My Therapy Stories (#2) : Self-Esteem

Self-Esteem can be effected by a number of things. Health was my reason. Here’s what therapy revealed for my well-being and confidence levels.

Some people are just overly susceptible to falling sick and all other kind of health issues. Growing up, I was one of them. This is part 2 in My Therapy Stories and I’m here to tell you about how inner child therapy boosted my self-esteem.

Growing up, I always felt so much guilt and shame, because my immunity wasn’t great. Constantly falling sick meant missing important events and opportunities. It’s funny and saddening at the same time to recall some of the things that shaped my image amongst people (and in my head too).

HEALTH (& GUILT) IN CLASS

I missed a lot of exams, took a lot of ‘half-days’ where my dad would have to bring me back early from school. I felt grateful for him, and yet quite ashamed of myself for constantly causing him this inconvenience. More and more, I tried to be independent and to not need my parents for anything.

Rarely, this was the case. So you can imagine the guilt-ception that followed. And the downward spiral of confidence levels and self-esteem.

This one time, when I was about 9 years old, our class went on a field trip to a house-turned-museum.

class, school, cole elementary, boise, Idaho, children, classroom, class photo, health
A cute class photo around the time we went on our field trip, back in 4th grade.

I was so sick that I puked in the museum’s non-usable toilet. Yikes! Post that trip, one of my classmate’s parents commented, about how sick I always am. A face of disapproval and disgust accompanied her words.

In a session of Writing Therapy, I recalled this particular incident, which as a child became the root of my ever-increasing guilt. I was made to believe that I was inconvenient.

Another time, once I was back in India and a lot older, one of my teachers sympathetically told me that she thinks I should get some kind of special ‘havan‘ (an Indian ritual to please the Gods) done to free myself from all the ailments.

This same teacher went ahead and down-played my responsibility as a House Caption (to a Vice), just because she thought I’m always sick and won’t be available to take on the role. Thankfully for me, the Captain became one of my best friends, and we also had a good laugh about the situation.

selfie, ryan, school, yellow, smiling, happy faces, health, well-being, self-esteem
A selfie with the ‘Captain’ for Yellow House. She’s one of my best friends till date, so jokes on you, teacher!
Self-esteem? What’s that?!

Even as I continued to grow up, I continued falling sick and missing out on a lot of things.

In college, we planned the first and last trip, us friends. As you can probably tell by now, I didn’t go, because my health gave away, last-moment.

Sure, my friends were supportive, and also cracked a few jokes at my dispense, but internally, it can become exhausting never being able to rely on yourself.

For the longest time, people held the impression of me as the girl that always falls sick. That label, the one I appalled the most, clung on harder with each passing year.

BUT DID YOU DIE?!

No. Things finally took a turn when I began working.

Work was flexible – I could work from home if I wasn’t feeling well. By the end of my 3.5 years stint, I was barely ever taking time ‘off’ and I was in much better health.

Also, I had two adorable roommates that took care of me when I needed to be mothered. One would get me food, the other would bring back medicines on her way from work. They showed me that it’s okay and natural to fall sick. And that I am lovable, regardless of how well my white cells can fight.

health, healthy, roommates, selfie, happy friends, together, anniversary, celebrate, bangalore, smiling, self-esteem, confidence
A selfie on our one year roomie-versary in 2016! Love heals everything, even a weak immune system πŸ™‚

When I first started living with my roommates, I would carry a sweater, umbrella and allergy pills even if we were going out for a dinner date. Simply because I didn’t want to fall sick. I used to carry a mask and stay miles away from anyone that remotely had a cold, because…. well.

HOW LOVE SHOWED ME MY SELF-WORTH

Ofcourse, there were some really ‘down’ moments, such as the time I cancelled my own birthday because of an Irritated Bowel, or the time time I booked a trip but couldn’t go because of the same irritated bowel.

By the end, however, I was able to laugh at my sickness and honour the downtime. These were opportunities to reflect and rejuvenate my health, both mentally and physically.

There was a particular incident where I fell and my foot’s ligament tore. This meant months of bed-rest. And a big ‘no’ against visiting the water park.

I was no longer guilty. I enjoyed that day at home, colouring (therapeutic, by the way) and eating pizza. Now I knew better than to blame myself for a situation in which not much could be done.

shiva, coloring book, pencil colors, trident, children's coloring book
The coloring activity I did when I was stuck at home with a ligament injury. Cute coloring book for kids (and adults), eh?

Sometimes, therapy is simply a loving, conducive environment that lets you be you! Those 2 years taught me a lot about love, especially self-love. And that falling sick had nothing to do with my self-esteem.

THE LAST STRAW

When I fell sick before my wedding, it was embarassing.

It was naturally a crucial time, and everything was falling apart for me. I wasn’t sure I would make it to my own engagement event. This was my trigger point, and I hit another all-time low.

My parents stood by my side and unconditionally supported me; telling me that it’s okay and that it doesn’t make me a weak person, just because I fall sick. I have the right to fall sick and be taken care of. My then-fiancee, was sweet and kept insisting that he’d come see me, inspite his own anxiousness.

Everything turned out great in the end, yes. Infact, it was like a miracle being able to actually enjoy my wedding. As though now, I was as good as new!

couple dance, therapy, healing, health, smiling. morni, engagement, sagar vasundhra, bollywood, confident, self-esteem
A still from our engagement party, where my husband and I danced at the Bollywood number, Morrni. We had a blast!

Much later, in a one-on-one session of counselling/healing, my healer helped me release more of this guilt and shame. I finally let go out a huge, deeply-rooted roadblock that was responsible for effecting my self-esteem.

Ever since, I practise affirmations to remind myself that my body is strong, and that I should be proud of myself for all the things I DO successfully do on all my good days.

Sometimes, therapy is just a reminder for ourselves to take it easy, and to let go of the performance pressure.

Final Thoughts

Physical & Mental Health are closely integrated. Once I started releasing myself from the guilt and living in a mindset of wellbeing, I started noticing a significant improvement in both spaces. My confidence level is like never before. And I don’t mean that in an arrogant way, but in a way filled with self-love and joy for my progress. πŸ™‚

There are a lot of ways in which we heal, and this is an attempt to show you the benefits of investing in what the world still ‘stigmatises’. Therapy.

Therapy isn’t for sick people. It’s for people that want to become healthier.

Read More : Inner Child Wounds

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Inner Child therapy for Self-esteem and confidence : My therapy stories

32 thoughts on “My Therapy Stories (#2) : Self-Esteem”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s amazing how much our mental and emotional health can affect our physical well being. But getting in the right space mentally can make so much difference in our personal world.

  2. I recently read that women are have low self-esteem because they feel that is wrong for them to be proud and happy for themselves, and be themselves (and show their awesomeness) to others because no one will really see it. Self-love is so hard because we, as people, think we shouldn’t love ourselves first but care for others, but it is so important to love others.

  3. Wow, so inspiring post. Self-esteem can increase your confidence. Despite of your situation you are bravely to share your story to inspire people nice post!

  4. It’s our right to be sick – mentally or physically. For me, it has always been bad mental health which made me skip important events in school and college. I have been sick for so many years and every year there was a new long-term ailment thrown in my way. No one ever tried to understand and instead, judged. You’re lucky that you had supportive friends in your bad times. πŸ™‚

  5. The correlation between mental and physical health is highly positive. Its so brave of you to share your story with the world. It will motivate others to open themselves to therapy.

  6. It is true that the mind and the body are connected. If you don’t feel good about yourself it’s easier to get sick more often. But also, you shouldn’t feel bad for getting sick. That’s your immune system, you gotta work with what you have. Your true friends will always understand.

  7. I couldn’t imagine living that way. I love your quote, therapy isn’t for sick people. It’s for people who want to be healthier. Very awesome post and so brave if8 you to share it.

  8. Wow. This really made me think. I was also sick a lot as a kid. I missed a lot of school because of my kidney issues. I ended up having surgery when I was 9 which fixed my problem. I never really thought about how hard that must have been for my self-esteem to miss so much school and bonding with friends. No wonder I’ve always been shy.

    1. Aw… I’m so touched that this revealed something for you too! Much love – its never too late to prioritise your mental health. And you’re actually right – ever since I’ve been doing my inner work, I’ve become less shy and a lot more confident in the vocal aspect as well πŸ™‚

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