Quarter-life crisis…yes it has a name!!

Please note: This is going to be a very casual post…

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Hey!! how are you?

How old are you? yes, you?

Have you managed, to get yourself the job of your dreams???

Have you been able to get married yet?

Oh, that car we used to talk about, have you bought it?

Do you have a baby yet?

Do you feel trapped?

Do you feel, you have outgrown your partner?

Do you feel you could have got yourself someone better?

Do you feel confused??

and most of all, are you happy?? or are you satisfied??

He was married for 3 years now,and ‘the’ wife was pregnant,they had known each other for a decade ,he was bored,very bored,he started dreading coming home from office,to his cranky pregnant wife,he was not happy with his life,he missed his college friends,some of whom were still single and travelling and apparently living his dream.He was 30 yrs old.

She had been single since forever ,her fear of rejection taking the toll,but now since she was reaching the ‘marriageble age ‘ her parents were worried,they wanted her to get ‘settled’,she was confused ,wasnt if she could give away her solitude,she was also scared to ‘die alone’,she wasnt sure of what she wanted ,she was very very unsure.She was 27 yrs old.

All he did was work these days,his office was his first home now,he could not recall when was the last time he took a break,he was tired ,tired of his ‘lifeless’ existence,he had no time at all,he missed those days ,those days of leisure where he would do nothing at all and pass the whole day just looking at the fan on his wall.He was 29 years old.

She felt lonely,unloved,though in a relationship , she was not in one at all.She would try each dress that would make her feel a little tall,She craved for attention and felt lonely and very small.She was 34 yrs old.

He was brilliant in his craft had a loving wife, but no work he could get at all, it pained so much to let his wife pay for every time they went to the mall. He would freak it out every time the Sensex made a fall, he was 32 yrs old.

She was not being able to concieve,they tried several times,this time it happened,she was happy but very anxious,she had worked really hard on her career was she ready to give it away,she wasn’t sure,she was scared to the core.She was 28 yrs old.

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Well, we have all hit our quarter-life already(being very optimistic thinking of life expectancy to be 100).

Quarter-life crisis as defined in the Collins British dictionary can be defined as a crisis experienced in one’s twenties, involving anxiety over the direction and quality of one’s life.

According to Eric Ericson’s stages of psychosocial development, people pass through a series of staged centered on social and emotional development.

At each point in a person life, he/she faces a conflict, which ought to be resolved and if it is not resolved, the person will have some of the other psychological issues.

We i.e. people between the age group, 21-39 are going through the sixth psychosocial stage of development i.e. intimacy vs. isolation(crisis), the virtue that we shall learn is love, yes love. He believed that it is vital that people develop close, commited relationships with other people, which are not necessarily romantic relationships, close friendships are also important. he described the stages as characterized by closeness, intimacy, honesty and of course love.

Apart from love, employment, choosing a career path, not feeling passionate about work, basically entering into the real world after college may become a major cause for stress and anxiety, living by oneself and ‘adulting’ might become unsettling to some.

Well all of us had dreams,had visions of how we wanted our lives to be ,and a very few of us have actually been able to achieve it,whether on the work front or on the relationship front ,so here are a few tips that can be of help:

  • First of all it is not too late,it never is.
  • Some things cannot be changed and those which cannot have to be accepted,no point wasting energy on thinking about it.
  • Things that can be changed ,ought to be changed,yes procrastination is a real problem and getting back that motivation is hard ,but it ought to be done and done now!! yes changing things will never be easy,equilibriums will be disturbed ,it will settle down eventually ,take the plunge ,take the risk.
  • Surround yourself with people who know you,who believe in you and your dreams and support you.
  • Make a legitimate list of pros and cons of the decision you are about to take.
  • Consult people you trust,ask for help,ask,approach…
  • Do things that help you be motivated,it is absolutely normal to feel stagnated at some point in life, do things along which help you be happy .pursue your hobbies,take a break.
  • Engage in whatever you do,with full zeal.
  • Move on,yes easier said than done,but let not your past experiences,hamper your present.
  • Anticipate,your problems beforehand and be prepared.
  • Accept opportunities,see them as opportunities instead of stressors.
  • Stop comparing,the grass is always greener on the other side,everybody has a different timeline,no two timelines are or can be the same,so it is absolutely futile to do so.Stop doing it.
  • if the distress is too much ,there is sleep disturbance,disturbance in appetite,daily functioning is being hampered,there is death wish,suicidal ideas,panic attacks,physical symptoms,there is no harm in seeking help from a mental health professional.
  • lastly you are not alone,reach out,talk about it,vent it out,you will always find a keen ear somewhere.

here i am attaching two songs,which depict this condition 😀


Grief and life.

raat bhar yaad aati rahi’

Well today I’ll be writing about ,grief…

So basically grief is a fancy term given for the subjective feeling one has ,when one survives a loss ,loss of a loved one ,loss of a bond or affection that was formed.

Although mostly it is used and focused on the emotional response to loss , it also has physical , behavioral, social, spiritual repurcussions.
It is sometimes also used synonymously to mourning,though mourning is the process of getting over grief.

The first response to loss ,DENIAL or disbelief ,which is manifested as searching behaviour ,pinning ,missing ,yearning , longing and protest.
The duration of this phase is also subjective like the response ,some take minutes while others take weeks to get over it.

followed by denying the event, ANGER takes charge manifested as anguish,frustration,irritability,the anger might be displaced on others,or self one tries to take the situation in control,when actually one doesn’t have any control over it. we commonly ask “‘why of all people me!!”‘ we blame God ,we blame ourselves ,we blame life.This phase might last for months together.

BARGAINING ,we are trained this way ,when we desire something that is hard to get we bargain, we bargain with others ,we also bargain with the almighty,” please get this done,i will give up on non vegetarian food.”
“please ,let me see her for one last time,i will never ask for anything else” ,aren’t we designed this way??Breaking the hope ,is tough,this shatters,there is no chance,things can be reversed.
which leads us to the next phase

DEPRESSION ,in this stage one shows the clinical signs of depression ,that is withdrawal ,being alone ,sleep disturbance ,hopelessness ,sometimes suicidal ideas ,guilt, loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities.
Not everybody goes through this phase and the severity is also variable and subjective.

The final stage is ACCEPTANCE ,people realise the inevitability of death , seperation and accept the universality of the experience.
ideally when there is proper resolution ,people can talk about the experience and facing the unknown.

Speaking of it generally ,ALL of us ,at some point or the other in life have to face separation from the loved ones ,face losses, either to death or to life .

“In my abode there is neither birth ,death,old age or disease. Going there one never returns”

Shree Krishna


Sublimation

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Sublimation refers to the change from solid to gas without passing through the liquid phase, metaphorical for the change from solid bulked up emotions, anxieties, insecurities to feeling lighter and better.

They had to part ways, there was no other way,she loved him allot,he was scared to acknowledge .They met when both were vulnerable,both needy in someway,both craved for company,they were happy to have found each other,there were fireworks initially.She missed his laugh the most,he was such a comedian,she missed the non sense they did together.But, it wasnt meant to be,may be, they thought they had met earlier things would have been different.She was sad ,felt emptied again,felt miserable again.But, she could not flaunt her sadness,she could not tell anyone ,no one,but herself.She looked at her paintings,looked at her candle jars ,why had she stopped?Time had coagulated over her.She could not love him ,not allowed so she picked up her brush and painted the canvas yellow and black,he loved yellow.They parted forever .But,she felt less empty less lonely.

He was cheated upon by his wife and friend,he had loved her since forever,he was 35 now and divorced since 5 years,he did not want another relationship,he said his emotions had died,he felt betrayed,he was hurt,sadly he still loved her,he loved his babies,But could not have them now, he missed her smell ,she smelled like first rain,he missed her nose,cute as a button.He looked at his flickr account,remembered he had taught her how to click pictures, he missed her,he cleaned up his lens and tripod and set out in his car into the wilderness.

Her daughter got married ,son moved out for college ,husband got transfered and dearest dog died,But she had to be strong,strong for everybody,she was the soul of the family ,she could not afford to breakdown.She looked at her harmonium ,remembered the times when they all jammed together,all of them musicians,she smiled and registered herself for a music class.She still felt lonely at times but much better than before.She sang herself out of the misery.

He was about to reach his retirement,he had started loosing his friends to death,he had started forgetting things,he felt inadequate,he felt numb ,he was sad very sad.But he could not breakdown ,he had nobody to fall onto,he looked at his library ,all the books were covered in dust,he picked up his favorite one which helped him gather himself.

she blogged and blogged and blogged to get over her failure .

well, sublimation is basically the gratification of an urge an impulse whose goal is retained but the mode and object are changed from a socially objectionable to a socially valued one. In sublimation, the feelings are acknowledged, modified and directed towards a relatively significant person.

It ultimately results in modest instinctual satisfaction results.

are we using sublimation here,yes we are.


where are we going wrong??

Please see this post is meant to throw some light on how to approach a person who has expressed suicidal ideas or has attempted and fortunately survived.

I will not be discussing the causes and preventive measures, which is a very vast and debated topic. But one thing that every mental health professional will agree to is that it is extremely unpredictable and anyone can do it and every idea and every attempt has to be taken seriously

A few warning signs which i can think of right now are:

  1. Talking, writing drawing or in any way expressing about death.
  2. Talking or expressing hopelessness, having no reason to live, being a burden to others, or not being there for the next day.
  3. Looking for ways to attempt suicide.
  4. Expressing a feeling of being trapped, desperate.
  5. Giving away possessions.
  6. Talking about life after death.
  7. The person who has been suffering from depression(psychomotor retardation), suddenly becoming active.
  8. reckless behavior.
  9. Absenteeism from work .etc.

suicideawareness

“Arent we all stars , meant to fall for someone else’s purpose “he said.

“This is it,i cannot handle life anymore,i want to just get over with it.”she said.

“Please give me some poison ,i want to end it all.” she said

“I want to kill myself” they said.

These are all(of many other) clear cut ‘red flag signs’.

Taking any of these signs seriously,one should take immediate help.

  1. End the silence and ask the question: ask the person if he or she needs help,ask them if they are thinking of attempting suicide.Ask.         Yes ,it is a myth that talking about suicide puts the idea in a persons mind.No it doesnt at all,Rather it helps venting out and can help in preventing it.
  2. Donot leave the person alone: there is another disheartening myth regarding suicide ,that the one who actually dies does not express about it ,and the one who expresses it will not do it. THAT IS A BIG NO!!. Expressing about it means that is person is calling out for help and that is what we are supposed to do.
  3. Donot keep the warning signs a secret!: contact someone you trust who can help you. SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP by professionals i mean,mental health workers,which include, qualified psychiatrists,psychologists,mental health nurses,mental health social workers.Well ,suicide helplines are some what helpful,but it is sad that the functioning of these helplines in our country is questionable. For the medical students who are reading this,you can contact any of us residents ,for you reaching to us is easier than general population.You can come in the casualty at any hour,and during OPD hours that is from 9 am to 3 pm you can come to our OPD (room no.132,new OPD building ,sir t hospital Bhavnagar.) or the ward. We will take care of confidentiality.

One patient of mine once said “by the time someone is considered to need suicide prevention,the world has already failed them” it is sad but somehow true,approximately 90% of suicide attempts are done by people suffering from some or the other psychiatric illness(i was supposed to not mention about the predecessor of suicide, but i am still learning to put my frustrations and emotions out of my writings,the recent increase in number of suicides has raised the level of frustrations amongst me and some of my fellow mental health workers,no body can be blamed for it, but we are struggling really hard to break the stigma and myths regarding mental illnesses and their treatments.Anyways this was not meant for venting my frustration.

Well, i understand that hearing the words that i want to die, commit suicide or kill myself can come as a shock to hear and we find it difficult to how to react to it. There are a few common responses which i would like to question here :

  1. You are just trying to get some or need some attention”: well not everybody wants attention and even if one wants what is wrong in doing that? someone confessing to you that he or she wants to end his life means that he is asking for help and questioning their intent is demeaning their faith on you.                                Yes i agree there are illnesses where people indulge into deliberate self-harm, but that also cannot be taken lightly as which attempt turns out to be fatal cannot be ascertained.
  2. suicide is cowardly, it is a sign of weakness“: How exactly can one define strength?? It is an adjective and is always meant in relative terms, calling someone who is expressing his ideas of suicide to you,weak is like serving ‘shame‘ in a platter to them.                                                            It does not really help, rather it pushes them away from you. Most of us fear death and overcoming the fear of death is not brave but not cowardly either.
  3. Oh! your life stresses are so less, or your life is so good, why do you want to die, learn from me, or are you stupid to have done so just for such a petty reason“???: this might be true, yes people with stresses ,who have better or different coping mechanisms ,can cope with things whihch the patient in distress cannot ,but that does not mean that he or she is not allowed to go through his pain in his way, every person has a different mental and psychological makeup and comparing with others (which the person might have already done, and blamed himself for being defective.)                                         Does a lot of harm so one can try to refrain from it. i would like to quote a metaphor, i heard in a movie, “after a storm, some trees fall while some don’t, why? because they are different some might be giving more fruits but are weak in the roots.”
  4. Suicide is selfish” this is an invitation for guilt, one of my patients reverted to this, how is it selfish to free people who are suffering because of, so no it is not helping at all, and might reinforce it!
  5. you are just saying this, you actually don’t mean it“: imagine someone telling you that the pain you are having after a fracture is “you are just saying it, you do not actually mean it”??                                  it is very demeaning and dismissing, instead can we not take everyone who says so seriously??.

Well, i have only had a little experience (4 years) of dealing with patients who express death wish and the only thing which i feel one can do it, taking it seriously, not judging the person, trying to understand his or her situation and just listening.

Of course, seeking help from professionals and taking the appropriate treatment for the underlying psychiatric illness cannot be missed.

The new mental health care act 2017 has decriminalized suicide i.e. “Notwithstanding anything contained in section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said Code,” . So even the law has accepted it to be done under severe stress ,can’t we look at it that way?

A person who is accepting suicidal ideas is already very sensitive ,so we can try being a little understanding towards them and weighing what we say .

Your life is precious, you are wanted and you might not see it but there is always some solution available.

i request you to reach out.

p.s. : i am looking for reliable suicide helpline numbers,will update and add as soon as i find some.

https://woundedshrink.wordpress.com/2017/09/09/room-no-501-contd/

https://woundedshrink.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/room-no-501/


the essence of my existence…

my search for the meaning of life

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Well, it has been a while since I have written.I was actually absorbing things before delivering.

what has made me write this??..

today I completed reading a book which is a life changer precisely and going through it has been a therapeutic experience on its own, it is like meditation, so I wanted to share the wisdom I have gained after reading it.

secondly, today is valentines day, yes, of course, it is not as important to us as it used to be earlier, still, some amount of limelight we can throw on it for old times sake and for the great memories it has given us.

what is so great about this book??

firstly, it is written by Dr. Viktor E. Frankl who was an Austrian (Jewish) psychiatrist as well as a neurologist.

But, more importantly, he survived the dreaded Holocaust.

Secondly, the book is simple yet very intense, each sentence holds a meaning one has to read between the lines, the lines which themselves are very meaningful.Dr. Frankl has very intricately and with clarity illustrated his extraordinary journey of survival, survival in the most brutal situations possible (though he has tried to tone down the level of brutality).

The moment one starts reading it, one is gripped by the hope he instills into the reader.

yes getting carried away while describing the book is easy and unavoidable for someone like me, cause at this instant I am spellbound by it.

but, not making it a book review, I would quote a few lines about life and love inspired by the book and other sources.

life ,of what little wisdom i have,isa gift,a gift that is wrapped up in various layers,each layer when removed brings in an irreversible change in us,each layer when removed has a meaning.But,the process of changing the wrapper is difficult,full of joys ,stressors ,achievements.The meaning of life ,differs from man to man and from time to time.every person is unique,absolutely unique,his abilities,his opportunities,his struggles are unique,so is his meaning of life.

EACH man is questioned by life at some point or the other ,their meaning of life,their purpose of existence.

searching for the same and trying to answer it helps one to look at the bigger picture and ultimately gives one enough strenght and hope to cope with a given situation.this helps a person to actualise his full potentials.

I remember reading a quote of Mahatma Gandhi where he says, when you are having difficulty taking a decision, think whether your action will help the poorest person you have seen?

will that was his meaning of life, that was his altruistic way of thinking.

the problem we are facing today is meaninglessness,there is no meaning in our conversations, no meaning in our attitudes and no meaning in our existence, the society today has become achievement oriented if someone is achieving something he or she is supposed to be happy.but, I think after reading the book is that life has a much bigger purpose,a bigger meaning.one should live each day as if it is a new life altogether and one can correct or relive one life again, better than one did earlier.My meaning for life currently and since the time i have known has been serving, serving people who need it, it has become my motivating drive, explains many things that i do.

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hope i have been able to put my point of view forward,I am still learning to write .bookreview


letter to kuro

dear kuro,

we still can’t believe that it has been one year since you left us.

I still shut the gate as tight as possible , when I enter your home.

I still expect to see you jumping with joy when i enter your door.

I still look around to see you sleeping somewhere indifferent to every other activity.

We still hesitate in saying “chalo”.

Mummy still closes the door swiftly as she leaves home.

We miss u babu kuro.we miss you allot.

i was in my eleventh grade ,when siddhu adamantly brought u home,

i couldnt come to recieve you at the airport,as i had tuition classes to attend.

U came from bangalore ,siddhu said along with your brother.

siddhu chose you out of the two ,as u had a darker skin color .

I was there at home to receive u along with Subbu and Sinha auntie.

all of us were so excited to see you.

I cannot describe in words ,how adorable you were as a puppy,the cutest i had ever seen , u were just 40 days old .(it pained to think u were separated from ur family ,at such a tender age).

and the first thing u did as soon as u landed on the floor was to pee.

and you had us all in splits(except maa,who until now had evidently expressed her distress “hum abhi bhi keh rahe hain isko wapas kar aao “)

Siddhu was the happiest ,cute little boy he was back then.

I remember your first night at our home.mummy had bought a basket for you ,which is now being used for laundry,she had put an old quilt of mine and you were placed in the same.(u were expected to sleep and stay in there baba ).

But , as soon as all dozed off you manouverd and came out.I as usual was the last to sleep, was watching over you the whole night and many other nights that followed.

you remember your strict trainer??

the tall police trainer? of course, you do?how scared you used to get, I was the one who would save you from him.there were so many times I would not open the door for him.

I was so protective of you.

oh!I clearly remember all those girlfriends of yours, the black lab, the yellow lab, of course, spuggy our favorite,we suspected the yellow one had your babies,but her mom denied.Anyways spuggy was our favorite.We have named another one spuggy now.

Remember the fight you got into with that adult great dane .It was like Nawazuddin Siddiqui getting into a fight with the great Khali.You behaved hilariously that day.

ofcourse that incident when a small squirrel entered our home and u ran upto it,we got scared u would harm it .instead you carried it tenderly in your mouth and left it in the garden.such a gentle dog you were.

Panchalotiya sir used to call you the old wise man.

mama called you cousin dog kuro.

Nanu called you koru.

Some even called you purab.
there are soooo many other incidences kuro.I wish i could tell you.

I wish i could be with you in your illness.

I regret not being able to mourn your demise properly, as i was getting engaged the next day.

maa and papa are fine, though they are still struggling with the void that was created.but they are doing fine.Maali kaka has shifted, i haven’t seen him since last 365 days.

I hope he is fine.

we all still love you babu kuro.and will always do.I wish you a very happy life wherever you are today.You will always be in our thoughts.

and i am a vegetarian because you changed our outlook towards animals.

love to the power infinity

srivastavas and friends

(special mention to Sinha uncle and family,avinash Nayal, Ragini Varshney ,Raja uncle, CHoubey unlce ,maali kaka,watchman kaka,mani ben and all those who have given our Kuro love, we are all very thankful)