Tuesday, February 14, 2017

When a Relationship Breaks

It is excruciating to go through a  breakup in any relationship,especially when you are at the receiving end.The pain scorches you to the core.A part of you whisks away with the one who broke up with you.It could be anyone-a romantic partner,spouse,parent,offspring or a sibling.

Actually the atmosphere today is not conducive for stability and continuity.Everybody is on the go.We are not satisfied with what we have,and aspire for more in every sphere-whether it be relationships or lifestyle.No harm in striving for a better life,but in our quest for whatever it is we are running after,we sometimes even ditch what is an integral part of our lives; what has depth,true meaning,and is good for us.

The tragedy is,that such instances are becoming more and more common.We are exposed to countless stimuli every day,and those who have little self control are easily swayed.That is why there are rising instances of adultery and divorce today,not to talk of breakups in relationships.Such parting of ways inflicts a grievous injury on the one who is left behind.

What can you possibly do if you are at the receiving end?Very little to bring that person back.Because he is scurrying after that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.While he is pursuing his goal headlong it will be difficult to divert his attention.He may return if he realizes the futility of his chase,or he may keep his distance if he is too shamefaced to confront you again.Time will tell.

What you can do is,find a way to soothe your hurt and put your house in order once again.To start with,have a good cry.Admit to yourself that this was a severe blow.Don't sweep your emotions under the carpet.Grieving is in order.

But for how long?Set your own limit and then tie up the loose ends.Think back-did you give this relationship the best you could,or more importantly,what could morally have been expected of you?If yes,then trash the remorse and the guilt pangs.

If however,you were at fault,then you could maybe attempt a patch-up.If this is not in your cards then treat it as a learning lesson,a springboard from which to leap into a new era.You know now,how to avert a breakup.An honest appraisal will protect you from making the same mistake twice and breaking your heart once again.

As any association or era recedes into the past,it is the pleasant memories which cause maximum grief.But was this bond all good without any jarring episodes?There must have been unpleasant confrontations too.Desist from viewing the past through rose-tinted glasses.Things came to a head because of a lack of compatibility or divergent values,motives or goals.The continuance of this relationship might not have been so hunky-dory after all.

Relationship breakups are rife in those who are on the threshold of adulthood.The prevailing milieu is very challenging for them.They have a tough time picking their way through a jungle of attractions and distractions,and often end up aping their peer group or their role models.In the proccess,they sometimes discard the core for the chaff.

Certain things in life are destined to happen.We cannot control everything.Except how far or how deep we allow anything to affect us.That is very much in our hands.It helps to remember that while relationships make us happy,give support,help us to forget painful instances and relieve the drudgery of monotonous routines;they also impose restraints, bestow responsibilities,and demand explanations.When a relationship breaks the advantages fly out of the window,as do the curbs and restrictions.So now you can be more your own self,do things you enjoy and spend your day as you like without having to listen to grumbling,irritating or disapproving noises in the background.Make the most of it!

Image courtesy google 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How We Overcame General Anxiety Disorder,Panic Attacks and Hypochondria

Aug 2015
It all began six months ago when my husband (BH) was declared a diabetic.It was a major downturn in our lives.The medicine he was prescribed did not agree with him.We got it changed and also amended our lifestyle (which was not much bad earlier),but his health continued to deteriorate.

He complained of various physical complaints.It was not long before I realized that he had become a hypochondriac--it is an awful affliction,believe me.There is no enemy to fight,it is all so nebulous.He began writing his various symptoms in a journal and it was crystal clear that his symptoms changed hue every day because there was no biological basis for them.But this did not set his mind at rest.

I had daily counseling sessions with him.He listened attentively and also read material about his condition on the net.I gave him constant company and tried to engage him by yapping about this and that.But there was something troubling him which spiked his anxiety.

Soon he began to have panic attacks and my son was asked to fly down immediately.He was a great help but BH gave up whatever little he had been doing to keep the household running,and began to depend entirely upon him.More spare time meant more rumination and more rumination meant more anxiety.He became worse than ever.

My son stayed with us for 18 days.BH was not ready to let him go but I prevailed upon him so that he could take up the reins again.Soon my daughter came and again the same story.He lost his weight,stamina and confidence at a fast pace.We all tried our best to talk him out of it but understanding that he was being unreasonable with his complaints did not in any way help him to mitigate them even though our GP too,gave him a clean chit.

Soon my daughter too,went and slowly he picked up a few of his duties.He began driving once again.His favorite physician checked him time and again,followed by numerous tests;to rule out any disease,but BH was never convinced.The complaints began to mount.We consulted ten doctors but he still feared that he had a serious disease.

I realized that he was suffering from A feeling of insignificance.He had been very healthy and active all his life but failing health and empty hours were taking their toll even when there was no other problem in our lives.He had no occupation and no hobby.He is a very good singer but not once did he try to play any music.Even when I did so,it failed to engage him.He has a background of agriculture but he even gave up supervising our gardener's work.The only thing he did keep up was,walking,but mostly on our terrace.He did not feel comfortable meeting people.

Now what can you do in such a situation?I tried to involve him in growing vegetables on our terrace but I ended up doing most of the work.Then I asked him to talk to some laborers who were working at a house nearby and ask them to send their children to our home for studying.Three kids started coming over.I went and bought the required stationary for them and we started the classes on our balcony. BH took up the eldest child who was smarter than the other two.He was well occupied for at least one hour in the morning.I think he liked this diversion.There was a goal to be met,and something to look forward to. 

Then a friend of mine suggested we send them to a government school where they will get free books,uniform and mid-day meal too.We did so and now those kids are going to a school and they are very happy.We are both very glad that they are receiving formal education but we do miss their visits --i.e,I hope BH too misses them;because he rarely expresses his feelings.

Feb 2016
It is now one year since all this started.My sessions with him continue,he listens carefully but he is just not prepared to accept the changes which come attached to advancing age.He is very sad at these changes in his personality (if you smell narciccism here,you are not off the mark).He has numerous physical complaints which I suspect,stem from his anxiety.Some days are good,some are not:(.

Oct 2016
He tries very hard to free himself from anxiety and it is showing results.Given below are the various factors which have helped him to recover :--

Our GP was a great help.He prescribed anti-anxiety drugs and also something for insomnia.The medicines were just enough to give him relief,and not make him drowsy all day long;which he would have abhorred.

Our children's support has been very reassuring.

Our counseling sessions have continued alongside.

He goes for daily walks on the road and meets neighbours.

*Does stretching exercises.

Also does 'pranayam' and meditation.

Goes to the market to fetch groceries etc,does not take the help of a driver.

Listening to devotional songs has eased his anxiety to a large extent.

Tearing a rag to shreds when the anxiety was extreme helped to cool his mind.

*Going out and visiting friends has also helped a lot.

We tried to play board games but this did not interest him much.Neither did painting or coloring.

The whole purpose of narrating this story is to share with you how difficult it is to extricate someone from an anxiety disorder and what are the various steps that can be taken.Eventually,sustained efforts do show results,as they have in our case.I hope we will soon be out of the woods.

Dec 2016
Nearly two years have elapsed since BH's health problems started.Today he is completely cured.What a journey it has been!He has quitted the sleeping pills as well as the anti-anxiety medicine.

Jan 2017
I am always alert for any signs of relapse--God forbid.BH has been a model patient,he not only listened to my advice but also put it into practice.Wht's more,he resumed his stretching exercises,pranayam and meditation as soon as he was able to.My being a counselor who was in constant attendance too,was a lucky coincidence.

In the absence of a psychiatrist,or an able family physician or a counselor,it is the family which has to
bear the maximum responsibility for the patient's welfare.Even if the patient is getting proper treatment,there are certain do's and don'ts which the family members should be aware,of when they take care of a mental patient.Later on,when the patient is well enough to join the mainstream,he needs to be coaxed and inspired to take baby steps towards normalcy.Along with the requisite treatment;love,empathy,encouragement and companionship of a family too,are therapeutic.It is a tough journey,but very much worth the toil.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Why Conceal Anxiety,Depression,or Any Other Mental Disorder?

Living with anxiety,depression,O.C.D or any other mental disorder is an excruciating experience.It sets you apart from the rest of mankind.You feel worthless,weak and inferior.No wonder you try to hide this condition from others.In fact you may take time to even acknowledge it to your own self.But this secrecy,the attempt to project that everything is fine,has dire repercussions.So many things can go wrong if you do not open up about what is ailing you.
  1. Firstly,mental turmoil can make you absent minded,forgetful,unreasonable,irritable and easily provoked.These characteristics have the potential to sour relations.Others do not know what you are going through and therefore they may hold it against you.
  2. Secondly,when you keep your feelings bottled up,your tensions mount and this can worsen your condition.
  3. When you disclose your illness you are likely to get more emotional support from those who know.
  4. They can make life easy for you by sharing your burden in everyday chores or helping you with your visits to the doctor and subsequent treatment.
  5. Long term stress is sometimes responsible for the onset of diseases like hypertension,skin eruptions,gastric ulcers,thyroid disease,diabetes and even cancer.It is best to nip this possibility in the bud by seeking treatment.
  6. By admitting that you suffer from a mental disorder you will be piercing the veil of stigma which is responsible for so many like you suffering for long periods without any treatment and going downhill to a state beyond redemption.
  7. Once you have revealed what ails you--you don't have to shout it from the rooftops,but only let it be known on 'need to know basis'--you will be relieved from the stress of having to put up a brave front at all times.
I cannot sign off without saying a few words in defence of those who conceal a mental disorder.When someone realizes that he is losing control over his emotions and reactions he feels very inadequate and unworthy.He fears that if he were to divulge the state of his mental health he would be branded as abnormal or a mental patient--both of which are synonymous in general perception.

It is possible that some,who are not genuinely attached to you may fade away from your life after disclosure,because they do not know how to handle this situation;but it is also likely that you may get more emotional support from the people around you.

A disclosure at the workplace can be dicey,it can cut both ways.You might benefit from reasonable adjustments being made to suit your condition,but an ambience of gossip or stigma too,cannot be ruled out.It is also a fact that the unemployment rate in mental patients is higher than average.

On the whole this is a very personal decision which ought to be preceded by a serious evaluation of the pros and cons of revealing or concealing.

But what cannot be pushed under the table is,the caution that when you realize your efforts to cure yourself are not bearing fruit,when your whole schedule goes haywire,you lose interest in things which earlier engaged you,it is time to seek treatment.Do not prolong your self-imposed isolation.The earlier you come out,the quicker will be your recovery.Choose the professional with whom you are comfortable,but begin to live.Life will be rosy once again.