Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Confrontationist

Most dictionaries define a confrontationist as a person who favors confrontation,esp aggressively.We are sometimes required to confront a misdeed,injustice or a blatant distortion of facts but that would not make us a confrontationist.I would label someone a cofrontationist if s/he always chooses to oppose whatever is being said or done.Someone who is never on the same page.

Try your best,but you will not be able to extract concurrence from such persons.Having known a few such individuals,I have tried giving out a statement with which I am sure the said person will have no issue;but s/he jumps to the other side in the blink of an eye and I am left gaping.

A group of friends may be having a casual discussion about something.Everybody may not have identical views but the disagreements would be cordial and others' opinions would not be trashed outright.In jumps the confrontationist to prove that they are all wrong and only s/he is right.In an instant the hero of the story has spoilt the pitch of the conversation and taken up the level of discomfort many notches.

Most do not like to take the acrimony any further and allow such people to have the last word.This gives them the satisfaction of having been certified (by silent vote) the wisest and the cleverest.It inflates their ego and feeds their self-esteem.If only they were less self-obsessed and more perceptive,they would have fathomed others' discomfiture before they patted their own back.

Why do people do this?It could hardly be a pleasant feeling to see everybody fall silent after you have uttered your pearls of wisdom.But obviously,this escapes their keen observation.They are intelligent and quick witted.That is why they can can produce a plausible argument in a jiffy.But they fail to realize what this does to their reputation.

Once again--why do they do this?Perhaps they have an innate urge to jack up their self-worth and polish their image.A deep seated feeling of inferiority drives them.They are on a never-ending crusade to better their image.

Nothing wrong in that.But they fail to realize that such behavior spins them down the popularity chart.It is self defeating.Since they are oath-bound to oppose the prevailing consensus they often end up contradicting today what they had affirmed yesterday.This naturally exposes the shallowness of their thinking and puts a question mark on the veracity of their utterances even when they are right.

I admire those who speak out against injustice,oppose cruelty or take up cudgels to rectify wrongs.But always opposing everything merely to establish that they are a cut above the rest not only defeats their purpose but also antagonizes others.If only they were more amiable and rational they would be blessed with a positive,wholesome personality and many more friends.Try telling it to them-they are sure to contradict you. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Expertise,Proficiency can cross #Class,Cast Barriers.

I am witness to a new trend in today's children.There is a park in front of my home where all children of my neighborhood play in the evening.They all belong to the upper middle class,covering all ages from 10 years to seventeen.One of them is my tenant's son and another is their servant.The son is perhaps ten and his servant a little older.

Since I belong to the old school,I was not a little surprised to observe that the servant also plays with the rest of the kids.Then I realized that he was very fast and quick in whichever game was being played.And most importantly,the kids would call and pester him to come and play with them;leave aside shunning him.My tenants too,are largehearted enough to allow him plenty of play time.

Initially he used to sort of remain aloof and reserved but very fast he is coming in to his own.He realizes that he has this special skill for which he is valued.It struck me that this is one route through which cast,class restrictions can be overcome.When you are good at something recognition automatically follows and then people give two hoots which class or caste you belong to.I only wish he could join a school and achieve all he is capable of doing.Perhaps,no I am sure,he will make his way up the social hierarchy one day and make a good life for himself and his family.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

# Anxiety Again-# Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Most of my blog posts in the last year have hovered around anxiety.There is a valid reason behind this--I have been observing it from close quarters.This is not the anxiety which you and I experience before a tough situation or a major life event like marriage,divorce or a job interview.Such anxieties subside when the event passes (hopefully!)but the dread stemming from an anxiety disorder does not.

In fact this kind of anxiety is not connected to any specific event and even if the patient does peg it to a current happening,the stress is out of all proportion to the stimulus.Moles are built up into mountains,ordinary tasks look formidable and the future is full of scary shadows.If this condition continues for most days of the week for six months or more-you can be said to be suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder,more about which you can read here.

If it is Social Anxiety or the fear of meeting people in one person,it might be panic attacks,OCD Hypochondriasis,Obsessive Thoughts,or Fears and Phobias in others.Anxiety is a prominent constituent of all mental disorders too.

*We all know that stressful events and environmental factors like abuse,victimization,financial difficulties etc produce a lot of tension.
*In addition to this,diseases like Cancer,Cardiac problems and Hypothyroid,as well as the side effects of certain medicines can also give rise to anxiety.
*Another major culprit is imbalance in brain chemicals.
*In some cases genetics too may be responsible for it.
*According to WebMD-"Mental health experts don't know the exact cause.It may be a mix of things,including your genes,changes in your brain,and things you experience in life,such as trauma or severe stress.
Anxiety disorders can run in families.But they don't always.You could have one even if no one in your family does.Or if you have relatives who have one,you might not."
As far as the treatment is concerned,anxiety should be tackled as early as possible.The longer it is allowed to persist,the worse becomes the imbalance in the brain chemicals and the more entrenched anxiety becomes.Mild to moderate anxiety can be cured by taking recourse to various reparative measures about which I have written here.

But as far as severe anxiety is concerned,it is not easy to extricate a person from it.You may involve him in friendly chit-chats but he will likely respond in monosyllables if at all.It will be hard to take him out to parties or movies.You could cajole him to play scrabble with you but as soon as the game ends he will slip back into his depressive mood.He may be sitting in front of a TV but his mind will be churning elsewhere.
Whether it is pursuing a hobby,learning a new skill or participating in group activities,the answer you will most likely get is"I don't feel like doing it or I do not have the strength to do it."It all peters down to a lack of volition and stamina.It is almost as if he has resigned himself to his fate.

Considering all this,medication seems to be the best choice.The doctor may prescribe an anti-anxiety or antidepressant to treat GAD.The right medicine will give him a good night's sleep so that he will get up refreshed next morning and be better able to face the day.It will soothe his tumultuous mind.He will be able to resume some of the activities which he had earlier skipped,and feel more in control of his life.

Medication can in this way place a patient of GAD on the road to recovery.But the flip side is that both kinds of medicines have their pros and cons-some people may experience harmful,annoying side effects.As stated by National Institute of Mental Health "Anti-anxiety medications are powerful and there are different types.Many types begin working right away but they should not be taken for long periods."

Ideally,medication should be accompanied by Psychotherapy.A psychotherapist will help the patient to pin-point the behavior and thought processes which feed his anxiety as also the life conditions that need redressal.

Once the patient feels confident that he can now carry forward the process of recovery without the aid of medicines he can request the doctor to gradually phase out the drugs.Exercise,meditation and other relaxation techniques too have the potential to increase the levels of happy hormones in the body but the only snag is that some people do not feel like doing all this.I think the best mantra for such people is to just remind themselves every day that they have to do what they don't feel like doing.Self discipline is essential if one is to save oneself from self-destructive inertia.

One may do all that is required to beat anxiety and yet,in some cases it may refuse to leave him alone.The reason could lie in a deep-seated emotional conflict.We all have certain private stumbling-blocks about which we cannot speak to anybody.It might be an unfulfilled desire,an abuse or a misdemeanor on our own part which continues to rankle us.We may not even be consciously aware of it but if we sit down to ponder what it is which is at the back of our discontent and angst,we may get the answer.

In order to feel fit and fine again it is essential to get rid of this complex once for all.You could speak to a therapist if you cannot share it with any known person.The old system of confiding to gurus or going to a confessional was good in this respect.It offered a closure.Unless and until you give a decent burial to the devils which torment you,the hydra-headed monster of anxiety will not leave you alone.

Image courtesy google.