Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Teens and #Depression-All Facts,No Fiction-Part One

A WHO report states that "one in four teens in India of 13-15 age group have depression."Most of these cases go unreported,only a few seek help.

One such fifteen year old boy (let's call him Manish)was referred to me by his class teacher.He was accompanied by his grandfather,with whom he and his sister lived.His parents lived in a nearby village.He was studying in 10th class.They had come to me in Oct,five months before his 10th board exams.

He complained that he did not feel good,could not recall what he had studied and felt that he would not do well in the exams.He was under severe stress.His grandfather,being a teacher,was very understanding.He had taken him to a psychiatrist,but the medicines prescribed by the doctor made him so sleepy that Manish discontinued them.It was after this that they had come to me.

Manish told me that six months ago he had resolved to study hard and crack the JEE Exams.He had also joined a coaching class to prepare for the board exams.Everything was fine till two months ago-when he began to feel that he could not cope with the studies.He was losing confidence in himself and feeling depressed.

I asked him to narrate his daily routine. It was like this:he went to school early in the morning and returned at 2 pm,finished his lunch by 2.30 pm,studied till 3.45 pm,attended the coaching class from 4-7 pm,dined at 8 pm,studied again till 10 pm and then went to sleep.At 4 am next day the whole cycle would start again.Sometimes he woke up at 3.30 am ,feeling nauseated.

It was pretty obvious that the boy was burning himself out,but he was cognizant of only one fact,that he had to study hard and get a B.Tech from an IIT. On the other hand depression was making inroads into his personality.It was possible to reverse the process at this stage but I could not have said it in so many words.It should have come from inside him:whether he could or could not achieve his ambition;and whether he was willing to attain that coveted degree at the cost of his mental health.

I advised him to take things easy,not slog so hard,and start a physical routine like exercising,running,jogging,walking,yoga or meditation-whatever suited his temperament-in the morning.I assured him that this would refresh his mind,curtail his negative thoughts,and improve his mood and morale.I also gave him some tips to boost his confidence.He was asked to report again after four days.

Second visit
Next time Manish was accompanied by his grandfather and uncle.They disclosed that he had not studied at all for the last 15 days.That morning he had been crying bitterly,saying he was not ready for the exams.

It was obvious that Manish had set the bar too high,but on whose bidding?Was it his own ambition,peer pressure or family pressure?I felt that the family was behind this,but this was only a calculated guess. Manish was too decent a guy to blame his grandfather for his difficulties.It was going to be tough to make him see the futility of ruining his health in this way.

The immediate challenge in front of him was the pre-board exam.I suggested that if he shelved the JEE exam preparation for a while and concentrated on the 10th board exams,he would be less stressed.

His sleep had improved but he had not started exercising as yet.I asked him to make the required changes in his routine so that he could relax and ease the burden of studies.Relaxing in between bouts of study would enable him to better grasp the matter and retain it too.He agreed to do so.I asked him to come after one week.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

How to Preclude #Mental Disorders

Mental and physical health are inextricably linked.Negligence of one can also cause problems in the other.We take good care of our physical health but mental health is the proverbial elephant in the room,even though mental diseases cause no less pain and suffering.In fact mental disorders can be highly pernicious for the patient as well as those who live with him.They certainly deserve more attention.

A serious problem containing within it the genesis of a mental disease could arrive from nowhere and take us aback.Whether we succumb to it or sail across depends upon many factors, but there are certain things which we can do in order to preclude a mental disorder.Those who lead a healthy lifestyle and connect to the people around them have better chances of escaping scratch-free,because this not only builds up their resilience,but also provides them with dependable support systems.

In order to achieve this:--
1:Nurture Your Relationships
I think the greatest bulwark you can build against mental disorders is a network of good relationships.The care and concern of a dear person can mitigate a lot of stress.A well-wisher will be the first person to notice that something is amiss with you,maybe even before you admit it to yourself.S/he will help you to sort out your problems;and if your anxiety is severe,even cajole you to consult a doctor.You don't feel alone and helpless when you are surrounded by people who love you.In fact a mere hug or a smile is often enough to rescue one from the dumps.There are innumerable ways in which strong relationships can pull anyone away from the brink of mental illness.

Despite having plenty of friends and relatives, we sometimes desist from telling them about what is troubling us because we do not want to distress them.Worries and fears,if cooped up for long,can devolve into a Generalized Anxiety Disorder.Therefore,communicate with your dear ones,talk about that which has shaken your equilibrium,and protect yourself from the tentacles of anxiety or depression.If the matter is such that you cannot confide in a known person then go to a professional.

3:Keep Emotional Hypersensitivity In Check
This personality trait can cause stress and depression.Highly sensitive people are caring and empathetic;but they are more vulnerable to stress and negativity,as the quote below states:--

"Anxiety,stress,and depression are illnesses that commonly affect people with emotional hypersensitivity.Because they feel too much,worry too much and focus on things that others ignore,this "gift" (as some consider it to be)can turn into the person's worst enemy."

4:Leave The Bitter Baggage Behind
Relationships break,and it is often hard to accept rejection or deception.People can be callous,selfish,mean,abusive,treacherous and exploitative.Who would not be hurt by such behavior?But dwelling extensively on depressive memories is not good for health and happiness.It will even swallow up the good that is happening in your life.Leave the past behind and move on.

The best way to beat stress
5:Focus On The Positives
We cannot expect life to be a smooth ride all the way.Disappointments and disruptions sadden everyone, but if we also keep in mind,the positive features of our lives at such moments,we will not be overcome by depression.A belief that whatever happens,happens for the best,dispels gloom.

6:Be Active,don't brood
Staying active is a virtual barrier against mental disorders.Activity not only suppresses negative thoughts,it also mops up the surplus amounts of negative hormones like adrenaline and cortisol,which surge whenever we are tense,afraid or worried.Rumination,on the other hand, leads to anxiety and depression.

While being active is a good way of chasing away the blues,exercising is even recommended as a cure for minor to moderate depression and anxiety.It calms the mind by releasing feel-good chemicals and mood elevators like serotonin,dopamine and endorphins. Regular exercise lifts depression.It will also empower you to face your troubles chin up. 

8:Enjoy Some Me Time Every Day
The day's work saps physical and mental energy.Carving out a niche in the day's routine to do what pleases you most will reduce your fatigue and recharge you for the next schedule.It could be anything from taking a nap,reading a book,listening to music,watching TV,doing some creative work,playing with your pet,or simply relaxing in the lap of nature.Toiling relentlessly creates discontent and resentment,which can be neutralized by a slot of me-time.

9:Note the danger signals
Tragedies and losses hit us hard and also result in certain changes in the way we way we eat sleep,work and communicate with others.It is important to notice the danger signals which could signify that we are nearing the edge of a mental disorder.Not being able to sleep,restlessness,hopelessness,self-harm and retreating into a shell could denote that we are bending under pressure.It is best to seek help at such moments.

10:Keep Away From Substance Abuse
A don't,after so many do's!Steer clear from alcohol and addictive drugs.

"Chronic use of some drugs can lead to both short-term and long-term changes in the brain,which can lead to mental health issues including paranoia,depression,anxiety,aggression,hallucinations and other problems."

We live in difficult times.The benchmarks for a successful life are being raised every day.We run helter-skelter to do our best and be better than the rest.In this process we amass a lot of stress,and strain our energies to the maximum.This has a deleterious effect on our mental health.The onus to decide what we want to achieve at which cost lies entirely on us,but prevention is better than cure.

Excerpts from:
Google search

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Man Ki Patang

मन की पतंग 
सुबह से उड़ रही है 
झेल के आयी है कितने ही ताप 
पहुंची थी जाके कहीं सूरज के पास 

खींच लिया मैंने उसे अपनी ओर 
शुक्र है अब तक पक्की है डोर

पर इन हवाओं का क्या है इलाज 
भटकाती रहती हैं इसकी परवाज 

कब तक उड़ेगी ये कब तक तनेगी 
सार्ड गरम मौसम ये कब तक सहेगी 

रुकेगी तो काँटों में फस जायेगी 
के क्षत क्षत ये हो कर बिखर जायेगी 

उड़ती रहो फिर यूँ उड़ती रहो 
सम्भालो मुझे खुद संभालती रहो।