TW: Sexual Abuse
Born in Bhopal but vibes with Bombay, 22 years old Hiteshi is a dreamer. She has been to practically every corner of the country, thanks to her father’s profession. Although that seems pretty cool, the grass is always greener on the other side. Due to the endless moving, Hiteshi never had someplace to call home and neither was she able to build friendships that’ll last a lifetime.
Her grandparents gave her a loving upbringing, but it didn’t stay for very long since they were too old to relocate to a new city constantly. The only constant in her life was her younger brother.
“He’s 7 years younger than me. Being the elder sister, especially in an orthodox household, comes with a lot of responsibilities that I’m not sure how to deal with. But having him in my life is the sweetest part.”
Although Hiteshi’s parents carry a conservative outlook, she keeps a progressive one. She wants to evolve with the world and wants to build an identity of her own. She pursued her education in Finance but soon realized that it is not her calling.
“I had a proper career plan that seemed practical to me but as I pursued the same, I understood where my heart belongs. I decided to complete my studies in Finance but in the meantime took up several internships in the marketing domain.”
Her career was not the only thing she had to tussle for. Since her early years, she always excelled in academics, but the strain of being the best eventually got to her. Sharing contrasting ideals with her family made it difficult for her too. These heavy burdens were too much for her young shoulders. She started getting panic attacks due to anxiety when she was barely 14 years old.
“At that age, all you need is someone who listens and understands you. And that was something I didn’t have with me the entire time.”
A childhood spent in solitary surely makes you mature faster. Deep down, Hiteshi knew that things needed to change. She took a keen interest in psychology and recognised that therapy could be an option for her. The only thing holding her back was her family’s stereotypical notions of mental health.
“I kept every thought aside and went to a psychiatrist. And I was diagnosed with stage 3 severe anxiety. It wasn’t really a shocker for me. I was put on medication and the doctor suggested I seek therapy too.”
Hiteshi started taking her medications, which helped her feel better. However, when she felt things were looking up, uncertainty crept in. Following an unjust incident, Hiteshi began receiving death threats. She was finding it challenging to balance her studies and work. And if that wasn’t enough, her family wasn’t quite helpful.
“I went through a serious breakup in the same phase. I started believing that things would never improve. Every time I felt I had everything under control, everything collapsed to a halt.”
Hiteshi figured she couldn’t handle it on her own this time and finally decided to seek therapy. The company her father worked for, TVS Motors, had a partnership with YourDOST and she enrolled herself as a dependent. With the sheer determination of getting better, Hiteshi started searching for her ideal counselor.
“When I first met Ms. Pragati Agarwal, I knew she was the one. If I met her in general, rather than during a therapy session, we’d have been good buddies.”
It wasn’t easy for Hiteshi to continue her sessions while she was with her family. They considered her to be seeking attention. But she didn’t give up. Ms. Pragati guided her with breathing exercises that could help her with her anxiety. She also developed a habit of harming herself with her nails and her therapist came up with a unique solution.
“Ms. Pragati asked me to get a soft toy. And I wasn’t a person to cuddle with soft toys but I got it. And I cannot believe I’m saying this, but it made its way into my heart.”
Hiteshi found it difficult to complete all of the exercises recommended by her counselor. Ms. Pragati, on the other hand, offered solutions and modified the exercises so that Hiteshi could do them while juggling everything else on her plate. That made a great impact on Hiteshi’s healing.
Soon she noticed the positive changes in her. She was calmer and started tackling her situations better. She learnt to dig deeper into her issues to figure out what exactly she was dealing with and what can be done. Getting control of her life helped her develop her self-esteem and self-confidence.
She let go of self-harm and fought through her body image issues too. She got better sleep and started a healthy diet as well.
“I’ve been sexually abused in the past. Even Though I was getting better, this incident triggered a slew of disturbing nightmares. Ms. Pragati pulled me back on my feet when I was about to fall down the spiral again.”
It would be a miracle if you could solve all of your problems in a few months, but Hiteshi was able to overcome many obstacles because she had the will to break free. Hiteshi believes improvement to be progress, and we completely agree. Talking about how grateful she was to her therapist, Hiteshi said,
“Having someone to talk to without hesitation and who can guide you down the right path without bias is something godsend.”
Hiteshi is happy and loves herself more than anything else in her life. She gave herself a 3.7 on a scale of 5 for getting better and feels she has a long way to go. A lonely girl who was so driven to stretch her wings that she persevered in the face of adversity is an inspiration in itself.
Hiteshi’s Warrior Tips:
1. Give it a try. What could possibly go wrong? But, if all goes well, consider how your life will change into something so very beautiful.
2.There will be thousands of things dragging you down, grab onto that one thing that pushes you to get better. That’s the strength of a positive mindset.