Shubham, currently pursuing his PhD from the prestigious Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata describes himself as a very outspoken person.
“As an extrovert, you’re always in constant contact with people and this is something that changed for me when the lockdown happened.”
The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown brought with it unprecedented emotional challenges for Shubham. He was away from his family. Shubham recalls that the distance led to a massive communication gap between him and them. He thus decided to seek professional help.
Shubham believes that when you need extra support, an outside perspective, some expert guidance and talking to a therapist or counsellor can help.
I wanted to sort my life out before it got too bad. Prevention is always better than cure. It is important to seek treatment when you start seeing the symptoms.
Shubham was always very open to the idea of therapy as he comes from a family that doesn’t shy away from talking about it. His brother is a doctor and they have had open discussions around mental health. He has also known people who passionately advocate for mental health. So he never had any negative impressions about counselling.
What was important for Shubham though, was to find a good fit for himself.
“It’s important to find a good therapist with whom you feel comfortable. After all, you might talk about uncomfortable subjects—or even share things you’ve never told anyone before. So you want to work with someone who you will open up to—not to mention listen to and also is unaffected being a third person with. Also, they come with the experience and know the right technique to point out and help you deal with the issues, very similar to the medical doctors who finds and treats the physical issues. “
With his mind made up, Shubham was ready to find “the one”. It took him a while but he finally found his fit in. People say that a good therapist doesn’t tell you what to do or how to live your life. He or she will give you an experienced outside perspective and help you gain insight into yourself so you can make better choices. This is exactly what Anita did for him.
“Anita provided me with a space to be able to express my feelings, guided me towards finding the real issues, the discomfort I was feeling. She would ask me to put my thoughts on paper and help me analyse them.”
Shubham learnt a lot from therapy as it helped him find his way out of his tunnel vision. His expert also helped him identify destructive thought patterns, acknowledge and overcome those. Some of the techniques used by the expert helped bring significant changes in Shubham’s life.
If I was ever in a bad mood, she would ask me to just sit down, relax for some time and empty my mind. I was also taught some breathing exercises and this helped reduce the intensity of those negative feelings.
Therapy has been an exhausting and intensive process but Shubham can safely say that he can see some very positive results. He is now himself a big mental health advocate.
“I am trying to convince some of my loved ones to seek help as I feel they will definitely benefit from it. When I see someone struggling, I reach out to them and direct them to mental health professionals. This journey has made me more aware and empathetic.”
Shubham strongly believes that there is absolutely no shame in seeking help.
“You don’t have to ride that wave on your own. These professionals are here to help you. Most importantly, they will never judge you.”
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