I have recently completed my bachelor’s degree from a dental college of a town well-known for its academic excellence, Abbottabad. I had to work diligently to find my way to this prestigious dental college. But today, as I graduate and look back, I question myself Why? A medical school is a place where you learn life skills, but it can turn out to be an emotional hell sometimes. Like it did for me!
When someone states violence, the first thing to pop into your head is physical and sexual violence, featuring stories of broken victims. There is another, rather neglected, form of abuse that is prevalent in our society: emotional abuse. Believe me when I say it leaves psychological scars more distressful than any physical or sexual violence. I’ve been a victim of this abuse; it had an extremely damaging and disastrous impact on my mental health. I am sharing my story to raise awareness among people regarding the nature of this type of abuse and help other victims in finding their way out of the misery.
It all started as I cleared my 2nd professionals and stepped onto the clinical grounds. It was our first rotation of the clinical ward. My supervisor allotted an old patient to me. Shortly afterwards, I was interrupted by a 42-year-old man from the technical staff. Because of his expertise and age, everyone including the supervisors respected him; I naturally followed suit. I soon realised his manners were professionally inappropriate where I was concerned.
Flattering me, invading my personal space in such a subtle manner; it never occurred to me that I was being abused. All of it was deeply unsettling and confusing for me, especially because the man was trusted this man! Then, one day, he came up to me and asked me to marry him, saying he would leave his wife and children, claiming that I too was in love with him and only holding back due to social pressure. His goal was to have a complete control over me and he was slowly succeeding. During the short span, I was the weaker one.
A few days passed this incident and we were notified of our next rotation. As I shifted to the clinical ward, away from his influence, I saw him and the whole episode for what it was: toxic and damaging. This understanding destroyed my self-esteem and self-worth. My mental health spiralled out of control and I was more vulnerable than ever.
I felt like an impure soul. I would weep for hours out of guilt. My mother kept trying to console me to no avail. It was then that my family realised I was in urgent need of a therapist. I had disturbing nightmares and my therapist told me that I was at the reactive stage of terminal depression, which required medication. After seven months of continuous medication and persistent efforts of my family and my therapist, I started feeling better and optimistic again.
I learned that we need to join hands to make this environment healthy for children. One way to keep the young ones safe is to encourage them to speak up, to trust them when they do identify the culprits, to support them when they stand up against the injustice.
P.S. Tomorrow my dose would be tapered off