SOCIAL PSYCHOSIS – III

It is quite ironical that the alliance of Russia with the most powerful terrorist in the present world known as Bashar al-Assad has succumbed the millions of lives in the span of just a few months to days.

To one’s amazement, it was not well covered by the media, neither was acknowledged, noticed, considered and realised by the world altogether. The consequences amongst the victims appear initially on a biological level; the hunger, thirst, need for clothing and shelter; which completely unaddressed reach to the psychological level and surface out as frustration, anger, helplessness and in the long term these components acquire the form of revenge. The revenge manifests itself through different forms. Responses/forms are mostly showed where there are pockets of opportunities, loose security measures and unsupervised backgrounds. The expressions of opportunity-based-revenge have put the lives of perpetrators, non-perpetrators, innocents and victims all at great risk.

_67330684_1541462141The root of response is less focused as much as the response itself. This attitude has caused the world to see the “whole” picture in thin slices and off course separately or one can just say in a snapshot. The snapshot portrayal of the whole situation has incited snap judgments, snap decisions, impulsive hatred and quick opinions.

The outcome is the world with divided poles: US vs THEM.

The media, word-of-mouth, debates and for-and-against arguments by the time all would reinforce the energy at the extreme ends. The division would be deepened further, hatred and anarchy will be flared up and in between this many parallel courses of action will be introduced with time.

1) Muslims with a-political and a-religious concerns will have difficulty in their foreign interactions, travellings, achieving career goals in life etc. due to the politico-religious barriers. This will ignite anger within them partly on the policy-makers sand largely on the radicals present within their conforming belief system.
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2) This will be reflected by their ignorance of the rights of trampled, deprived and victimised sufferers on their side. The sheer neglect by the people of similar faith would fill the affectee to assume a more polarised position, which means more disgust, ferocity and fanatic approach towards the world including their own brothers and sisters in faith.

3) The distance between the two poles would further facilitate the air of misconception, doubt and disdain towards each other.

4) The absence of real knowledge regarding the root-cause of the situation can introduce the whole new system with one side entirely possessed by “higher-beings” and the other side with “lower-beings”. This difference in mindsets would be considered by the “lower-beings” as humiliating and tragic. These feeling would fill the gaps with viciousness and chaos.

The world is undoubtedly entering into a new realm where the advancement, progression, digitalization have made it a better place than ever. But the same world has reached the lowest level of humanity with brutal lawlessness, racism, despotism, and abuse of power, greed and cruelty.

Last but not the least, with the Trump being a president of America and Angela Merkel being an unlikable figure; I must say we are in for more surprises!

Personality and Leisure Time

Human personality is rich with diverse features, aspects and moods. It is revealed through many minor and major challenges when different behaviours come into play. Most of us keep thinking of the fact that despite working on our personalities, we are not able to shine out, excel or achieve what we want. The basic factor among many which have been identified is our leisurely hour and how we want to spend it. It is the largely ignored and neglected aspect of one’s life and maybe that is why one is not able to achieve much in life despite major and sophisticated efforts.

The leisure hours have paramount importance in building one’s strength and adding charm to personality. What we think, ponder and get ourselves engages into define our persona to the great extent.

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The thoughts

It constitutes the major part in formulating our vision, goals, perspectives for and about life. The leisurely activities fill us with productive or destructive thoughts that ultimately define us and our future.

The action

Sometimes, we prefer active options over the inactive meditation. We choose to engage ourselves in some action based theme as our outlets to fill our free time. The nature, depth and intensity of an action influence our personality from all aspects.  It colours our views for relationships, events and shapes the way we infer or analyse.

The hobbies

It is the most important part to emphasise. The type of hobby which we employ to provide us resourceful pleasure and motivation for routine tasks determines our cognition, moods, attitudes and perception. Not merely this but research tells us the effectiveness of productive hobbies in one’s life too.

image3Conclusion

The current account in conjunction with the literature-based evidence concludes direct relationship of these two variables, Personality and leisure activities.  It includes that the fervent habit of reading and writing1 has proved its role as a healer in a different type of mental illnesses. The sharing outlets and group -based activities2 with participatory functions enhance memory, cognition; improve mood and increase oxytocin, a love hormone. The effect of positive self-talking3 surfaces out in the form of boosted self-esteem, confidence and self-reliance, it also improves interaction and self-image, which later substantiate and enrich oneself completely.

The above components are essential and necessary ingredients to keep in mind when one thinks about personal grooming.

References –

  1. McArdle, S., & Byrt, R. (2001). Fiction, poetry and mental health: expressive and therapeutic uses of literature. Journal of psychiatric and mental health nursing8(6), 517-524.
  2. Lee, R. M., & Robbins, S. B. (1998). The relationship between social connectedness and anxiety, self-esteem, and social identity.
  3. Ford, F. D. (2015). Exploring the impact of negative and positive self-talk in relation to loneliness and self-esteem in secondary school-aged adolescents.

The connection of transcendence

Roaming the world of sorrow and joy, we stay between two extensions throughout to decide, think, interact, create and flourish. One extension links us with outside world and another one links us with our inside.

These extensions are in active motion all the time when we interact, deal and mingle up with people around. Inner-connexion contains the mystic component. It guides and guards us throughout. The other tie with the outer world modifies itself according to the environmental demands and changes. It is supervised by our inner connexion and its quality. The quality of inner attachment is comprised upon our spiritual state where we feel ourselves with a Higher being and the quality of it.

The strengthening factors for the state-with-Higher-Being are piety, honesty and satisfaction, trust in God, self reliance and goodness.

The improvised quality of ones inner tie disables the intuitive capacity of a person for the specific course of actions in the outer world at time of challenges and hardship. This deprives a person from the essence of wisdom and clairvoyance. In such cases, when the inner link is malformed or poorly established then it becomes hard to provide guidance for the external code of actions.

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The stress of Rumi and other Mystics on the state-of-being-with-God was made to highlight its importance in terms of external world of action. The constant state of vigilance is required for maintaining the stability and to enrich the inner connexion.

 

The Age of Anxiety

As a psychiatrist, I deal with patients suffering from depression, anxiety and stress- related conditions. I take care of biological-psychological and social aspects of an illness. I look at the illness in terms of associated risk factors, triggers and illness-maintaining aspects with the protective variables of the disease. The interesting concept that I have found so far is my struggle in evaluating the origins of anxiety amongst cases where acute stressors are lacking. In such cases, it becomes hard to find out the reason of existing symptoms of anxiety.

Before understanding this complex phenomenon, we need to dig out the human nature and the evolutionary process in a quick way.

God has made us with the pure and definite intentions.

 

He has developed and shaped our intellect, body, spiritual essence and psyche for the attainment of some specific goals and to accomplish the awaited task. The soul keeps us restless and in constant anguish without the attainment of that desired task. And it keeps on yearning and seeking the ways to achieve it before the final return to ones Lord.

Then, what are the barriers, which can hinder this process of search?

Stuff between birth and death
Stuff between birth and death

In life, some of the human traits have been identified as the absolute enemy of an individual in his or her path to find out the meaning and truth of life. The presence of these habits which are: procrastination, laziness, ignorance, distraction, multitasking, insecurity and critique-avoidance attitude which all take place secondary to insecurity or low self-esteem.

 

Theses traits may blind the spiritual eye from ones goals and ambitions for which Soul was created.

The outcome is the wastage of personal energy, availability of resources and most importantly depletion of proper time that alarms the unconscious part of a human psychology. The hyper-vigilance and a constant feeling of something-going-wrong under the carpet (behind the cover of consciousness) provokes the stress-related symptoms on the conscious surface.

The fourth decade of life is a time to seek the meaning of ones existence. It is a beginning to step out from the realm of nine-to-five-life followed by the external versions of duties and resort to personal identity and mindfulness regarding ones actions with the query on personal approach towards the daily life matters.

As soon as the process of meaning or pursuit starts the mind would shift its lens and change the perspectives of life-analysis.

It further helps a person to consult his or her inner core of being which is the required strategy and it is a gradual process.

The life we are having here is not for the corporate services, paying bills or fulfilling family needs. One has to live his or her life to avoid the existential crisis in later phases. It can only be sought with our consultation to inner-self.

Secured Corners of Faith – The Psychology of Intolerance

She sat next to me, working under my supervision on a project on the correlation between spirituality and mental health. I had been touched by her inquisitive mind and investigative stance on every subject, but today she surprised with prudent intellect.

She asked about my perspective on the fundamental tenets of religion. About the controversial verses and interpretation of a holy Book. Then she raised some arguments and challenged me. In my inability to answer her, I felt a rush of blood flow around my cheeks and ears for few seconds out of anger, but then becoming mindful about this state of rage, I tried to contain the feeling and took a deep breath.

n505985007_6085919_6548769I smiled and gulped my saliva down; faked interest in listening to her. I was partly successful in pretending, as she continued on her tirade of questions and arguments on religion’s essential elements. She left me with feedback that unlike other people, I have been quite tolerant in listening to these radical and agnostic concepts.

After she left, thousands of questions poured into my mind, which I had to answer to satisfy the satiety of reason and to quell the noise of judgment inside.

 

religious_intolerance_2__angelo_lopezWe always seek corners of deep-seated faith and keep them intense by different measures throughout such as joining religious meditation, spiritual contemplation, recitals, prayers, fasting, giving alms and through pilgrimage. We do it so that we stay mindful of our God all the time. Is this life-long strength not sufficient to introduce the layers of tolerance to listen or evaluate the idea of difference? Are the tenets of religion so weak that by listening to these opinions of radicalism, the damage to these dogmas can be anticipated? Or have we failed to acquire the higher levels of belief in attaining faith and tranquility through religious resources, which can be sufficient to fathom the approach of doubt or variance by other? This inadequate trust on a religion may be stemming from our ambivalent alliance with the Higher Being or due to our inaccurate attitude towards a religion.

imagesWhatever the case, by no means does it reflects the fragile state of any organized religion; but rather the failure of its bearer to understand the conflicting ends of a religion in the contextual aspects of relevant history. To comprehend the psychology of intolerance, one can surely look into the origins of insecurity one has on his or her belief. The hard work which is required to appreciate others’ views is simply a call towards better theological understanding of any creed, the work which sounds quite laborious, effortful task, which is why most people prefer to take the easier way out – they rebuff and deny this opportunity, and reject the chance to gain an insight into others’ cognition and reasoning. This leaves no ground for debate, discussion, negotiation and consideration. It is because of the fact that entertaining the thought of others disables them and is a direct reflection of their own ignorance on the subject, which is completely undesirable for their conscious acceptance.

In this way, the Intolerant chooses his path and gets engaged in trying to make it approvable, definite and holistic for the inquirer and on the other hand, it becomes easier for an inquirer to confirm the said argument out of repugnance to an extreme response. Here, the essence of intelligence and tolerance dissolves in the anguish of ego and obliviousness.

 

religious-20intolerance-pngThe existing culture of stereotypy reinforces the tradition of following the established norms rather than facilitating the out-of-box, radical, deviant or novel ideas in any form. This culture further introduces the polarization and extremism in opinions and approaches by avoiding the hard work of speculation, because further speculation would uncover the unknown facts and facets of the truth. Most people are not ready to question long-held beliefs. Their inability to look beyond what they already know alienates them from the search for deeper meaning and unusual, different answers.

Surviving Relationships

Just like the medium of oxygen, which is necessary for a survival, relationships act as a medium of ego-making. They reflect the good or acceptable part of us by which we try to identity ourselves and focus further on our strengths in the future. Relationships allow us to develop integrity via conflicts or differences and awareness via similarities that we share. This is a channel which facilitates growth from both ends. The need for patience, suppression of the rational feeling for the apt time and argumentative fights where one retracts or protracts can provide an avenue for one to know his/her weaknesses and strengths.

Most people have enormous difficulty in surviving relationships. There are some obvious impediments which hamper the progression of a relationship in a positive fashion.

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The retrospect truth:

Many people think that their spouse will probably behave in a fashion that he/she has seen in their childhood; for example, if a wife engages in retrospection (during an argument) then she might end up thinking that the husband would become a tyrant or an abuser like her father. The mere anticipation [thought] would modulate her behavior. She would probably feel insecure, trapped in the same cycle of anger (what she used to feel in her childhood among parental discord). The influenced behavior would serve as a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. It involves the excessive urge on something to be avoided but the avoidance ends up causing that very unwanted situation or a behavior to take place.

“Happy poppies”:

Most people are of the opinion that relationships are all about joy, love, care, togetherness and affection only. On the contrary, they are a mixture of hate and love, interest and weariness, affection and detachment, understanding and confusions or trust and misinterpretations. People, by default are quite efficient in dealing with the positive events but when they see the downside of a mirror then they conclude differently.

1) Most of them think the unpleasant moments as not being the part of a relationship.

2) Others would generalize the dark facets on the whole picture of an association.

3) Some others would see it as the part of an association but they are not well equipped to survive it.

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Negativity:

Of course, one cannot get a formal training in “Relationship Survival Program” but some elements can be borne in mind before embarking upon the journey.

1)    We need to see events as facilitators, the facilitators of growth. Every wrong situation gives one the platform to think that this particular way is not workable.

2)    The cheerful ends of a relationship keep the momentum of one’s maturity in control while challenges boost it.

3)    Try to focus on the present situation. Many people try to predict behaviors and in doing so, they jump to conclusions. Jumping to conclusions is a type of cognitive error where out of overwhelming emotionality (anxiety, disarray or pessimism) thinking abilities become shallow, leading a person to avoid evidence analysis. The avoidance of rational approach will redirect a person towards the emotional pathway where without thinking, a person would make a connection between the similar past events and try to foresee the consequence of a present situation.

4)    The overthinking attitude about negative behaviors, events or people overshadows the problem solving area of one’s brain. The constant surge of cortisol (stress hormone) secondary to this nerve-wracking thinking sharpens reflex behaviors (fear, insecurity, retaliation, rage and frustration). The priming of such behaviors makes them “ready-to-use” which further deteriorates the situation.

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Conclusion:

Evil and good relationships are a part and parcel of life. People still progress or grow even if they get into the bad traps. The catch is how we reshape our ways through thick and thin, how we deal with our fears, experiences or thoughts and how we utilize our emotional and intellectual quotients to make the relationship as the dynamic vehicle of growth rather than being static.

Resilience, courage and mental illness – the survivor’s life

I was awoken by my mother pulsating shrieks. She was in the room adjacent to mine. I pulled the blanket off my head and looked around. She must have gotten agitated again with no preceding event of provocation.I stayed in bed silently, deliberately and indeed shamelessly, kept on staring at the walls and ceiling. Her voice was growing louder with obscenities. I could feel the heat around my ears and my heart pounding in my chest; I could feel the trembling in my fingers and the churning of my stomach.

I did not know if it was my sweat or my tears, since all was mixed. I pursed my lips as the ambulance horn blared in the distance. Someone must have taken action. Suddenly, she stopped shouting. Steps were heard going- up the stairs of our apartment. A door opened and my mother started yelling again and this time even more loudly. I immediately covered my ears and  pressed down on them really hard.

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This was the second such episode of aggression in a month.

My mother was suffering from schizophrenia.

I was a year old when my father divorced my mother because of her mental illness. Since then my two sisters, mother and I had been living with my aunt – my mother’s sister, the woman who called the ambulance that would whisk my mother away to the hospital.

My older sister got married and left our house when I was only 7.

I remember waking up early to prepare for school but my younger sister would not come out of the washroom. She would repeatedly wash her hands for 1 or 2 hours due to her fear of contamination and dirt. She had been suffering from eczema and recurrent fungal and bacterial infections because of excessive hand dryness from the obsessive compulsive hand washing routine.

She was the most beautiful and intelligent girl in my class and I wanted to be her best friend but I did not know how to talk to her. I was aware of how awkward and unlovable I was. So I distracted myself and looked out of the window instead.

The result was to be announced in an hour.

I got 96% in a class but I was second and not first. I took my prize and came back to my chair. My heart was beating faster than last night, my fingers were trembling and I was sweating profusely. My body was aching due to pain and dejection as if someone had slapped me in front of everyone. She had done better than me; she had obtained  97%.

Unable to take it anymore, I rushed to the washroom. It was hard to hold back those tears. I was ashamed of myself, my life, my failures, and my unquenchable thirst for supreme grades. Success was a dream and it seemed like it was bound to remain just a dream. I was a loser. Utter loser!

“I can’t go on like this.”

I put my head down on the table and started crying. The doctor pushed the tissue box towards me and offered a glass of water.

I drank it. And then answered her questions.

images (1)It was my first consultation with a psychiatrist in her office. It was one hour long. A vent out journey, one could call it.

PSYCHIATRIST

After she left my office, I documented her current medications, signs and symptoms of her psychiatric illness and a future treatment plan.

My patient was a young 24-year-old student of fine arts, with a family history of parental discord and ultimately divorce, schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder and depression. She currently suffers from bipolar affective disorder with an ongoing episode of depression and borderline personality disorder.

After completing the note,I placed the chart on the rack. I caught sight of the newspaper that she had brought along with her this time.

Her first story had been published today and she had been excited to show me. I read it. It was astonishingly well articulated short story for school-going children. It was about the goodness of a character and how it significantly affects ones life.

suffering-and-reasonI have been following her progress for the last three years. During that time she has been persistent in her desire to attain excellence in writing and painting.

Today- occupational therapists celebrated her success. Yesterday, her first painting was sold at a good handsome price.

While thinking about her, I realized that therapists and physician also derive lessons and learn wisdom from their patients’ ends.

Sometimes people learn, grow and evolve through thick and thin, regardless of whether they are the patient or the clinician, whether they are the counseled or the counselor. She was indeed a special one in my life who taught me resilience, courage, struggle and optimism.

She has paved her way through the most turbulent of times and has taught me how to see life from within and not without.