Nayonika is a familiar face to many UNSW through her advocacy work and passion for student welfare and wellbeing. Her story highlights the need to check in with those we see as the ‘strong friend’ or the ‘tough one’, especially during challenges like the pandemic.
“To the whole wide world, I look like a tough, independent little bean who can make gold from an egg yolk. On the inside? I am a big softie who secretly needs hugs from her family and friends every third day, even if I say I despise hugs.
Out of nowhere, the pandemic rolled out, the lockdown kicked in and I got stuck inside with nothing but my thoughts and insecurities. Tough times really do test all people, and they test “tough” people the most. I had a flurry of negative and positive emotions. It was scary. I did not know how to reach out to my friends and family without feeling like I was burdening them.
I was spiralling. I could either burn out and lose myself and everything I had worked so hard for up until now, or I could choose to be patient and kind to myself.
The only way I got out of the spiral was by being honest. I reassessed what I wanted from myself in life and what was feasible in the middle of a pandemic with no concrete support systems. I was honest with myself, with my friends and family, and told them where my headspace was at. I had to be vulnerable, despite it not being fun and I had to buckle up to listen to some cold truths.
By opening myself up to being vulnerable, things began to get easier. I liked my responses to situations more and I made peace with the fact that slowing down did not mean it was holding me back. It meant I was growing to love myself to be the new person I am now.”
Nayonika Debashish Bhattacharya, UNSW Law Student (originally featured on @chilloutasutralia)
Remember it is ok not to be ok, and it is important to seek help when times are tough. If you are impacted by Nayonika’s story confidential support is available.