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Prashanti Case Study

He was all of 18 years – he stood tall at 5ft 8ins. Throwing a glance at him one would say–”What a handsome boy!” If however one looked at him a little longer it would be a different story. The deep misty, sorrowful eyes would portray a pain and anguish that was deep, perhaps, as deep as the deep blue sea.

Let us call him Ashok (name changed to maintain privacy). Ashok had everything going- an engineering seat in a plush college, a posh house, parents who were earning extremely well and loved him! Then what was it that had made Ashok so frozen and limp that he had to put great effort to even make eye contact with others?

What was the mysterious reason that was preventing Ashok from going to college?

What was the mystical wand that kept him so sleepy and droopy eyed that he preferred to sleep rather than go out of the four walls of his house?

Ashok was sitting in front of me with his parents. His mother was agitated and anxious. “Why isn’t Ashok behaving like he once did? I thought he was plain lazy”, his mother was saying, “but now I know there is something wrong with him. I will do anything to get back my Ashok – so brilliant and bright. Will he be ok again?”

My heart clenched and my eyes grew misty. Why were so many youngsters falling prey to this “deadly state” called ‘Depression’? I wondered. Being in the prime of youth it was the time to enjoy, to be engaged and enchanted with life. I blinked my eyes to clear the moisture. As a Psychotherapist, I could not allow this to happen to me. Bringing on the professional look, I began to take the case History.

It was clearly a case of Depression. As the name suggests depression is a dip in the mood of a person and thought it is not known why, it often strikes youngsters between16 to 25 years of age. A person in depression is caught in a cognitive triad where he intensely believes that:

1. He is useless and worthless as a person.
2. That he has no control whatsoever of the external situations.
3. That the future is bleak and empty.
I listened to Ashoks’ story. It ran along the same lines as some of the earlier cases I had seen. Ashok was pushed into engineering though he did not like it, and when he failed his subject he suffered a blow on his self esteem. He withdrew from friends, and as the tag of ‘being a lazy boy who does not care about wasting parents’ money’, resonated in the house – that was the last straw. He cloaked himself into his own shell!
4-5 sessions followed with Ashok. As a therapist I needed to help him come in touch with his pain and his feelings of guilt, rejection and shame. He needed to resolve these feelings and to start looking at the brighter side of life. He needed to learn to be assertive, to change his thoughts, to change the way he behaved…………

When I ultimately began to see the slight sparkle in his eyes I knew my job was half done. During the sessions I sat with him I wondered what would have happened to Ashok without this timely intervention!
Luckily Ashoks’ level of depression had not yet touched the danger line where medication is a must. If left unattended Ashoks’ case would have become worse and medication would be a necessity. Timely intervention at Arogyadhama prevented that. What was more important was the parents were willing to come in for counseling sessions and guidance to tackle the situation. As their awareness grew that changing their own behavior towards Ashok would bring the change in him, they were willing to transform themselves.

Ashok is now pursuing his chosen career and doing well in his chosen field. His father has this to say – “The tips he got from you in Prashanti is noted in his diary – it really helped him and you helped us to understand him better, and, just hearing

Dr. Nagaratnas’ name brings happiness to him”. The vigorous yogasans that Ashok was made to do and the technique of Breathing and Pranayama helped immensely in bringing back Ashok to his normal self. And what about Swami Vivekanandas’ sharp, daring eyes that looked at Ashok from every corner of Prashanti Kutiram and Arogyadhama……… did that have a role to play as well?

Well, one never knows, what is important is Ashok could get well again


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