Stories about mental health

Why people today depend on lazy virtual friendships and Facebook ‘likes’

As I grow older, I’ve realised that one genuine friend matters more than the amount of friends you have. Real friendships, sincere ones, make all the difference to our lives. However, I’ve realised that these kinds of friendships are so rare these days. The concept of friendship itself has fizzled into something fickle and surface-based. I know that I have an x amount of friends on Facebook, an x amount of followers on Instagram, but barely any of those people can be classified as true friends. What does one mean by sincere and genuine friendships?  These are the friends that you call at ...

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13 Reasons Why: If someone told you they were in pain, what would you do?

She is laying in a tub, fully clothed, the water filled to the brim. Her heart is beating; her hands are shaking as she scrapes the blade onto her wrists. There is blood everywhere. There’s blood on her wrists as she shakes over and over again. There’s blood in the water as it tips over the edge of the tub onto the once pristine white floor. I feel my own blood flowing as I watch, glued to my screen. I feel the lub dub of my heart, relentlessly beating. And then I feel emptiness. I feel nothing at all. Note: Before you read ...

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The most recent episode of Khuda Mera Bhi Hai made me cry

Yes, the recent episode of Khuda Mera Bhi Hai made me cry. The plot of this drama revolves around a couple, Mahgul and Zain, who give birth to a child who is ‘intersex’, which means that this child has both male and female genitalia. In the previous episode, the family decides to give up the child to transgender people – leaving Mahgul distraught and broken. The play tackles many taboos that our society has regarding transgender people and intersex children. We see how the word ‘hijra’ is an insult and the source of distress. Arshi, Mahgul’s snotty saas (mother-in-law), is the ...

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I am trapped in a cycle of suicidal thoughts

I am travelling back from a long day at work. I have my window pulled down. Its dark outside and the wind is blowing directly in my face. I am exhausted and mentally drained. I have no energy left to fight these battles. As the car pauses at a traffic light, my mind races by. I can’t bear this any longer. The car revs to a start and speeds onto the highway, cold wind blowing onto my face again. I can see the lights of other cars swish past me in a blurry rush. My mind slows down and ...

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Should the internet be the one teaching our children about ‘the birds and the bees’?

You know they say that ‘hormonal teenagers’ is a cliché? And do you know what they say about clichés?  They say that most clichés are true. And they are.  And hormonal teenagers are the truest clichés in the universe. Psychology and medical science tell us now more than ever; if there was ever a time to accept this cliché and all the baggage that comes with it, it’s now. More parents, logically, should accept that between the ages of 13 to 18, young adolescents go through various surges of hormones in their bodies and sexual arousal is also a part of this physiological development. Logically, more parents should help ...

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Our minorities, but not our people

Avinash Kumar and Sateesh Kumar; these were the two latest victims of the undeniably worsening trend of minority persecution in Pakistan. Seventeen-year-old Sateesh is dead. The two boys were targeted because the local community was ‘incensed’ by reports that a Hindu man, Amar Lal, had ‘desecrated the Quran’. Since they were Hindus and easy targets, someone in Ghotki saw them as fair game to act out their deeply (and rather easily) offended religious sentiment. This incident is disturbing but not just because of its depraved message of murderous retribution for any perceived ‘blasphemy’. It is also a grim reminder of the lack of sensitivity towards psychiatric illness prevalent in Pakistani society. By the accounts of local Hindus, Amar ...

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I had to wait over a year for a journalist visa to India

May 5, 2016 On the phone, the clerk is confused. “I’m calling about my visa status,” I tell him, and he asks a standard question – “When did you submit the application?” “May 5, 2015,” I say, reciting the date American-style. He pauses as though he’s only heard the first part. In the silence, I can almost hear him thinking, “May 5th? But that’s today.” It’s not. I applied for a journalist visa from the Indian government one year ago. The consulate in my hometown, Chicago, has gone from estimating a two week wait to one month, then three months to no particular date. The latest ...

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Is prayer a better way to deal with depression than treatment from a mental health professional?

I’d like you to take a moment to imagine two people. Both follow the same religious scripture, with equal regularity yet one interprets the passages as peaceful instructions on life, while the other sees them as commands to violently confront anyone who disagrees with certain worldviews. The disparity is drastic. They read the same words, yet the comprehension is as different as a chalk or cheese. When we speak of the religious extremism that plagues the world and its driving factors we rightly mention political unrest, education, socioeconomic backgrounds, violent text, the mullah culture, and more, but what we fail to talk about ...

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When I had to save myself from depression

My colleague said something (not) funny again and the room roared with laughter. Knowing that I did not share the mood in the room, I grabbed my tea and headed for the corridor. That long corridor with a single window was my solace. There, I rested my head against the wall and stared out for a while. This was my routine to de-stress my boiling brain. I closed my eyes in a futile attempt to give my superbly loquacious brain some rest. Sometimes I wished I could run far, far away from the noise, nuisance and people, and sleep for eons. Other ...

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Moving on from trauma, moving on from Peshawar

The Taliban’s brutal attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014 claimed the lives of over 140 people including 132 children. While hundreds of survivors of this mass shooting need physical rehabilitation resulting from bullet wounds and other physical injuries, the psychological impact of this traumatic event may have a long lasting effect on school children, both in Peshawar and across the nation. It is imperative that the trauma victims must get immediate psychiatric help, and secondary support be provided to children in other parts of the country who, although geographically distant, may still be troubled by this ...

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