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  • Українці розповідають про пережите під час війни з росією

    Ukrainians talk about their experiences during the war with russia

    Yulia conducts training

    “The desire to help and join the common victory was higher than the “search for ideal opportunities”. The story of a psychologist who has been volunteering since the beginning of the war


    АвторAuthor: Yulia Zarudnitska | Translation: Violeta Shenkariuk

    2 September 2022

    Yuliya Mischikha is from Lviv. Here she studied and worked as a psychologist. She found herself in her work, so she fully devotes herself to this work. Later, the girl needed changes in her life and moved to Odessa with her beloved. The next day the war started and they went to his parents in Yuzhne. To a city where Julia had no acquaintances, no friends, no work. She told the “Monologues of the Цar” project about her volunteer activities, “not her” work and psychological support.

    When I was still at school, I thought about what I wanted to do in the future and after analyzing my performance at school, I decided to do what I do best – communicate. However, they told me that it was not serious, because at that time physics, English, and history were important, and nobody paid much attention to working with people. But I liked it and decided to study the behavior and thinking of people. At first it was at a primitive level. I read books on non-verbal behavior to learn how to “read people”, on communication “what to say to please people the most” and watched movies how to spot a liar”. And then, when I was 13 years old, I met people who became my friends. They differed from others in their communication (this is a married couple, they were 23 years old at that time), they were very open and behaved very easily and I immediately wanted to be in their company, next to them. Later, it turned out that they were entrepreneurs and began their journey in negotiations. And this already interested me a lot, because negotiations are practical skills of communication with people for which money is paid. I didn’t shout “Eureka”, but “Bingo” was definitely when we were at the seminar together and I saw their mentors, or rather the results of their mentors, who are also their parents. And here 3 components came together: professional interest, desired results and social connections that I needed. Of course, my mother supported me, because I was still studying at school and we attended all the conferences with her. I am very grateful to my mother for always supporting my endeavors and believing in me.

    Then there was admission to the university. The choice of “economics”, where everything is solid mathematics, or “international business”, where there are many theories and lack of teachers with international business did not interest me. I wanted to study “human and society”: a bit of psychology, sociology, management and the study of the triangle of sectors “society – state – commerce”. There is only one choice – “Social work”. How to work with different segments of the population + teachers who have experience working with the “target audience” is useful knowledge and will definitely benefit from these pairs. My expectations were met and I will forever remember that the most important thing when talking to a person is to find their unmet needs.

    During my studies, I started my commercial activity. Not being able to use my resources, not giving the necessary importance to rest and because I did not realize that setting goals is taking care of myself, I experienced professional burnout in my 3rd year. During the war, we clearly see what the “deferred life syndrome” is. At that time I did not know about this. For me, “someday it will happen”, “work for the sake of experience”, etc. came down to one statement, which came from inadequate self-esteem (based on current knowledge, I will say that there is no such thing as low or high self-esteem, it is either adequate or inadequate): “I am not enough.” And this statement inhibited my entire creative flow, and the lack of inner abundance prevented me from putting empathy first in team building. I had and still have a long way to work on myself to be happy (a sense of fulfillment) and productive: work with roots (what holds) and wings (dreams that inspire). My commercial activity did not develop very rapidly. Business has its downs and I started looking for resources and results elsewhere.


    Personal photo from Julia’s archive

    However, for there to be a decline there must be a peak. I had him in sales, holding master classes, creating new contacts and training. My advisers Irusya and Olesya said: “Yulia, you tell us everything so well, maybe we could gather people and you would tell them everything?”I hesitated a little, but as people say, you have to do it. This is how my training activities began and public speaking entered my life. I spoke in the conference hall of the Arena Lviv stadium for 600 people in the Oratory Lviv Open oratory championship, I made it to the finals with 2 spectators in the hall: my mother and my mentor. I also tried my hand at acting a little: I studied at the acting workshop “Big Wings” and played a neighbor in the drama “Bloody Wedding” by Federico García Lorca. I conducted training on public speaking for 40 people and on personality typology “Flexibility in building relationships”, and also gained experience in volunteer-pedagogical activities by giving lessons to children of younger classes on healthy nutrition and senior classes on career guidance. And it was extremely pleasant to hold an open couple for communication students, which was based on Dr. Robert Rohm’s Positive Personality Typology. I myself have been using this technique for many years and it is very helpful in understanding the behavior of other people. Having experience working in groups and satisfying people’s requests thematically, people started contacting me with requests for individual consultations.

    Read also: “Can you imagine, there are no sirens here and there will be no sirens…”: how a Ukrainian woman from Vyshhorod, fleeing shelling, ended up in Germany

    And I faced a new challenge since I did not have the appropriate knowledge and skills of individual support. At one of the lectures, by the way, on professional burnout, I met with a psychotherapist in the cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) method, and at that moment I understood: this information is professional, practical, reliable – I’m interested in it. I met this incredible woman and it was she who discovered one of my talents: “you know how to inspire trust in people, so you will be good in this direction.” I really want to thank her for opening the incredibly interesting and thorough world of CBT to me. And so I ended up at the Ukrainian Institute of CBT, where I completed such educational programs as “CBT+: basic techniques of CBT for counseling and coaching”, “Care for the mental health of children and youth with the basics of CBT”, “Integration of mindfulness in counseling, coaching and psychotherapy”, thematic seminars: “Neurobiology of psychotherapy”, “Children and war: teaching healing techniques” and continue my studies.

    Having a good theoretical foundation, I started teaching in two modeling agencies in Lviv, leading psychological circles. The main goal: aesthetic education, team interaction and psychological well-being of children. I had 2 groups: younger children (from 5 to 10 years old) and older children (from 10 to 15 years old). We thought a lot about emotions, etiquette, analyzed films, cartoons and determined our values ​​and strengths. I developed the entire program myself, so these were my author’s projects, for which I received not a salary, but a fee. And I enjoyed this experience.

    Work of a psychologist

    Work process

    Despite this, I continued my commercial activity, which consists of the marketing of online stores. I create a community of entrepreneurs who build their own businesses without a single employee and can develop an international business only by connecting the client directly with the manufacturer.

    At work, I met Andrii. We have been together for more than a year. He offered to live in Odesa, and at that time I wanted a change and I really liked the prospect of “living by the sea” and here on February 24, 2022, we were caught by war. On the second day, we went to Andrii’s parents, who live in Yuzhne, where we spent the first months of the war.

    On February 24, 2022, at 05:10, my mother called and said that the war had begun. Although even before I picked up the phone, I understood that it was a war. Mother would not have called otherwise, and all the events before that indicated that there would be an invasion. After the call, I didn’t know what to do. There are 3 reactions to such events: fight, freeze, run. I had “freeze“. I didn’t know where to run and what to take with me, because I needed everything: from underwear to cosmetics and a kettle. And that’s why on the first day we stayed at home confused.

    From the second day of the war, I lived in Yuzhne. A new city where I didn’t know anyone except Andrii’s relatives and friends. I am an active person by nature, so I was looking for a space where I can be useful and needed. My colleague gave me the contact of Ilya Yurchenko, and since February 28, I have been working at the volunteer headquarters of the territorial community of Yuzhne. I really don’t like organizational work, it’s stressful for me and at the slightest opportunity I delegate it to someone with such skills. And here, when I asked what I would need to do, Ilya said that I would be the procurement manager. This is something that is “not mine”, but the desire to help and join the common victory was higher than the “search for ideal opportunities”, so in 15 minutes I was there. This story can be an example for people who cannot take the first professional step or find themselves. My advice: take what is there, and in the process, you will discover yours. And in work, you will gain experience, skills and knowledge that can help you in your assignment.

    Volunteers of the territorial community of Yuzhne

    Joint photo with the headquarter of volunteers of the territorial community of Yuzhne

    Ilya is a very cool leader. After the completion of the activities of our department, I told him about my previous activities and thus I became the coordinator of psychological support of our Headquarters. We have an excellent information department, which spread information about the provision of my services, so I started conducting individual consultations in Yuzhne, conducted psychological first aid training and now conduct both individual and group meetings to reduce stress disorders in children and adults. Despite my practical activities, I cooperate with local media and provide psycho-educational interviews, as well as write articles on this topic. I provide all the work that I carry out as part of the activities of the Headquarters on a volunteer basis.

    Requests range from stress symptoms (eg, avoidance of certain memories, intrusive memories of smells, sounds, sleep problems, etc.) to adjustment difficulties due to loss of financial security. Individual meetings last 50 minutes.

    The most frequent obstacles that prevent you from contacting a mental health specialist are the warning that “the specialist will tell me how to live and what to do” and the conviction that “I myself am a psychologist and can tell you how it should be.” It is important to note that you are the only person who is an expert on your own life. A specialist can explain to you from a scientific point of view what is happening now with your body, psyche and reactions in this situation that you experienced and suggest you to use techniques that will contribute to the best survival of the events and return to a resourceful state. If you came to a psychologist, it means that you are a healthy person, because a psychologist does not work with people who have disorders. This is the competence of other mental health professionals. And prevention is always better than worsening one’s well-being, relationships with loved ones, and efficiency in professional life.


    Training activity

    Restore your strength and replenish your resources. There are 2 phrases that can push us to this: “Thanks to you”, and “For the sake of victory”. Thanks to our soldiers, we have the opportunity to drink coffee in a cozy cafe, go to the gym or sleep an extra hour, and we can do all this for the sake of victory. We need strong, inspired, intelligent people, to support our military materially and energetically and rebuild the country after the war. Because when the war ends, it probably won’t get any easier. It will be safer, but no one will give concessions, and the country must be rebuilt by each of us in our place.

    Therefore, war is a distance where no one knows the mileage and we have to go through it without falling at the end. As Lina Kostenko wrote: “Each finish is essentially a start.” And at the end of the war, we will have the beginning of reconstruction and development. In addition, I will just say the words that I remembered from one post: “Not instead of, but together. When you read the reassurance that you should worry about yourself and not read all the news at once, don’t forget: not instead of, but together. Drink coffee and then donate to the army, buy clothes and then conduct informational war, laugh, but be in the context of the news. If we all start living a peaceful life, think about ourselves, take care of ourselves and forget about the war, we will lose it. Do not forget about this, so that in the end it is not she who remains, but we.” I do not know who the author of these words is, but I absolutely agree with them. We must do everything at all levels and in all places to collectively win this war, we are already winning it, but it is not over yet.

    Чому важливо поширити цю історію?
    Якщо українці не розповідатимуть свій погляд на війну в Україні, світ поступово забуватиме про нас. Натомість цим обов’язково скористаються росіяни. Тому не даймо їм жодного шансу.

    Why is it important to share this story?
    If Ukrainians do not share their views on the war in Ukraine, the world will gradually forget about us. Instead, the Russians will definitely take advantage of this. So let's not give them a chance.

    АвторAuthor: Yulia Zarudnitska | Translation: Violeta Shenkariuk


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