5/6/18 #SameHere Hero: Lakshmi Sreenivasan

Today’s #SameHere🤙Hero: Lakshmi Sreenivasan from Mumbai, India. We continue get the question as to why we share the work of so many other individuals w great initiatives when we are a startup nonprofit, & that often comes w searching for our own funding. Our answer to that is simple – it’s more important to us to build an alliance of organizations all doing great things around the world, & to promote all of their activities so that collectively, as a team, we can attack the global issues surrounding mental health. That’s way more important than posting for individual donations. Plus sharing the great work of folks like Lakshmi & her team at: Cafe Counsel is way more inspiring & fun.


Lakshmi took much adversity from childhood – verbal & even sexual abuse in her family, & the loss, all too early, of one of her sisters, & found a purpose – building an online therapy platform based in India, meant to help many w depression, anxiety, & all types of MH conditions. We welcome her and her whole team to our Advocate Alliance on as well. Read her story & check out her info & blog at cafe counsel.com/blog (impressively all in English)!


“I come from a dysfunctional family, where my mother & father were mostly seen fighting & hurling verbal abuses at each other. My 2 sisters & I didn’t have much of an option but to stay quiet & scared, praying that the verbal abuse didn’t get into a violent episode as the probabilities of that were pretty high.


It wasn’t always like that, but it got that way around the time I was in class 6. Initially I did not understand the reason for the fights & chaos, but then I realized my father had malicious physical intentions aimed towards my elder sister. My elder sister & I were very close, & shared a great bond. But we couldn’t share this w anyone; the thought of returning home after school each day was full of angst & fear. It got worse over the yrs.


The molestations carried out on my sister continued for some yrs. When I was in class 10 & my sister in class 12 my mother decided to put a stop to it. One day after exams we all left for Chennai to my grandmother’s house.


The whole childhood episode left a lot of impact on me emotionally & mentally. The constant fear, & the silence was agonizing, as I could not share this info w anyone. Fearing the social un-acceptance, we were not allowed to share. More than myself it was my sister who got impacted the most. She was suffering from Cancer; she battled it for almost a decade. But the last couple of yrs before her passing away, she shared all of her emotional trauma & bottled up anger & how she lived in constant fear, even after so many yrs. Come to think of it, it also influenced her personality negatively. She become more fearful, unable to stand up for her rights, even tolerating all the atrocities & injustice of her in-laws.


While she shared all this, I realized that she was depressed. More than her excruciating physical problem, what affected her more was a lack of emotional support…someone who could give her an empathetic ear & caring sensitivity.


Sometimes we stumble upon the purpose of our lives through the most dreadful & painful situations. I stumbled upon my life purpose w the passing of my sister. She lost her life to at an early age. She was just 39. Her death stirred me up. I questioned failing to find an answer to why she would not share this entire emotional trauma w me or anyone else when she was alive.


As a practicing psychologist, for a decade, I learned to manage my emotions well & also help many who would come for therapy. But I failed to notice this in my sister. Had I noticed this earlier, I know I would have been able to help her. I guess, as we lived in different cities that could have played a role.


I started noticing my own past & what we lived through was affecting me as well, when I started my professional qualification in therapy & psychology. Sharing openly about this background w others, however, has helped me both mentally & emotionally. Counseling & speaking to fellow therapist helps me neutralize the effects of my past to a large extent.


Fortunately, all those with whom I’ve shared have empathized without judgment. Both opening up & listening can be healing, & in my case they’ve done a lot of good. #SameHere🤙, & I hope now sharing my story & our platform to many others here, & through the Advocacy Alliance, will help many more people!”

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