Thursday, December 5, 2019

A Beautiful Poem By A H Clough:Read and be inspired

Say not the Struggle nought Availeth

Say not the struggle nought availeth, 
     The labour and the wounds are vain, 
The enemy faints not, nor faileth, 
     And as things have been they remain. 

If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; 
     It may be, in yon smoke concealed, 
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,
     And, but for you, possess the field. 

For while the tired waves, vainly breaking 
     Seem here no painful inch to gain, 
Far back through creeks and inlets making, 
     Comes silent, flooding in, the main. 

And not by eastern windows only, 
     When daylight comes, comes in the light, 
In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly, 
     But westward, look, the land is bright.

Poem taken from google search,thanks.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Are You Looking After A #Depressed Family Member ?

This is not about how to care for a mental patient,which I covered comprehensively in an earlier post.It is about you who are caring for one such family member.Only those who look after a depressed kin,know how very taxing it can be.To make matters worse,the improvements are often slow and erratic in coming.You need to pool all your physical,mental and emotional resources to continue this crusade of pulling your dear one out of this morass.

What's more,even though you must be doing a lot to take care of his basic and emotional needs,you may not get any thanks in return.It is common.He is engrossed in a jungle of his own worries and fears;least mindful of the common codes of conduct.He may even accuse you of doing things you could not have dreamt of doing.Don't complain or snap at him.Just say you are sorry and will be more careful in future.He needs compassion,not rebukes or judgments.

He also needs the understanding of others who live with him or come in contact with him.
You will have to act as a buffer between him and those other people.The key to maintaining a harmonious atmosphere in the home and shielding him from abuse or humiliation is in your hands.Convey his limitations to those who are not adequately attuned.It requires a lot of sagacity,patience and tolerance.The love and support of family  are like lifeboats for someone floundering in tempestuous waters.

Your main task is to pull him out of depression.Research informs us that exercise is the best way to combat mental ailments.Exercise,and following a modicum of daily routine every day are excellent antidotes to anxiety and depression.Depression can drain out physical as well as emotional energy therefore you will have to be persuasive and innovative in order to have him moving about again.Cajole him to start with tiny baby steps.Motivate him to introduce a small change in his routine which must have gone haywire after he succumbed to depression.

It could be anything like sitting with the family when they are relaxing and chatting,having meals with them,getting up at a given time,bathing regularly,changing into fresh clothes,straightening his bed etcetera,etcetera. Let him choose at least one action which he can do daily and easily.Once he picks up that habit he can graduate to more difficult tasks.This will increase his self confidence.Goad him to join the mainstream once again,encouraging and praising all the way.Since emotional problems tend to isolate a person,calling over friends and arranging casual get togethers  will provide a refreshing change to both of you.

Doing all this without an iota of thanks in return is not easy.At times you may wonder what you had done to deserve this life but just consider,he is at a much,much worse place than you.You will have to guard against anger,frustration and defeatism in your own self too.So gather all your emotional reserves and carry on.Only you can draw him out of this hole.Forget thanks and gratitude for now.Your rewards will come when you see an improvement in him-no matter how slight.

You are human.Along with emotional forbearance you also need plenty of strength to shuttle between looking after him and tending to other responsibilities.Look after your own health and happiness.Take proper nourishment and enough sleep to conserve your energy.You can synchronize your own siesta with that of the patient.If you feel too tired,consider out-sourcing the tasks which you find too demanding.Take time out to do what you like doing.

Doing all this should hopefully improve his condition but if this does not happen then you will at least have no reason to chastise yourself that you did not do your duty.

It is only for convenience that I have used the male gender.It does not signify anything.

Image taken from google search.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Changing Times Need A Fresh Approach

Those were the days when life was simple,families large,bum-chums nearby and domiciles almost permanent.If one was worried about something there was always help at hand :if not in the form of parents,then friends and associates.But all this has been swept away with the sands of time.

Migration to new cities is the norm,aspirations are sky high and competition grim.Real time companions-especially the old tried and tested ones-are fewer,and loneliness is the last straw that sometimes breaks the camel's back.While tensions have rocketed enormously,those who could assuage our perturbed minds are few or far away.

No wonder #mentaldisorders are galloping all over.There is a greater need for support systems than there ever was.Since traditional support systems have dwindled we need to look at alternative sources of help-these are available in the form of psychologists,counselors,psychiatrists and on-line help.But how many of those who suffer from emotional or psychological problems make use of these services?

National Mental Health Survey of India 2018 affirms:
"nearly 150 million Indians need mental health care services,less than 30 million are seeking care".
A major obstacle in the way of doing this of course is,stigma,the impression that mental patients are weak and incompetent,and they don't do enough to solve their problems.Since very few people talk of their psychological problems,every sufferer thinks that he or she is the rotten apple and they must not divulge it.This is how the stigma is born and perpetuated.

This kind of thinking prevents people from admitting to a mental disorder and seeking help.If their self help measures do not work, their condition worsens till psychiatric medicines are the only answer.I am not competent to discuss the efficacy or desirability of these medicines but I do believe that it is far better to seek help in the initial stages rather than having to depend upon medicines.This raises an important question-
When to seek help?
This is no doubt a difficult question.Transitory disappointments or griefs sometimes hit hard  but we manage to bounce up again after a certain period.The field of mental health is nebulous and ever changing-especially for mental patients.No two persons suffering from anxiety will have similar worries or fears.They may experience various levels of stress or tranquility even in the same day.
The thumb rule is to check yourself against the following parameters:--

  1. Have you become quiet and asocial?
  2. Do you feel sad and disinterested most of the time?
  3. Do you neglect your daily routine?
  4. Do you find it difficult to take decisions?
  5. Are even simple tasks too laborious for you?
  6. Do you have suicidal thoughts?
  7. Do you have poor sleep or sleep too much?
  8. Do you have poor appetite or eat too much?
  9. Do you have gastric problems and sundry aches and pains?
  10. Have you become angry and irritable?
If the answers to most of these questions are 'yes' and this has been going on for more than two months then it is time you took the help of a mental health professional.The choice is between a psychologist,counselor,general practitioner or a psychiatrist.The first two will assist you to think rationally about your problem and delve into to the causes of this imbroglio.You can open your heart to them.They will extend emotional support and also respect your privacy.If they think you need medicines to help you along,they will refer you to a doctor.If you are hesitant about consulting a psychiatrist then even a GP or a family doctor can be of immense help-as he was in my own case.

Suffice it to say that once you observe your daily life has changed drastically because of your mood swings,take immediate steps to improve your mental health and reclaim your life.There can be no health without mental health.