When I wrote my previous post, I was not sure why I wanted my story to be told. Somewhere on the inside, I felt my story would help those who had experienced similar situations. To my surprise, I realized two things later. Firstly – there are so many people out there who empathize with those who need support. Secondly, I realized that being heard made me feel better. I honestly do not know if the post helped anyone; it sure helped me a lot. Writing it all down helped me understand myself much better than ever before. It aided in identifying problems, identifying genuine people, process thoughts and make better decisions. I realized that I had taken the first step. The step that signifies awareness of the self!
If you read my last post – Broken Butterfly – Sowers Lifestories, June 2018 brought about many changes in my life. One of the most significant ones was my decision to ask for help. I decided to see a clinical psychologist, as I did not know who else to go to. Now, many people dear to me expressed their unhappiness regarding this decision. They felt it was unnecessary for me to ask for a third person’s help while I had people whom I could talk to, within my circle. I am glad I did not pay a lot of attention to that because there is little chance that the people you know will be unbiased. I think I needed to get away from all the people I knew during the phase of healing for my own well-being. I did not want any more judgements, assumptions or mockery of my crying and breakdowns.
Venn diagrams of who I am
I have been seeing two clinical psychologists since June. They have been blessings to me. In the beginning, I had frequent sessions with them which made me see myself in a clearer light. In one particular session, the senior therapist there drew a diagram for me. It truly represented my inner state. He made me understand that the main reason for my unhappiness was, that I changed myself according to the environment. I try to accommodate everyone. I try to fit in. I do this at the cost of my happiness, self-respect and inner peace.
A quick reflection –
How many of us are truly happy? Do we understand that its okay to not have many friends, except a few around those you don’t have to pretend?
He then drew another picture which made me realize that it is okay to not have many people around. I used to have many people around, yet I felt as lonely as ever. It is more important to have a small support structure of people who would understand me and accept me for what I really am. Wearing a mask to cover my true emotions was only going to work so long. Although I had heard all that many times before, I truly understood that being genuine was profoundly meaningful! I no longer feel the need to be ‘liked’ by everyone. I feel like ‘being different’ and that difference is what makes me, ME.
Its a process, a long and gradual one…
Although I have made so many improvements, I have those moments and days in which the most trivial of things seem huge. If anything upsets me, I end up hurting myself to calm myself down. In spite of so many sessions, I still find myself crying uncontrollably for more than 20-30 minutes in certain situations. It makes me wonder if I will ever be able to balance my emotions. When I made my therapist know about my concerns, she gave me a few simple-yet-effective tips to control my emotional outbursts. These tips not only helped me control my emotions but also helped me find a more logical path to find solutions to any of the problems and to face any situation.
- Understand that when you are in a good mood, you will always try to reason out with the other person or situation. The self-talk starts with an I/Situation/Analysis of the situation. Whereas, when you are in a bad mood, all the faults, anger and frustration points to the person or situation in front. The self- talk starts with he/she/screwed up fate/situation/jumping into conclusions.
- When you find yourself in frustrating situations, where your emotions are uncontrollable, place your head under cold running water for however long it takes to calm down. This gives you enough time to numb yourself for the moment and then think more practically to reason with yourself.
- Take a Cold Shower. I realized that it not only numbs you but the sound of water from the shower sounds like rain. Recently, I realized that the moment I got negative and disturbing thoughts in the shower, the water flow sounded like a heavy storm. When I started having positive and soothing thoughts, I could hear drizzling or pleasant peaceful rainfall. In the times when I went blank, I could feel the path of every drop of water on my head and neck. This not only calms me down. It helps me focus better and to concentrate better.
- Wear a band on your wrist. An elastic one. Whenever you feel the urge to hurt yourself to calm down or fight the situation, just pull it once and let it hit against your skin. Trust me. This works wonders! You will not dare to hurt yourself again!
- Talk to your family and/or your closest friend once a day without fail! It makes happy hormones flood your body!
Coming from me…
While studying allied health sciences, I came across a theory called the Trans-theoretical Model of Behavioural Change. According to Prochaska and DiClemente 1982 &1984, behavior change has been conceptualized as a five-stage process or continuum related to a person’s readiness to change. They are:
For a fact – once you are aware of the problem/s and the necessary changes to be made, you will prepare yourself to take action and maintain them for a changed behaviour. But, the maintenance phase is one of the most difficult to achieve, especially when it comes to psychological thinking and behavioural patterns. I realized that when we are aware or are made aware of our problems, professionals such as psychologists, true friends and family will definitely help us take action and to see it through.
I have become a staunch believer of the following sentences in the past couple of months. Believe in yourself. Use more common sense. Just because it is a golden needle, it does not mean you need to poke your eyes with it! Have a small circle with whom you can be your most genuine self. BE REAL NO MATTER WHAT!
The strength in analyzing my past and knowing myself better has given me a new wave of strength. Based on very little knowledge and my personal experiences, I have put forth what has worked for me so far. If this helps you fight your battle against depression even by a single per cent, I count my motive fulfilled!
If you would like to share your experiences or if you have any questions or comments, you can write to [email protected] . I’d be happy to respond!
Featured image: yazhangphotography.smugmug.com