Nobody understands a broken heart.
One of my clients is a classical example of how family and friends ignore helping their loved ones.
It was pleasant Mumbai winter evening when this a young guy walked into my clinic. The first look, his body posture, his facial expression, way of walking, triggered my mind-vision towards a 100% positive case of clinical depression which was probably stage 4 or worse.
Young depressive clients are a big enigma...they try the best to conceal what is causing the pain...and above all their family members don't understand their emotional state. But at the same time they are the most professionally satisfying, cause the recovery rate is extremely high.
This young chap walked in accompanied by an elderly gentlemen, who I later came to know was his father. After the initial introductions, the gentlemen moved the conversation from introductions towards the issue of concern..."doctor, I am here along with my son. He seems to have this problem for which I have counseled him, but seems it didn't work"
"Our main concern is that since past few days he isn't concentrating on his studies and that has shown in his marks. Also since last few weeks his energy levels have gone down. He is sleepy or tired most of the time... and yes another thing, he isn't speaking to us like he used to before... now gets angry easily or just keeps quiet"
True to the Indian parent concerns, the gentlemen was very direct on what he perceived as a case of "exams/studies related stress", which he had tried his very well to "counsel"... Will like to mention that such "counseling" for a great majority of parents means a specific cycle of events. These events can be described as, comparing with other kids from the family, scolding, punishment like stopping from meeting friends and finally when nothing works using physical beatings to "make the child understand"...going away from the moral policing...and coming to the point...
After the gentlemen took the pains to tell me his part of the story ....it was my time to come into action. I had read the chaps face and sensed that there was some under-line reason for all these depressive symptoms. Politely I asked the father if he was fine with me having a one-on-one counseling session with his son. Relieved of passing on the responsibilities to a professional, the father immediately jumped out of his seat and went outside my consultancy room for the next 45min.
Like in such sessions, the session started at a bumpy note....It took 5min of silence, occasional introductions, random talk for the young adolescent to finally understand that what he and me would be talking won't be spoken out to his father.
He started slowly narrating his problem, which turned out to be a new age romeo-juliet saga:
He was a 22yrs old guy who was on the verge of finishing his graduation in a engineering. It was 4yrs ago, at the start of his college that he saw his juliet. As he described it, It was love at first sight. Since the moment he saw her, he started loving her. After nearly a year of dreaming about her, he finally got to go on a date with her. And after she also accepted his offer of "friendship", they started their romance. With time, he became more and more emotionally attached to her. And his world slowly started to revolve around her, the point came when she became the central focal point of his living. (now cann't blame him...after all many guys believe and practice the "love is blind" concept)...
2 months ago, as they approached final semester, he decide to make their union more formal. He informed her about his decision of them getting married as soon as they pass out. With all their differences in caste and creed, he was sure that they would be able to convince their parents. Since then he noticed a change in her behavior, she slowly started distancing herself from him. A couple of weeks ago, she finally broke off the relationship saying that "she would marry only he her parents chose, and in her family girls where not allowed to choose"
Our Romeo, couldn't take this major stab into his emotional heart and since then sank into the deep sands of clinical depression... his mind was still livid and vivid with her memories. He was haunted by the question "why me?" through out the day, and just didn't care about life any longer.
The saddest part of the story was that he couldn't get help from the closest emotional corners of his life. Telling his parents would have meant igniting a family disaster. Most of his friends had never been in a serious relationship, so their saying that "love is like a taxi, just let one go and wait for the next" never got down his throat very well.
Drinking and smoking never helped as they showed in the movies, as they just increased the frequencies of the memories in his mind.
And getting his mind to concentrate into studies was a resource he used with uttermost failure.
His mental restlessness had increased to such an extent that he had thought of suicide a couple of times, but always stopped at last moment.
After a successful 45min counseling session, it was obvious that it had helped him find someone to whom he could vent out his frustrations and sadness without being judged about.
His clinical condition warranted a few more counseling sessions, with a clinical approach to solving the problem.
Yesterday was his final counseling session, it's amazing how in a few months he has conquered his sadness, succeeded in again feeling happy with his friends and family, and be part of society he had left a few months ago.
He hasn't lost love for that girl, and he hasn't got her back. He still has memories of her, but now he has understood the power of love. He has understood his power to give love. With me being a catalyst in this process, he has now started seeing life as an opportunity to spread love and happiness.
Thanks for reading,
Dr.Hemant Mittal (MBBS, PGDPM, MBPS, MD(mindmantra))
emotional, behavioral, sleep, memory and sexual health consultant at mind mantra
email counseling - firstname.lastname@example.org