this question ?  Is the APMP Board impartial or is their approach selective in their #proudtobeapmp campaign?

Why is there a disparity in recognition and support for Baachu and other APMP students, despite their full membership and exam fees? Is this bias and unjust treatment by the APMP Board acceptable? It made me question the motives and integrity of the board.

It was a difficult and painful time, and I knew that I had to find a way to overcome it and continue to support my students in the best way possible, despite the board’s lack of support and recognition. I hosted weekly Scribble Office hours webinars and Scribble Talk podcasts, inviting guests to share their knowledge and stories. These guests were a shining light in my life, their insights and experiences were a source of inspiration and hope.

But even as I celebrated their accomplishments, I couldn’t shake off the crushing pain and turmoil that was consuming me. I found solace in the webinars and podcasts, it was a temporary escape from my inner turmoil but it was not a permanent solution. Their stories and insights were a reminder that I was not alone in my struggles, but every session also made me realize that I needed to face my pain head-on and find a way to overcome it.

People at my gym call me “Baz Man, the Machine”, because I pushed myself to the limit by training for 9-11 hours a week in the gym. But, the stress of my personal struggles took a drastic toll on my body, my friends noticed a drastic decline in my performance. I went from a 120kg deadlift to barely being able to lift 75kg, and my 105kg squat was reduced to a pitiful 70kg. My once impressive 1km spin in 56 seconds, now I couldn’t even hit the distance in 1 min 12 seconds. I cut back on my gym classes and even stopped practicing yoga, but I still continued rugby coaching & training on Sundays.

I knew something was wrong, but I didn’t know how to fix it. When I was at the gym, I was in a constant state of agony, both mentally and physically.  It was a stark reminder of what stress can do to a person in a short period of time. 

I took a short trip to Luxembourg, to meet a friend and escape my inner turmoil. I hoped that being surrounded by nature would help to clear my mind. Those 3 days were a brief respite, a reminder that nature truly does have the power to heal.

But as soon as I returned to my work, the peace and serenity of my trip evaporated, and my struggles came flooding back.

APMP Discrimination: Baachu's Mental Health Struggle

One shining moment during a difficult time was my opportunity to join the CTK Croydon Tamil Kazhagam as a teacher. My close friends know of my passion for my Tamil heritage and language, and this was a truly blessed opportunity.

I had a fantastic time teaching children between the ages of 6 and 14 on Saturdays. The CTK family became a source of rock-solid support in my life, even though I never revealed to them what I was going through. 

As I stepped onto the lush green fields of Sunday Old Whits Rugby Club, I felt a glimmer of hope amidst the storm that had taken over my life. While I was there to coach the boys, I found myself being drawn into their energy and joy. 

For those fleeting 90 minutes, I felt like I was truly alive again. I watched in awe as the boys ran, laughed, and competed with unbridled confidence and aggression. It was a beautiful reminder of the power of youth. And for the first time in what felt like forever, I was able to breathe deeply and let go of the pain that had consumed me. Sunday Old Whits Rugby Club may have just been a small escape, but it was a ray of light in the darkness that I desperately needed.

I decided to travel to US APMP Chapter conferences to check the ground reality and see how my industry friends perceived me. Initially, I was filled with self-doubt and fear, unsure if people would accept me after this debacle. But as I traveled from California to Minnesota and Washington, I was met with open arms and love from my APMP colleagues.

Their unwavering love and support. I met with many industry friends who shared their moments, it gave me strength. I never spoke about my situation or struggles to any of them.

I was interacting with people, going through the motions of talking and laughing, but inside I felt a deep emptiness. My heart was heavy with pain as I struggled to maintain the real connections and joy in these interactions. Despite putting on a facade, I was still lost and alone in my internal turmoil.

Have you ever felt like you have everything, but feel nothing? This is the feeling that was consuming me, and it’s a struggle that I hope nobody has to go through alone.

Between the chapter conferences, I met my US-based university friends and family, some of whom I hadn’t seen in 20 years, in Phoenix and Los Angeles. We even travelled to Las Vegas to celebrate my birthday, but despite this emotional support, I knew that I was still in deep trouble.  I was going through the motions, but my heart was heavy with pain and I knew that I was not fully present in these precious moments with my friends.

Even after all this, I returned to the UK with a heavy heart, feeling completely overwhelmed and defeated. Every day was a battle as I struggled to overcome my inner demons, to the point where even getting out of bed in the morning seemed like an impossible feat.

Despite my attempts to hide my pain, a few of my gym friends noticed that something was deeply wrong. Despite their concerns, I put on a fake smile and kept going, carrying the weight of my struggles alone. The pain was suffocating and it felt like I was drowning in a sea of darkness, with no way out.

Within days, I travelled to India after 3 years to see my mom and sister. I visited my college, my school, and met my teachers, friends in Coimbatore, Chennai, and Bengaluru. I even went to my village Sulur and met my relatives. But as I faced my classmates and family, I could barely hold back my tears. Again, I pretended that everything was okay.

APMP Discrimination: Baachu's Mental Health Struggle

The constant stress and anxiety have also led to bad food habits, as I turned to unhealthy options to cope with the emotional turmoil. I gained weight, and my physical health has suffered as a result. It was only when I did my medical check up in my home town that I realized how bad my health was – I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

 My mom broke down in tears and I couldn’t hold back my own. I was given a stark warning: fix my health in 6 months or face the life-threatening path of no return. I promised my mom that I would look after my health, but the guilt of knowing that I had let myself and my loved ones down was overwhelming.

I left India with the weight of my struggles on my shoulders, had a brief stopover in Dubai. I stayed with my best friend and his family, met with another industry friend and school friends. Again, I was physically present but mentally and emotionally I was consumed by the thought of what would happen to my team and family if I fell ill and something happened to me

The thought of leaving my loved ones behind and not being able to make things right, added to my emotional turmoil and made it hard for me to even carry on with my daily life.

I was consumed by a feeling of hopelessness and despair, and I couldn’t shake the thought that I was letting everyone down. The weight of my struggles was crushing and it was a constant battle to keep going. I couldn’t stop the tears from streaming down my face when I stood in front of my late father’s portrait every day for my daily prayer. I felt like I had hit rock bottom and I didn’t know if I had the strength to pull myself out of this dark hole.

My young Scribble team, with an average age of 25, and I invested everything we had into the APMP certification products over the past 2 years. It was our pride and joy, a product that was trusted and loved by 1600 proposal professionals.

But when the unfair revoke decision came, it was like a crushing blow. We had to close the product, and our revenue dropped to a standstill. Team morale started to be affected, and I struggled to lead and guide them through the tough times. But they didn’t abandon me, not even for a moment. They stood by me, and together we designed Scribble 2.0.

 A few of them even met me in person and showed their support. They never wavered in their belief in me and my vision to democratize bidding knowledge. They were my rock, and their unwavering support kept me going during the toughest of times. They reminded me of why I started this journey, and gave me the strength to keep pushing forward, to keep fighting for what I believed in. They gave me the hope that we will overcome this setback, and come out stronger.

While all this was happening, I went inwards, shutting myself off from the world and my relationships suffered. My once loving and strong bond with my wife started to deteriorate, and my 2 boys, who were my everything, started to feel anxious and worried that we would separate. I couldn’t help but feel guilty for the pain I was causing my family and the thought of losing them was unbearable. 

My career, my health, and my happiness were all slipping through my fingers. It was a devastating realization that hit me like a ton of bricks and I couldn’t help but feel like a complete failure as a husband and father. I was consumed by guilt and self-doubt, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was letting everyone down. 

At the outset, I put on a façade of happiness, health, and fulfillment, but deep down I wonder how long I can keep up this mask before my true struggles are exposed.

Upon returning to the UK, a few weeks later, I received dates for the PEC hearing. I was hoping for a fair outcome when I appeared before the professional ethics committee (PEC) hosted by the APMP Executive Committee. However, as the hearing went on, it became clear that the result was predetermined. I felt disillusioned and disappointed, and knew I needed to take legal action to protect my rights.

22nd Dec, I received the APMP legal letter – the Appeals Panel chose to affirm the Board of Director’s original decision to revoke our ATO status. They also added Baachu cannot advertise any trainings or any other services at APMP-sponsored or supported events including social media and the letter goes on to subject Baachu to more stringent requirements.

I was down with Covid19, Christmas eve. Not the Christmas I hoped for nor expected, but I did need that rest.  

I am on the mend now with the support of friends and family, but the stress still lingers, and it disturbs my recovery. It is a constant reminder of the discrimination and mistreatment I faced from the people who you trust, to the industry you gave nearly 2000 hours , and it makes it hard to move on. It was a dark and difficult time in my life, one that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. 

I created the 21 Day Sprint Self Care program in January with the intention of not only helping others, but also committing to taking care of myself. I understand the importance and need for self-care and I am excited to embark on this journey with those who join me.

13th Feb, I began Rising Against Adversity : Baachu Story Fight Against Discrimination Campaign. I am determined to keep fighting for what is right, and to speak out against discrimination and mistreatment in the workplace. 

Discrimination is a reprehensible act that should never be tolerated, and it is devastating to witness its impact on myself, my team and my business. My experience serves as a stark reminder of the crucial need for fairness, impartiality and unbiased decision-making within professional organizations such as APMP. I hope that by sharing my story, I can shed light on the impact of discrimination and mistreatment, and inspire others to speak out against any  Discrimination or Bullying. 

It is imperative that the discrimination and mistreatment that I have faced are acknowledged and addressed in a fair and unbiased manner.

So, my fellow proposal management professionals, Will you stand with me, as I seek Justice for Baachu? 

I humbly request your support in spreading the word and encouraging others to sign the petition for a fair hearing for Baachu. Every signature counts and together, we can make a difference.-

APMP Discrimination: Baachu's Mental Health Struggle

#JusticeForBaachu #BaachuStory  #StandAgainstDiscrimination 

The Emotional Apology: Baachu’s Journey Through Mental Health and the Power of Support

Dear Friends, Family & Team,

I want to take a moment to apologize to all of you from the bottom of my heart. I know that I should have reached out to you for help, but I was struggling with my own mental health and felt like I was just a shell of myself. You were always there for me, and I should have asked for your support and help.

Mental health is a difficult battle, and it can make you feel like a zombie, lost and alone. I was struggling to cope with my inner demons and felt like I was drowning in my own thoughts. I felt like I was losing myself and didn’t know how to ask for help.

You were all there for me, always lending a helping hand and being a shoulder to lean on. I am so grateful for your support, and I regret not opening up to you about what I was going through. I was so caught up in my own pain that I didn’t even realize how much I was affecting those around me. Your presence in my life is a blessing, and I am grateful to have each and every one of you as my friends.

I want to thank you for your patience and understanding, and for never giving up on me. Your love and support means the world to me, and I promise to be more open and honest with you in the future. I know that I have a long road ahead of me, but I am ready to face it with your help.

I also want to thank my family and team for their unwavering love and support. They have always been there for me, and their love and care have been a source of strength during my struggles.

I promise to be more open and to ask for help when I need it.  Again, I am so sorry for any pain or confusion I may have caused. I hope that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me. I am lucky to have you all in my life.

With love and gratitude
Baskar Sundaram

#JusticeForBaachu #BaachuStory  #StandAgainstDiscrimination 

Related Posts

Latest Posts

Join Now

Get Instant Access to Scribble Plus Resources

Join Now and Start a 14 Day FREE Trial!

Hot Topics

Ready to Embrace AI Subscribe to our AI Scoop Newsletter

Subscribe below for instant access...

Recent Post

P.S. Join 2000 of your peers. Subscribe to the Baachu Bites.

Every Friday evening we'll send you a roundup of the best content and events from Baachu. Make sure you're ready for the week! Subscribe now.

Looking For Something Specific?

>

Interested in APMP Certification Training?

Register here to get a 15% Discount

Name(Required)