Tag: mental health

Managing Expectations: A Simpler Way of Life

Managing Expectations: A Simpler Way of Life

Definition of expectations: you are expected to show up to work dressed, not naked.
Let’s look at this analogy for what it is, without any hidden connotations. This is a simple outcome that is considered an appropriate action within society.
I personally have a love-hate relationship with this term. Known as the number one initiator to stress, this term has an even more comprehensive level of misunderstanding and destruction attached to it.

Mental Health Disruptions During COVID-19

Mental Health Disruptions During COVID-19

Mental health disruptions are one of the biggest concerns for people during this time. It refers to the changes in mood, thought patterns, and even the way individual views themselves. People are thinking of ways to stay healthy and how to avoid getting sick, but many forget to take care of their mental health as well. Mental health disruption can occur in several ways during COVID-19.

Grief Beyond Tears

Grief Beyond Tears

Nov 1, 2021

Grief in recent times

If you’ve read about grief or loss at some point in your life, you must’ve heard about the classic 5 stages which end with the last stage being acceptance. While drafting this article, I questioned how simplistic this view of grief has been illustrated as and how the road to acceptance can rarely be categorized as stages that are linear. Grief is messy and ugly, without any timelines on when it may finally feel less painful. During this pandemic, the cumulative grief that people have withheld is so vast that almost each individual is familiar with the feeling of loss. Whether it’s the loss of identity, occupation, livelihood, health and the worst, your loved ones, this pandemic certainly took something integral away from each and every one of us.

In a recent study, it has been concluded that due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its direct and collateral damage, depression in the US has risen by a factor of 3. It has been noted that among individuals ages 18-35, 43% of surveyed adults have found themselves ‘highly lonely’ due to the restrictive and socially distanced lifestyle that the pandemic brought on the world. What this really makes me wonder is that, although now working towards a new phase post-COVID-19, we certainly have a lot of long-term mental health effects of coronavirus that we need to cater to. This begins with shedding light on one of the most prevalent ones: Grief and Loss.

Why and what do we grieve?

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” — Leo Tolstoy

Love is one of the strongest and human emotions one can feel. This love is not of only one kind; it can be for a person, for an experience, for an occupation, for a phase or even role in your life. When we lose anything that we once loved so greatly, we feel a hollow sense of emptiness and in essence a sudden loss of purpose too. As humans, we try to avoid thinking of all circumstances that could result in hurt or pain, therefore we are completely unprepared for such losses. And honestly, there is no preparation for loss; you can’t quantify how much something means to you until it has completely left your life. This loss translates into grief.

Grief has many textbook literal definitions but the one that I like the most is this: ‘Grief is really just love. All the love you have that has no place to go’. We grieve the loss of a part of our life because we can’t feel that emotion or experience in the same way again. We miss it and we want to experience it the way we used to again. This sometimes awakens other emotions of remorse and guilt for not having done enough to celebrate at the time. But ultimately, it is still just grief. Sometimes it’s not the tangible or physical loss that we crave, sometimes it’s the fear that with enough time, we might not recollect as much as we want to as nature takes its course; for time does not heal all wounds but does make the scars fade away.

Growing through Grief

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

One would hope to see some light at the end of the tunnel when we talk about dealing with loss. It’s not to say that light doesn’t exist in the process of grieving, but this light tends to be one which is flickering and unreliable. Grief is not condition that you remain in or leave entirely. It is something you grow with and potentially discover many tumultuous meanings of life through as well. Grief does not have a clear beginning or a definitive end to it. Sometimes your loss can be replaced with positive things but grief still remains. And that’s okay. Our loss is as unique as our individual self and so is our grieving process. Like other mental health issues, we can never assume how one is processing their individual battle. For some people, grief is messy and an emotional whirlwind, but for some it looks like a highly productive, socially active life with a seemingly ‘happy’ demeanor.

You learn a lot about savoring life and being a grounded person once you come to terms with your loss. It’s never an easy process but you certainly grow with it. It teaches you something that no one can possibly ever, and equips you with the understanding of impermanence which is a concept needed for life. For where there is love and desire, there will always be room for grief and disappointment.

Resources:

John Drake, The Psychological Trauma Of Covid-19, Forbes

(https://www.forbes.com/sites/johndrake/2021/01/05/the-psychological-trauma-of-covid-19/?sh=88f57ea59504)

Essentials on Surviving, Coping and Healing- Raymee Grief Center.

Manahil Ijaz

An expat in Dubai who loves engaging with diverse people and having honest conversations about life, through her blog- Egoiste Life. As a passionate artist, Manahil spends most of her weekends writing about the world, reading poetry and creating adventurous memories with the people she loves.

Manahil can be reached at:

Email- egoistethoughts@gmail.com

IG- @egoistelife

Website- egoistelife.com

Manahil Ijaz
The Inner Child

The Inner Child

As a child, our gratification system is so simple that happiness seems like it’s right around the corner. Happiness is a feeling which is destined, not craved. It is abundantly available from several resources and very few things or people have the power of taking it away from you.

The single most important thing holding you back- ‘self-awareness’

The single most important thing holding you back- ‘self-awareness’

Self-awareness is not just all about self-love and positive feelings. During the process, many fears or negative thoughts may surface from you looking inwards. You may encounter criticism, shame, guilt, unraveling of this persona that you have constructed, and maybe even a deconstruction of the life that you have created. This happens because the more you become true to yourself, you start to notice that many ideas, principles, even people no more serve you. Once you see the truth, you cannot unsee it. So, the next time you’re in the shower, experience the water on your skin, smell the shampoo, and remind yourself to stay in the present.

Friendship and mental health- How do I help my friend who refuses to accept help?

Friendship and mental health- How do I help my friend who refuses to accept help?

April 14, 2021

I grew up a happy child, one that could differentiate between being happy or sad or angry. It’s the awareness my mom brought to me by pointing out the moods around and within us as children. Lucky to have this insight about a topic largely misunderstood but spoken to me by my mother, when I actually did face my first traumatic experience I wanted to run away and protect her from the ‘crazy’ that had gotten into me.

Having supportive family and friends was my golden egg- but I still chose to suffer alone in silence. It took me years of therapy and work to understand how self-destructive that behavior was and today, when I see my closest friends around me follow the same unhealthy trends- my heart wrenches. So, once you have identified that your friend is not being their 100%, how do you help a friend who refuses to accept help?

The answer is not simple, it firstly requires some level of introspection to identify if you may genuinely be able to be there for someone without employing a personal agenda or if you could disconnect yourself from your beliefs or biases or to even be emotionally strong yourself to take on someone else’s feelings and emotions.

Constant perseverance

When someone is going through ups and downs in their life, it is a normal belief that nothing good is going to happen. They may be feeling lost, trying to cope with their thoughts and feelings and therefor may come across as ‘closed off’. They may have no one to talk to, or feel alienated at home/work, or feel that no one truly hears them when they speak. This is the time when they need you the most. But they need to trust you first. They want to be sure that you are not going to abandon them and that you are here to stay. They may not want to see or talk to you, but you could keep in touch by dropping in a text to check up on them, or by sending them a meme on Instagram, or tagging them in a post. Keeping it light and adding humor makes the situation less serious and could help facilitate a conversation between you. Through these daily small outreaches, you are conveying that you are available to them through multiple easy access channels and that they can reach out to you via whichever one they feel comfortable. This method shows that you are constantly thinking of them in unrelated matters as-well and thus builds trust.

Listening and understanding

After exerting the trust and maybe allowing themselves to open up to you, they want to know that whatever is being said is not going to be judged. They don’t know if you could possibly comprehend what they are feeling and most times they themselves may not understand what they are going through either. Now is when you would listen to them with an open mind and try accepting may be what they are not being able to express clearly. Talking to a trusted friend could be a method of self-discovery. Without a bias, you try to apprehend their story and theirs alone. Many times, we just want to be heard or vent without an opinion or a course of action advised. Do not assume or make a comment too quickly or criticize what they are saying. Here, you accept that this is their narrative that is being narrated. Once you have comprehended their situation, you could then share if you have any- personal experiences or stories of your own. This would help them feel being understood, relatable, and not alone.

Empathy

Empathy is something we are all inherently born with but may not know how to exercise it in our daily lives with people. Once it is clear that a friend is going through a tough time and you want to help them, you need to be able to empathize with them. The textbook definition of empathy is ‘the ability to understand and share the feelings of another’ but, one does not need to take on another’s feelings wholly. Here, you would try seeing things from their point of view, and imagine yourself in their place. It is essentially putting yourself in someone else’s position and feeling what they must be feeling. Your friend wants to feel accepted for who they are without having to prove or explaining themselves to you. This is the beginning of your relationship down their mental health journey.

Knowing your limits and limitations

If your friend is suicidal, confused, miserable beyond your understanding, unable to get out of bed even after your talks, is isolating themselves, hearing voices, having extreme mood swings, they need to seek professional help and you could help enable the process. You could share contact details of professionals or send online references.

Sometimes in spite of giving your friend all the support and understanding, you might feel emotionally drained, and may not be able to deal with another episode. You need to accept that every relationship requires a healthy balance of give and take and if you are giving to a point where you are burnt out, you have reached your limit. You may feel responsible for your friend and worry about what would happen if you weren’t around, but you cannot take on your friends mental health responsibility all by yourself. You don’t need to cope alone and setting clear limits to the support you can give is not the same as rejecting your friend.

If your friend still does not want your help or refuses to listen, there are other forms of informal help that you could recommend- joining a support group or online community, going to a library, taking up a sport or exercising, meditating, going to a busy café to work from. These activities don’t necessarily have to be focused on mental health- but they allow self-reflection and may help your friend eventually.

Reference – https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health

Prerna Chowdhary Siroya

An activist for change, trying to be a worthy member of the human race taking one baby step at a time. Passionate about everything psychology and currently studying to be a psychologist. Adrenaline and coffee addict, I love exploring, trying anything and everything new and scary!

*People only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves*

Prerna can be reached at:

Email-  prerna@siroya.com

Instagram- PC_Siroya

How Do Speech Disorders Affect Learning?

How Do Speech Disorders Affect Learning?

Do speech and language disorders (SLD) affect learning? First of all, a definition of a speech or language disorder is a significant delay in the ability to speak, communicate and perform normal daily functions due to some type of speech or language problem.

Negativity Bias, Positive Moments Journal, and Charles Dickens

Negativity Bias, Positive Moments Journal, and Charles Dickens

Psychologists say that our brain and nervous system are coded to focus more on negative experiences and emotions. However, simple practices that might help us create balance do exist. One of which, and my personal go-to, is a Positive Moments Journal.

The Triumphs Amidst the Challenges of 2020

The Triumphs Amidst the Challenges of 2020

February 7, 2021

Our mental health was heavily compromised in 2020 with an unpredictable surging pandemic and consequent life-altering changes, all at once. We faced a whole lot of uncertainty, panic and loss during the past year and we physically and mentally fought to survive that dark period. Mental Health Illness and Suicide rates skyrocketed during 2020 which was unfortunate but also brought a lot of much needed attention to the importance of mental health wellness. It made us realise that you can attempt to cope with your mental health dilemmas, in a normal world for prolonged periods of time but as times get tougher or change altogether, even the toughest of them all need to address these concealed issues. Although the battle is far from being won, a sense of accomplishment must exist for all that we have achieved in terms of our mental health distress despite these life-altering trials.

Students and Teachers

It amazes me how humans have the capacity to adapt to different norms and situations almost immediately when the circumstances demand it. Students and Educators were the biggest example for this. In no way was this an easy change for students and teachers alike but due to their flexibility and adaptability, education was uninterrupted. To shift almost each kind of lecture, group discussion and even studio classes online was nothing less than a triumph. Educators had to find ways to become more communicative and direct through a screen and allow students to be able to accept this new form of learning. Even though students in most cases were disappointed with this change, they learnt how to become more tech savvy and even have conversations more easily because the mode of communication had become uniform for all. In addition to this, as teachers and students became more alike than different, teachers were able to comprehend the difficulty students were having with this shift, as teachers knew they were facing it on another level too. As discussions about physical health increased, mental health was also brought into the limelight and students were able to come out and share with more ease. I think most teachers certainly up skilled to communicate with their students more candidly and all students realised that education is a life-long process and that is actually so important for our livelihood that even a pandemic wouldn’t come in the way of that.

Employees and Employers

The number of times I heard someone lost their job in the first few months of the pandemic was unbelievable. Unemployment really was a kind of loss which had its own type of grief which definitely isn’t one to be undermined. Employees learned that jobs are possibly the most futile things in life and no matter how hard you work, your employer has to find a means to survive even at the cost of their employees livelihoods. And by no way does that mean employers had it easy. They had their own set of battles. They had to give up on their business or passion and innovate to something more relevant to this new way of life. Neither employers nor employees were expecting it to impact them to this level. Professions that felt like they could never go out of business really faced some harsh realities but on the flipside, smaller business that sold basic necessities were received with an influx of customers due to the raging demand. It is definitely commendable that employees became more flexible and opened their horizon to different experiences. Employers found a ground for realistic expectations in terms of business and learned that ultimately without people, businesses don’t run. And those people consist predominantly of your internal stakeholders and their mental and physical health. Digitization of every industry, the switch to work from home and technological advancements in such a short span of time is definitely worth praise.

Mothers and Care-takers

MOM: a three letter word that has an endless, non-compensatory job role which no occupation could ever equate. Mothers and care-takers had their own share of difficulties. With the inception of work from home and their children having e-learning, the chaos at home was unmatched. My heart goes out most to the young children who were clueless of what was happening in this confusing world. Their energy and innocent desire to play and meet their friends was restricted with them not even knowing the reason behind it. This put an added pressure on moms and care-givers to not only supervise their children 24/7 but also entertain them and keep them occupied in new productive ways. In the midst of work, parenting and managing a home, space and time for themselves and their partner became almost void. Moms found new ways to engage with their children, resorted to increased TV time and faced a lot of mom guilt and anxiety along the way. But the more important aspect is that they kept one of the most high-risk categories against COVID-19 safe and protected the generation ahead of us.

We faced many mental health challenges in 2020 and our mental health was all over the place. But what we must acknowledge is that the human race really came out stronger and wiser and finally focused on what really matters, for ourselves, the people we love and the generation ahead of us.

Manahil Ijaz

An expat in Dubai who loves engaging with diverse people and having honest conversations about life, through her blog- Egoiste Life. As a passionate artist, Manahil spends most of her weekends writing about the world, reading poetry and creating adventurous memories with the people she loves.

Manahil can be reached at:

Email- egoistethoughts@gmail.com

IG- @egoistelife

Website- egoistelife.com

Manahil Ijaz

The Impact of Positive Self-Talk

The Impact of Positive Self-Talk

Our life is a reality we create based on the numerous stories we tell ourselves. Some of these stories become the foundation of our belief system which then give rise to different beliefs that either empower us, limit us or estrange us. Self-talk is that first step to building our beliefs, most of the things we choose not to do or think we can’t do are caused by those beliefs.