Stories about mental health

Easy way out: Stop blaming drugs, porn for Kasur’s child abuse cases and address the real reasons

Kasur, a city with a population of 3,454,996, has seen rising incidences of sexual violence, including child sexual abuse. This city has seen 700 cases of child sexual abuse in the last three years. Faces of little Zainab Ansari and the victims of the series of child sexual abuse scandal that involved at least 280 boys are still fresh in mind. The federal Ombudsman recently brushed many reasons under the carpet by using common buzzwords and only blamed drugs, pornography and prostitution for the increase in sexual violence against children. My contention is that the Ombudsman has taken an extremely narrow approach in understanding a complex, ...

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A trans daughter‘s letter to her family: Will you love the real me and not the man you want me to be?

Dear Abba and Maa, We live in the same house, but you have created a distance between us that leaves me feeling miles apart from you. Who generated this hatred in your heart? You can blame me for it if you wish, but I blame your fundamentalist understanding of religion and your rigid expectations of a gender role that I am unable to fulfil. Tell me, are these things more important to you than I am? I am a human being with flesh, blood and emotions. You are offering your love to imaginary abstractions, meanwhile I am left deprived of it. Abba, you ...

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Another life lost to depression and yet we don’t consider mental health a grave issue?

Mental health should now be the top priority of every person wanting to function fully and maintain a healthy life. However, most of the world does not take this need seriously, and Pakistan is no exception. The country at large remains unaware of the importance of sound mental health, and while certain campaigns do address such issues, they mainly cater to a particular class. Bullying, depression, anxiety, and hundreds of other psychological conditions aren’t taken seriously here, as people believe they will disappear on their own or by prayer, or else the person will be treated harshly or ...

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I lived with anorexia for 15 years, and no one could help me

I developed anorexia when I was 19. I was going through heartbreak and an existential crisis. I wanted to discover God and also rebel against my liberal background. I wanted to find a purpose for my meaningless existence, and a career on which I could stand on my own two feet. But my parents didn’t understand any of this. My father was too busy with work and I never really spoke to him; my mother was also too busy with her own life and could never understand me, while my brother was studying abroad and had his own life. While ...

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The new high: You’re depressed not because “your life sucks” but because of Facebook and Instagram

“He is only 19 and so accomplished, what am I doing with my life?” “My hair never looks like that model on Instagram.” “Man! He is having the time of his life and I am just stuck in this miserable job!” “Why am I just sitting here in my pyjamas at home while this guy is vacationing in Bali?” Do you recognise the pattern in these statements? Have similar thoughts gone through your mind recently? If they have, you were probably thinking like this while surfing through your social media, being too depressed to do anything. Unfortunately, we do not realise just how ...

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Addiction killed Mac Miller, and it wasn’t Ariana Grande’s ‘job’ to save him

I was on my way to work last week when I came across #MacMiller trending on Twitter. Confused regarding what that could be about, I scrolled through my Instagram and found numerous tributes to the 26-year-old rapper, only to confirm what I had already expected. Mac Miller’s death, caused due to an apparent overdose, came as a shock to many. Working as an entertainment journalist, the aforementioned incident ultimately became my priority for the morning. As I added testimonies and tributes from famous artists and celebrities in Hollywood, there was one that I, along with the rest of the ...

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RIP Anam Tanoli: Worse than being a woman in Pakistan is being a victim of depression and bullying

“Be grateful for what you have.” “Always look at people who are less fortunate than you.” “If you believed in God, you wouldn’t feel hopeless. You need to pray more – it’s the devil making you depressed and miserable.” “It’s all in your head.” “Stop being cynical, be positive.” “Stop overthinking.” “Stop overreacting.” And here is the worst one, “Stop pretending you have mental health issues to gain sympathy and attention!” If you have ever had anxiety, depression, stress or any other mental health issues, I bet your Pakistani family, friends, relatives, colleagues, neighbours, or even complete strangers would have used at least one of the aforementioned phrases after ...

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My best friend committed suicide – they advised him to ‘pray’ the depression away

These last few days have been particularly rough. They have been rough because one of my dearest childhood friends committed suicide, and not on account of a drug-based overdose or a road traffic accident (two of the most common causes of young adult mortality in our country). No. My friend shot himself. Before you go on to think perhaps a serious religious intervention could have saved his life, please halt your train of misguided, impulsive, ‘fatwa’ styled reasoning. Don’t even go there. Because my friend was probably one of the most religiously devout persons I have ever come across. He prayed five times ...

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13 Reasons Why S2: A season of secrets, guilt and the power of kindness

The original Netflix series 13 Reasons Why released in March 2017 and took the world by storm. The show started an international dialogue about bullying, sexual assault, substance abuse and suicide. Although there was plenty of criticism that the show was glamourising suicide, the factors leading and contributing towards the suicide committed by the female protagonist, Hannah Baker (played by Katherine Langford), seemed to have been overlooked by critics. Photo: Netflix (Note: The following blog contains spoilers) In season one, Hannah, a high school student, commits suicide, but leaves behind 13 recorded tapes to explain her actions. Hannah left ...

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My hidden miscarriage left me broken and alone – while he moved on, happily

I waited too long to write this story. Allow me to introduce myself. First-generation South Asian Muslim, daughter of two hard-working parents who just wanted to provide the best life for their children. Born and raised in New York, it was confusing and difficult to balance ethnic culture with western culture, on top of balancing my faith in Islam. Even more importantly, it was difficult trying to establish myself as an opinionated woman in the very patriarchal culture, founded both in the western and South Asian culture. I was 15 when I first met him. Two years older, tall, smart, same ...

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