“The more you share, the better you feel”

All it took was a conversation for a student to start feeling better.

A boy smiles into the camera
UNICEF Bhutan/2021/TWangchuk
06 November 2021

Mongar: It was sometime around April this year. And it was sudden. Tenzin, 17, recalls being absent minded, confused, anxious, uncomfortable, and having mixed feelings. He could not sleep, had no appetite and lost interest in everything including football - a sport he loved. His academic performance suffered and concentrating in the class was a challenge.

“There was always an unsettling feeling on my mind, and I kept wondering why,” he said. “There were thoughts after thoughts, and I had no control over them.”

“I was so confused, I thought I was going to die and told my Apa (father) that I was suffering, that I was in a difficult situation.” Tenzin’s parents suggested him to reduce his screen time and sleep more. He did as he was told. He tried but it was not helping.

Despite all the unexplainable sadness and suffering, Tenzin said he had faith that it was only a matter of time before he felt himself. He was hopeful that he would be alright. He was determined to get through it.

However, the wait did not help. He felt that his situation was getting severe and shared about what he was going through to his Aku (uncle) who is a monk. His Aku told him to not overthink and to practice mindfulness. He suggested Tenzin to also see a counsellor. 

Tenzin met the school counsellor. His parents then took him to a doctor who referred him to a clinical counsellor. He was diagnosed with depression anxiety disorder.

“I didn’t believe it,” he recalls. “I was prescribed some medicines, but I didn’t want to take them. I didn’t want to be dependent on it. I wanted to get alright through meditation, prayers, and spiritual activities.”

Tenzin started practicing mindfulness and meditations. He fought his thoughts and didn’t give up.  

The support from his parents, his Aku and counsellors and the spiritual guidance helped Tenzin heal. “Although I am not fully myself now, I feel much better and in fact, I am at the football ground now for a game,” Tenzin said.

“Sharing about how you feel and what you are going through with someone you trust, and love makes you feel protected, safe and better,” he said. “The more you share, the better you feel.”

By Sonam Yangchen, UNICEF Bhutan

Photo used for illustration purpose only.

*Name changed to protect the privacy of the client. 

If you or someone you know is not feeling okay, talking to someone you trust helps.

You can call and talk to someone — without judgement — about what’s on your mind.

Call 17861294; 17609443; 17751625; 77258332 or contact the Sherig Counselling Facebook page