18th October, 2018. The night before Dussehra :
Ayushi distinctly remembers that night. Her parents had just finished packing up for their trip to Vaishnodevi. She still remembers how she was lying in bed with her mother in a dark room. She was nervous and numb, and suddenly blurted out the words –
Mumma, I guess I have some sort of anxiety. I feel stressed out.
Boom! It was like a huge weight lifting off her shoulders.
I had never felt lighter. My mother has always been practical and supporting. She simply said that it was OK. If this is how I feel, we’ll get it checked.
Her mom didn’t sleep a wink that night and the very next day, they all went to a doctor. Turns out she wasn’t suffering from any anxiety disorder but was diagnosed with some nutrients’ deficiency and was prescribed medication for that.
Since childhood I had been like a coconut. I was overemotional, nervous, under-confident and introverted but never showed this side of me to anyone, not even my parents. I never wanted to cry in front of anyone. I was insecure and had major body-image issues.”
Ayushi, 18, is a B.Tech Computer Science student at one of the top technical institutes in UP. But she has experienced her share of hardships in life.
Just after her board exams, Ayushi sustained a severe ligament injury in her leg. Doctors advised bed rest for 8 months and she was instructed to follow certain precautions for the next 3 years. Because of this incident, she couldn’t get into her dream college despite all the hard work.
I was still recovering when I left home and joined college. It was very challenging for me mentally. All I had in the name of company were two or three friends. I had full support of my family and my school friends but they were so far away.
Ayushi also gained a lot of weight during this time.
Around 5 months passed by in college where everyone was super energetic & cheerful, and here I was, doing nothing. I found myself constantly overthinking, restless, ashamed of my body and nervous, and all this accompanied by sleepless nights. I lost all my focus on studies, and was completely dissatisfied with life.
Ayushi was also suffering from memory issues at the time. She couldn’t even remember which subject she had just been taught 15 minutes back, and it used to get her very worried.
I later found out that this was because of some vitamin deficiency. In these trying times, my family, friends and college people were really supportive of me.
Even though she felt like she was losing touch, she still remembered her dreams and aspirations and one day just told herself – “Hey listen, I haven’t come all this way to stop. This is only an injury. My life is my life and fixing it is my responsibility”
Ayushi gathered all her courage, took various online self tests for anxiety and depression and fortunately, found out that she didn’t suffer from either.
My family members are very practical people and raised me to be the same way. I knew I needed to develop emotionally. I gathered myself and started making changes to my lifestyle. I started getting up early, meditating and working out.
She started to feel better but still felt under confident and insecure. Medication can make you see logic and rationale but the suppressed emotions still need to be resolved.
YourDOST had just launched their services in her campus when she decided to connect with one of their counselors. She had never done that before so she didn’t know how to talk or express her feelings. But talking to the counselor made her feel lighter.
After some sessions, I felt confident and ready to tackle situations without feeling nervous. I learnt to shed my insecurities. My working capacity too increased manifold. But most importantly, I found myself feeling happiness in my life again. Everyday brings challenges for all of us but now I know not to lose hope.
Counseling has helped Ayushi turn her life around.
Yes, it’s true that I don’t have depression but pent-up emotions and feelings can make you feel terrible sometimes. Thankfully, I now know how to deal with my emotions, share them with others, how to be focused and imperfectly perfect.
Dealing with these emotions all by yourself can get immensely overwhelming. You need to vent them out. Bottling them up eats you slowly from the inside. Ayushi reveals that she never wants to experience those days ever again.
Ayushi has some advice for those who are struggling to reach out for help.
Working upon ourselves should be our first priority. To all the people out there, I just want to say that things can and will get better with the right support and treatment. It’s just you who has to take the initiative for yourself.
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Ayushi’s Warrior Tips:
1. You don’t have to have a mental illness to seek counseling
2. Don’t suppress your emotions
3. You must take the initiative to seek counseling for self-betterment