Stories about depression

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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H is for Hawk and B is for Brilliant

Helen Macdonald’s searing and savagely beautiful memoir, H is for Hawk, is a unique and sublime meditation on loss and identity. On its surface, H is for Hawk is essentially a vibrant and mesmerising account of taming and training of a young female goshawk, however, the premise and the depths of Macdonald’s sumptuous writing make this book go far and beyond the realms of traditional nature writing. It is a book that encompasses various literary traditions to create a reading experience that is as heart-warming as it is heart-stopping.  At the beginning of the book we meet Macdonald who is in her thirties ...

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Series 2: “Checkmate” Part 7 Is she my daughter?

When we returned home, Abbu jee was away on a business trip. It took several years for the three of us to be able to finally sit together as a family, even for meals. I had withdrawn inside myself. All the vivacity and all the questions were gone. Life had answered them all. I got into Northwestern after my senior year and graduated with honours from my high school. If Abba jee was proud, he didn’t say anything. The disappointment I had plated out to him had made all my other accomplishments unpalatable. Ammi jee was happy. She was attempting to move on and I took ...

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Does ‘masculinity’ deter men from seeking professional psychological help post APS?

The devastating impact of a traumatic life experiences such as a terrorist attack cannot be denied. The risk of developing psychological after-affects including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complicated grief in such instances is also well documented. Children and adults alike may experience flashbacks, nightmares, inability to concentrate, frequent crying and outbursts, difficulties with sleep and appetite, relationship problems, suicidal thoughts and attempts, drug abuse, and other high risk behaviours. In a society that has raised it boys and young men to be brave and heroic and socialises to believe that any expression of sadness, hurt and fear would ...

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Medicating women’s feelings

Women are moody. By evolutionary design, we are hard-wired to be sensitive to our environments, empathic to our children’s needs and intuitive of our partners’ intentions. This is basic to our survival and that of our offspring. Some research suggests that women are often better at articulating their feelings than men because as the female brain develops, more capacity is reserved for language, memory, hearing and observing emotions in others. These are observations rooted in biology, not intended to mesh with any kind of pro- or anti-feminist ideology. But they do have social implications. Women’s emotionality is a sign of ...

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“Could I have done more?” – A psychiatrist’s struggle with patient suicide

It’s a story I feel compelled to tell. It may be therapeutic for me and possibly for others as well. It’s a story that needs to be told. But I hesitate. I fear the stigma. I am afraid of being judged. I fear breaking the silence. I ruminate about the potential repercussions. What if I, a psychiatrist, wrote about my own emotional conundrum after a patient chose to end his life? Can I open the private vault of personal grief that filled me with his untimely and unnatural departure? I want to narrate the tumultuous aftermath of patient suicide, the distressing combination of ...

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Chronicling Safia Manto’s support for a man who courted controversy

Chronicling Safia Manto, my grandmother, would be no mean feat. A woman who lived in the shadow of her beloved husband and renowned short-story writer, Saadat Hassan Manto, her story went largely untold till the recent release of Manto, the film. She has only lived in the folklore of my dreams; I being born 6 years after her untimely demise in November 1977. As much I have heard from familial sources about her magnanimity, humility as a human being besotted with a kindred heart and soul, I cannot even fathom what I missed out on. Sometimes fate and destiny are so closely intertwined, that we ...

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Why won’t you let Ruwa Rehman Talk, dammit?

Shut up… shut up… shut up… just shut the f*** up… That’s how it starts for many sex abuse survivors in Pakistan when they finally draw the strength to reach out from the void and tell their story. “Chup hojao. Shhh. Bas ab tum nay mujhay bataya hay magar aur kis hee ko nahi batana.” (Just keep quiet. You’ve told me, now don’t tell anyone else.) If this fails, the angle of attack changes on the survivor. “Apni izzat ka socho. Tum say kon shaadi karey ga?”  (Think of your reputation. Who will marry you?) Sometimes, especially when the perpetrator is a close family member, ...

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Manto: A legend untold

You walk into the cinema to learn about the crests and troughs of the life of a legendary and notoriously controversial writer and you come out somehow transformed, armed with the knowledge of what it means to be human, what it feels like to be helpless when you’re at odds, at war with the world. Manto looks unsparingly at a fragile and insecure man who dared to pen his inner most secrets and desires, passions and emotions, and his need to find an outlet to unleash his inner conflagration, the outrageous fire, to confront and to go at war with ...

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Her grief devastated her, but his destroyed her

They weren’t dizygotic twins, or even twins, let alone siblings, yet they were so alike. But how could it be? Their birth was separated by 1,860 days. Maybe, they were an extension of one another. She sat across the table from him, with a hot cup of hazelnut cappuccino that she gripped with both her hands as she saw his smile belie his mood. But there was something about that very smile. Or maybe it was less about him than it was about her. It was the magic that transpired in her mind as she engaged in a quotidian conversation, eyeing ...

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