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  • Writer's pictureMounika Sammiti

What is this psychology?

During a retreat aimed at detoxification and weight loss through proper diet and activities, I had the opportunity to engage in a counseling or psychology session with a psychologist.

Her friendly demeanor instantly made me feel comfortable, reminiscent of the close friends I used to hang out with and share my secrets with in my youth. This change was particularly welcomed, especially after my last two sessions with psychiatrists were in crowded hospital settings where I felt like a number or through virtual sessions where the psychiatrist thought like a machine.

I was eager to share my story within the limited time, recalling as much detail as possible. However, my enthusiasm deflated like a popped balloon when her response felt less like that of a psychologist and more like that of an aunt sharing her homemade recipe for fitting into society. Like many others, she advised me to adhere to societal expectations of being a woman who thinks about fitting in society, which left me puzzled. Why must doctors please parents and bring familial values into professional settings? How do I navigate fitting into a household that has contributed to my trauma?

Already feeling hungry from the simple boiled diet, she used the analogy of me having two apples while others have only one to illustrate fitting into society by sharing. However, this example felt odd to me. How could I fit into a society that never cared about my mental well-being while growing up? And how could I share my apple in a society where wage disparities are so pronounced? For instance, if she, as a psychologist, earns 2000 Rs per day while a laborer earns only 100 Rs per day, would she be willing to share her extra apple worth 1000 Rs with the worker? This raises questions about motivation—why would someone strive to study harder or aim higher if such a system persists?

People may offer help willingly, but from my experience, bitterness often accompanies such acts of charity. While I've lived off the kindness of those genuinely trying to support my growth, each bite of their offerings seemed to carry a hidden poison that tainted my heart. Accepting their help required me to sacrifice something within myself. Although I could choose to an extent what to sacrifice, external growth isn't everything. We mustn't forget the suppressed emotions deep within us, hidden in darkness, self-sustaining and unseen like the roots of a tree. How does one uncover these emotions and recognize the damage they can cause before it is too late? Like these roots, my suppressed emotions linger in the darkness, sustaining themselves without my intervention until they wither and give away. Do these emotions, like roots, even acknowledge the existence of the complete being that is me, thriving in the light? Perhaps when their survival is at stake, they may understand. So, how do I share my apple, like my predecessors', which has now been poisoned by my emotions, with another ignorant being?

I firmly believe in the principle of "sharing is caring," but not merely to conform to a society designed by others, where I'm viewed as nothing more than a weed. Instead, I believe in sharing to foster the growth of a community where one apple can sprout into two, creating abundance and unity.

I took a creative apple (a paper doodle) from her, only to find it replaced with the same one the next day, suggesting we could belong in a particular circle. When I shared my creative apple (a poem) with her, her response, although friendly, was dismissive, suggesting I must be reading many books. Not only did she fail to believe in my creation during my mental health crisis, but it also made me question how I could believe she could replicate it. Does this make us fit in another circle?


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