counseling experience of a local student at RYI mental awareness support system talk it out

Importance of talking it out

Importance of talking it out

I am a talkative person, who loves to chat and make new friends. I am someone who’s gifted with the power of creativity; poetry is my way of expressing my feelings, thoughts and so on. I may be short tempered but sadness rarely appears on my face. I am the outgoing member of my family and the social being.

However, first slowly but then suddenly I found myself to be someone other than who I really am. I was utterly smashed by my inability to separate my personal and professional life. I would not speak. I could not write any poetry. I could not even wear a mask of superficial happiness. I preferred, sometimes even craved, isolation over socializing.

As a non-western student in western academic education system, I started taking all the “knowledge” that I had learnt literally. With the sudden increase of assignments, papers, and tons of readings, the rate of critical analysis arose quickly. My otherwise carefree persona was completely suppressed by an extremely critical mindset. I started questioning anything and everything. Although it might have benefited my studies to some extent, my extracurricular life was a huge mess.

Mental awareness is new concept, in most cases they are considered a taboo in most of South-Asia. So, unfortunately I was traversing to a place from where it was impossible for me to come out; not because I didn’t want to, but because I had to reach out to someone. That someone was nowhere to be found. At least that’s how I felt because I had no idea what was actually wrong with me.

It must have been a huge co-incidence and blessings that that semester, our temporary student counselor was also our teacher. We were of the same nationality and from the same culture. After learning that the counselor was open to talk about anything and everything; I gathered the courage to ask for help. I was greatly helped through numerous counselling sessions and one-time meeting with a psychiatrist.  Moreover, I managed to build a small yet profoundly instrumental support network of amazing friends who would listen to me uninterruptedly because they understood that I needed vent out all my frustrations. That’s when I realized how important it is to talk it out. Openly expressing our thoughts, rather than bottling them up, can sort out many of our obstacles, whatever they may be.

I wish I had known that earlier, but I also rejoice that at least I know it now. Because of this realization, I am putting great effort into making it easier for other local students to access counseling services.

Had it not been for counselling, friends (who were great listeners) and Buddhist teachers (who remind us to cultivate patience for whatever adversity arises—because it is bound to change) I would not be where I am today. I want to express my gratitude to everyone who stuck with me throughout this phase and brought me out of the pit in which I had been trapped. Thank you for showing me that often the best of all solutions—and sometimes the only solution—is to talk it out.

Whoever is reading this, I sincerely urge you to never bottle up your feelings and frustrations. Being vocal will bring great benefit and help you to maintain balance in both personal and professional life. It is an incredible feeling to break the habit of bottling-up your emotions. You might have been locked up due to certain conditions, but you always have the key to liberate yourself. If you cannot figure out the shape of that key, do not feel ashamed to reach out to someone who might have ideas to help you. In this way, it is extremely important to talk it out—they might be mere words mingled with voice, but the weight of weightlessness will crush those iron chains with which you inadvertently imprisoned yourself.

~ from anonymous