I took a very long time to come to terms with the fact that I need help for my mental health. And then I was so scared of telling my parents about it So I felt the need to hide it from my friends, my family And there was so much confusion and this fear of what everybody would think about me But eventually what I realized is that the only way to overcome this confusion and fear is to learn about it and to educate ourselves. So, I have a lineup of mental health professionals who will help us understand a different perspective and hopefully help us discover a healthier and happier way of living So, to begin with I have my friend Drishti who happens to be pursuing her MA in
applied psychology and while I was talking to her, I realized that it’s helpful to understand the concepts at the very core And I wish I knew some of these things before I started my journey of getting help to know the difference between what the right kind of help is and what will work for me vs what wouldn’t work for me. So I hope you enjoy this conversation with Drishti
And let’s learn together about mental health I think we as individuals so many times don’t notice physical things, things that are obviously visible in front of us that it’s so easy to tune out of things that are invisible or that happen in our head. And I think that’s what happens when you experience any anxiety, any mental health issue it’s so easy for you to not notice.
I think the same thing happened to me it was so confusing as an emotional experience and I wasn’t understanding anything. and because I wasn’t understanding anything, I obviously didn’t take any action towards it. I didn’t know what to do No comprehension of what was happening to me And because I kept ignoring it I ultimately had a physical breakdown.
Which is sort of when I realized something was wrong. And that is when I wished I hadn’t waited so long cuz I ignored small signs which made so much sense in hindsight but I didn’t pay any attention because I didn’t know any better. I think it makes sense when you backtrack and you are like oh I get it now but you’ve reached here the volcano has kind of erupted and then there is lava everywhere. What do you do with it now. I think that’s why it’s important to educate ourselves about these things from the beginning for everybody. So that you can identify early signs, take care of yourself, protect yourself, self care and everything and I think it’s good that we are having this discussion today where I can share my personal experience and you can break it down for the audience.
– I can try 🙂 You can try. That’s what we are doing here. We are trying to help other people relate to our stories never going to be same for them. but hopefully it can help them understand softer aspects which are not so obvious. I think from what you say, something that resonates is the fact that what drives individuals in general all the time is our need to want to make sense of our reality and everything that surrounds us So I think it’s equally important to turn inward and make sense of what’s going on inside the machinery that’s doing the work outside.
So do you wanna tell me about what lead to the final physical symptom that you spoke about that allowed you to backtrack and make sense of what was happening The physical symptom at that time that I remember, my appetite had gone down significantly I kept thinking it was a gastro issue so I was taking all possible gastro medicines at the time imaginable. thinking it was a gut issue and I remember it was a sunday so I was sitting with a friend as routine of a setting as possible, I was having breakfast. My body was aching and my arm was hurting and I said oh well it’s my right arm so it possibly can’t be heart attack right? But I was like okay this is not normal why don’t we go to the hospital. And by the time I reached the hospital, both my arms were hurting it had gotten to a point where I couldn’t ignore it any longer and at the hospital they check my vitals everything was fine And even the doctor took some time to first figure out is there something physically wrong with me and then I calm down, was taken to a senior doctor and you know all he said in the end was “bacche, you are very stressed” and then I walked out later he told me to understand in a very normal relaxed setting that I had a panic attack. And then they gave me steps how to understand early on what all I can do. And since then it has been a lot easier and you know, I had similar incident in the past and I didn’t even understand because at that time I was in the US I had nobody around me so it happened, it passed and I made nothing of it. So it’s not like its not been happening over the years. It has been. It’s just, you don’t pay attention. It’s been a lot easier after the doctor told you, you have stress and someone explained in terms of whatever diagram they drew for you that this is what a panic attack looks like But I think it’s equally important to realize that when it comes to mental health identification you need to realize when something is wrong, that’s not enough. I think it’s really important to realize that just going to a doctor, getting a diagnosis so to say is not enough. It’s something you do all the time. like I brush my teeth everyday but I also floss. And flossing is a little extra work out there but it helps. And we do it. So just like in your brain. After that incident, I realized how important counseling is. I had been to councilors before any of this happened. And it didn’t feel like I was deriving the benefit of it. I didn’t feel like the first time I remember I went to a counselor, I didn’t even tell my parents cuz I was so ashamed that I needed to go to a counselor I was so ashamed of it! And when I went there, this is the first time I’m telling somebody how I am feeling And they are like, (hurry up) It happens all the time. And you know in hindsight I was like OMG, I need to rush through this But I didn’t think there was something wrong with the setting I was just going to come to that. You said you’ve been to a couple of counselors so to say So how do you understand counseling? What is counseling to you, what is a counselor for you? I didn’t understand anything. Back then, I was googling psychologists around me psychiatrists around me, help for anxiety Do you think there is a difference between these professionals or do you think they are just different names for similar kind of practice? I mean now I know. The difference that I knew as an educated layman’s term is that psychiatrists can prescribe medicines, psychologists can’t that’s all I knew. Okay, I am going to go to a psychiatrist because I’m going to get better fast. And I want that external help to feel better. So then I went to a psychiatrist. He heard me for like 15 minutes All of my life issues right and was like okay take this.
And I was like should I come back to you again? and he was like, “well if you feel the need to” Take this and see how you feel and we’ll talk about it. You are a responsible girl, a strong girl… And I googled the medicine after I had seen him and it said some anti-depressant and then I was like “OMG I’m not depressed”
See sometimes google is not your friend Yeah, it’s a lot of times. And luckily I had friends who were studying medicine who told me to stop doing this try to figure this out on your own and then I said, oh you know what I might talk to my friends about this. My friends make me feel better. So why do I have to go out and get help So the lines of getting help were getting blurry as I was going into this. And the concept of what help is itself is cute right. Because what are you talking about getting help in terms of just popping a pill everyday and it’s interesting you said you googled psychiatrists and psychologists and then you went to counselors and those are three terms that you’ve just introduced. Can you break them down?
-Absolutely! So basically, this is how it works here. A psychiatrist is a doctor, a medical doctor someone who studies MBBS and studies psychiatry studies in hospitals and can prescribe drugs. And then the pre dominant role is you go to a psychiatrist as you said you talk about what you’ve gone through and then they come up with some sort of diagnosis which is I don’t like using the word label or tag but you kind of club all your symptoms down into one disorder so to say. I am also going to mix my words here because the concept of disorder or symptom is undergoing a lot of change so it’s important to realize that these are very flipping terms and the individual has a disorder, the individual is not the disorder and even disorder like you could be sad because your dog died hypothetically and that doesn’t necessarily mean you are depressed so it’s important to understand these but keeping all of these in mind, a psychiatrist is more going to identify what disorder you have and is going to give you medication accordingly. But a psychiatrist is not going to sit & talk to you through your issues and try and make sense of what’s going on. A clinical psychologist on the other hand does, I don’t know have you ever done tests where you’ve gone to a clinic and they sat you down and made you do these pick the word that suits you or color the box or one sentence or so and so So basically those tests are called psychological tests and you have various kinds of tests. You are basically working in the area of disability right now so there is a whole separate bunch of tests used to identify things like autism which is what you work for. But similarly tests that help identify if you are at risk of suicide or depression, so on and so fourth. Even in terms of what your personality is like And the individual who administers those tests, scores that & makes the report & can make sense of that data is a clinical psychologist. And a councilor is what you seem to have been looking for all along. A councilor or a psychotherapist is someone you go to and you’re with them for the longest time and have conversation which is how therapy is understood but even that we kind of demystify. But a councilor is someone you go and meet every week or 10 days and have a session so to say. And they stay with you through the larger part of your journey which it makes sense of what’s going on. And a councilor is not like you come to me and you say this is my problem. It’s not a chemistry equation where you give me the left hand side and I will tell you the right hand side It’s a space for you that the councilor as a professional is required to create where you feel comfortable. You don’t always have to talk. You don’t always have to share what you want or what you don’t But the idea is that space is comfortable and safe enough that you to feel there is some sort of change I think that is very helpful. I wish someone had told me that early on. And I feel like for everybody watching if you can remember that and know what kind of help you need and get the right kind of help, it’s very important. So I don’t even want to get into the neurodiversity space right now because even for neurotypicals why is therapy just put in a box as a typical “you sit on a couch and talk to somebody” sort of a thing? and maybe that is not a comfort space for so many people, they don’t even go out and ask for help. So, two things I’d like to add is 1, even in our conversation you see there are so many compartments that we are stuffing people in and its really difficult to even come up with a language that is diversity friendly so to say and that really bothers me on a very personal and professional level that we have a concept of a neurotypical and neurodiverse. I think we all are neurodiverse. Cuz everybody functions differently I wish everybody accepts that. Let’s not have a word. We all are individuals that’s it. Also secondly you spoke about Having to sit on a couch and talk and it has little bit to do with how psychotherapy kind of came about. No psychotherapy reflects someone laying down on a couch and somebody else sitting back & listening to you that’s just how psychotherapy started
and that’s called psychoanalysis. All other kinds of therapy are built on this concept Maybe some have turned away from psychoanalysis or have moved towards it But everybody have used the medium of language.
Recently I was reading about trauma Like if someone has higher traumatic experience,
how do you get them to calm in terms of first intervention, trauma is not stored linguistically. It’s stored in your body and images so talking doesn’t work there. We now fortunately have art they are called expressive therapy so you have dance, play, drama and it’s not about whether you are an artist. It’s not about artistic creativity. It’s all about imagination & expression it’s good that we are moving forward but there are also the flip side is we don’t have enough trained professionals who really understand how to use it. It’s not a gimmick you know.
I’m not going to give you a piece of paper sand say draw and in the end make you pay for the 45 minutes and say okay, this is therapy. There is a whole process it’s nuance But again, it’s good that we are creating space for something like that. and even if you come to a room and want to talk sometimes it takes a lot of sessions with someone who is so to say able to articulate to even, want to talk. and that is not the job of anyone but the therapist which is why I keep saying “therapy is a space” because I need to create that space where you feel comfortable enough to share what it’s you want to in whatever way you want. there are books written about therapy where the therapist didn’t talk at all. If you read books on play therapy they used sandpits & children had to walk through their traumatic experience just playing with sand. They have not spoken a word in therapy and there is been a change. So it’s important that we keep that in mind but also unfortunately people aren’t trained well enough and it becomes a very gimmicky thing.
So it’s a very fine line. Guys so this was the first part of our conversation. In the next part, we will deep dive into these concepts And also talk about issues like stigma and therapy as a space. Please subscribe to our channel and share these videos. You never know who needs to hear this who needs to educate themselves. If not now, this might be beneficial in the future. The purpose of these videos is to help ourselves learn a happier and healthier way of living. And it’s only possible if you keep supporting us the way you do! 🙂