Thursday, November 2, 2023

#MajorDepression-A True Case History

 This is about Pawan,who came to me for counselling three months ago.I could see at a glance that he was severely depressed.His facial expression,posture,gait,voice-everything proclaimed this to any casual observer.Before starting the session I assured him that according to the norms of us counselors,whatever he told me would not go beyond the walls of my clinic,so that he could rest easy on that score.

He told me he was 60 yrs old,had three sons,and they all lived in a three storied bungalow.He was happily married,and had been an elite performer in his company till a few years ago,though lately it was all becoming too much for him.He felt bowed down with duties and responsibilities.His sleep was very poor and though healthy,he felt very lethargic.He had been on psychiatric medicines since many years.It turned out that he had suffered two episodes of #Depression many years ago.At present He was taking a medicine prescribed by his old doctor but it was not doing him any good.

I asked him what it was,which was troubling him so much.He replied that one of his sons had started construction work in his portion a few days back but he agreed to stop it after the father's  objection.That way,his sons were quite obedient.Besides this he could not state any specific problem which was distressing him.He just felt overworked and incapable of sorting his issues.I asked him to gather his family,reveal his tensions and ask who could do what,to lessen his burden.

I suggested that he should go for a physical check up to rule out any disease which could be the cause of his tensions.I also encouraged him to go for morning walks and do regular exercises.He was asked to be more active during his waking hours,since his official duties were not much to speak of.He replied that he did not have any friends or hobbies so there was nothing for him to do.I told him that he could do small things aroind the house,chit-chat with his family,reveal his worries and ask about their concerns.

He was asked to try his best and report after four days.He did not come after four days but did after two months.He was even more woebegone this time.I recommended a psychiatrist whom I knew as being very competent.Perhaps a change of medicine and approach was needed.

And mere medicine was not enough.In order to get relief he had to change his whole routine and lifestyle.He must interact with those around him,greet people and say a few words to them.Even to the vendors.He should talk about his difficulties to those whom he could trust.Instead of thinking all the time about his own problems he should be more mindful of his surroundings,watch all that was happening around him and take interest in others' lives and problems.Yoga and meditation too,were very good for calming the min.If he started doing all this his track of negative thoughts would be replaced by a better one and his depression would ease. 

He was asked to return after one week.But true to his nature, he did not return after one week.Instead,he came after one month and told me that he felt as if his mind was failing him.He had not consulted the psychiatrist suggested by me.His whole life was in disarray.Uptill now he had striven to earn more and more,without any consideration of it's effect on the whole structure of his and his family's life.The way in which he had expanded his house and let in various tenants,now could not be undone.But it had definitely multiplied his problems.

I asked him to recount the steps he had taken to lessen his anxiety.He replied that he went for swimming in the morning and felt better after that.I explained that physical exercise consumed the harmful chemicals generated through worries and fears,and it was very beneficial for lessening anxiety-he should do more of it. It turned out that he was doing things like clapping his hands or meditating but not reaching out to anyone around him.

I asked him if it was because he felt that his personality had deteriorated and people would look down upon him.He said yes.I told him he was not the only one suffering from anxiety and most people had so much on their minds that they had little time to judge others.His self imposed isolation was doing him more harm than anything else.Those who did not isolate themselves recovered faster.Since his old methods were not showing good results it was time to change them.He was again motivated to go out and connect with others.

I asked him to  clarify his thoughts and come next week.However he did not come.I asked about his wellbeing after one month,but he did not respond.Then I left the onus on him and closed the case.

Monday, June 26, 2023

The Parameters Of #Happiness

 We all desire happiness above everything else but what exactly constitutes happiness?Does it lie in a happy family,a healthy body,a dandy job,a fat bank balance,a beautiful home or lots of fame,prestige and power? Where does it stem from and how does one grab it?Ask anyone and you will get different answers,arising naturally from that person's unfulfilled ambitions,latent desires or envious aspirations.Different people are likely to have different items on top of their lists.

When you reach your targeted space it blossoms into many more must-haves.Landing a cushy job is not enough, you need a splendid home in a high profile locality,replete with all the amenities as soon as possible.

Reaching the much awaited status of  a CEO entails that your status should latch on to the grapevine and bring additional benefits like recognition,publicity, power and privileges.

Thus we see that we cannot stop after we reach one landmark.That feeling of satisfaction at having attained a target is short lived and we begin to hunger for additional benefits.But every acquisition brings with it new responsibilities,chores and worries.Happiness slithers away.As we run this race, the fun and joy of life takes second place.We get scarce time to enjoy what we already own.

Working for your goals,attaining higher targets can go on and on.Ultimately what can give you real happiness is that quality of contentment which will give you happiness at any rung of the ladder.

Saturday, June 17, 2023

#Social Anxiety Disorder

 Megha is a young housewife of about forty years old.She has two children and lives in a well-furnished house having all the amenities one could ask for.Her husband is a genial family man and earns well.With all these advantages going for her,one would expect her to be a chirpy,friendly positive girl.But she is just the opposite.You will never catch her smiling or accosting anyone.She takes good care of her health,goes for a morning walk and does yoga and meditation too.Physically,she has a good personality but emotionally-who can say! She never gives anyone the chance to know or befriend her.What could  be the possible cause of this stark contrast between her lifestyle and her demeanor?

It is quite obvious that she is suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder.According to NIMH "Social Anxiety Disorder is a persistent fear of being watched and judged by others.This fear can affect work,school and other daily activities.It can even make it hard to make and keep friends."

But why does this syndrome affect some people so badly that they segregate themselves from those around them and choose to live a lonely friendless life?Where does it stem from?The answers to these queries lie hidden in their minds.

However psychologists do have some pointers.If a child went through adverse experiences,was bullied or targeted repeatedly it could instill in her mind an aversion for meeting others,looking face to face or trusting them.It becomes a permanent feature of her personality.Despite the various ill-effects of this disorder on her life she is unable to shake it off.If only she was to consult a Mental Health professional this fear could be toned down if not eradicated but this same fear prevents her from doing this.

If she does nor want to do this then the next alternative is to take the matter in her own hands.

  1. She should introspect calmly and gauge whence this fear erupted.Was it a single incident or a number of them?
  2. Is the perpetrator still in her ambit or have the circumstances changed?
  3. Is she today as vulnerable as she was then?
  4. This code of conduct which she has charted for herself,is it protecting her from anxiety or  aggravating it.
  5. Is it not barring her from living a full life,making good use of her potential and going forward.
  6. She can take small steps,connect with those she thinks harbor no ill-will toward her,take up tiny excursions in social activities and then evaluate the results.
  7. Just as she decided to isolate herself from society,she should now determine who all she can safely interact with and lay down the boundaries too so that she can safely move forward.
  8. She should talk about her fears and feelings on the subject to those whom she loves and can trust.
These simple steps will assist her to overcome her inhibitions and become a proactive part of society which is essential for leading a healthy and happy life.  

Thursday, March 30, 2023

God,the Greatest Scientist

 Many things on earth follow a regular course. Just as night follows day,the sun moon and stars appear or disappear at their regular times. So do the seasons.But there are many more such  systematic events of which we are not usually aware.

Take our own body-do you know how many systems run continuously inside it?According to Healthline there are 11 major organ systems in human body each working to keep us going.

Then there is the food-chain.It determines the feeding relationships between different species.From the one celled algae to the giant Blue Whales every being has food provided for its sustenance.When a tiny being is eaten by another one it also prevents putrefaction of our planet.Not to forget the typical methods of procreation and parenting among different species which we seldom think of or appreciate.The endless variety of flora and fauna too is astonishing.

Our solar system is equally admirable. All planets circle round the sun in prearranged circles-never clashing or changing their orbits except Pluto and Neptune,which change places but never clash.According to astronomers about 275 million stars are born every day.And the galaxies!The following site put the number of galaxies in the universe at 200 billion more than five years ago. 

There are miracles galore in universe.A few,as mentioned in are--

*Earth spins at an equatorial speed of 1,670 km/h.

*It revolves round sun at a dizzy speed of 100,000 km/h.

*Sun,along with it's solar system, takes 200--225 million years to complete one orbit around the Milky Way.

*Milky way rotates at an astonishing speed of 270 km per sec.

*It is racing through space with reference to cosmic background radiation at this astounding speed of 2.1 million km/h.

How far we travel even while sitting in our armchairs.Just imagine,so many objects racing at gigantic speeds and never clashing.Our earth spins and rotates constantly but we don't topple down. Isn't it a miracle?Who provided the power of gravity for earthlings?

Who designed all this?Things we can explain today with the help of science were thought of eons ago.And that thinking genius lived before the existence any other element in the universe. 

Mere chance cannot be so effective.Does this not prove the existence of a super power?Call him what you will but he is verily the greatest scientist.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Association Of Ideas--A Live Portrayal In Front Of Me

 This happened only yesterday.My husband and I were sitting in our balcony when up came a young gentleman.He greeted my BH effusively and waited for a response from him but my the latter failed to recognize him.He revealed his name--no go!Then he told him the name of the company where he used to work--still no reaction.Then he told him that he was my husband's first assistant and my husband had helped him in many ways.

Now my husband's memories came flooding out.There was no stopping their exchange of anecdotes after this.I was surprised to see that BH remembered all this because he is 85 plus though,in good health.One sentence in our guest's talk had kindled a spark and they lived the old days once again.

This reminded me of a psychological phenomena known as Association,which states that when we recall a past experience other thoughts related to it by virtue of similarity,congruity or causality also come to the fore.I was truly astonished to see this happening before my own eyes.

It struck me that this phenomenon is a double-edged sword. It can be utilized to check anxiety from taking hold of our minds.Once we give in to a negative thought many other similarly negative thoughts could come to invade our consciousness.

On the other hand a positive thought before a critical juncture will remind us of our past successes and fill our minds with confidence, energy and hope.

Hence repelling negative thoughts and diverting your mind to another channel is a good way to beat anxiety.Similarly recalling your good experiences and achievements is good for your mental health . 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

When Life Goes Hay-wire

No matter how systematic and well organised we are,unforeseen circumstances,traumas and tragedies know no barriers.We all have to face them at some time or the other.Some are overcome while some others refuse to budge.Ultimately one has to adapt to them.Or hanker for the old times despondently. 

Adaption is certainly the better option,but it is more easily said than done.Emotions overwhelm in the presence of a crisis and block remedial actions-thus prolonging suffering .Therefore the first step at such times should be to control emotions and think logically

How?Start with a critical analysis of the given situation--is it possible to undo it or is it here to stay?If latter is the answer,then you will have to find  a good way of living with it.Ready your arsenal.Make a checklist of your strengths and  potentials.Analyse the available options.Do what is needed to lessen the negative impacts of this trauma.Look at the larger picture and be grateful for what still remains.

Are you plagued by guilt that your own actions somehow set off this cavalcade?You probably did what was best under the circumstances.But things intervene and it is not possible to foretell the consequential fall-outs of every action.Certain things have to be accepted as destiny or God's will.   

Destiny has it's own road map. It may have swung your life in a new, unknown direction,but it is possible that some good opportunities or benefits too may be waiting for you on this road.Take heart from this thought and adapt with a positive mindset.

Don't delve into the good old days and detach yourself from the present. It is the present that you have to live in and improve. Go for it. If need be take help from your family and friends .Talk to them.Do not isolate yourself.

As you do all this,things will improve and soon these days too,will become good old days


Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Lots of Time But Nothing To Do?

The above title may seem contradictory to many but there ARE segments which are absolutely clueless as to what they should do to kill their waking hours.Nothing invigorates them.There is no goal which they would like to achieve. Every day is a saga of boredom, lassitude and fruitless passage of hours.

No one can be happy with this kind of life.Nor are they.If this persists for weeks or months it will precipitate poor Physical and Mental health. It's not easy to get out of this clutch,but trying consciously and persistently will give good results.The tips given below can help you. 


As you get up in the morning take time to plan the day's activities.Plan your meal times as well as your sleeping  and siesta times.A time schedule in front of you will compel you to beat lethargy.Select from the suggestions coming next,start with whatever appeals to you most and get cracking.


One must have some kind of occupation to beat lethargy.Try something which you can do easily and which will be useful too.Rummage through your wardrobe.Your current indolence has probably left it in shambles.Pick up the clothes you don't wear,which  have become old and bedraggled.Keep them in a bag to be given away.Arrange the remaining ones according to the season-winter wear and summer wear on separate shelves.Fancy outfits and daily wear too on separate shelves 

Even footwear deserves attention.We usually use a few comfortable shoes and slipons,leaving the rest to gather dust and become stiff and unusable.Why not give the spurious ones to needy persons?

Another task which demands a lot of time is the sorting of old letters,papers and documents.When we feel lazy we leave such things lying here and there.Many obsolete papers come in the way when we try to find an important document.Filing the important papers at proper places and discarding the useless ones will make life so much easier.


Did this activity stress you?How about a diversion?Pursue an old hobby in order to relax.Trying a new one which requires mental work like puzzles is also a good idea.Working out a puzzle supresses negative thoughts which often beset us during idle hours.Playing games too is a good exercise for the brain.Another engrossing activity is sketching,drawing or painting.You don't have to be an artist in order to try this.Keep a flower vase in front of you and try to draw it's image.A more strenuous hobby is gardening.It will subsume negative hormones like cortisole and adrenalin,happy and relaxed.

Reaching Out

This is a very fruitful way of passing time.See what your family members are doing.Chat with them.Or get out of your home and accost someone.Ask about his well-being,talk about the weather-anything.Contact someone with whom you have lost touch on phone.


Self-care is essential for the maintenance of good health and a becoming personality.To begin with resolve to take nutritious diet at every meal and miss none.Include exercise in your daily routine.It will keep your joints supple and also improve blood circulation.Oil massage also helps.


At the end of the day recapitulate how you spent your waking hours.Are you improving every day?If your routine was not so good how will you improve it?Also set a target for the next day.A goal will provide the impetus for an enthusiastic start of the next day.

These tips are easy to follow.They will start you on the road to a more active ,healthy and happy life.All the best.