• 01 Nov
    Oyindrila Basu

    Can Psychotherapy be Emotionally draining?


    When I was in my college, I had Psychology as my pass subject along with major in English literature. Studying the mind has been very intriguing to me always. Knowing what people think; what they go through; why they need to be essentially in turmoil and what is the proper cure were my interests. Hence I loved the subject especially the practical classes.

    Once in such a class, we were taken to a mental health clinic where counselling was professionally done, so that we could understand the procedure and get some hands-on experience with the thing.

    First we were made to view a counselling session, which a practitioner and medical therapist was performing with his patient.

    The patient was from Nasik; he had come to Kolkata for a few days, because he wanted to get a psychotherapy; he was away from hometown with some excuse on the name of work, I heard him saying,

    “I had to come here, because therapy was not possible there, everyone knows me there, and I am afraid, this news will spread like wild fire, that I am with a counsellor, and then there will be lots of questions from my relatives, neighbours, and may be my parents won’t accept the thing so simply.”

    He was in anxiety for six months, and he felt he was having physical issues because of his mental set back. He had already been diagnosed with high blood pressure problem, and he felt sometimes, he was hallucinating almost real situations during sleep.

    Now he was in depression too, because he had had a bad break-up with the person he was engaged to for marriage.

    What I had to focus on was the questions the therapist, Dr. Shukla asked the patient.

    “How old are you now? Since when are you having the thoughts? .... Tell me a few things that you have seen……. What was the atmosphere like? Dark? How much dark? Did you see any light? What was the colour of the light?.........”

    The questions had already started terrifying me. I wondered if I had to answer such things in detail, would I be able to recall!

    “How was your ex-fiance? How was your relationship with her? How long did it last? What was the reason for the break-up? Did she move out? What was her complaint? What did you feel like the first day she declined the relationship? What have you been doing since then? How do you actually feel?..........”, and such multitudes of questions followed. I found the patient answering some of them with a grin, but at times, he was quite uncomfortable; at moments I thought he would break into tears. I really felt for him, and I developed an assumption that the therapist was a heartless man; he was just making him feel more miserable by recalling the dark days; how can this man get better, if he keeps thinking of his break-up and his fearful thoughts? Will he ever come back again to this doctor if this is his first experience?

    Anyway, the session went on for an hour or so, and then the patient got up, took his coat and walked out shaking hands with Dr. Shukla.

    We were led to a conference room, where Dr. Shukla would come to guide us through the session that we witnessed; we could ask questions about any doubts we had.

    Many of my friends, asked about the technicalities of conducting a counselling session- what are the words to be used with a patient; how to make him/her comfortable; how to make him/her answer as we want to get information etc. etc. When it was my turn, I raised my hand in disdain and questioned, “Why does anyone come for counselling? To get relief or to be plagued more?” Dr. Shukla never asked the meaning of my question, but just laughed.

    “I know why you are asking this. You must have felt that the patient is being disturbed further when he was in a session with me. We are doctors, and we have to do what is best for our patients. If I do not ask him about his past, if I do not know what he actually thinks or visualizes, then how can I treat him? A doctor has to expose and see the cut of the patient, in order to apply ointment which will heal, isn’t it? If he doesn’t refer to his pain, what will I treat?

    Proper diagnosis is important before any treatment and that is what I do in the first session.

    Making a patient speak about his pain and trauma is also a part of the treatment; if he brings up his difficult emotions and cry over them, at least we know, he will be free and light at heart at the next moment; he will not go home with a burden. If I don’t make him speak, he will continue to bear the pain of repressed emotions in his brain, and that can be very dangerous for his mental health in future; he can be prone to serious disorders. I need to relieve him of the repression first; I know he has not been able to speak about these to anyone, so I need to be that friend whom he can entrust in; he will not admit his feelings on his own, I need to push him, and help him through with my questions….”

    The explanation was very precise and I received my answer.

    “Yes, counselling sessions can be emotionally draining, in fact, for some rigorous therapies, you may feel tired after sessions, but once you are free of your hidden pain, you can accommodate much better with your environment; you feel more healthy and comfortable; you have no guilt or fear of being judged anymore once you have spoken about it all.”

    It was amazing that such a simple thing, which I could not understand initially, was described so well with example. The doctor needs to know whether we have flu or fever through our symptoms, in order to prescribe the respective medicine, hence a psychologist and therapist needs to know our mental dysfunctioning through our pain and experiences in order to treat it and counsel it.

    Image source

    Responses 1

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Aug 03, 2017 07:15 PM

      For a psychology lover, nothing can be more interesting than witnessing a therapy session and on this virtual ground, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about it. The best part was the question of counselling being a burden for the client and the superb answer to that question. It also brought forth as to how counselling is such a big taboo in our country. Resolving emotional conflicts is so important for functioning. That mindest needs to be changed.


  • 28 Jun
    Shruti Gupta Dehradun

    An open letter to parents about exam stress

    letter to parent

    Dear Mom and Dad,

    Exams are coming and I am scared. I am scared that I might fail to live up to your expectations once again. I am scared that you will feel disappointed in me. I am scared to talk to you because all we talk of is about competitions and marks and nothing else. I am scared of being compared to Sameeksha every time.

    It makes me feel worthless. I am so scared that I want to get invisible and not face you anymore. I try and try yet I fail in your eyes. I did not perform the way you wanted me to in this term but I did improve. I wanted you to acknowledge my efforts but they were probably not worth your appreciation.

    I try harder in every attempt I make but I somehow fail to meet your expectations. Am I asking for too much when I expect you to understand that I and Sameeksha are two different individuals and have different capacities? I am not capable of sitting for hours and hours to study. I find it difficult to recall if I strain myself too much.

    I understand that you love me and want to ensure that I have a secure future but I feel trapped in your expectations.  I feel suffocated when I am not allowed to watch my favorite Television show or I am not allowed to go out with my friends. I do not understand how will locking me in my room help me get better grades.

    When you talk about my academic performance in front of my cousins with that look in your eyes, it embarrasses me. I cry at night thinking about how can I make you say "well done beta, I am proud of you". I struggle hard to keep up with my classmates in the school and then in my evening classes and I try to find solace when i come home.

    All I expect are few words of encouragement but I am left disappointed because all you ask me how my studies are going. You never care to listen what I have to say. I know you are very busy but are you that busy that you don't even have few minutes to know how my day was?

    Do you remember, the time I asked you to let me join the dance classes but you asked me not to waste time on useless things. It left me disheartened. I love to dance and I so wanted to join the classes but I did not just because you didn't want me to. Yet, you are not happy. I fail to understand what exactly am I supposed to do to make you happy.

    I still try to understand and promise myself to give my all to prove myself in front of you. But it is never enough. I know you have a lot of expectations from me and I can't thank you enough for everytthing you have done for me. I am really proud to be your daughter and please trust me, I am trying and will keep on trying my best to be what you want me to be and I promise you that a day will come when I will make both of you proud of me.

    All that I want is you to have faith in me and support me even when I am not doing that well. Your encouragement is the biggest motivation I can get. Please, accept me the way I am and please stop comparing me with anyone. Please, stop scaring me about the future and let me live in the present the way I want to live. I very well understand that I need to take the responsibility as I am no more a four year old.

    I want you to realize that I am not a kid anymore. I am sixteen and I need not be told always what I need to do.Sometimes, just let me be. You might feel that I am careless with my studies but it is not so. I want to do good not just because you want me to but I want to be good for myself too. I want that day to come in my life when I see you shouting to everyone with pride that " look that's my daughter". 

    I know it is my tenth boards this year and I should be studying instead of writing this letter to you but it took a lot of courage for me to tell you how I feel so that next time you come in my room, you come to pat my shoulder saying that you know I can and I will do well and not just to check on me or to tell me how difficult my exams are going to be. Your faith in me is the biggest inspiration I can get. 

    With love,

    Your loving daughter.

    Responses 1

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Aug 03, 2017 07:58 PM

      This is a complete picture of a student's life in our country and honestly, the mention of comparison with a girl who has topped as well as the parents giving advises about what needs to be done, were something I can relate to. I think Indian parents are excessively worried and protective of the future of their children which leads to such behaviour. They need to trust them and assure their children that they will always be there through every thick and thin. Every Indian student will be able to relate to some or the other point mentioned.

  • 27 Sep
    Oyindrila Basu

    Karan Johar Gets Candid with Depression.

    karan johar

    Karan Johar is known to be the wittiest person in Bollywood having a great sense of humour; no wonder, he successfully carries out continuous seasons of the celebrity chat show #KoffeeWithKaran without losing an inch of popularity. But as we all have known, all that glitters, is not gold, hence the lives of celebrities are not so much shiny as they appear to be on the screen. They have their own problems and difficulties to deal with; any profession doesn’t assure health and happiness.

    However, the best part of celebrities, these days, is the fact, that they are not shrinking back from their responsibility towards society; and after #DeepikaPadukone and #IleanaDeCruz, now it is The Karan Johar, from our Indian film industry who comes out with his version on depression.

    It is difficult to believe and accept, that one of the biggest filmmakers of the country, who has given us plenty of larger than life panoramic views, who spreads love and joy through his vivid presentations can have a dark reality like depression.

    Yes, he admits that he has been in depression for two years and that have been the darkest period of his life.

    He is a film maker and we all know, how much he loves cinema; a popular film maker eats cinema, breathes cinema and lives cinema; yes, the last phrase is kind of tricky; every artist, especially in the film industry needs to deal with this; living in cinema and it seems that the #KuchKuchHotaHai director has realized the pain of dealing with life and relationships of Bollywood, today, at the age of 44.

    karan johar

    “The industry should not be generalised for the reason of your loneliness. But you really wonder how many of your relationships matter and how many don't. Sometimes, the lines are very blurred in our industry. We live in this bubble all the time because we talk film, we sleep film, you eat films. And then you build relationships and emotions, and you don't know if those emotions are only for films or you take them even when you are not working together. So you end up wondering about every equation you make in the industry,” Johar admits.

    karan johar

    Once a friend of mine, who was a fresher in the cinematography field told me in a discussion; “life and relationships of actors are false; their world is makey. An actor is asked to personally romance with every co-star of his/her half-an-hour before the shoot, the director advices them, so that their chemistry is well established, they know each other and get comfortable with each other; hence cinema is an imaginative world, where real people do not have any real emotions like love, joy or happiness; it is all a mechanical cycle”, today when I hear the statement of Karan Johar, I feel an echo of the same.

    We all know that Karan Johar has not yet married, and for some reason, his sexuality has always been questioned; a few months back, one of his interviews stated clearly, that he has always been an introvert and making new friends or girl-friends had never been his cup of tea, since childhood. But society doesn’t spare anyone, people will assume things and gossip about everyone without knowing them personally and sometimes it is difficult to deal with.

    When a person is actually disturbed with the fact of loneliness, the society plagues him with questions, and he gets into anxiety.

    “At 44, when you don’t have a life partner or kids, it is difficult to deal with!”, he admits, it is difficult without a partner, a companion or somebody to grow with. He confesses his concerns and worries about his future, which is wealth and fame have not been able to compensate.

    Also he has not been able to deal with his father’s death, a relationship which was so valuable to him as a person and a cinema lover.

    All these factors piled up together till he was diagnosed with depression and anxiety attacks.

    What is inspiring in this case is that, his mental set-backs have not come in the way of his work. His resigned mood has not affected cinema; he continues to work with the same passion and dedication spreading love and joy, visible from his current, soon to be released magnum opus, #AeDilHaiMushkil, which means he has coped with his problems already; it is not that, he hasn’t been threatened by these issues, but he overcame his fears with a firm will power.

    He opens up with his mental health issues to spread an awareness to the world, that having depression or anxiety, doesn’t mean a person is handicapped and cannot do his daily jobs, and we drop out hats with respect to his optimism and responsible behaviour. There is nothing to get embarrassed about it, and he proves it.

    Depression and anxiety can be like a heart attack, it can give you physical as well as mental ailments, but the right attitude is to fight with it, come up with it for treatment.

  • 23 Sep
    Oyindrila Basu

    I Bleed PINK

    pink movie

    "Where the walls are not the boundaries, but the protective power;

    Where the ribbon is the strangling weapon of Beauty;

    Where the color of her lips doesn't lure, but scare the Beast away;

    Where the nails with all its polka dots, notches and scars the bad flesh and dumps it off in the garbage of sins;

    Where the drink isn't sparkling sensual hues, but is washing the Social mind;

    Where the color keeps my fear away; I'd love to bleed PINK."

    pink movie

    'Pink' is a girly color, and there is no logical reasoning behind it, except for yet another schoolistic authoritative information by our society; in fact, boys wearing 'Pink' is a stigma, it tarnishes their masculinity.

    The color which beautifies the roses and marks the flesh as fresh; the color which sweetens the candy floss and bubbles the blood of the sacrificial goat, becomes just another metaphor for effeminate qualities, thanks to our well-versed and extremely intellectual society.

    The ambiguity of ideas related to Pink have been well narrated in a scenic version by Shoojit Sircar and Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury.

    The story is quite simple and predictable; revolves around three working women of current time, sharing a flat on rent, free of personal and social biases, in short, having all the characteristics of the so called 'outgoing and adamant' women rather than independent and individualistic women of society. As a matter of fact, they get into trouble with some rich, influential chauvinistic guys, and hence follows a molestation episode with an elaborate trial session (which is the real part of the plot) of course, of the girls, not the guys.

    The girls file a complaint, and in return, they are made to stand on the deck with contradicting charges against them. The idea seems familiar? Yes indeed it is; we have faced such stark, realistic court room sessions with women, in graver situations like Rituparno Ghosh's Dahan(1997), B.R. Chopra's Insaaf Ka Tarazu (1980), Tapan Sinha's Adalat O Ekti Meye(1982), and not to forget the real story of Suzette Jordan, the victim of Park Street incident in 2012. The above mentioned fictions as well as the true incident, draws a verisimilitude of ideas, where the victim herself was asked for the testimony of her character, in the medical examination room, in the police station and finally in the court. Rather, the film showed what its trailer showed, unlike films like Drishyam, which had already revealed the story through its trailer, but had kept something 'yet to know', through its plot structure. Besides, the questions asked and raised today are synonymous to what were asked 30 years back, so what has changed? But in spite of this being true, Pink (2016) stands out among them, in various aspects-

    pink movie


    1. The story is framed in a contemporary society, the characters are relevant, they are real, and have the ability to fight their fears.
    It is true, 'darr sab ko lagta hai, gala sabka sukhta hai, par darr ke aage jeet hai', laughing Not only the brave girls stand up against their fears, but also an old man, who had lost all hopes for himself and his profession (because of his inappropriate psychological disposition), gets an opportunity to prove his expertise, and he does so proficiently, fighting his fear in the process.

    Here comes the excellence of Sree Amitabh Bachchan who subtly manages to give his expressions as a willing, but weak person (weak of age, and of health too). When the court room session begins in the second half, we expect that "Bachchan Saab to prosecution ki dho dega", but unfortunately, the old Mr. Sehgal has the finesse of a lawyer, but lacks the confidence to present his case, due to the long time gap, and disconnection from practice, he gradually develops and musters himself through the proceedings which is a commendable thing to note.

    2. The film bridges the gap of mentalities between the past and the present; it falsifies the notion that people from the past generation have orthodox ideas about social norms which is basically a promotion of patriarchy; in this film, a 74-year old lawyer Deepak Sehgal believes and stands by the three young girls, for truth, justice and righteousness, while the majority of so called the present learned, enlightened contemporary society, is still in the darkness of rotten assumptions, regarding what a girl should do and what she should not.

    3. Director constantly intrigues our senses with contradictions and open-endedness.
    The film has been named PINK, which is a creative contradiction to the operative thought process of society, that the color symbolizes weakness, coyness, submission, grace, elegance and anything delicate. From the ironic title, we know that what it is going to show will be completely opposite, and it IS the story of bravery, courage, uprightness and all qualities that mean strong.
    Minal's molestation is kept a '?', and I think this has been done on purpose to keep us on our toes, the open ended nature of this incident has been harped on with the cinematography, as well as through dialogue delivery of barrister Sehgal, who mistakenly calls it 'raped' first and then corrects it to 'molested', so that we as audience, are unsure of what the fact actually is, whether she is raped or molested? Also the open-ended beginning of the movie, where the actual event of the rock concert night is never clearly shown, until the end, tickles the audiences' thought process.

    4. Unlike the other films, mentioned above, this one shows a positive beginning for the society; justice is finally served; please note, the Pink saree of Dahan, became a weak point for the court proceedings, the Pink rays of sunset in Gopalpur, marked the shameful and humiliating ordeal of an enlightening, but defeated woman in Adalat O ekti Meye, but the Pink bra of Minal made all of us proud as women, it fought back with courage and enthusiasm; it preserved lives, and that is how the film is different, in spite of being same.

    Pink is different because is shows fightback. Minal doesn't succumb to her fate but hits the bottle on the brat, which is a great thing; The instinctive fear to move, the fear to stand up, the fear to push and the fear to hit hard that a woman absorbs within her, when she is being badly touched by a male, has been obliterated in this film.

    A girl for the first time, doesn't submit to the patriarchal beliefs, but hits them hard till they bleed badly; the courage to break the bottle is important; when you are being attacked, the natural defense mechanism is important; the consequences will follow; now imagine, if Minal had given up strength in the resort room, and had got raped, would that save her any social humiliation, than she was having now, after being charged of attempt to murder? No. The things would be all the same; the society would taunt her and question her character even then, history proves it; so why not fight and face it! Give the thrashing and then pay for it, rather than get trampled and yet pay the price. Death should be of glory and not of shame; “It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog.” - Mark Twain

    Women, you should keep the fire ignited within, so that you can fight with honor before you die; fear will try to scare you, but never retreat, never retreat the battle of life, use the color Pink as your strength, as your weapon to behead all the ugly minds brutally.

    Responses 2

    • Pallavi Madan
      Pallavi Madan   Oct 11, 2017 05:54 PM

      You've written an amazing article which should be read by everyone. Our society is getting modern in a narrow sense. We need more movies like Pink and more articles like these for masses to read and understand the wrong we have been doing by validating gender stereotypes in the name of culture. All the points you stated reflect how uniquely this Bollywood movie stood out and was immensely appreciated by the audience. We look for others to voice our opinions. It's time to voice our own thoughts to fight the ugly minds of the society. 

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Aug 08, 2017 10:12 AM

      This looked more like a film review initially but at the end, the message was unique and motivating enough to fight back those beasts who try to hurt women. This is all a result of gender stereotypes which have been going on in practice since forever, the patriarchal norms which advises a woman to keep her mouth shut and do not object to anything and just face it. It is actually unfortunate to see how women also give in to these questionable norms.Thanks to modernity that such notions have been questioned and adequate solutions are thought upon to stop these unethical practices but still it is a long way to go. 

  • 12 Sep
    Jennifer Scott

    Beneficial Habits for Those with Bipolar Disorder


    Living with bipolar is often like living a lifelong roller coaster ride. And though bipolar disorder cannot be cured, it can be very efficiently managed with medications and positive practices.


    While seeking treatment from a doctor is critical, you can begin to stabilize yourself with a few good habits that can help limit the symptoms of bipolar. I recently helped a friend diagnosed with bipolar disorder — I, myself, have struggled with depression for many years — experiment with a few of these positive habits, and we made some exciting progress. Here are a few changes we tried and that you may want to consider if you’re struggling with bipolar symptoms.


    Set a Consistent Daily Routine


    Even people without mental illness benefit from routine. The human brain naturally seeks consistency in our daily schedule and is far happier when it can find it. For people who are living with a mental illness such as bipolar disorder, it becomes even more important to create and stick to a set routine. When bipolar people experience a shift or disturbance of their routine, they become more at risk for an episode.


    Some key aspects of a good daily routine include a sleep schedule, a work schedule, set mealtimes, scheduled exercise time, and regularly scheduled social time. We found that although the first few days or weeks of such a schedule can be quite the adjustment, once your body and mind have become accustomed, you will see stabilization in your moods. Though my friend still sees the occasional episode, she said that the consistency of knowing exactly what to expect each day — and when to expect it — has kept her on top of her schedule and eliminated a lot of unnecessary anxiety.


    Engage in Stress-Reducing Activities


    Excess stress can trigger episodes, meaning reducing your stress is key to coping with your illness. While avoidance of stress altogether is best, it isn’t exactly feasible. Instead, schedule some time for stress-reducing activities like coloring, meditation, and exercise. Yoga is a great way to fit both meditation and exercise into one session. We combined steps one and two here, adding a weekly yoga class into our set schedules so we never have to worry about “having time” for it. Swimming is also a great form of exercise and has a meditative quality.


    And if you have a four-legged friend, spend a little extra time with them. Doing so can help boost your mood and reduce anxiety and stress. Or if you want to make a little money while you’re eliminating some stress from your life, you might try your hand at dog walking or pet sitting. Both options will allow you to take advantage of the mental health benefits that being around dogs can provide and will also boost your income in the process.


    Track your Mood Swings


    With the help of a loved one, it can be extremely helpful to your doctor if you take the time to track your moods every day. Identifying a pattern or potential triggers can aid your doctor’s attempts to stabilize your disorder and make daily life easier.


    Of course, it can be very difficult to track your own moods as you may not recognize when you are having an episode. Have a trusted loved one help take notes on your moods and behaviors throughout the day. Enlisting the help of a trusted friend or family member can improve your ability to recognize symptoms as well as manic or depressive episodes in time as you learn triggers and other signs that point to an exacerbation of your symptoms. There are even mood tracking apps if you prefer a technological approach as we do. We like having access on our phones so we never have to worry about forgetting a notebook at home, plus it adds a little discretion, especially at work — coworkers might notice you have a special notebook you always write in after a bad meeting, but they probably won’t think much of it if they see you on your phone.


    Living with bipolar disorder is no easy task for you or those around you. The best way to guarantee a normal, well-rounded life is to seek advice and treatment from a doctor. A counselor can also be very beneficial in mitigating the effects of the disease.


    In the meantime, you can be doing a number of things to ease your way into normalcy such as exercising, limiting stress, and keeping close track of your moods and episodes. If you engage in these positive behaviors, you also reduce your risk of addiction while simultaneously smoothing any hardships in your personal relationships. Experiment with a few different methods to discover what works best for you.


    Jennifer Scott experiences anxiety and depression on a regular basis. She started SpiritFinder.org in order to tell her story and empower others to share theirs. In her free time, she loves to write, study fashion, and spend time with animals.


    Image source

Book an appointment