Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Feeling of Significance

We all love to be recognized,loved and appreciated.Life loses all it's charm if we think that we are of no significance to anyone.This may not be true,but it does cause a lot of anguish.A mere feeling of insignificance can cause anxiety and depression.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Teens' Tribulations--All Facts,No Fiction

I simply cannot wind up this series without sharing with you the plight of a few more students who caved in under the pressure of hard work,tough competition,high expectations and loneliness.Those who lack the stamina or caliber to hit the target they want to achieve,sometimes come out a lot poorer in terms of mental health and morale when they fail at it.

Take the instance of fifteen year old Manoj who was referred to me by his teacher.He was a student of class tenth.A few months back,wanting to run for the IIT-Jee exam,he had begun to cram all his working hours with study,study,and more study.The strain was too much,he became depressed,could not recall what he had read,and finally consulted a psychiatrist.The medicines given by the doctor made him very sleepy,so he left them.

Despite warning signs he continued to prepare for the big exam and the cracks began to widen.He would surf the net for hours and dabble in paranormal and other arcane subjects.He began to have delusions too.I was scared for his mental health and tried to dissuade him from attempting such a tough test but he replied that his 'coaching sir' had told him that he was intelligent and will be successful.

There was a long gap after this and then I was told that he had failed class eleventh exam and had given up his dream of joining IIT--but at what cost!Fortunately his father himself was a teacher and he did not lambaste him for having wasted such a lot of time and money for a capricious whim. 

Eighteen year old Anand had come to Kota to take a second shot at IIT-Jee because his uncle and cousins were IIT-tians.When he found himself lagging behind he attempted suicide.His friend Vikrant brought him over to me.

The boy was pained by the thought that if others had passed this test why couldn't he?His parents had spent a lot of money on him and he said that if he failed he would not be able to show his face to them.Moreover he was convinced that his father would refuse to support him in case of failure.

Even after a lot of counseling, he maintained that suicide was the only way out for him.He had given wrong contact details so I could not connect with him after that.

Vikrant also believed that his father would not support him if he failed,but he ruled out suicide.This thought that their parents would ditch them in the event of failure might have been a misconception on their part,but it was deeply ingrained in them.Parents often put up a stern facade to motivate their children but it is important at the same time to assure them of their love and support,no matter what.

There have been many instances of students who developed a mental disorder due to severe stress but I came across only one boy-merely fifteen years old,who was wise enough to know what he could,or could not do.On the very first day of his coaching session,when the instructor told them they would have to study for xyz number of hours and leave off movies TV etc,he told his father he did not wish to take those classes.His father was a businessman and the boy knew that he would eventually join his business;therefore he saw no point in going through such a grueling regime.

You will be surprised that his father and local guardians all wanted me to convince him otherwise,but I supported his decision and he went away a happy boy.I wish all wrong choices had a similar ending !

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Teenager's Dilemma--All Facts No Fiction

A sixteen year old boy living in a hostel comes to his room and finds it locked from the inside.When repeated calls elicit no response he breaks open the door and sees his friend hanging from the fan.He goes into shock,crying incessantly and losing all sense of his surroundings.The next ten days are spent in stupor.He boards a train to go home but returns after a week.Back in his hostel,he again loss touch with reality.He cannot recall later on,what he did in the next two weeks.

Then,one month after the tragedy,he again attends his coaching class but he has lost the link due to his long absence, and finds himself in a limbo.Three more months pass but his depression shows no sign of abating.Two nearby shopkeepers refer him to my counseling center.

This is how I meet Sunil,a student of class eleventh,now taking coaching for IIT-Jee in Kota.The sorrow engulfing him gets to me.

It all started when his uncle suggested he go to Kota to attend coaching classes to prepare him for the above exam. Sunil had thought of giving the state Govt. Service exam after graduation but he decided to fall in with his uncle's request.He did well in the first test,then came down and then this tragedy happened.

Now he could not decide what he should do.If he went home without completing his course his uncle would be disappointed,his friends would jeer at him and his mother,who was a teacher in his school;would lose face.

But he was feeling very lonely here.His mother asked him to carry on for five more months and then she would come and stay with him.Sunil was not happy at this prospect.He did not care much for her,since she had gone to live in a hostel for further studies when he was very young.

When Sunil met me his parents too were present in Kota.They came to meet me the next day and asked me what they should do.I advised them to let him rest for one year as he was very jittery.He was still in eleventh class.He could return after completing his twelfth board.His mother was not amenable to this suggestion.

I requested them to let me know what they decided and also asked Sunil to meet me if he stayed back.However there was no response from their side and there the matter rested.I do not know what transpired after this,but I was astonished at the mother's apathy for her son's  happiness and well-being.