Friday, September 12, 2014

Adolescent Turmoil and Suicide--a True Story---Part Three.

This is the concluding part.If you want to start at the beginning please go here.

As I had guessed,Jagan came next time and confessed that he had been unable to get his gf out of his system.They communicated through common friends and she urged him to wait for her.He requested me to give him some practical suggestions to help him forget her.The poor boy was trying but his hormones were getting the better of him.He also wanted a medicine to calm his mind.I sent him to a homeopath who claimed that he could ease this sort of nervous tension.

Regarding the scene at home,he disclosed that his father did not scold him directly but he took out his anger on his mother and sister.This too perturbed Jagan.

We had two sessions in the same vein and then his board exams arrived. Jagan did not contact me after that.I tried to follow up a number of times but his father had sold off his mobile,so I was completely in dark as to what was happening in his life.

Then one fine day after eleven months,Jagan arrived with a (male) friend in tow.He had failed the last board exams in Maths and Chemistry.Now again his exams were only a month away.He had broken off with his gf.He told me that he had prepared hard enough to get 60--70 % but his mother nagged him relentlessly.It culminated in long fights wherein he would pull his hair,bang his head and so on.When the news reached his father he would explode 'I will burn this house,all of us will die.'Jagan was at his wits' end.Then he said something which alarmed me--that he felt like jumping into Chambal river.

As his parents had been incommunicado since long, I made a home visit the same day.I told his mother that Jagan was trying but her persecution was in fact spoiling his chances and giving him a lot of stress.I requested her to just let him study undisturbed.She acquiesced.

Soon after this Jagan's board exams followed and he stopped coming to Sahyog.I rang up his father after about five months,when the results had been announced.He was very happy with Jagan's result.About other issues,he said that there had been a small problem but he had resolved it.Obviously this was the end of our association.

Today that young immature boy must be 28 yrs old.I wonder if he has found his feet,what he is doing and if they form a harmonious family today.I certainly hope that he has got over his suicidal tendencies.

Often when a youngster is brought to me for behavior problems I find that the parents too,need extensive counseling.It is not lack of education alone which leads to faulty parenting.The parents might be facing other stressful situations or they could be too abrasive and aggressive by nature.But it is the child who bears the brunt.Whatever his mistakes,he should never be made to feel that he is not loved.  

Monday, September 8, 2014

Adolescent Turmoil and Suicide--A True Story--Part two.

This is the second part of a true case history.If you want to read the first part please go here.

Jagan's parents and sister arrived at the due time next day.They told me that Jagan had left home the first time because his father had refused to lend him his bike--he enacts such dramas so that they do not refuse him anything.If he commits a blunder he will either run away from home or sham suicide to escape bashing or severe rebuke.He has neglected his studies for full one year because he was obsessed with his girl friend (gf).Now during exams he will demand undue favors,spoil the atmosphere of the house and then blame his poor performance on that.

His sister was two years older than Jagan and doing an I.T.I course.She told me that she maintained a distance from Jagan because he  tended to involve her in his plans to meet his gf and fought with her if she told her parents.She was a sensible girl and I guessed that the contrast between the two siblings must have added fuel to the fire.

It was clear that they were united against Jagan and had little sympathy for him, but he too had committed many mistakes.I told them I would talk to him,but they too should be more forbearing and understanding so as not to spark off another crisis.They ought to discuss the various aspects of this imbroglio with him in measured tones.They agreed to this and I asked them to send him over the next day.

The next interview was with Jagan alone.I asked him what the main bone of contention between him and his family was.He admitted it was his gf.A number of leading questions later he admitted that his poor performance in school,fights with his parents,consequent abscondings or suicidal attempts--all those factors which were making him and his family miserable-- stemmed from his pursuit of his love life to the exclusion of all else.I made him realize that he had to choose between building a career under the tutelage of his father,or carrying on like this,or forking out with his gf and living on his own steam.He replied that he could do nothing without his family's support.

I pointed out that his family's love, support and all other allied privileges entailed certain responsibilities on his part too.At the end of the day;what stood out loud and clear was the fact that continuing like this was not only spreading poison all around,but also ruining his life.The sooner he finished his education and built a career,the sooner he could live life on his own terms.Till then it was in his own interest to adjust, without going into who was right and who was wrong.I said this because firstly I had seen that his father was quite an adamant soul and secondly,Jagan lacked the sagacity to maintain a balance between his romance and studies.

Jagan listened to all this with a solemn countenance.I could see that he did not like the thought of breaking off with his gf although he did realize the harm it was doing him.He took leave,promising to come again.

To be continued :--

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Adolescent Turmoil and Suicide--a true story--part one.

What propels a youngster to run away from home or attempt suicide ?Whenever we come across such news in the media we feel sorry for the boy (or girl),and wonder what led to it.One such boy was brought to 'Sahyog' some years ago.

Jagan,an eighteen year old student of twelfth standard was literally dragged into my office by a furious looking father.'Look at this boy',he said.'He has run away from home twice and twice he has cut his wrists.He has fallen in love with a girl,does not listen to anybody,is doing poorly in school and his life is all but ruined.'So saying,he plonked him before me and stormed out of the room.

This dramatic start to an interview was quite earth-shaking.Though Jagan had been dragged forcibly into my office and derided in the strongest possible language,he was not at all reluctant to talk to me.Perhaps he too wanted to put a closure to this sad chapter in his life.

He told me that he had taken Rs 500 from home and taken off for Mumbai after a tiff with his parents.But half way down,he realized the futility of this step and returned. Instead of coming back to his home he went to his paternal grandmother's house.There he met a girl with whom he fell in love.His uncle-of whom he is very fond-talked him out of this and persuaded him to return home.

He intended to catch up with his studies.But according to him,the atmosphere in his home was very tense and hostile towards him.Every 8-10 days something or the other happened to distress him and his parents,instead of trying to understand him,got angry; and then he would feel like ending it all.He craved their sympathy and trust.

All this took a lot of time because I allowed him to pour his heart out.This session was mainly aimed at giving him catharsis and winning his trust.There was very little counseling involved.I told him I would help him to put his life back on track provided he cooperated and did not attempt suicide again.

Then I called his father in and asked him to return the next day with his wife and daughter.

To be continued