Mental Health Diaries.

For all those who have been following the blog, I have started writing more regularly on my website http://www.guptasonali.com.

In my effort to create an open dialogue about mental health, I have started my own Facebook Page which would curate some of the best events, mentalhealth initiatives and people who are contributing to the community.

I would love you to follow the page and share your inputs. Here is the link to the page. https://www.facebook.com/mentalhealthdiary/

Thanks for your support as always.

Finding Strength Within

As I’m sitting down after, listening to Deepika Padukone’s interview on NDTV, about her personal experience of depression, I’m moved to the point where tears are rolling down my eyes and I feel an immense sense of respect, admiration for her.

I look back at my life as a Psychologist, where clients chose to trust me with their deepest vulnerable selves, I realize how most of them have moved on to a better space, where they are more in charge, have dealt with past baggage and chosen to turn their vulnerabilities into their strength. The interview was a reminder of how some clients have said exactly the same words that Deepika narrated.

Sometimes depression or anxiety leads a silent life, within us. We choose not to acknowledge it, as we believe it as a phase that would pass. As the Psychologist Guy Winch says — We cannot just shake off the depression, it needs to be handled and managed. Most clients show immense resilience and inherent strength that comes to life as we begin to deal with the layers of depression in therapy. A client whom I worked with, a few years back, told me how depression was a blessing in disguise. It reminded her how there were ways to fight it and choose a life where one is more in touch with oneself.

I’m often asked how I can distance myself from all the pain and sadness that clients bring in to therapy. The answer is quite simple actually — my clients also bring a deeper sense of hope, resilience and an ability to fight back, which makes me admire the human spirit even in moments when they are fragile.

We all feel vulnerable, and awareness of this vulnerability is our strength. Our strength to heal, to find meaning in moments of despair, and most importantly, as Deepika did, bare one’s personal journey so as to heal many others.

Self-Care, The Secret to Repairing Self-Esteem

My first column on TheSwaddle.com – http://theswaddle.com/self-care-repairs-self-esteem/

This is an article about the value of Self Care and Self Compassion in our lives as women. Many women mention how fragile their self esteem is and the absence of compassion in their own lives.

In the company of men

So my Facebook and Twitter, is filled with people sharing India’s Daughter Documentary. I wonder if this is perpetuating a prejudice of it’s own kind, I understand there are men out there, with an attitude documented, but I have a different story to tell.

So I choose to look at men like my husband, brother and a lot of my friends on my Facebook list who are some of the most compassionate, sensitive and beautiful human beings. These men are what I call humanists, they felt the same pain as I felt when the Nirbhaya incident happened. They were hurt, tormented and wondered how we could change it. To stereotype, Indian men and put them in a box, I don’t think I agree with that statement. I read a post about an Indian student, who lost their internship abroad due to this prevalent bias that Indian men can’t be trusted.

My husband has cooked meals for my daughter, been a support for our daughter and I also see my friend’s husbands do a similar thing.

Male colleagues have understood how it is difficult to multitask and have been sensitive to the concerns.

My worry is we choose to show documentaries and focus on one side of the nation. Do we want to raise our children in an environment of paranoia? Let me say I’m in the company of men, who I have utmost regard for and I think they choose to be that way. So I would love to hear stories of Indian men who have supported you and I’m sure all of us have that one person at least in our life.

Please share this post widely if you can and tell me your story..stories that help us fight the prejudice against Indian men

Visual Metaphors and Insights

When I was younger, I would ask a lot of questions to my teachers and often draw inspiration from art, theater, movies and books. Many perceived me to be a misfit, as I seemed too questioning of the existing ways psychology was taught. My gut instinct always told me that psychology existed beyond textbooks, it existed in dark alleys, minds of writers, poets and everyone who struggled with a story.

It has been over 10 years now, that I have been working as a psychologist. Whether it was my work with TISS, or private clinic, I have had the privilege of working with some of the brightest minds, human beings struggling with concerns that seems to question their deepest fears. A lot of my work has been with visual artists, writers, and people in the creative field.

Working with them have triggered visual metaphors for me, which are a huge source of my personal learning. I recently remember how in a session, a strong metaphor found life within me. The conversation revolved around how I have tried to balance or prevent myself from being carried away by strong thoughts and ideas. As I was speaking , I could see myself standing far away in a visual field, where there were multiple ideas, just like speech bubbles, surrounding me. I could see them, feel them, yet they were far away. They could influence me, subtly , but not strong to be swept away by them.I could see in my younger days, these ideas and ‘I’ were too close, and could possibly consume me. It almost feels like the, observer in me, has gradually come to being.

Thank you to everyone who has trusted me with their darkest and deepest self.

Do you think visual metaphors and insights have healed you? would love listening to your story.