What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do – Fighting Mental Illness
Doctor Hour at SHEROES has achieved several strides since its conception. The Health community was one of the first communities where a live session was tested. The model of the health community is based on a question and answer forum. Women were more than pleased to know that a doctor, would be answering their queries in real time.
In the recent Doctor Hour, Dr. Adi Sabnis opened the floor for the members to talk about their Mental Health. The following is a brief synopsis of the conversations that took place which will come handy when dealing with life.
Mental health is a side-lined issue in our country. It is looked down upon and stigmatized with the usage of derogatory terms like ‘madness’, ‘mental’ etc. We find it increasingly difficult to express ourselves and open up to the world with fear so deep-seated in our hearts and dwindling confidence.
We forget that it is like any other disease which affects us, and the more we ignore it and neglect the issue the more lethal it becomes.
How to deal with anger and frustration?
One of the most recurrent issues that we see prevalent is anger. Anger directed towards family, friends, our children or even ourselves. Dr. Adi Sabnis says, “People often mistake "clarity" as the opposite to "anger". Anger's antonym is patience. Patience is also its antidote. If you can catch yourself in the moment when anger arises in your mind, and consciously apply patience to the situation instead, your mind will instantly change. Regardless of the trigger--traffic, relationship discord, or work drama--decide to try being patient, even just once or twice as an experiment and you would see the difference.”
Another thing we do when we are angry is to reply on an impulse and regret the decision and our words later.
Honestly speaking, we are all guilty of having done this one time or another. Dr. Adi suggests that we try to force ourselves to argue from our opponents’ perspective against our own. For our specific impulse control, she recommends,
"At the moment when you are feeling anger - count every syllable you want to say to the number of your age. It'll help you slow down and stop from saying something you don't want to say."
She breaks down anger to bring to us a much more nuanced understanding of the subject. Anger is unsatisfied expectations, she clarifies.
“All of those times that someone is being annoying to you and you are mad at them for it, you aren't mad at them. You are mad that they weren't sticking to the MODEL OF THEM that you have in your head. They were being exactly who they were. It was your expectation of them that was incorrect. What does this mean for you? It means that maybe the world isn't as shiny as you thought it was. It's still a fun place, but it's different. Figure out why, after years of getting one thing, you are expecting to get another.”
FIND YOUR OWN JOY
Stressors around us are multiple and honestly, some of them would stay for a long time like jobs, our children, family and boyfriends/girlfriends. While one should never stay in a toxic, abusive relationship that doesn’t give us space to breathe, some stressors we would need to make our peace with and learn to deal with.
In general, making life more enjoyable depends on adding more things we enjoy doing – Dr. Adi suggests finding a hands-on hobby. Learn to knit/crochet, bake bread, make art, build robots, make clay sculptures, or plant a garden. Dr. Adi says you need to start engaging your creative side (we all have it, lots of us just forget).
Actually creating something with your own hands will feel way more productive than beating a video game. Because then you will have a tangible product to show for the time you spent.
At the end of the day, we are our own responsibility. People and their actions can affect us deeply but we really need to understand that we are our own duty.
We have to ensure that we do things that make us feel joyous and satisfied. Our parents, siblings, friends, boyfriends or girlfriends can’t always be there. The only person who is going to be with us AT ALL TIMES is ourselves. And so why not rely on oneself instead of someone else.
Breathe when you feel overwhelmed, take a walk and try to reason with yourself.
Movies and the world around us paint a one-sided, rosy image of how things should be. Social media is filled with success stories and happy marriages. Movies show an unreal world of romance which no one can achieve. We may not realise it but we begin to make that our standard of romance and happiness. For the longest time, I believed my college life would be like the Shahid Kapoor starrer “Ishq-Vishq”. I was in for a big surprise!
How To Deal With Work-Related Stress?
With our manic lifestyles and fast-paced jobs, it is absolutely normal to feel overwhelmed. We can find ourselves drowning in the endless cycle of stress and deadlines. It's important that we take a step back and breathe.
“A key to preventing stress at work begins the night before work. Get a solid 8 hours of sleep, don’t drink or smoke too much the night before, etc. If you don’t take care of yourself the night before, then you won’t have all your faculties while at work, for example, you won’t be thinking as clearly, speaking as articulately, etc.—which breeds insecurity in yourself, which in turn results in stress”, says Dr. Adi.
Dr. Adi gives us some much-needed advice for deadlines too. She suggests setting personal deadlines for smaller parts and making a weekly schedule - for example saying that you have to have a certain part of that research done by next week, then next smaller part done the week after, and so on. You can even decide that on a certain day you have to spend a certain amount of time doing the research, and of course, take a day off every now and again to rest.
DIVORCE AND LOVE LIFE
With so many issues, our personal lives are bound to be affected in a big way. One should never be in a relationship that makes one feel useless or lower in some way. You should be in a relationship which makes you feel confident and nurtures you as a person.
However, when I say that, I also say that there are two people in a relationship and they both are equal and the love, division of responsibilities and understanding would have to be from both sides. We cannot feel a sense of entitlement for no reason.
Dr. Adi throws light on the post-divorce phenomena of F.O.G. She says, “I'm going to be very blunt and obvious here because I know how thick the FOG (Fear, Obligation, Guilt) of guilt after divorce can be and how hard it is to cut through it. The immediate issue here is that you have totally forgotten that you divorced for a valid reason. The divorce going through doesn't make that reason invalid now. It.Is.Still.Valid.
He doesn't make decisions for you. He doesn't decide the things you should have done to accommodate him more. He doesn't pretend to be a partner. He. Does. Not.
Neither does the mental image you have of him right now. It's already a fact that he couldn't be a healthy partner to you. So you need to take that off the table. It’s not your fault. Keep saying that to yourself every time the guilt comes up. Keep saying it, till you believe it!”
DON’T GET TRAPPED IN THE PAST
Living in the past can cause anxiety and even affect our present. Some experiences can transform us as a person. However, we need to stop punishing ourselves over what happened in the past or what we did. It's time to forgive the past and focus on the future.
First, anyone can make a bad decision, even a terrible decision. You made some decisions in the past in hopes of doing well so your intentions were in the right place. At some point, you have to stop punishing yourself for a mistake.
Second, you can't let go of the past until you stop living in it. Turn your eyes forward to your future and put your efforts fully into that. It's time for the page to turn.
Life is tough, but guess what, we are tougher!
We can get over our heartaches, we can control our anger and we can make ourselves happy. It’s important that we take care of ourselves because only then can we actually take care of someone else or be productive.
We need to love ourselves and treat ourselves as we would treat a friend in need, with care, compassion, and forgiveness. At the end of it girls, we are worth the love.
ABOUT DOCTOR HOUR: Questions that are asked are often considered unworthy of a doctor’s appointment and yet women are stressed out enough to seek assistance for it. The increase in the number of questions and the time lapse observed in attaining an answer was one of the reasons a live session seemed apt for the community. The turn out for this simple announcement was massive. Due to this simple experiment, Doctor Hour was born. Now it works on a larger scale. It is set during peak hours of the community and happens once a week. Women are notified when the Doctor or any health expert would be available. Today, within 15 minutes of a notification about 50 questions pop up. It is satisfying to know that several women have their medical queries, which they would otherwise overlook, addressed.