Before I start on what I am writing or what I am trying to put a perspective on let me give you an excerpt from a renowned Indian author Mr. Chetan Bhagat’s novel Two States which has been commercial blockbuster of last year.
“Why am I referred here? I don’t have a problem,” I said.
She didn’t react. Just gestured that I remove my shoes and take the couch. She had an office like any other doctor’s, minus the smells and cold, dangerous instruments.
She waited for me to talk more. I hesitated and spoke again.
“I’m sure people come here with big, insurmountable problems. Girlfriends dump their boyfriends everyday. Hardly the reason to see a shrink, right? What am I, a psycho?”
“No, I am the psycho. Psychotherapist to be precise. If you don’t mind, I prefer that to shrink,” she said.
Now I would like to point out here of how we all have an ordained assumption that we don’t have any problems or troubles in life. That we are just perfect and life is just perfect. And seeking help from someone will mean that you’re inefficient to lead a life perfectly. And so whenever you mention to someone that “I think you should visit a psychotherapist or shrink”, the first reaction most people will give is “I am not mad.”
We are on a good road to progress as a country economically, but are we free from unreasonable social barriers yet? Why does it hurt our ego so much to say out loud “I have a problem and I not able to cope with it. I. NEED. HELP. ” Psychotherapy or counselling or seeking an advice from a person trained into dealing with human psychology is often regarded as a Western concept. Such kind of practice in India is looked upon as something that is to be kept a secret with you. Or to the max be managed at home or in a trusted group of friends who want to emotionally comfort you but have no professional skills or understanding to the issue at hand. And every psychotherapist is, in a lay man’s language “a doctor for mad men i.e. only people with mental illness can go to him” Not confronting to a psychotherapist and just overlooking problems may lead mental disorders, though. This again is taboo word. We cannot have emotional problems or mental disorders and even if we have that we cannot be vocal about it. NO WAY!
The psychological and physical fitness of a person is usually tried to be ensured through yoga or meditation, which I do not doubt. But sometimes all you need is for someone to listen. We may just need a constructive conversation of to cope with things better. We all want to see a better future or our country but to the extent that society supports such conservative thoughts and practices we may not really gain a lot even if we progress economically. Because freedom is not achieved when you celebrate Independence Day but when you free your society from such stigmas.