An open discussion on mental health

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On October 7, 2018, an open discussion was held in Geetanjali Hostel in sync with the Mental Health Day that is recognized on October 10 every year. A group of residents, including the warden, gathered over tea in the hostel premises to put forward their views, perspectives, and possible ways to overcome any issues and maintain health.

The conversation started with the concept of opening up, hovered over how mental health is still a taboo, and there is a fear in the masses of making any discussion related to this matter public. The reasons of taboo were discussed which may be religious affiliations, it being considered a permanent damage, and the fear of judgment that may arise on disclosure.

There are reservations of opening oneself to others with concerns over being admonished, especially in today’s time with the prevalence of social media and the scope of virtual reality. We have come to fear the thoughts of the ones in our vicinity but are open to being free with a stranger, primarily because of the fear of judgment. There is a rise in the demand of privacy, so much that people have begun to distance themselves to avoid contacts in the real space. Due to an increase in introverted tendency or so people desire to say, face to face interactions are being lost, so is the art to do so., and our predilection about clash of personalities and opinion. In addition to this, another factor is to accomplish our need to find validation in others’ opinion, and looking for like-minded people, who we expect will understand us better. And because of this search of validation, we often forget to turn to the more truthful aspect, and possibly undesirable of a notion and fall into a trap of seeking benefits by way of a giving a favourable verdict to one’s call. It was thus considered that social media is a tool to be used extremely cautiously and wisely, as virtual reality might not be as it is portrayed.

Amidst discussion, a point that was raised was that though abundant in number now, going to a psychiatrist is dismissed because of certain reasons. Mental sickness being a talk of closed doors and hushed tones, high fees of sessions with a professional, discomfort in allowing someone to peep into minds, makes psychiatric centres a stigma and an unapproachable institution.

The discourse also delved into how more cases of depression are noted in women as compared to men. The possible reasons cited were higher expectations and greater scrutiny towards women. The era that we are in, women are fighting to bring gender parity to the world. There is more onus on their shoulders, to carry their stereotypical roles as gracefully as breaking away from them. Thus they are constantly put under the lens, their actions dissected and analysed. This brings in the fear to tread carefully, and be mindful of their undertakings.

The sentiment about feminism and patriarchy took the foreground for a while, with various points of view coming to assess the role of these two institutions in affecting the psychiatric state of a person. Though patriarchy is held accountable in part for a person’s mental state, by typecasting the roles of men and women, thus binding them in a pigeonhole of socially acceptable duties; it may actually be the patrilineal way of society that should be held accountable. The gender equality efforts of Sweden were brought up, informing about the high percentage of women in their workforce, their rules to use more gender neutral terminology, and disregard of gender bias.

Thus, bringing evenness between the two sexes is a necessity, but it doesn’t mean women have to do all jobs that men do. By virtue of differences in the physiology of male and female body, some tasks are better divided between the two, keeping in mind that the two should be able to make their decisions at par with each other, and at par with the bounds of their bodies.

Reverting to the old course, the circle got to knowing each other’s ways of recuperating with stress and solving problems. These included, probably most importantly, talking to someone you can trust and are comfortable with, expressing verbally or through art forms, writing it out, taking a series of steps to deal internally if enough strength is felt. Depression, the most common form of a mental illness, can be general or clinical. Based on how it is, there can be various ways to overcome it- by going to clinicians and doctors, or by taking a positive outlook to life. But the essence to freeing up yourself is by letting go.

Thus the discussion concluded by making a consensus on adopting positivity and becoming a harbinger of goodness.

contributed by Shruti Khanna

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Let your heart come alive

 

The way you embrace, that pretty fake curve on your face.

So well it cache, all you are, all you were.

But doesn’t that heart crave more?

To fly. To breathe.

In this insanely beautiful space??

The world has become walking dead. Everybody is running a race, a race towards death. But this race is about how well you go. And in this hassle to make the most of one’s life, we often forget to take a break and appreciate our own presence, this gift of life, and the marvel that is our mind. Often to achieve the societies’ parameters, we overlook what oodles of expectations and shallow impressions we burden ourselves with. In the hopes of future filled with all things beautiful, don’t we try to make our present a little cumbersome? We forget what life is, life is here in the present. We should make our present happy. Yesterday is dead; and tomorrow isn’t going to arrive anytime soon. We have just one day, today,  to make all the difference for the rest of our life and we have to make it better. But how???

  • Become your own best friend first. Love yourself. Challenge your negative thoughts. It’s OK if you fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise up like a whole damn fire.
  • It’s high time to find a hobby and develop a positive addiction. Write your heart out, read it out and burn. Let that burden off your soul. Everyone has a negative and a positive. But be careful, water the flowers, not the weeds.
  • Ups and downs are a part of life. It does not matter who hurt you or broke you down. What matters is who made you smile again. Happiness depends on what you can give, not what you get. Celebrate love, family, friendship. Appreciate beauty.
  • Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is PERFECT. It means that you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections. One door closes, another opens. So my dear, keep looking with an open heart.

“Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

Make your heart come alive, and surely your days will be filled with so much light that everything will be clear, just like the sky after an abounding shower of rain.

 

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LAUGH. LOVE. LIVE.

Contributed by Neetu Yadav

Louder Than Ever Before!

Talking about Mental Health this month, let’s dig deeper and introspect if we have ever been a reason for hurting someone’s mental or emotional well-being.

Though no one would like to align themselves with it but let’s all agree to this, that yes, we have all been a partner in crime especially when we talk of body shaming. People tend to lose their emotional peace because over and over they are being reminded of their “fat” or “skinny” bodies by the society.These people loose their confidence,and their faith in themselves, just because other people do not find them perfect!

This is the song of a girl who tries to give herself another chance to come out of the perception of others and live life her own way..

 

 

 

Continue reading “Louder Than Ever Before!”

Change your perception

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“We see the world, not as it is, but as we are.”

Somebody rightly said the above lines, but we, the “normal” people as we say we are, we define a boundary or a parameter of normalcy at just 2πr. If you are inside this circle you are normal…but how do you know what’s going on in someone’s else’s mind? If I am found talking with myself then I can pass off my action as being an ‘occupied scientist’…but if my maid does so, she will be simply called ‘mad’. Well, busy-ness and constant planning of the next move is common in both of us, and therefore, the situation can ideally arise in both of us. And of course, there are people who are both busy and calm at the same time…exactly! So here comes the word perception – about us and others.

Let’s talk about people suffering from Alzheimer (a disease mostly seen in older ones) in which the common symptom is dementia, which itself is characterized as a syndrome in which functional and cognitive abilities keep on declining, the reason being toxic changes in the brain especially starting from a region called Hippocampus which is supposed to be responsible for learning and memory. The neurons (cellular unit of brain) die due to abnormal deposit of certain protein, and with the progression of time neurodegeneration spreads in the whole brain. Similarly, in the case of Parkinson disease – we know this is age related problem in some people, but In our society we still say “sathiyaa gaye hain” and give lots of directions to them. How many times do we suggest somebody who has a broken wrist to shake it off?!

Nowadays depression and anxiety is common even in children. These diseases have their own biochemical basis. Instead of telling the children to just pull themselves out of it we should ensure their medication and psychotherapy on time. Even in some cases of mental illness like Schizophrenia instead of seeking a doctor’s help people go to a Baba who in the name of religion behave harshly and in some cases beats patients up brutally by proclaiming that a Devil/Shaitaan/Bhoot has captured the body.

We need to increase our medical facilities for the treatment and therapy of affected people. According to WHO Mental health workforce in India (per 100,000 population) includes psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07) and social workers (0.07) which is quite less in number as compared to our population.

Most of all, we need to change our behavior towards mentally ill person, because they are behaving only as their brain wiring is allowing them to and we need to understand and help them instead of judging them on our own standard set parameters.

contributed by Shumaila Iqbal Siddiqui