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“ I am suffering from schizophrenia for the past 27 years. In Standard XI, I was not able to perform and I was taken to a psychiatrist. From then onwards I have been in treatment. I was given many Psychiatric medicines and now I am taking Chloropromazine 50mg at night.

It was last November when i saw a newspaper article by Prateeksha Sharma. I contacted her and explained about my problems. I felt like committing suicide last year. She counseled me every week. When I told her that I am short of money she did not take any fees, till now. I tell all my current problems to her, for example, I am not able to go for work. She speaks to me like my sister and she is very concerned about my social status, especially of living alone. When I am in panic I call her and she speaks to me every time, even at odd hours. I feel relaxed after speaking to her and go to bed in the night peacefully. I am not fit physically and she advises me on the physical health also. Every time I speak to her I gain confidence and prepare myself to face the future.

Ms. Prateeksha has now advised me to take up a job which I am looking for. I am hopeful that I will come out of my problems and lead a normal life.”

K. Meena, 42, Secunderabad

“ Being a British Pakistani, I find it tough to speak to non-South Asian counselors. A chance encounter with Prateeksha, brought that search to an end. From the beginning of our conversations, she has heard me patiently and helped me understand my conflicts in a manner that retains respect for everyone concerned. We have stayed in touch and continued our dialogues via telephone, for the past couple of years. There is no pressure from her when I should talk to her, and the relationship I share with Prateeksha is akin to my sister’s- I even call her ‘Didi’.

Didi has given me insights which have made me see my family issues in a newer light and talking to her I get a sense that no matter how difficult be what I am going through, it can be overcome. I am trying, and I know it is tough. We all need a friend who we can be sure of, and in Prateeksha I know I have one whose counsel will always be for my best outcomes to emerge.”

Asma Baloch, 30, England, UK

“ I would like to start with saying Thanks to Prateeksha Ma'am for talking to me. She is definitely the lady with calm composure ,right amount of self esteem and full of confidence , compassion ,sense and these are the qualities one should look for in psychologist because you cant expect a person to lift you up who don't have these qualities. Obviously there will be times when you will not agree with her.But she talks sense.I would rather take her as friend and teacher rather than psychologist.She is a kind of teacher you can look up to if you are feeling down about situations in your life. She had been a bipolar but to me she looks normal so definitely she has defeated her old state of mind and that itself reveals her firm beliefs and values. She acts responsible towards you.

Also she does not regard an abrupt state of mind as an illness. To her its just a behaviour that's needs to be corrected. She has lots of wisdom that is more than enough for most of us. Previously when I was depressed I was talking to friends about my problems but after sometimes it felt like I was burdening them and that's when I resorted to Prateeksha Ma'am to discuss and after one or two meeting I was totally in comfort zone with her. I am too busy right now with stuff and finally I have some wisdom to move forward in life and be positive about it. I still have issues that I need to tackle but as she says one issue at a time.I will keep talking to her like she is my teacher and a friend.”

Sameer Madhok, 27, New Delhi, India.

“ During my tryst with depression last year (2014-15), the thing I needed most was someone who could understand what I was describing about my mental state and also guide me how to survive the utter confusion and hopelessness of the condition. I was fortunate to get the much needed counselling support from Prateeksha di, who unlike the psychiatrists and the family, did not treat me like a disordered individual, but like a fully functioning adult who can muster the needed strength and confidence to face any amount of challenges. She not only helped me to understand the SELF-issues that i was struggling with at that time but also family and work that were equally troubling me. She intervened and spoke with my family, when I could not express my suffering to them, which was important for me then. I felt empowered even in the midst of that phase to lead the direction my life would take only through her counselling approach/style and support. Thanks to her timely support, I did not take recourse to any medications, that my family was pushing me towards! ”

Baljeet Singh, 32, New Delhi