Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How to Join the Mainstream after Depression / Anxiety.

Recovering from depression or anxiety is no mean feat-it asks for celebration.Only an ex-sufferer knows how relieving it is to be finally rid of this malady.Unfortunately recovery is not the end of the story-or the trial.A lot more needs to be done in order to be comfortable and in sync with the surroundings.This is because the mental disorder must have isolated that person to a large extent.

A mental patient is sad,worried and apprehensive most of the time.This enormously changes his facial expression and body language.For the worse.

Since his thinking as well as his emotions are negative and pessimistic,this  impairs his judgment and consequently his reactions.

Naturally his behavior deteriorates considerably.Being full of his own woes,he does not pay heed to how his behavior impinges upon others.

It is no wonder then,that all these changes must have impelled him to restrict his public appearances and interactions.

Post recovery the patient realizes  fully the import of his disease and the resultant isolation.He knows that he looks odd,not like he looked before the onset of the disease,that he is not as strong as he used to be and also that his behavior must have annoyed many.

These factors obstruct him from joining the mainstream even after he recovers.The passage from neo-recovery to full normalcy can be tough and painful.One needs to make deliberate efforts to mesh once again with the society.Given below are eight mantras which will speed up the patient's rehabilitation.

Take help from those who care for you.
Let them know in which way you want them to assist you.Do you want them to accompany you to a party or the daily morning walk?Perhaps you would like them to go with you on a shopping spree to update your wardrobe or organize a get-together at home?Merely talking to them about the misgivings which bar you from reclaiming your life will also make you feel better.

Do what you don't feel like doing.
Go out even if you feel more comfortable inside your home.Don't avoid looking people in the eye because you anticipate judgmental glances.Their curiosity will subside when they see that you have now recovered.Give it some time.
Start a casual dialogue whenever and wherever possible.Most will reward you with positive responses.Those who do not--it could be because of them and not you.Everybody cannot be expected to be in a cheery mood all the time.So don't personalize such instances.

Go there if you want to BE there.
A secret desire of all mental patients is to be like they were before the down-slide.A simple change in routine can take you there.Remember how you used to jump out of the bed and get busy with the day when all was well?If you want to be like you were in those days ,start doing what you did in those days.It is that simple.
It is true that anxiety and depression deplete energy and enthusiasm.Reverting to your original,hectic routine will appear impossible in the beginning.Start small.As you continue, you will pick up stamina.The joy you get from slowly assimilating with others will automatically add verve to your personality.

Do not be engrossed in your own self all the time.
Depression does this to people.They examine their body,notice how it has changed and worry about every tiny twitch or pain.If you think only about your body,your ailments and your life all the time;many disturbing facts will emerge--facts which have no significance at all,which beset lots of other people too;those whom you consider normal.
Therefore make it a point to refrain from obsessing about your own self and kill this train of thought as soon as it starts.Think about other people,their lives and the challenges which they have to face.Be mindful of your surroundings to the extent that you forget to worry about yourself.

Do not compare yourself with anyone.
If you compare yourself with those who have not been through this travail as you have been,you will definitely find yourself lacking and feel dejected.Don't do this,You are still in the early stage of picking up the threads of life.Instead, compare your yesterday with today.Keep up the tempo and things will get better and better.

Be grateful for what you have.
The tussle with a mental disorder must have been torturous no doubt.But even then,you managed to come out of it.What was it that enabled you to carry on till you recovered ?Was it your family,friends,colleagues,doctors,your 
intelligence or a sound financial backing?Whatever it was--be grateful for it.

Be alert for the triggers which are likely to pull you down.
Stressful events cannot be ruled out of life,but it helps to formulate a method of dealing with them.I have enunciated mine in this post.Whenever faced with a crisis,remind yourself that nothing is permanent and this too shall pass.Positive thinking will protect you from a relapse.

Set a daily goal for yourself.
While you were not at your productive best you must have been absolved of many legitimate responsibilities.Take them up again.Even if you are one of those lucky ones who do not have much on their plate,who do not need to earn a living;find something to occupy you or you will fall back upon excessive rumination.
Decide the previous evening what you want to do the next day.Pursue a neglected hobby,learn something new,organize your files and documents,discard what is not needed,clean up your wardrobe,rectify or discard the defective equipment or gadgets---ah well the list could go on and on,but I think you get my point.

Just keep going and building up your life once again.You did it when you were a tiny babe,you can very well do it today. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Bit of Philosophy,Lots of Logic and Splashes of Humor

The above three have enabled me to survive the shocks and upheavals which came my way.It is not as if I have been exceptionally lucky with the life conditions in which I found myself.It was a mixed basket as it is for everyone else.But the above mentioned attributes helped me to carry on with minimum collateral damage.

Whenever I had to face an ordeal I reminded myself that life was a kaleidoscope of both good and bad or joy and sorrow and I ought not to expect only good things for myself.I would look at those who were worse off than me,visualize a worst-case scenario,admit that things were not so bad and heave a sigh of relief.

If things spiraled out hand I got so busy coping,that the thought of sitting down to brood or lament my misfortune never entered my head.It was not a conscious decision--it happened automatically and for this I am ever grateful to my maker.My first priority has always been to analyze the problem logically--keeping my emotions at bay.This has helped me to sort out the tangles and maintain my equilibrium. 

There were times when I was maligned badly,blamed for what I could never have done, and I could do nothing except cry over my misfortune.Those were the times when I gave in to my emotions.After a while,when I was all done with the tears,I would take refuge in the thought that if someone had wronged me s/he shall one day pay for it.That was the end of the matter for me because I have a firm faith in the theory of karma.I did try to understand why someone had behaved as s/he did and it helped to cool me down too,but emotional abuse or victimization do leave permanent scars.That is the truth.I can forgive but not forget.

Humor has acted as a shield to protect me from an innate urge to be blunt,like when I was expected to respond,but could not say the truth without being rude I would take recourse to saying something silly.This saved the situation from taking an ugly turn.It is thus a handy tool in awkward situations.I am deficit in the golden mean known as diplomacy,only learning as I go along.

A touch of humor at the right moment can also assuage emotions and nip anxiety in the bud.Like,if I see a dear one taking too much stress from an annoying development my first instinct always is to play it down by saying something funny.This distracts the other person,s mind and the problem diminishes in stature.

Humor-whether in print or visual media- has always been my pet stress buster too.A TV serial Sarabhai Vs Sarabhai instantly comes to mind,or Jaane bhi do Yaaro.

As I look back down the years I realize that the above attributes were just a part of who I am--not a consciously though out strategy.Is it my DNA?Perhaps!
What is yours?


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.