At CorStone, we’re proud that our mental health and resilience training changes the lives of the youth we serve. This story of resilience, written by one of our own staff members, reveals how mental health awareness and resilience skills learned at CorStone helped her overcome adversity and transform her life.
Youthful promises and hidden risk
As a teenager, I grew up in a very small town in West Bengal, India. Being the only daughter of my parents, I had a blessed life.
When I was 15, I fell in love with a boy in my neighborhood. But the moment my parents came to know about it, they were furious and threatened to send me away from town. The boy was persistent, however, and his family advised me to get married without the consent of my parents.
They made many promises of a rosy future and the proposal seemed so mesmerizing and wonderful to me as a young girl. So, I went through with it.
Yes, as you might imagine, the marriage proved to be a blunder. When my in-laws’ visions of a handsome dowry went unfulfilled, I became a burden to them. The situation quickly turned gloomy.
Since I had gone against my parent’s wishes, I did not receive any emotional support from them, and the young marriage became tense and love-less. My small teenage world was suddenly drowning in a sea of darkness.
To make things worse, both sides of my family were quick to remind me of my failures in my marriage and my faults as a wife. These comments hurt me a lot. I never felt good about myself and I felt low very often.
Finding strength and resilience from within
Amidst all this, I maintained the firm belief that I still had to complete my education so I could get a job. It was very hard to concentrate on my studies as depression overwhelmed me.
However, I did just well enough on my High Secondary Exams to gain admission to the city college outside of town. This gave me the rare opportunity to move away from my gloomy situation and my in-laws.
I had to face a lot of hurdles to complete my degree, but I never stopped my pursuit. I appeared for my graduation final exam, 18 days after delivering my son via a cesarean surgery.“ I realized that I had faced many hurdles in my life but my character strength of Persistence never failed me.”
Soumi Acharjya | Lead Program Officer, Bihar India
Perspective + reflection foster growth and positive change
After graduating, I got my first job with a private software company where I established myself as a hard worker. Soon, I was provided the opportunity to take on challenges and small leadership roles.
Then, in 2016, I became acquainted with the concept of building personal resilience through Integrated Development Foundation, a partner organization doing training with CorStone.
It prompted me to reflect on my life and I started identifying my internal strengths and assets. I realized that I had faced many hurdles in my life but my character strength of Persistence never failed me. It is because of that inner strength that I was able to complete my studies so I could support my son, even though I had minimal familial support.
Moving ahead with confidence to a better life
The following year, I decided to legally separate myself from my unhappy marriage. I had come to learn that I didn’t need to let one mistake haunt me forever. Emerging from such a dark situation was not easy, but armed with the right mental fortitude, I managed it.
Today, I work as a Lead Program Officer. In addition to the joy I have in my work, I have another rewarding job—being a mother to my amazing son.
He is 19 years old and we are the best of friends. Not everything is perfect, there are still things that hurt me or make me feel demotivated or sad. But now I know how to heal myself when I encounter disappointments and be happy.
Remembering those early days when I was a young, scared new mother brings tears even now as I am writing my story. But the gratitude towards discovering my strengths makes me smile.
Had I not been exposed to the power of emotional resilience through CorStone, I wouldn’t have realized that I am a strong woman, capable of so much. Learning and teaching about resilience not only supports my livelihood but has also helped me to know myself as well as the meaning of my life.
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