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Overcoming depression and feeling of lost out during CSE preparation: Sumit Kumar Rai (AIR 54, CSE 2018)

Overcoming depression and feeling of lost out during CSE preparation: Sumit Kumar Rai (AIR 54, CSE 2018)


Hello friends,

I hope your mains preparation is going good. I am writing this post to help you out if you ever found yourself in a depressed situation or feeling completely lost out in this long journey.

This is Sumit Kumar Rai, AIR 54 this year. I failed in CSE 4 times at different stages and each failure brought its own challenges and expectations. This can happen to anyone.Somehow we have to overcome them all and keep going. In this long journey ( lucky are those who get through in their first attempt, no disrespect to their hardwork) feeling depressed and having thoughts like “What the hell am I doing with my life” is quite frequent. Added to that, if you are a working aspirant your task becomes a little more challenging. All this can put you in a depressing situation.

Understand that this might not be a continuous 24*7 feeling, but there might be triggers from time to time where you feel totally helpless.

I wrote earlier on this topic to create awareness and make you believe that you are not alone. Feelings like these are normal. I am sharing that post again. If it helps even one of you, I will consider my job done.

“Now that I have qualified CSE I would like to highlight the struggle phase. I hope you get a clarity on how the process goes and what is normal/abnormal.

During the preparation phase sometimes I used to wonder if I am clinically depressed? The gradual phase-out from all social association has created a bubble around me and there was no one else except me to hover in that bubble. I have to find answer to every question myself ( not the academic questions).

Often in the middle of night, I would go back to the memory lane and remember what I used to be:I had a life outside UPSC too, what happened to my college friends, where are they now and what are they doing in their lives. Ominous thoughts used to prevail in the dead of night from time to time: What if I am stuck here, what if I never qualify, what if I never got to do what I love. Will my life be a perpetual reminder of what life looks like when the heart and the brain are not in sync.

Did I cry? Yes, I did.( And anyone who says that they don’t cry in UPSC journey are plainly lying; the journey is too long and some emotional damage is inevitable, natural outcome of which is letting it go through tears).

After each such emotional/sentimental eruption there will be a trigger within which will normalize everything again. I will go back in contemplation mode again. I will count every single thing I sacrificed for this journey. A sense of peace would prevail and I would console myself, going numb without emotions but full with determination.

The journey has to be resumed. Someone has to tell you that it’s ok to cry, it’s ok to feel sad. Many a times it will happen that it is You, yourself who will have to play that someone’s role.

So, enjoy the process, enjoy the journey. It is not easy but you won’t regret at the end of it.

As Dan Eldon once said: The journey is the destination. What you go through and how you handle every single day, every single test, every single question in itself is a sign of success. If you measure your journey in these small segments, seeing your name in the holy PDF would just be a matter of time.”

P.S: The topper interview which has relatively higher impact on me, in terms of recency and something which I will keep thinking over in moments of despair- I am sharing that below. Hope you get over your worst fear and keep moving through this phase, if you ever find yourself in one.