See, Speak And Silence The Stigma!
In conversation with an aspiring Clinical Psychologist who shares her journey of struggles with mental well-being and the importance of seeking support and assistance.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about why life was becoming so difficult, why people were going away from me… I was generalizing everything. Most of the time I used to find myself sitting alone near the window staring outside. I had disturbed sleep most nights. During that time I lacked social support, which was very important for me.”
From going through tough times and not getting the psychological assistance when needed and then becoming a psychologist herself. She battled all the stressors with her never give up attitude and reached her goals.
Muskan: Hi, could you introduce yourself?
RK: Hey! I have recently completed my Master’s in Applied Psychology and am an aspirant of M.phil in clinical psychology.
Muskan: What are the factors that motivate you? (Any quotes, people, ideologies or others)
“You are the most valuable to this world that you will ever realise. Even if your voice shakes, express yourself” — RK
Muskan: What about your hobbies and interests?
RK: Well, I prefer to spend my free time making a miniature or singing.
Muskan: When did you first start to experience struggles with mental well-being? What were the early signs that you noticed?
RK: During my 11th grade. (I got detained & then went to boarding, at the same time my parents decided to get separated).
Muskan: What did your days look like?
RK: I couldn’t stop thinking about why life was becoming so difficult, why people were going away from me… I was generalizing everything. Most of the time I used to find myself sitting alone near the window staring outside. I had disturbed sleep most nights. My interest in studies was lost, felt distracted most of the time. This affected my academics to a great extent.
Muskan: How did you deal with these changes?
RK: I used to practice journaling because getting professional assistance was a little difficult for me during that time. Once, I got a chance to talk to a person who was pursuing masters in counselling psychology. Talking to her gave me much relief.
Muskan: What stopped you from receiving psychological assistance?
RK: Many factors. Firstly, because I was in a hostel with strict restrictions, I had no contact with the outside world. Secondly, there was a lack of awareness at that time and a lot of stigmas attached to mental health. Lastly, the expense was a factor.
Muskan: What role did your friends and family play? How important is it to have strong social support?
RK: Well, I always had difficulty keeping friends. But my family, especially my mom, was very supportive and understanding. Sharing out my thoughts would help me release the pain I had. In layman terms, she was more like my “personal therapist”.
During that time I lacked social support, which was very important for me.
Muskan: And then at what age did you finally see a counsellor? What changes have you seen after seeking professional assistance?
RK: While I was pursuing my Master’s. As a part of our curriculum, it was mandatory to seek a minimum of 8 counselling sessions from a professional.
I experienced a lot of changes during and after taking those sessions, such as the release of the burden that I had been carrying for so long. I felt heard genuinely, without any judgement. I learned to look into the positive side of everything.
Muskan: If there is one thing that you would want to go back and do differently that could have made your journey easier, what would it be?
RK: I wish I had sought professional assistance earlier in life or at least found a person to hear me out at the time when I was struggling so much.
Muskan: Is there any one of the habits or practices you could point to that has been of great help?
RK: Yes, journaling has helped me a lot and also drawing out whenever something bothers me.
Muskan: Any message to the people going through a similar experience?
RK: No matter how hard the situation is or how bad things are, just don’t give up & do try to seek professional assistance.
‘See, Speak and Silence the Stigma’ is a new series by ManoShala. Where we seek to spread awareness by sharing the journey of individuals who have been battling with psychological struggles.
By Muskan Gupta, Psychologist, ManoShala