Challenging Mental Health Stigma In The Country, This Is Khushbu’s Journey

6 minutes

WHO also estimates that about 7.5% Indians suffer from some mental disorder. But not everybody is open to seek professional help for this

“It’s the worst when you’re not able to be yourself, but finding yourself again is the best feeling.”

You might never know how hard it possibly could have been today and for days altogether for the person sitting right next to you right now just to wake up every day. Perhaps he/she does not realize his own disease. Tell me, what is worse than that?

A WHO report says that 1 in every 5 people are likely to suffer from major depressive disorder, which approximates up to almost 7.5% of the total Indian population. Yet, it is the most untreated disease where half of the sufferers do not even accept their suffering in public because of the stigma associated with it. But it was different for our mental health warrior Khushbu Chandarana (Khushi), a 23-year-old student from IIM Udaipur who faced her challenges head-on and used this spirit to drive a movement of change in breaking this stigma.

I went on a war with myself, fought with personality disorder, depression, and made mistakes, a whole bunch of them. But it shaped me into the better individual that I’m. I found myself, through these rough phases, when I didn’t even know who I was!

A lot of things contributed to how Khushi felt. Be it family problems, exam failures, or social life issues. Khushi felt a lot and nothing at the same time. She went through many changes for a certain period that she wasn’t able to notice herself. The person who would always be found talking and chattering about anything was finding it tough to initiate conversations. The person who was so indulgent in her passion and hobbies would hardly find any energy to do things she loved. This phase went on for 2-3 months when a friend suggested Khushi seek professional help.

She was excited to see other organisations partnering in providing mental health services which are affordable and accessible.


“I doubted seeing a therapist would work for me because, at that time, nothing else did. But, also, I had nothing to lose. I was already at my worst. But she made me realize the importance of acknowledging my vulnerability and how it will help me get through the hard times. I decided to trust the process and give it a chance.”

Khushi was diagnosed with Major Depressive disorder. But, she had to heal herself as this was taking a toll on her everyday life. She went on with the counseling sessions along with medications. Medications, to some extent, helped keep her head calm and made her think logically and practically. During such times, it is tough for a person to do it on their own. The process lasted for at least 4-5 months. It’s a long commitment, isn’t it? But, Khushi would have gone through the process anyways. She has emphasized trusting the process more than anything else. Like the negative changes that go unnoticed, there might be some positive ones that have occurred during the process and went unnoticed too. Hence, she never gave up on the treatment and is proud of believing in the process and herself.

Khushi found many people around her who would shy away from talking about mental health issues they might have faced. She realized that there are people who have problems but fear asking for help. She didn’t feel shame in showing that she is vulnerable and wanted others to feel comfortable showing it too. She wanted them to know that it was okay. It was this thought of hers that gave birth to Khushi’s, The Happyness Foundation. An initiative started by Khushi for Mental Health Awareness.

Through their sessions, they discussed how the stress of college could be affecting her.

“Talking about how I felt and seeking help from a professional helped me enormously. I feel for the people who have such struggles but shy away from sharing. I started this initiative to lend a helping hand to them.”

A year later, Khushbu started her MBA course in the prestigious IIM Udaipur, and this was when she discovered YourDOST through her college emails. She was excited to see other organizations partnering in providing mental health services that are affordable and accessible.

After joining college, I was going through the usual stressors that college throws at us and my therapist was not available at that point and I thought it would be a good idea to try YourDOST because I did not want my stress piling up for the long run. A place to vent out your emotions was very important to me at that point in time.”

Khushbu connected with YourDOST’s expert Reema Singh. Through their sessions, they discussed how the stress of college could be affecting her. Reema helped her with a few techniques that she could use to care for her mental health better.
“My journey with YourDOST has been amazing. Reema was like a friend who would talk to me. We were of the same age so we related to each other and she was very accommodating with my busy schedule in college. I love how approachable and kind she was towards me and I thank her for being my counselor.”

“I was not a big fan of receiving ‘advice’ as I knew how I work better. I just needed the space to vent out my problems and that would be cathartic enough for me to move on being myself and Reema accommodated my needs accordingly. I am so glad to have used the services of YourDOST.”

Are you someone who has gone through a difficult phase and emerged stronger and better, with some professional help? Share your story with us to encourage thousands of others who might be struggling. Click here to submit your story.

Khushbu’s Warrior Tips:
1. In life, you don’t always connect with the first person you meet, and just like that, you might not connect with the first therapist you’re going to talk to, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not working. That means that you’re going to have to keep trying to find the right therapist for you, which you eventually will. Just don’t lose hope.
2. It’s okay to feel vulnerable. What is more important is to acknowledge it and do something about it. It’s only humane to ask for help.
3. Believe in the process. It is there to help you become a better person in life.

Team YourDOST

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