Kartike Bhardwaj, 22, is currently pursuing his engineering from IIT Delhi, one of the top universities in the world. You would think that he has achieved it all and has absolutely nothing to worry about. But things are not always what they seem. Before YourDOST, Kartike had to seek professional counselling on campus.
It was getting difficult for me to cope with some of the things at college. For example – academics, lifestyle issues etc. It was not because I was not capable, it was just very difficult for me to adjust to the system.
He was bothered by the fact that the Indian Institute of Technology was not what he expected. Kartike also realized that his subjects did not interest him which led to him struggling in class.
“The reason I decided to seek therapy was because I found myself falling short of my own expectations. And that made me feel really guilty. I studied so hard for this, I went through rigorous coaching, cleared JEE and here I was in my dream college, loathing the life I had.”
Kartike tried to cope with the painstaking schedule but found himself to be falling behind. He found it difficult to manage his time and maintain a routine. There was also no one that he could talk to about this which made it even harder.
Even seemingly simple tasks like sleeping on time, waking up in time for class and socialising were turning out to be major challenges.
I struggled with insomnia. I wanted to maintain proper sleep hygiene, exercise and just keep myself fit but these seemed impossible to surmount at the time.
In the midst of all this, Kartike’s own wellbeing took a backseat. He would fall asleep during class due to which his performance suffered.
He tried his best to turn things around for himself. But everytime he would sit down to make a time table, there was always this tiny voice in his head that would slowly chip away his motivation.
“I hated this voice but I almost always believed it. It would tell me that I was a loser and I would believe it.”
There was this hopelessness and despair that used to hit Kartike the hardest after exams. He would beat himself over his results and this would reinforce the belief that he was a complete good-for-nothing. The voice would thus get stronger. It was after one of these exams that he decided to go see a counsellor on campus.
The campus session wasn’t of much help because the timings could never work for him.
“There was always a clash of schedules as I would have my classes during the weekdays and the counsellors were not available during the weekends. On some days, I was forced to miss my classes in order to meet my therapist. Basically, I was not able to talk to her when I wanted to and this arrangement was not working out.”
This is when Kartike came across YourDOST. Nights were the most difficult for him and he was grateful that the experts were available to support him when he felt his absolute worst.
Bouts of anxiety would hit me out of nowhere late in the night. This is when I needed someone to talk to and YourDOST came to my rescue.
After logging onto the website, he spoke to a few counsellors until he found his fit in Ms. Priyanka. He would chat with her regularly, almost every day.
“I began by telling her about some residual trauma from my childhood. We spoke about things that were bothering me. We discussed my thoughts about my parents. I felt like I could really talk to her.”
Some of the techniques that helped him included him learning to control those self-critical thoughts.
“The problem was that I was overanalyzing situations. I also learnt how to be more forgiving and compassionate towards myself.”
All was well until Ms. Priyanka abruptly left the platform. Kartike felt a little lost as they could not bring closure to their conversations. But by now, he was well equipped to take things forward on his own. Life went on seamlessly for a few months. But another blow came his way when he experienced a loss in the form of a break-up.
“I spoke to the counsellor one month after the break up which is when it truly hit me in its entirety.”
This time around, he connected with Dr. Nikita and started having regular therapy sessions with her.
“Nikita helped me realise that the break up was for the best. An important technique that she advised was journaling.”
Dr. Nikita also helped him get back on track and focus on his short as well as long term goals. She was also the first person that he spoke with over a video call.
Kartike urges all his friends to seek therapy but sometimes finds it difficult to convince people. This is what he says to them –
“It’s okay, take your time to get there and don’t rush yourself into anything. Understand that your mental health is your own responsibility and there are people around you who are there to help you. So reach out because you are strong.”
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