“We must learn how to explode! Any disease is healthier than the one provoked by a hoarded rage” – Emil Cioran.
This is exactly what Shruti Gupta demonstrates throughout her journey from holding her emotions within to venting them out.
Belonging from the region of Awadh from Lucknow, Shruti is a 22-year-old student currently pursuing a Master’s in Visual Communication. As an ambivert, she is known to be a talkative person around her close ones and completely silent otherwise.
What makes her even more beautiful as a person is her love for painting by carving her thoughts into a visual form. She’s always been vocal about her ideas, actively showcasing her work on canvas and acrylic paintings.
It is this inclination towards creativity since childhood that made Shruti pursue her hobby and make a career out of it.
But not long before her higher education took off, she started to feel isolated. This was because of the COVID-19 lockdown that led her to a state of losing her sanity. It was not just the pandemic wave that hit Shruti but also her emotions within her.
Soon, she started to feel stuck inside her room with no one to talk to.
“I don’t personally talk with my family much. Instead of being open about my issues, I was rather concerned if I would be hurting my parents if I shared.”
The pandemic also forbade her from meeting her friends with whom she was otherwise comfortable sharing. This further bound Shruti to video or audio calls which were not enough. But fortunately, her love for painting kept Shruti going.
She remembers staying awake till 6 AM in the morning with her work. However, the void inside her continued to exist and that is what got her wondering about her mental health.
“I used to stare at the walls for hours. I had no clue what was happening to me.”
Shruti spent almost three months sitting in her room, unable to express herself in front of people. The hesitation to open up continued as she felt that everyone had their very own cup of issues to sip on.
What made her situation worse was constant suggestions about marriage. There were days when her parents would snatch a book she was reading so that she comes out of her shell and socializes.
Such understanding gaps further pushed her away from her close ones. It made her feel suffocated with her own issues and in no time, she had hit rock bottom!
“I’ve been in relationships where people have betrayed me. It took a toll on my mental health.”
For the brave spirit that Shruti is, she stood strong and decided to hold on to something that made her happy – her work. She finally got into a design university but there was more.
“Since the classes were online, I was unable to connect with any of my peers and this further hollowed my void”
While Shruti tried her best to let her passion drive her life, she constantly felt haunted by a vicious cycle of distractions followed by – emptiness.
“I started feeling irritated and would end up lashing out at people. I realised the void inside me needed to be filled asap. “
Shruti was looking for a place to vent out her feelings. This made her YourDOST, her university’s emotional wellness partner. As YourDOST was her first-ever counseling experience, it was difficult for her to trust the process initially but she was determined.
So she opted for an audio session which gave her some warmth in opening up. With the help of her counselor, Shruti started exploring her inner difficulties and found layers of issues that were engraved deep within her, opening up one by one.
The body-shaming that Shruti had to face in her childhood due to height and weight had surprisingly injected battles into her, developing comparison issues.
As the bullying grew on her, she started seeing herself from other’s eyes. The more she exercised and the less she ate, her body ran short of energy reserves. This and the scar of betrayal from a guy she had dated for three long years, had shred her heart into pieces.
When she connected with her counselor from YourDOST, she finally found a safe place to let it all out.
“My counselor supported me when I was feeling so low and helped me express my emotions. At times like this when you have someone to listen to you, it’s like a god-given gift to you. There was someone to listen to me without judging me”.
Eventually, Shruti was introduced to various techniques which included making a schedule for herself. A detailed schedule that would include everything from her breakfast to her dinner timings. This was followed by the necessity to improve her sleep schedule.
“When your sleep schedule improves, I feel we become more productive”
She was also asked to go for walks and observe people around her and self-reflect on her problems. Moreover, her counselor also empowered her to post her artwork on social media and engage with like-minded people.
“People still talk behind my back but I don’t tend to lash out anymore. In fact, people come to vent to me and I help them. ”
After a couple of counseling sessions, Shruti started taking a more positive approach towards her life. Her attitude changed and so did her way of thinking about problems. She could believe that she was more active than before and although her inner void hadn’t completely disappeared, she knew that it could be filled.
The most positive trait that she discovered was the disappearance of lashing out at people when irritated which was a serious issue initially.
“Whenever I feel like I’m having a mental breakdown, I sit down and I take deep breaths. I generally take a good day to think about it, cry out and I’m good to go.”
Today, Shruti describes herself as a better person than before. Many of us go through similar issues but seldom do we realize the necessity behind healing. YourDOST salutes her bravery and courage to figure out the kind of person she is capable of becoming and the fact that she took a leap of faith towards it. She stands as an inspiration to many of us out there who are still thinking of ways to heal.
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