Mental Stress in Modern Times

AnxietyKiran was a lucky young lady who had everything; money, beauty and fortune– that a person can wish for. After studies she got married to a handsome, rich guy. All her friends envied at her luck. She had a happy marital life; soon had a baby and lost touch with her friends. Then we came to know that she was under-treatment in a hospital for severe depression for several months.This single case raised several questions in my mind. Is she the only person who is suffering from such trauma or are we simply ignorant of our friends’ and relations’ emotional and psychological problems until they reach a point of breakdown?

According to the World Health Organization’s report, in most developing countries including Pakistan the minimum number of people needing psychiatric attention is about 35 percent. Only in Karachi, 1.2 million people are estimated to suffer from major psychological disorders and if stress-related illnesses are included, the figures rises to 3 million.

Mental illnesses are the most misunderstood area in our society. Usually, they are taken very casually. But when become serious, the society harshly outcast the victims as Crazy and Maniac. There are an estimated 400 million people with anxiety disorders and 340 million with mood disorders worldwide. Researches discover that depression and anxiety are the most prevalent among women while mania and substance abuse disorders, involving alcoholism, smoking, drugs, sedatives and stimulants intake, are more common in men.

Mental illness and addictive disorders are major causes of widespread illness, disability and premature death in different countries. People with these disorders experience severe pain and agony; many are forced into economic independence, homelessness, social isolation and loss of opportunities.  In fact, all of us experience depression and mania at some point of our lives. The loss of a loved one or a job can depress us. Any achievement or good news may make us maniac. But the same reactions can be taken as serious mental illnesses when it persists for long, more than two weeks or so, without any obvious reason.imagesCAQE99T7

Depression is perhaps the highest reported problem in modern, mechanical world. Women are especially exposed to it and married women with children and housewives are even at greater risk due to their socio-economic status and lifestyle. There is an example of Amna, 35, with three children aged between 9-14. Her husband is a bank mamager. They were having a happy marital life. But gradually Amna was getting depressed, complaining about insignificance of her life. She lost interest in household activities, stopped cleaning her house, cooking and even taking care of her children. Her husband thought that she might be ill since most of the time she felt tired, cried uncontrollably and wanted to be left alone. He decided to take her for medical check-up. The day they had an appointment with doctor, she took many sleeping pills. She was rushed to a hospital and was luckily saved. But her suicidal attempt reflected the severity of her depression and an immediate need for intensive therapy and medication.

In our society, role of housewife has been increasingly devalued nowadays. However, most of the women still have to rely on the same role for their identity and self-esteem. It involves several frustrations like boring routine, isolation, lack of recognition, acceptance and income. Even the workingwomen are not in better position, as they have to face the double pressure of conflictions at home, uncooperative partner, discrimination and poor conditions at work place. Such an environment results in increasing depression and anxiety problems among women.

 It is visible that more than half of our women folk suffer intense sadness, pessimism, worthlessness and sense of guilt, which affect their physical and mental health. They lose or gain excessive weight, face problems in sleep, grieve endlessly, withdraw socially, unable to perform their role efficiently and in extreme cases commit suicide. Researches show that women with a stable partner, one or two children, and a part-time income-generating job, are less likely to be exposed to depression and anxiety.

Youth is another major sufferer of depression and anxiety in the modern world. Poor parent-child relationships, undue high expectations, failures in life are the main reasons behind it. Rehan was a 20-year-old college student who came to the counseling center suffering from severe depression. The parents who punished any outward expression of anger or hostility raised him. His mother often reminded him “Nobody likes a mischievous brat”. In result he became extremely submissive and was often exploited and mistreated by his peers. Rather than expressing his anger towards others, he became angry with himself, and developed a negative self-image that resulted in chronic depression.    

Ahmed had another problem. His family always had high expectations from its eldest son. His father, a successful surgeon wanted him to become a doctor and inculcated these feelings in him from his early childhood. Although he did extremely well in school, his parents took it for granted and always demanded for better. However, whenever he failed or didn’t excel in any competition, they showed that they were not only disappointed but felt disgraced too. Such an attitude developed an extremely negative self-image in Ahmed. He felt like a failure and was uncertain about his future.mentalillness[1]

We observe numerous such cases around us in everyday life. Many a times we are a part of it and creating problems for others through our negligence and negative attitudes. Depressed people are going through an extremely painful phase and need full emotional and professional support to get back their lost faith in life and in themselves.Unfortunately, we as a society are losing that closely-knit family and friends’ structures that used to function as a support group in such situations. Besides we are also lacking the spiritual strength based on strong cultural and religious beliefs that provides a shelter against all miseries and evils. In nuclear family set up where television transmits values in place of grandparents, it’s obvious. 

Psychiatrists say that most psychological problems are the result of emotional instability. It is amazing that every one of us claims to be sensitive, complains about being alone and misunderstood but fails to solve this self-created alienation by sharing our feelings and pains with others. Declining social environment is another major determinant of increasing mental health problems in recent years. Poverty, overcrowded living conditions, unemployment, job insecurity and inequity, growing number of broken relations and marriages, man-made natural disasters, wars, ethnic violence as well as violence against women, children and aged are some of the major factors which aggravate the situation.stress1-300x255[1]

On the whole, it is reported that one quarter of the world’s population is affected by some kind of mental, behavioural and substance abuse disorder at any one time in their lives.  In fact, no one of us is out of risk. Precaution is better than cure but do we have enough awareness and more than that required medical facilities for mental patients. According to a study by the World Health Organization, for about 1.2 million patients in Karachi, there are only three small units in medical colleges and some in private hospitals, containing 250 beds. While the no of registered psychiatrists is only fifty.

We can prevent mental illnesses by making life easy for ourselves and for others as well. Along with this, there is need for increase in psychiatric facilities and quality services at affordable rates for the common man. If we want to develop a healthy society, everyone has to be given an equal chance to live, grow and enjoy. No civilized, human society can follow Survival for the fittest rule because no one of us can claim to be fit forever without support from others.Mental-Disorders[1]imagesCAN3Y897

Once bitten, twice bold…DO WE LOVE ONLY ONCE IN LIFE?

Dinner

Dinner (Photo credit: Paul Watson)

 

 

 

 A bud bloomed in spring. Fresh breeze caressed it softly and each stroke flourished it naturally. It was tender and pure just like a teenager who feels love for the first time and takes every praising eye and flattering remark as a gesture of affection. This feeling never lasts for long and a gust of circumstances withers away childhood dreams very roughly. Time passes by but leaves its marks behind and a teenager turns into a promising youth who wants to adore and be adored ideally. Now he/she combats with reality. The ideal of an unconditional love is knocked out by worldly considerations and social constraints. Looks, money, status, and background suddenly become more important and lover is chosen like a car or an outfit that must suit and reflect your class.By the time a youngster reaches the age of marriage, he/she is expected to forget all past `mistakes’ and fall in love with his/her soul mate. While men in the east often feel free talking about their previous love cum hunts with pride, women are likely to bury it deep inside as it’s considered a stigma for them.  In marital life too, responsibilities soon replace love and turn it into a routine.It seems that throughout our lives, we desperately seek for true love and develop many relations; material, human and spiritual to satisfy the urge. But very few of us hardly ever get it.

It happens at least once in everyone’s life. You meet someone somewhere who causes your heart miss a beat and makes the person more important for you than rest of the universe. People call it LOVE. Ideologists explain it as a strong feeling of caring about someone that gives you an immense pleasure. Cynics identify it as a folly of mind while for lovers it is the power that makes the world go, not round but wild.

The conviction that we are loved is perhaps the supreme happiness in our lives, which often turns into a tragedy afterwards. But do we experience this feeling only once in lifetime?” Is it true that we fall in love only once; rest is just our deliberate attempts to forget the first love? Or, on the contrary, cupid can cast its spell over an individual more than once. If it is not the case, how anarkali’s deewana sheikhu could replace the memories of his beloved courtesan with the company of petite Noorjehan.How come more than ninety-five percent people could happily tie a knot, after being knocked out in romantic quest. And how so many heartbroken youngsters find an excuse to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a fresh zeal every year.

First love, no doubt, is the most beautiful thing that happens to anyone. Just recall your first fall, you might not remember anything but pure madness that keeps you above from all worldly considerations. Purity and perplexity are the real beauty of first affair. Initially an aficionado creates hundred of excuses for having a glimpse of his sweetheart, then become completely dumb or in some cases turns into a chatterbox in front of his beloved. Whether it’s a first sight love or a fore sight incidence, it arises such tender sentiments that transform an ordinary person into a poet, writer, singer or an artist at some point of life.

However, first love is often destined to die before it flourishes and leaves its victims in the world of despair and gloom where they shed tears on sad filmy songs and ghazals while save the memories of their beloved in diaries with faded flowers. But it doesn’t take them long to come out of this trauma and meet other nice people around them. So life goes on like this. If first love is irreplaceable, second is almost a reflex action — a desperate attempt to fill the gap created by the first one. Dejected souls badly need a companion to share their feelings and raise their shattered self-esteem with acceptance and emotional support.

So in matters of heart, once beaten often becomes twice bold.

Despite the fact that in real life stories, there is no director to help the hero and heroine against zalimsamaj and mischief-makers, most lovebirds like to take their chances on their own. Quite often, neglecting the fact that they neither have Hirthik and Shahrukh’s charm, nor Sonali’s and Aishwaria’s charisma.

Besides, they also have to face the bitter reality that in modern metallic age of romance, no one is fool enough to kick away its fortune just for three hollow words. Nowadays even to qualify the first round of love; girls have to meet the standards of bold and beautiful while boys need to join a gym to appear tall, dark and handsome. Even if they don’t have killer looks, they can apply their credit cards, cars and contacts to cost the hearts that are no more priceless.

Today’s cable crazy generation has seen and heard so much rubbish about media generated romance that its thoughts are fully contaminated by bigger than life images. They are unable to differentiate between lust and love. Those who can afford change their sweethearts with fashion, mood and season. They idealise their favourite movie and sport stars and imitate filmy style in their love lives. Most of them truly reflect the saying: ‘tu nahi aur sahi, aur nahi aur sahi’ (if not thou, someone else, if not him/her anyone else)

In their desperation, they frequently have crushes, flings, infatuations and romances. Sometimes deliberately confuse them in hunt of the right person. These pastimes continue until they tie a nuptial knot and some of them like to pursue the practice even after that.

Saima is a career girl in her late twenties. She had several crashes in her teens. She says “I remember only a few in which I was a bit serious. But I realized the actual difference between infatuation and true love the day I met my soul mate. It is total submission to someone you love unconditionally and wants to spend your entire life with.”

Anees, a computer engineer, had a bitter experience in matters of heart. Two girls came in his life and both deserted him subsequently. One for an American based cousin, another for the sake of her family pride.  He believes that there is no regard for love in this materialistic age. Modern generation takes it as a fashion. They flirt around pretty faces, rich and handsome guys just for fun and walk out when they get bored.

However, it doesn’t mean that true love has completely vanished away from the earth. Even today, Majnoos become mad after their Lailas, Farhads dig around to get money for their Shireens. Queens leave thrones and Zubeidaas crashed to death for eternal union.

However, no one can exactly define true love, as everyone perceives it through its own spectacles of experience. But one thing is sure; we can learn to love and be loved only by loving. Whether you call it a hearty matter or a brainy affair, it can affect us anytime in our lives, not necessarily once. There might be several pictures in the heart gallery of a person, some clear, some vague, some sweet, and some bitter but each leaves its impression on us and that is the beauty of love.

Author: Bagande

Author: Bagande (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Seven Ages of Man by William Shakespeare

I read the poem in 10th grade in school text book and love it since then. However,  i understand it more deeply while I accidentally found six photographs of my beloved father from various periods of his life , from 1960s to 2010, on his third anniversary. Dedicating this unique poem of the great Shakespeare to my beloved abu who always helps me understand life and its realities at its best

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players,

They have their exits and entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages.

At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.

Then, the whining schoolboy with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school.

And then the lover,

60s

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress’ eyebrow.

Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

70s

Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon’s mouth.

And then the justice

80s

In fair round belly, with good capon lined,

With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws, and modern instances,

And so he plays his part.

The sixth age shifts

90s

Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side,

His youthful hose well saved, a world too wide,

For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,

Turning again towards childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound.

2000s

Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

2009-10

Turning Dreams into reality inspired by a blog on

Life is like that… we all set goals, aspire to accomplish something and strive to realize our dreams. Then why is it so that some people are able to turn their dreams into reality while others just give up.

How many times have you wanted to do or achieved something but never did? Probably often. So many of us are “day-dreamers” — we wish for something but, because we don’t know how to make it a reality, it remains make-believe.

So what’s the process of turning your dreams into reality? Can everyone learn this? Absolutely. But first, let’s visit the model that most people experience:

Dream—|    |—Reality

What most people often see is a gap between the two. This is something that few manage to cross. They don’t, not because they’re not as skilled or blessed with opportunities as others; instead the reason lies with the fact that the majority do not know how to cross it. In order to make any dream become a reality in your life, there is a specific continuum that must be followed and understood which will bridge the gap between the two. And here it is:

 Dream –> Goal –> Intention –> A Plan –> Action –> Attention –> Reality

Once we have a dream, the first step in bridging the gap is setting a date to achieve that dream. We’ve all heard that a goal is a dream with a deadline. When you have a desire to achieve or have something and you set a date for that desire to be manifested in your life, as soon as that deadline is set, your dream moves along the continuum and becomes a goal.

The Smarter the goal, the better it is. That is, it must be specific (you know exactly what you want or where you want to be), measurable (How much of that do you want?), achievable (What exactly is your intended outcome?), realistic (something that you are willing and able to achieve), and tangible (something you can experience with one of your senses – this makes it all the more measurable and attainable).

Intention is the natural outflow of a firmly stated and desired goal. The very fact that we have created a goal does not necessarily imply that we have also created intent. You can set a goal, as is the case with many new-years resolutions, without any intent on achieving it. It is only when you link a strong desire to achieving a specific goal that you reach the level of Intention on the continuum. Intention is the driving force behind turning one’s dream into reality.

Intention is also what allows the Law of attraction to work in our lives. When you reach the level of Intention, something interesting begins to happen in your life. Thoughts, ideas and opportunities seem to come together in such a way that you begin to see a path to your desired reality.

Now that you understand how you can achieve your desired result (you have the means whereby), in order to progress further along the continuum you must plan to use those means. Everything that you see in the physical world has been previously created already in the non-physical world of someone’s thoughts. For example, something as simple as the chair upon which you are sitting was formed in someone’s mind long before you sat on it. Planning, in many ways, does this same type of “non-physical” creation for your desires. And by planning your course, you see (and thereby create) in your mind your intended result before it happens.

Although planning is a crucial step, unless you implement that plan, it will forever remain in your mind. The next stage then, in the continuum of turning your dreams into reality, is to take action. This step is fairly self-explanatory.

Action alone does not have the power to turn your desires into their physical manifestation. Unless it is supported by your Intention, you will not continue to act on your plan. As I previously stated, Intention is the driving force behind turning one’s dream into reality. Unfortunately, Intention is not self-perpetuating. It requires a fuel to keep it alive — and that fuel is Attention.

When enough attention is focused on your desire, and you’re acting on the plans that you’ve made, eventually a tipping point is reached and your dream becomes your reality. Finally at reaching your intended destination, you may notice that it did not come as such a big surprise as you had imagined. The reason can be found in understanding that as you are moving along this continuum; your desire becomes so real in your mind during the process, that the physical manifestation of it seems rather anti-climactic. In many ways you have already achieved and experienced it many times over in your head.