Born and raised in the cultural capital of Gujarat, Srivalli is a 19-year-old college student, pursuing her Bachelor’s in Interaction Design. Usually keeps to herself and is a little introverted, but enjoys a good match of badminton.
She spent 15 years of her life in Vadodara and later shifted to Maharashtra with her family. She currently lives with her sister and mother.
Moving to a new place comes with all kinds of challenges. No matter how cautious you are, there are often times when it gets difficult to adjust.
“I spent like 4 to 5 years in Maharashtra, it was a big change for me.”
Moving to a new city raised a lot of concerns in Srivalli’s mind. New people, new faces, new classes, new places ignited her social anxiety. Thoughts engulfed her vision and she tried to avoid interactions with people.
“What if they don’t like me?” “What if I don’t get good grades?” “ What if I am not enough?” “Will I fit in with people here?” Would I….? Will I….? Can I….?
Every Indian kid is taught the standard idea – to keep up with whatever expectations parents have. It became challenging for Srivalli to cope with that.
“I got bullied by my classmates in class 7, and shifting to Maharashtra only disturbed me because I have a very low self-esteem.”
Srivalli had been a very bright student and did well academically. She did not interact much with her classmates, she was often found secluded. But that did not bother her as she was in her hometown.
However, after shifting to Maharashtra, drastic changes took place. Her board of education changed from CBSE to ICSE. It became difficult to keep up with their academic level.
Major cultural differences raised concerns of adapting to a new environment. Her so-called friends made fun of her for being all by herself and having a different personality.
She began having acute anxiety issues and panic attacks. These were only turning bad and withdrew Srivalli from all kinds of human interactions.
“I am usually a temperamental and a moody person. I have superficial friendships with people, I avoid connecting deeply with people.”
Srivalli often found herself exhausted from all the thoughts that bolted in her mind. It felt like she had no one to share her issues with, yet she wanted to scream them all out.
She lost count on her sleepless nights and was not close enough to her family to share these worries with. The mental breakdowns became more frequent than ever.
This became a concern of her physical health as well. She often felt under-confident and overly anxious to even be herself anymore.
She decided to reach out to YourDOST.
“It was my first ever experience of taking counseling sessions and I did not know what to expect. But I know it doesn’t solve all your problems in one session.”
She got connected with her counselors – Madhurima and Kangan, through chat sessions. As this was her first time seeking counseling, she stuck to chat sessions because the house she lived in was small and was worried her parents would hear her.
But that did not stop her from continuing the further sessions.
“Both my counselors made me quite comfortable and actually consoled me.”
Srivalli had negative thoughts about herself. She often thought of herself as a bad person. This negativity was eliminated when she was given a task to write down both her good and bad qualities.
She was also recommended a few meditation and relaxation techniques to help with her anxiety.
Whenever she thought she was undergoing a panic attack, the 5-4-3-2-1 technique helped her to divert her mind off the physical stress her body was in. These techniques helped her to calm down.
“Last year, I had to meet my school friends for which I wasn’t really excited. That day was really bad.”
Srivalli recalls an incident outside her sessions when there was an obligatory class reunion that she had to attend. It was turning out to be suffocating for her. Her friends began making jokes about her insecurities.
But she was reminded of her counselor’s words, “You should clear your misunderstandings and communicate more.” Along with those relaxation techniques, she was able to keep herself calm and serene.
“I am actually very honored that I got Madhurima and Kangan as my counselors because I can reach out to them for anything and they can calm me down. I can think rationally, and at times when I just don’t feel like living, they are there for me.”
Although there hasn’t been a stark difference for her, Srivalli does feel very calm and in control of her emotions than earlier. She now takes the initiative to interact with people and open up a little more with her peers.
She is confident and stands up for herself, and has been working hard each day to get better. She rated herself 3.5 in terms of improvement.
She is breaking free from her insecurities and trying her best at being as candid as possible. Every. Day.
Anita’s Warrior Tips:
1.Improvement is slow and steady.
2. “You can have your ambiguous thoughts turned into structured thoughts.”
3. “If you think your problem is small, but it is affecting your mental peace, try counseling.”
4. Friends and family may not be the right person sometimes, but counselors give unbiased views most of the time.