Rising Above “Counseling? What Will People Say” with Sarah

6 minutes

Sarah's journey of being more confident through counseling

TW: Mention of Suicidal Thoughts

This is the story of 22-year-old Sarah Singh (name changed), a software engineer by profession who has many hobbies! As a creative and passionate enthusiast, Sarah likes to sing, dance, and write songs. From childhood, Sarah’s eye was caught by coding and she wanted to build her career in the same.

“I have two elder siblings, so the feeling of insecurity has always been prominent in me. I even began to get insecure from a young age.”

Like many of us, Sarah too was unconsciously pressured by competition in the real world and while being on the quest to do everything at once; she lost track of taking her own care. Though these feelings of insecurity weren’t as apparent for Sarah, she knew something has always been going on in her mind. Sarah started having suicidal thoughts to forget the pain of insecurities. Sarah never let her emotions flow, as she was always in fear of being judged. Years passed, but the feeling of being judged remained the same for Sarah. When she joined IIT to pursue her bachelor’s study, Sarah’s life took a turn.

“Even though IIT seemed like a great place to me, the feeling of comparing myself to those around me took over me. And I felt as if I haven’t achieved much”

At IIT, Sarah was under the constant pressure of doing everything right.

At IIT, Sarah was under the constant pressure of doing everything right, but every now and then, she started noticing a significant change in her. Sarah started getting anxious on a regular basis and as a result of this, she started getting anxiety and panic attacks too. In 2020, Sarah was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, and she knew that one of the symptoms of it can be depression too. Sarah’s medicines were not as stable initially, and so she couldn’t anticipate when the next anxiety attack would come.

“With my hypothyroid, I was feeling depressed almost all the time. After lockdown, when I went back to college, things started happening at a fast pace. By that time, I already had a counselor on campus.”

Sarah tried a couple of different therapists but it didn’t help her as she couldn’t open up and feel connected to her therapists. Amidst this, something happened to Sarah which changed her life’s course.

“I was sitting in my college mess, all alone and suddenly I looked at people around me and felt anxious. I got extremely overwhelmed and broke down.”

Things weren’t going as smoothly as expected for Sarah, and when she encountered an experience of social anxiety without her friends, she completely broke down. Later, when she discussed the same with her friends, they took the incident well and supported her in any decision she would like to make. She was now in search of a counselor who can provide her a new perspective. 

after bad experiences, Sarah was finally ready to seek counseling again.

“I was ready for counseling again, and this time I decided to not hold back and discuss each and every issue that I was going through.”

YourDOST is an emotional wellness partner to many IITs and so through its resources, Sarah decided to reach out and seek help. With Sarah’s decision to not hold back anything from the counselor, she initiated audio sessions with the counselor from YourDOST. Sarah was glad to finally gain a positive experience with the counselor. The counselor made Sarah comfortable and let her talk about her real issues. This change for Sarah was astonishing, as she was venting out to someone for the first time and that helped her massively. Sarah was advised to practice meditation by her counselor, but she could not follow it thoroughly. But the change that she saw in herself after a couple of sessions was commendable!

After understanding Sarah’s social anxiety issues, her counselor suggested to her that she should go to her college canteen alone and order food for herself! Such an easy looking task was actually a big thing for Sarah and when she was finally able to do it, she was overjoyed and thanked her counselor too.

Addressing her suicidal thoughts tendencies, Sarah mentions that had YourDOST had not come to her life at the right time, it would have taken over her. She encourages everyone to seek help and not think of themselves as a burden.

Counseling helped Sarah be more confident and prioritise herself over others.

“My counselor helped me be more social. Her words convinced me to not always think what other people are thinking.”

After a couple of sessions, Sarah understood the core phenomena of the tissues and decided not to pay much attention to what other people might think about her. She has not had any panic attacks since then and her social anxiety has also reduced drastically. 

Sarah recalls one incident involving a new girl in her group and how that made her jealous. But, unlike previous times, Sarah confronted her friends and the new girl and calmly expressed her emotions. Soon after the confrontation, Sarah’s friends realised how Sarah’s judgement was correct and confronting the new girl helped their group. Sarah takes pride in addressing issues upfront, rather than shying away and bottling up. Sarah is glad to have found YourDOST after a series of bad experiences with other counselors/ therapists. 

Summarising her experience with YourDOST, Sarah says she feels more confident than ever and gives herself a 3.5 out of 5, in terms of feeling better. Sarah urges everyone to stop overthinking their issues. Instead, take accountability for them and seek out help, whenever needed. 

From all of us at YourDOST, Sarah, you are the epitome of courage and consistency and we respect you for that. We wish you nothing but the best on your journey of self-exploration.

Sarah’s Warrior Tips:
1. Empathise with people who’re struggling.
2. Therapy initially might seem a bit of a discomfort to begin with, but it will surely bring reward as a form of a better version of yourself!
3. Acknowledging one’s own problems is necessary. That’s how one can truly work on it and overcome it.

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.

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