I think I want to be a therapist. Because:
- I want to work with people, but in a way that I feel involved with their lives.
- I want to have a personal relationship with my clients.
- I want to work with them in a way that touches their lives.
I remember when I was a really small kid, one of my aunts(Bebo Mausi) got diagnosed with schizophrenia. I had gone to Delhi for my internship and was staying with my aunt and uncle for the summer. They dropped me off at my relatives as they were going out of town for the weekend. Bebo Mausi was visiting these relatives at the time. I had seen a lot of her when I was younger, and I remember what she was like before she got diagnosed. I was excited to see her and the others but I didn’t really know how to be around her. As we approached the house and kept ringing at the doorbell, we felt annoyed that no one was opening the door. After a couple of knocks, I see Bebo Mausi opening the wooden door on the inside but she wouldn’t open the front door. She kept peeking at us horrified. “Hi Mausi!” I said. “Kaise Ho?” (How are you? In Hindi). “Kaun hai?!” (Who is it?) she says. I look at her amused. She knows me. She’s met me. MULTIPLE times! I say “Shruti!”, she says “Chale jao! Mujhe nahi pata!” (“I don’t know you! Just leave.”)
Now, this was getting ridiculous. After a decade of playing Uno and chit chat, that is NOT the way to treat someone “Are Kya hua! Darwaza Kholo Na!” (What happened? Open the door!). “Nahi! woh log mujhe chor ke chale jaye. Tum jao. Mujhe nahi kholna.” (I don’t want to open the door! They left me alone. Please leave!) Again, I looked a her annoyed at the absurdness. I hung around some more but my uncle had to leave. “Usko bolo jane ko!”(Ask him to leave) she kept yelling at him- which I found really rude and annoying because she’s known him practically all her life! “I think I should go,” sweet uncle says. “It’s okay, I’ll be fine” I reassured him.
Apparently, my relatives had to head out for a family event and had left my aunt behind because she gets angsty around a lot of people. As I hung around, kicked at my suitcase and hummed songs, waiting for my relatives to come back and let me in, dear aunt and I got to chatting. It was funny to talk through the netted outer door to her, but I thought it was kinda fun. I started asking her what she was up to and she told me she had been watching her favorite series and making some coffee when the lights tripped temporarily. Now, given her condition, worry for us is full-blown paranoia for her. She was alone and scared and panicked really bad. She tried calling them multiple times but as they were in a function, they did not hear her frantic cries. She was thus really scared and annoyed and couldn’t bear to let anyone in. In that moment of manic, it was hard for her to recognize people and think. I melted slowly inside.
“What other series do you like?” I asked. She named a string of Hindi series that I had no idea about but I smiled and laughed at her descriptions and kept egging her on to talk about things she likes anyway. After a couple of minutes, she says, “you must be hungry right??”. “I kind of am…” I say. “Do you want to come in? I can make you a sandwich.” “Only if you’re okay with that! I would love to eat some sandwich”. She opens the door to let me in as I strut towards the living room with my luggage. She makes a dash to the kitchen, prepares a really nice cheese and vegetable sandwich and makes some of her famous coffee as well! We sit down at the dining table and chat like we used to while I eat. I smile at her fondly as she animatedly tells me about her life, wishing that she wouldn’t have to live with moments of terror and pain like she did. Even though so much has changed, I still love her I guess. She’s my aunt! You know? ❤ And she’s a wonderful person!
Two days later, when my uncle came to pick me up, he asked me how I’d managed to get in that day. Impressed, he says “you’re really good at this. you should do this for a living”. “Be a therapist?” I smirk, amused. “Think of all the people you’d help,” he says. I breathe slowly, wondering how I seem to be talented at everything apart from my engineering degree ALthough, I have been in therapy for almost three years now, in the past few months I’ve experienced some shifts that have felt truly powerful. And for that, I’m grateful. It’s like a change in my lense, and now I can see better! 🙂 Having had some immensely vulnerable sessions with my therapist, I have been grateful to experience the growth I did. People think you need to be ill to go to therapy. Cliche as it sounds, do you need to fall ill to go to the gym? No, right? They why wait for your emotional muscles to wither and strain before you decide that its time to take care of yourself? The mind and body are connected, more than we’d like to admit. In fact, emotional pain often hurts much more than physical pain. It’s a fact! Your psychological health alters your brain chemistry, which in turn is bound to impact your energy levels, sleep cycle, temperament, and much more.
It’s so sad to see that something so basic as emotional hygiene is not taught to us in school. We can learn integral and differential calculus, but nobody wants to help us to understand our emotions better. They’re there for a reason so that they can guide you towards being true to yourself. Dismissing them or suppressing them does not help. It only makes matters worse. In today’s day and age, there are so many engineers, doctors, writers, artists. But not enough mental health professionals. It makes me sad sometimes. The power of therapy is phenomenal. The healing power of our minds is commendable. Trust me, I know. I’m one of those people who was blessed with guidance and help at the right time. I love working on myself. I’m obsessed with it. My therapist calls me a ‘good student’, cause I study and make notes and hang on to every word of professional advice she shares. It has changed my life entirely. I feel a sense of health and vitality that I haven’t in years. And often in the light of day, when I’m writing or working on a mental health workbook or trying to convince a friend to go to therapy, I quietly wonder to my self: Could this really be my ‘calling’?
Who knows ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
We’ll find out I guess. All ‘I’ know is…