Divita Gautam, a 25-year-old MSc student in Physics at NIT Trichy believes in making her own choices. An extrovert with a lot of friends, Divita also prefers her own space at times and during this self-time, she likes to paint.
“Painting for me is an escape. I like dancing too because when I dance, I feel confident as if no one can compete with my sass.”
As someone who values friendship, Divita ended up joining Delhi University to pursue a BSc in Physics because she wanted to join with her best friend. As cheerful Divita continued living her life to the fullest, a series of events changed things.
“I was in a long-distance relationship during my BSc days. I loved being with my ex so struggles didn’t matter. But in masters, he developed some insecurities and said something about my character which was like the final nail in the coffin.”
After that, Divita never wanted to go back to her ex-boyfriend. Around this time, she got a friend in Masters who liked her and Divita didn’t know for a long time. When he confessed his feelings to her, she was childish enough to take his feelings as a phase because they were much stronger.
“We never dated but continued our friendship. I was trying to justify why I don’t want to be with him then remembered that I’ve been harassed when I was 12. I just erased that memory as not remembering was easy.”
No one better than the victim can understand the mark a past harassment leaves. Divita realized that since was harassed, it affected her relationship with everyone and also herself. She built walls around her so no one could enter that space.
Divita’s problems didn’t end her. She developed severe anxiety issues during her masters. After her B.Sc, she took an exam to pursue masters in IITs and NITs. With her hard work, she got into NIT but due to bank issues, the payment got canceled and she didn’t know that.
This sowed seeds of anxiety in Divita but with dedication, she started preparing from the beginning. Again she got NIT Trichy but since something bad had happened the first time, uncertainty stayed with her.
This uncertainty accompanied her during a project during the pandemic.
“Since it was remote, there was no alignment with my teacher. I was not satisfied with my project as he wasn’t available. During the thesis, I was asked questions I had told my teachers to teach and they had asked me to ignore them. This shattered my confidence.”
Everything seemed to be failing for Divita. As she was applying for PhD outside India, she was fearful that she wouldn’t get selected since her project didn’t go well. This is when her next series of anxiety events occurred.
“I got a call from Japan and 4 interview rounds were pending. I couldn’t be at peace for 2 months. I used to get nightmares when I’m standing numb during my thesis. I used to shiver from anxiety and get palpitations during mock interviews.”
Deep down, Divita was still the strong woman she is. She tried to clear every interview round while fighting anxiety and to her surprise, she cleared all despite thinking she’d get rejected.
Fighting each day like a warrior, Divita continued to tackle her issues until one day when she had a very bad fight with her friend who used to like her.
“I hurt him badly. I was trying to not hurt myself but in the process, I hurt him and he was crying over the call. That’s when I thought I should seek help.”
During this time, Divita was also suffocated by walls of college restrictions. Her college was conservative as female students couldn’t even go to the library after 9 PM. Her seniors from DU experienced the same and that’s when one of them told Divita about YourDOST as he was seeking help too.
From here, Divita’s betterment chapter of life began. After 3 months into counseling, she got to know the underlying issues. She started it because of a boy problem but then she could address her issues with her mother, and her anxiety about wanting to be perfect.
“My counselor Ananya is great. She’s a great listener and patient. She’d tell me things to reflect upon. She’d tell me things to follow and I wouldn’t follow them because of my own fears. Then she’d repeat the same with patience, without making me feel bad or judging me.”
With Ananya’s help, Divita discovered a fact that while she’s empathetic towards others, she’s not so much towards herself because of trying to be perfect and being there for others. She also found out that she’d often block the parts out of her memory which is hurtful. Her counselor on this note helped her face her trauma and make sense of it.
“Ananya said that whenever some negative emotion comes, just write so that you don’t forget and you can retrospect it later. She told me to write things and I was able to.”
Hereon, Divita started noticing positive emotions. Earlier, she never used to understand her point of view and validate her emotions.
“Ananya made me realize that my emotions are valid be it pain, anger, happiness, or anything. I needn’t always have material reasons to feel them.”
Under Ananya’s guidance, Divita could also realize that she can’t be happy all the time. When she was unhappy, she was concerned about being happy and when happy, she’d think of unhappy times so she couldn’t enjoy being in the moment.
“I could learn to live in the moment. For anxiety, Ananya told me that I should be proud of how far I have come.”
As Divita continued her counseling with Ananya, she broke out of many myths. Initially, she thought a counselor would solve her problems magically for her. But during sessions, she realized that she was the only one who’ll be solving her own problems.
“The best part about counseling is that I was able to grow, change for good and have someone who’s invested in me.”
As part of gratitude towards Ananya, Divita thanks her and YourDOST for being her lifeguard. In both, she could find a friend who understood her emotions on her behalf when she didn’t want to.
“My counselor believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. She’s a great guide.”
Today, Divita is indeed on a path to building self-love. She’s a 3.5 on a 1 to 5 improvement scale and only keeps moving forward. For those who hesitate from asking for help, she asks them to talk their problems out for themselves.
Divita’s Warrior Tips:
1. Love yourself, you deserve it.
2. Talk it out for yourself.
3. You solve your problems on your own in counseling with guidance.