“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going”
– Jim Rohn
Naman, a 21 year old engineering student at one of the prestigious IITs in India, could not, for the life of him, develop and sustain good habits. He was a serial procrastinator, who would leave almost everything till the last minute, including assignments and tests, even studying for final exams.
“I had a bad habit of not doing anything. I would just lie in my bed all the time, and when the deadline hits, I would jump into it and do it in a last minute frenzy.”
But Naman knew that regular habits, whether good or bad, can go a long way. He also knew that he had a problem.
I spent most of my time cooped up in my room. I never went out, and I never met anybody. At the same time, I got caught up in masturbation.
Naman says that due to his idle lifestyle, he was always craving a hit of dopamine, which the act of masturbation would provide. In a day, he would masturbate about 3 – 4 times, and then fall asleep, exhausted. Naman also began developing strong feelings for a girl in his college, something that had happened for the first time.
“I really liked this girl, but my feelings were never reciprocated. It was one-sided love. Because of this, I kept trying to push my feelings aside, and act in a normal way around her. I did not accept that my feelings were valid, and this was a mistake.”
At this point in time, Naman turned to his friends for advice. A second mistake.
“Whenever you ask your friends for advice, they act like they are experts in the matter. Here, all of them turned into love gurus and gave me different advice. I also started looking up advice on Google and Youtube, and all of this began confusing me a lot.”
This is when Naman decided to seek help from a mental health professional.
“Things got crazy in my head. I was crying all the time, and I had a huge downfall in my entire personality. My self-worth and self-esteem took a hit as well. Thankfully, my institution had this partnership with YourDOST. I thought, why not just try it?”
However, Naman did not always have a good notion of therapy. According to him, he had always thought that therapy was something that rich people made use of, when they were not able to talk to their friends. Nevertheless, he decided to give YourDOST a chance and connected with Psychologist, Ms. Mamata Harish. She let Naman vent out his feelings in the beginning.
“She let me share openly, and she never judged. After this, she began dividing up my problems into categories, such as relationship issues, family issues, career issues etc. and we began working on them one by one.”
Counseling helped Naman pinpoint what exactly his problem was.
“I realized that my problem was not with my relationships or with my academics and career, but with my basic day to day habits and my attitudes towards myself and everyone around me.”
Naman discovered that he had been facing a complex all this while. Not an inferiority complex, but a superiority one.
“I used to be very judgemental and think I was better than everyone else, and that everyone around me were fools. But counseling helped me change that attitude. Now, I consider everyone as my equal.”
Unfortunately, however, by the time Naman was able to find out what his problems exactly were, his hormonal cycles had taken a hit, and he had slipped into depression. This is when Mamata suggested that he consult with a psychiatrist.
“Looking at some of my symptoms, Mamata felt that it would be helpful if I consulted with a psychiatrist. She said that this is a critical period of my life, since I was going to be sitting for placements. My mental health had slipped from a yellow zone to a red zone and she felt that a psychiatrist would help me during this phase.”
Having consulted with a psychiatrist, Naman was put on a medicine program, which he continues even today. The medicines have really helped bring his hormones back into rhythm, he says. But soon, his psychiatrist suggested that he return to his counseling sessions at YourDOST.
“I returned to my Expert, and we began making very good progress after this. She gave me some frameworks to follow in my interactions with people everyday, and every week I would practice them and get feedback from her.”
One of the main frameworks that Naman continues to apply even today, is that of looking at people as different planets orbiting around the sun.
“My Expert made me realize that each person has their own orbit. I used to be that guy who would keep helping people whenever they wanted, to the point where some people had started exploiting me. But the orbit framework helped me stay within my boundaries, and I have now got much better at interacting with people.”
Mamata also gave Naman a pyramid structure for his priorities. The structure consisted of health, family, friends, relationships, academics and career.
“Health was my first priority of course. But my Expert told me to dedicate at least one hour everyday to the other sections of the pyramid as well. This has really helped overcome my procrastination habit.”
These sessions also helped Naman reconfigure his idea of success. He began to look at success, not as perfection, but as small improvements that can be made throughout the day.
Naman was able to understand himself better, in terms of his romantic relationships as well. He realized that he used to lack a mature perspective before, and that he had just been desperate.
“Now, I feel more confident about what I want in my future partner. I don’t feel that desperate anymore.”
Reflecting on all of these changes in his life, Naman realizes how far he has come on his journey. He once used to think that he would never be open about his problems. And yet, here he is today, sharing his story with the world.
“If someone is suffering from low self-esteem, they will naturally not want to share what they are going through in life. To these people I would say that sharing makes all the difference. Consulting with a therapist can really help you get your life back on track.”
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