Depression is being colourblind and constantly told how colourful the world is. – Atticus
Shivashree, who is 27-years-old, lived her life so far, in a similar black and white manner. Shivashree looked like a happy-go-lucky person from the outside, but deep down she’d been dwelling into depression.
Born in Gorakhpur, Shivashree’s father had a transferable job that made them travel across various corners of the country. Shivashree had her living experiences varied across Varanasi, Lucknow, Delhi and Bangalore. Apart from her education, Shivashree enjoys reading, writing, painting, dancing and public speaking as well.
“I was brought up in a supportive yet toxic environment. I didn’t notice the same for most of my life so far but it developed a lot of issues within me.”
Shivashree was surrounded by a family along with her relatives constantly emotionally or mentally abusing her for a long time. The abuse went on so frequently that Shivashree didn’t realise the fact and automatically built her own coping mechanism for the same.
“I had convinced myself that pain is a part of life and we have to live with it. So I built a coping mechanism by forgetting everything that hurt me.
Each time Shivashree went through such an episode, she would force herself to forget about it within the next 10-15 minutes. Being a child, whatever is thrown at us, we tend to believe it. Similarly, Shivashree had adapted to believing in the accusations as being true.
The constant bullying and demeaning led Shivashree to procure numbness over time. College pushed Shivashree to lead a sedentary life. Her constant fear of being judged dull her desire to talk her conflicts out with anyone.
With a fire in her mind which was fueled by her inner demons, Shivashree moved to Bangalore for professional purposes. She soon got into a relationship with her then-partner. As Shivashree saw a realm in his partner, the relationship soon broke off. Shivashree had kept her guards down for the first time, after a long wait but it could not work in her favour.
“The relationship fallout was a part where I had lost all senses. I was entering a very dark time in my life and I fell for other means of substance abuse, alcoholism to be precise as a coping mechanism.”
Shivashree had a strong and bold exterior. But from inside, she had a war going on. Soon, Shivashree approached a counselor and after sessions, she was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. The treatment that was suggested for the same was costing her more than expected which led her to approach another counselor. Shivashree was also going through Borderline Personality Disorder.
Borderline Personality Disorder is a personality disorder characterized by severe mood swings, impulsive behaviour, and difficulty forming stable personal relationships.
Shivashree belonged to a family background where people didn’t stop her from doing anything she wanted but also didn’t encourage her for the same. She would flinch when somebody complimented her. She would either not know what to feel about such things or she believed they were being sarcastic. Shivashree was reflecting an endless list of behavioural changes like frequent breakdowns, overthinking, sedentary lifestyle, alcoholism, frequent vomiting, lethargy, weakness, sleeplessness etc. Soon, Shivashree had reached a point of a need for self-introspection.
“I had reached a point beyond control. In no time, the alcoholism and tendencies of self-harm had started to bother me. It was time to either acknowledge my issues or end my life.”
Shivashree was searching for a plethora of questions, but couldn’t find the light to guide her. She started browsing online to find a counselor nearby and stumbled upon YourDOST website. She was surprised to see the online counseling services on YourDOST’s platform and so, decided to give it a try.
She then came in touch with Naveen, a counselor from YourDOST. The counseling journey experienced by Shivashree was an eye-opener for her and it involved a long process of steps. It took Shivashree some time to open up in front of her counselor as she had kept her thoughts embedded deep for too many years now. Depression and anxiety were the consequences of her trauma, but it was the trauma itself that shaped her personality.
“I discovered that there were a lot of things going on in my mind that were incoherent. I could hardly remember any instances that caused any pain from my past. My mind had erased all the bad memories.”
Naveen guided Shivashree to write down everything including a letter each to all the people who hurt her. Shivashree was suggested to put her trust in Naveen as he took her through the entire process. Soon, Shivashree was suggested a series of tasks with one of them being visiting the bookstore where she met her ex-partner for the last time, to face her past.
“As I visited the bookstore which was extremely difficult for me, I suddenly realised that there was nothing that could hurt me physically, mentally or emotionally.”
Shivashree was then asked to confront her parents and relatives about her past and pain and how she will go about it thereafter. Although her father couldn’t support the idea of being depressed, Shivashree’s mother understood and decided to support her slowly and steadily. She confronted the people who had caused her trauma either in childhood or over the years and finally put an end to years of bullying.
Soon, Shivashree started reviving her memories in chunks of instances. Shivashree’s next powerful improvement was the regaining of trust for other people. As Shivashree started believing that people can actually be supportive, she was also getting rid of her alcoholism as well as eradicating self-harm completely from her life. She acquired self-love and self-confidence through therapy.
“Naveen changed my life. I don’t believe in divine factors, but I feel he was sent to me like a saviour by God.”
Shivashree rates her overall improvement from a state of extreme depression to a mode of self-love with a solid 4 out of 5. Shivashree has clearly proved that it’s never too late to start addressing our problems and heal from within.
From all of us YourDOST, Shivashree, we wish you the best of all worlds with a pocketful of sunshine to always be with you.
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