19 year old Pooja Dosi was born and raised in Rajasthan. But in her 11th Standard, she moved to Gujarat, and then to Pune for her undergraduate studies. Pooja had always been a brilliant student back in school, but in her Bachelor’s, she found herself struggling.
“I began to lose my focus from my first year itself… I became very lazy, I started procrastinating, and my grades also began dropping.”
This caused Pooja an immense amount of anxiety. Worried about her performance in college, she began losing sleep as well. Further, language barriers made it difficult for her to make friends in class.
“All my friends used to speak Marathi, and since I didn’t know the language, I used to feel left out. They used to make plans without me. I actually switched many friends groups, but I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere.”
Pooja then slowly began losing interest in all those things that interested her before. She found herself meandering through life… lost.
“I didn’t know what I was doing, to be honest. I didn’t know what I wanted to do either. I was directionless.”
This is when Pooja recognized that she needed help. A major step forward in the right direction, was merely accepting that she needed help.
Accepting that you need help is very important. Earlier, I used to think that accepting it means that I am a failure. But we need to get rid of such notions from our minds.
Unfortunately, however, Pooja’s first few experiences with mental health professionals were not pleasant.
“I went from therapist to therapist for almost one year. Most of them gave me very basic solutions such as talk to your mother or think positive etc. No one gave me any concrete solutions.”
Further, the professionals whom she consulted with were dismissive about Pooja’s concerns. They made it seem as though her problems were something that everyone faces, and so, she should not be letting herself feel anxious about them.
But things took a complete U-turn when she started consulting with Shritica Joshi, an Expert at YourDOST.
“Shritica made me feel like even if everyone goes through these problems, it’s okay… I still need help for these problems. And she was more than willing to help me.”
After three months of weekly sessions with her Expert, Pooja feels as though her life has completely turned around. Initially, the sessions revolved around observing Pooja’s behaviour and emotions. Shritica analyzed all those triggers that were making Pooja anxious, and how she was responding to them. After this, they began working on the problems. Here, a key advice that Shritica gave Pooja was to develop a hobby for herself.
“I realized that I was not engaging in any hobbies at all. I used to hate drawing actually, but then my Expert surprisingly advised me to take it up as a hobby. She told me that if I work on something I hate, then I will begin to work on myself too, and it actually was great advice”
Pooja also came to a very important realization.
I realized that it’s okay for me to ask for help, and that one needs to ask for help if you are not able to deal with things. After a few sessions with Shritica, I began to feel much better.
One of the other things that helped Pooja was practicing mindfulness with her Expert. She also began to make to-do lists every morning, a practice which she continues to perform even today.
“My sessions ended almost four months ago, but I still continue to practice everything I learnt in therapy. It feels so good.”
But what really struck a chord with Pooja was the realization she had during her sessions about her core beliefs and values.
“Through these sessions, I was able to understand what my own core beliefs and values were. I realized that if your actions are not aligning with your values, that’s when you begin to feel sad and depressed.”
Finally, Pooja began to feel like her life was back on track.
“Now, I very rarely feel low. Even when I feel like that, I am able to pull myself out of that rut by practicing those exercises which I learned in counseling. I feel much more confident now, and I feel like I have paved the right path for myself”
When it comes to advising others to take up counseling themselves, Pooja is very vocal.
“I never had any misconceptions about therapy. I was not afraid that people would judge me for it. In fact, I always wanted people to know that it’s normal to ask for help, and that everyone needs to go to a therapist at least once in their life.”
She strongly believes in helping others realize the importance of therapy.
Everyone goes through different problems in different phases of life. It’s really helpful to take help from a professional during such times.
Pooja believes that sharing her story with the people around her is the first step.
“I have gone through that phase of my life and I know what it is like. Now, I am more than willing to share my story and enable others to get the help that they need.”
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