How therapy shifted my focus from a failed relationship to my inner self

Vrinda shares her story of living with depression after a failed relationship.


Vrinda shares her story of living with depression.vrinda-walavalkar

In the late 90s, I was possibly one of the most high-profile PR persons in the country. My job as head of PR for an extremely notorious energy company meant that I was constantly sought out by the media. Several times a year I was getting job offers that tried to top each other in the pay packets they offered. I was travelling internationally at the drop of a hat. Professionally, I was on a dream run.

My personal life meanwhile was crumbling. I had fallen deeply in love with a man, who one of my good friends had introduced me to. Just like that. Three, or maybe four meetings, some intense conversations and overnight, I was consumed with him. His friends had become mine, we seemed to constantly meet and I felt I had finally found the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

It was a rude shock to find out that he did not feel the same way at all and in fact was deeply attracted to someone else. Nothing out of the ordinary you might say. Rejection in love is standard. All of us go through a couple of those. You are simply supposed to put it down to a rite of passage or experience and move on. But I couldn’t. I fell to pieces and the sorrow so deeply that I was unable to cope. Perhaps it was the fact that I was already in my 30s, perhaps it was that I felt it was my last chance at love. Whatever the case, the tears wouldn’t stop and I would lose control midway into a conversation, even at work.

As I write this, I think back to my behavior then. I understand it, but it still makes me cringe. I tried endlessly to call the man, I put myself out in ways that are embarrassing even today. I had lots of good friends and they all tried to help but somehow ended up making it worse. From analyzing every nuance of the relationship to trying to figure out where things had gone wrong and who had misunderstood whom; it was a process that was even more painful and was leading to all of us judging each other. Every one of those conversations would leave me feeling diminished. I felt unattractive and deeply flawed. I started seeing my self-confidence as unfeminine.

Unlike many others in my situation, I was aware that I was losing it and slipping into depression. My older sister had a masters in psychology and I had been exposed to aspects of mental health. One day at work, I found myself breaking down in a meeting with my boss. I knew then that I needed to seek professional help. I remembered that a colleague of my sister was a practicing psychologist and quickly found out his clinic and made an appointment. I did not discuss this with anyone in my family. I felt if I told my parents it would worry them and they would not be able to handle it. I could not get myself to confide in my brother and sister, both of who were in the US then. Seeking counselling would certainly not have been taboo with them but a personal sense of failure is what prevented me.

The ride from Nariman Point in south Mumbai to the Cooperage where the therapist’s clinic was is barely 15 mins by car. It was the loneliest and most frightening ride of my life. If you ask me what we talked about in the first few sessions I cannot say. I don’t remember. But what I do remember is feeling a bit stronger about each one of them.

Slowly I realized we were not examining the current relationship as much as we were looking at my worldview, my definition of romantic love, my expectations of it and the pre-eminence I had always accorded it in my life. The most important thing was that the topics we explored in those sessions kept me thinking and my focus changed from the failed relationship to understanding myself.

I was no longer burdening my friends and I could see the obvious relief on their faces. It made me more aware than ever as to what I had put them through. About 4 months of therapy, initially twice a week sessions, helped me slowly get back on track. I feel I know myself much better today. Most of all I am thankful I had the strength to seek help.

 

Originally published on Live Love Laugh foundation blog.

 

#SpeakYourMindlll-logo is a special series on mental health by The Alternative in partnership with  The Live Love Laugh Foundation. Starting Mental Health Day, Oct 10th, the series will feature voices and expert views on issues like depression and anxiety disorders and how sensitivity and timely support can help people overcome them. If you have a personal story around mental health to share, please write in to editor@thealternative.in, and we will publish it in the strictest confidence.

 

 


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Live Love Laugh Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation working to address the issue of mental health in India. It focuses on increasing awareness about mental health, reduce the stigma around it and enable support to people affected by mental health issues. more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The Live Love Laugh Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation working to address the issue of mental health in India. It focuses on increasing awareness about mental health, reduce the stigma around it and enable support to people affected by mental health issues. more

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