Posted by Aishani Mathur, Gurgaon, Haryana
Since childhood, I have been a sad, angry, frustrated person. As a kid, you don’t know if what you are feeling is okay or not or why you are feeling this way. Then, when I got into college for a course of my dreams, I became depressed. I had to be put on medication as I had stopped doing anything. This was my lowest phase. That’s when a small puppy came into my life.
I had been rescuing dogs for some time as I had seen many roadside puppies get crushed under cars, one after the other. So, I brought the last one home. Oh boy! Life did take a turn! I had to earn to feed and vaccinate him, since my parents refused to help. Soon, I found myself an internship and started working. As he grew up, he became more and more difficult to handle due to his high energy, separation anxiety and aggression towards my other dogs. I had little choice but invest in trainers and day cares to ensure he stays with us. Unfortunately, his behaviour didn’t get any better and I had to give him up. He thankfully got a very nice family and lives in Pune.
This made me realize that I wanted to guide people to help their dogs to be more relaxed and happy. Hence, I enrolled myself for a dog training course and started on the journey to work as a dog trainer. All this was 3 years ago!
In the beginning of 2020, I decided to get help for my anxiety. I went to see a therapist. Soon after 2 sessions, the lockdown happened. Just like everyone else, I thought I will relax at home for some time until things get back to normal. But as the lockdown kept getting extended, my anxiety kept growing.
In the meantime, I had my eye on a dog training professional course from an academy in America. It was online and I would only have to fly out 6 months later to take my exam. I was excited and after little deliberation, enrolled myself in it. I thought maybe this would give me the confidence to get better in my job. As it progressed, a feeling I was all too familiar with crept in.
My anxiety and fear of failure came back and I stopped sending in my assignments thinking I would fail. I was irritable, angry becoming more pessimistic by the day. That’s when I got in touch with a therapist. I took a number of sessions and worked very hard on the tasks she gave me. Soon, I started feeling a little better about things. But, I was still not able to work on my course. Then life changed again. I found myself very busy at home and at work. And I never failed in any of my assignments.
Due to COVID-19, the academy announced that the assessment would take place virtually. This was a trigger. Once again, I wanted to stop but I knew what was at stake. I didn’t let myself stop this time. A week before the assessment, I was so anxious that I would have panic attacks. I was so sure that I was going to fail, I would start crying when something in my preparation didn’t work out as expected.
On the day of the assessment, my legs went numb. My body felt like it weighed a 1000 pounds and I felt like I would die. But, we faired through the assessment flawlessly, Maya (my dog) and I! The same happened on the second day of the assessment. The passing marks were 90 and above and I scored 99.5 and 95!
Last night, I got the official email and I am very happy to say that I am now an internationally certified dog trainer. I will have to fly to America in due course of time for another assessment. For a change, I am actually looking forward to it.
I am working with my therapist to be a better version of myself. Through the process, I have realized that I have to help myself first. It would have been easy to say that the exam was too tough or my life wasn’t going as planned, and quit. But even to be able to feel supported, first, I had to support myself.
Today, I would like to leave you with the quote “God helps those who help themselves.” I wish you realize how strong and resilient you are. I wish that you believe in yourself and be a better version of yourself every day! Thank you for reading my story.
Cover Image : Team LV
Story Images: Author
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