The Happee Times

Invest In Your Happiness

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March 2022

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Rohan comes back after giving an interview and meets his friend Sanya. Let's have a look at what Sanya had to say to Rohan, who was battling poor self-esteem as a result of multiple job rejections.

Hey! How did the interview go?

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*bursts into tears*

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Heyyy…What happened Rohan?! Are you all right?

I don’t know. This is the 18th interview I’ve given and at this point, I don’t even know what to expect. After getting rejected plenty of times, I have started to lose faith in myself. It seems like I can’t get anything right these days.

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I’m really sorry Rohan, it breaks my heart to see you like this. You seemed to be smiling whenever I met you and asked about your interviews, and I thought maybe you were doing just fine.

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No, that’s not true. I just said that to put up a strong front. I didn’t want to seem weak by telling everyone that I had gotten rejected so many times. It made me feel ashamed of myself. I just couldn’t bring myself to reveal how I was actually feeling.

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I won’t tell you that it’s okay and that you’ll be fine as time passes, but let me tell you this instead - “Remember a while back when I was getting angry quite often even at the smallest things? I was going through a rough patch and I didn’t know what to do. I felt just like you. I didn’t know whom to confide in and how to feel better. It was then that I decided to seek therapy, because that felt like the last resort.

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Therapy? How come you’ve never told me about this?

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It was just a couple of weeks ago that I had my last session. It took some time for me to come to terms with what I was facing. Looking back, I feel that therapy did help me understand myself better. I was able to express everything without giving it a second thought. It felt like a safe space.

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Hmmm…but isn't it the same thing as me expressing my feelings to you right now?

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That’s what even I thought…

Sanya explains to Rohan that in the process of therapy, she realized that while venting to an acquaintance, she tended to resist talking about some specific things because she didn’t want them to see her in a certain light for the rest of her life. But with a therapist, she did not have to think twice. Sanya felt a sense of freedom in being able to talk about everything that came to her mind without worrying about being judged. Moreover, everything remains strictly confidential so she doesn't have to worry about whatever she shared being disclosed to anybody else without her knowledge.

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So, you’re saying that if I express my current situation to a therapist, they’ll advise me on what I should do about it?

Therapists don’t advise Rohan, therapy is not solution-focused. This confusion that you’re feeling about your situation right now, they’ll help you figure that out. They’ll help you understand the roots of your self-doubt and any other emotions that you’re feeling. For me, therapy was all about gaining a different perspective, becoming more self-aware, building practical coping skills, making decisions for myself and getting a fresh start. 

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Let’s say if I go to a doctor, they would prescribe me medicine and I would feel fine after that. But you’re telling me if I go to a therapist, I won’t get the advice that I need since it’s not solution-focused. So what’s even the point? I still don’t get it.

Sanya tells Rohan that a therapist cannot magically “fix” the situation that you’re going through. If human emotions were so easy to understand, don’t you think you would have figured out how to feel better yourself? 

Understand it this way - remember how in the Bhagavad Gita, the mighty warrior Arjun faced a dilemma right before going into the battlefield? The interaction between Lord Krishna and Arjun somewhat resembles a therapeutic session. But did Lord Krishna instruct Arjun and tell him EXACTLY what he needed to do? No. In the end, he told Arjun that his actions were a result of his choice. Only he alone could make the right decision for himself. 

Our actions and how we view the world, are a reflection of our thoughts. Sometimes, that mirror through which we see ourselves and the world, collects dust due to our bad experiences or wrong ideas that we’ve learnt. Going to therapy means that we are deliberately taking action to clean up that mirror, and develop the right perspective to see both ourselves and the world. Everything slowly starts to become clear. 

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Hmmm….kind of makes sense. Maybe I’ll consider the idea of taking therapy later. So should I talk to a therapist about how my interviews are not going well?

Yes, that, and anything else that comes to your mind. Rohan, what do you do when you can’t find your favourite t-shirt that you kept in your closet?

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Exactly! That is the main essence of therapy.

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Take everything out?

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Sometimes in life, we end up in situations where we get overwhelmed by the number of emotions we are experiencing. There is so much going on in our minds that it becomes difficult to understand how we really feel about something, where certain thoughts are coming from, and why we are reacting in certain ways. A therapist has a third-person perspective. They are professionally trained to see things from an objective point of view. They can see the situation from afar and help you uncoil the pattern of your negative thoughts, how these thoughts are evoking certain feelings and how these feelings are determining your behaviour.

You can think of it as a game of ‘join the dots’. By entering therapy with a sense of open-mindedness and flexibility, you learn so much about yourself and your thought patterns which often go unacknowledged. A therapist helps us to challenge our belief systems, and empowers us to take the right action for ourselves.

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But I’ve also heard that the process of therapy is very painful. I am already in a state of exhaustion, why would I want to go through more pain?

Yes, Rohan, sometimes therapy can be painful but one needs to realize that one cannot skip the pain. Feeling the pain is a part of the process of healing. A therapist gives you an objective and unbiased point of view. They tell you what you need to hear instead of what you want to hear and sometimes it is hard to take it in.

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If I do decide to take therapy, could you share the details of which therapist you went to?

Sure, I will share the details of the therapist I went to. But in case you decide to go for another therapist, be sure to check their qualifications beforehand. Make sure you’re investing your time with someone who is right for you and who doesn’t make you feel judged. At the same time, try to be patient and take a few sessions to really recognise how you feel. 

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Alright, and how much does each session cost?

It depends from therapist to therapist, but usually, the cost of each session is around 700-1500 rupees per session.

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What?! Are you kidding me? That’s so expensive!

Sanya elaborates that whenever she thinks of spending money on something, she evaluates the value it would add to her life. When she was contemplating taking therapy, the same thought crossed her mind but then she realized that she doesn't even pause before treating herself with an expensive pair of shoes or a Netflix subscription, which is not wrong because they do bring her momentary happiness. 

But in the long run, she is not deriving value out of those and they are a liability. 

Then while pondering about therapy, she realized it's her investing in her most prized asset, i.e., herself. It would bring a long-lasting change in her which would further lead to long-term happiness. Therapy has a much higher return on investment than splurging on material things. Looking back, she can say investing in every single session was worth it.

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That makes total sense. So how many sessions did you take?

It took me about 8 sessions but I think the number of sessions and the therapeutic process, which is uniquely tailored based on the problem, differs from individual to individual.

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Okay, but tell me what is the minimum number of sessions that I need to take to gain clarity and to feel better?

Again, remember how I said therapy is not “solution-focused”? Taking therapy now does not mean that you’re equipped to deal with every situation that life throws at you. It will definitely improve your coping skills but you’re only human, and the reality is that there may come a time again in the future when you’re faced with a difficult situation that impacts your day-to-day well-being.

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For Sanya therapy brought a mindset change. She realized that she does get her full body check-ups done every once in a while and runs to the doctor as soon as her body runs a temperature. But why has she never thought about her mental health in a similar manner? She was failing to recognize the mental symptoms her body was showing that indicated that something was wrong. After giving it a thought, Sanya decided that she will make sure to schedule her regular mental health check-ups too. 

We care so much about dental hygiene and visit the dentist every six months, so why not give the same amount of care to our mental hygiene, which is equally important?

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Thank you so much Sanya, you’ve explained everything so patiently to me. I will definitely give therapy a try. I wish more people had access to this knowledge that you’ve given me. Growing up, we’ve never actually had conversations around mental health and grew up with the stigma that those that go to a psychiatrist/psychologist are deemed “crazy”.

 

After talking to you, I think therapy doesn’t seem as peculiar a phenomenon as I initially thought it was. Maybe it was the taboo and ignorance about it that made me feel this way.

I’ve been feeling so disappointed in myself lately and I was feeling that maybe this is how I am supposed to feel for the rest of my life. Talking to you has given me a ray of hope. 

Seeing how you have suggested therapy to me, I know that you really want me to feel better. Thank you, friend! I will definitely take a couple of sessions and let you know how I feel!

A Note to our Readers: If you are going through/ have been through a rough patch in your life and decided to seek therapy for yourself, you are not mad or weak. You are not wasting your time or your money. In fact, you are strong and courageous enough to seek help to be able to take the right action for yourself. You are self-aware enough to know your needs and are wise for working on and investing in your most important asset, YOU.