This is the inspirational story of Sneha Das, a resident of Kolkata, who once grappled with severe phobias that confined her to her home. Her situation escalated to the point where a doctor diagnosed her with clinical depression and bipolar disorder, even as she grappled with the trials of love. However, through a combination of medication, counseling, and personal determination, she managed to persevere and succeed in cracking the IIT entrance exams. Let’s delve into Sneha’s journey in her own words.
I was born into a modest family in Kolkata, an environment that did not particularly foster academic aspirations, nor did my parents possess the means for educational investments. My story may not be extraordinary, but I choose to share it across various platforms with the hope that it might offer insights to young individuals facing similar challenges.
My father earns a living through photography
In 2021, I completed my Class XII exams amid the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. At that point, my dreams were not grand; they were overshadowed by the family’s financial constraints and my own mental health struggles. The atmosphere at home was far from ideal. My father made out a living as a photographer, while my mother was a homemaker. From an early age, I was told that in order to achieve something significant in life, I should focus on my education.
Fears that plagued me since the 11th grade
Allow me to share my experience from my 11th and 12th years at Netaji Subhash School. After my 11th grade, I developed an overwhelming fear of leaving the house. The constant worry about something happening to my mother while I was away immobilized me. However, when I began attending school, I forged a special friendship that provided me with much-needed support. It was comforting to find someone who truly understood me. When my friend asked about my anxiety, it sparked a deeper connection. He encouraged me to concentrate on my studies and assured me of his unwavering support. This was the start of our friendship, which gradually evolved into a romantic relationship that spanned a year and a half.
The challenge of relocating to Kota
My relationship faced a significant test when my partner decided to pursue NEET preparation in Kota. I expressed my desire to join him, but he believed it would be more beneficial if I stayed back, away from potential distractions. It was the end of our relationship, a breakup. I initially agreed not to go. It was only after much persuasion from my mother that I made the decision to move to Kota. Unfortunately, I lacked the financial means to pay the fees. However, my grandmother stepped in, utilizing her retirement savings to support my educational journey.
A doctor’s diagnosis: Clinical depression and bipolar disorder
Before heading to Kota, I endured several months of depression. It deeply affected both me and my mother, as I spent my days in a daze, feeling like there was no purpose left in my life. I spent hours lying in bed, staring at the fan or a lightbulb, paralyzed by fear each morning. As I embarked on my journey to Kota, I had to bid farewell to the special friend who had been so significant in my life.
During my time in Kota, where I joined a dropper batch, I faced considerable challenges. For many months, I struggled to regain my motivation, unsure whether I wanted to study or engage in any other activities. Nonetheless, I was fortunate to find a supportive group of friends in this new environment, friends who helped alleviate my stress and gradually set my life on a positive trajectory. It was through their support, as well as the guidance of my teacher VJ Sir, that I regained hope and devised a strategy for my studies, also benefiting from insights provided by NB Sir. I devoted my days and nights to rigorous study, and I managed to clear the JEE Mains 2022. This opened the door to the next challenge, the JEE Advanced.
A new beginning: Admission to IIT Roorkee
With unwavering focus and relentless effort, I persevered, earning admission to IIT Roorkee. When I reflect on my journey, I recognize that the environment in Kota played a pivotal role in helping me overcome my depression. In my view, the presence of good company and supportive friends significantly contributes to alleviating stress and tension.