Stories about PTSD

Why does Balochistan have a dearth of trained psychotherapists?

It was an uneventful day at work when I got a query from an acquaintance asking for a psychotherapist or clinical psychologist in Quetta. I asked everyone I knew in connection to this and exhausted all my options only to find out that there were no practicing psychotherapists or clinical psychologists in the region. It came as a shock to me, after all, why did this major city of Balochistan not have a single clinical psychologist? And what about the rest of the province?  Years passed and somehow this notion remained trapped in my mind, and the requirement for referrals for ...

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Rambo: Last Blood draws first failure

  The final chapter of the Rambo series was released this week, called Rambo: Last Blood. Fans of the series, including me had high hopes from the movie considering the unique story line it introduced years ago through Ted Khotcheff’s, First Blood. Nevertheless, after watching the movie, it became nearly impossible to believe that the series began not as a franchise but as a smartly made, action-packed and contemplative stand-alone film. The series opened with a distinctive plot about a soldier coming back home from the Vietnam War who is struggling to grapple with PTSD. In many ways the film offered ...

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#TherapistDiaries: What schizophrenia is – and isn’t

If you start seeing, hearing and feeling things which nobody else can, you are either going to be tagged as having a ghostly experience or be labelled as a dangerous and ‘crazy’ person. And the problem with both of these titles is that they are incredibly dehumanising. As a child, I would see people on the streets and in shrines with no sense of their surroundings. They would stare at you endlessly, talk gibberish, stay in extremely hard-to-maintain postures for long hours and scream at things you could not see. They fought with invisible beings and tried to shut ...

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Zainab Kay Qatil: Capitalising on the rape of a child in the name of raising awareness?

Four months ago, the news of Zainab Ansari’s rape and murder surfaced. The entire nation, our neighbouring country and international celebrities spoke out against child sexual abuse, especially showing sympathy for Zainab and her parents. There were several protests held all over the country in order to urge law and policy makers to bring the perpetrator of this act to justice; some even called for public execution. Feminist men and women alike organised vigils for the 7-year-old rape and murder victim, hoping that their prayers would bring her soul some peace. Even though the alleged perpetrator was sentenced to capital ...

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Surreal and hypnotic, ‘You Were Never Really Here’ is 21st century’s ‘Taxi Driver’

In You Were Never Really Here, the latest film from Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsay, Joaquin Phoenix plays Joe, a man quite literally dangling on the edge of mortality. By day, he looks after his ailing mother; by night, he’s an unflinching hit-man and vigilante-for-hire who doles out justice to those who exploit the innocent. In between those extremes, he’s a man haunted by his traumatic past as both, a victim of domestic abuse during his childhood, and a war veteran with a serious case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, after Joe is hired to rescue a senator’s daughter who has been kidnapped ...

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Does it arouse you to watch someone getting raped, India?

Real videos of rape are being sold in Uttar Pradesh, India. For Rs20 to Rs300. No, this is not a joke. Really think about that for a second. The person you know or heard of, that girl? Who got raped? Yes, the video is of her being raped. Again. And again and again. By not one, not two but four people. Four people who take turns holding the shoddy camera phone with which they are recording their victim being torn apart – physically and mentally. They are clawing at her clothes, biting parts of skin that can be seen. Biting hard, until the ...

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As a Muslim American, I will abstain from voting this November

I am an American Muslim with one vote, and no person for whom to cast it. I became a citizen less than a year ago. This is my first election and yet, I won’t be joining the millions of other Americans going to the polls. How could I squander such privilege, particularly when so many Muslim women in the world never get to vote? Voting my conscience – by abstaining – is a painful decision. Friends are astonished by my dilemma. Yet Clinton, for some Muslims, remains a problematic choice, and one I am not able to embrace. Clinton’s complicity in entrenching and ...

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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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Hillary Clinton versus Jeb Bush: Who is the lesser of the two evils?

I typically never feel sorry for rich people. If they are politicians, in addition to being rich, then Lord have mercy on them. They’ll never escape my wrath. But Jeb Bush, who officially entered the US presidential race recently, clearly is an exception to this rule.  The guy is smart. His track record as an individual and as a politician hasn’t been too bad. He’s married to an immigrant – nothing less than a compliment for an American politician these days. His kids are a bit messed up, but kids will always be kids, especially if they belong to the Bush clan. However, and ladies and ...

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Dear American Media, the Israel-Palestine conflict is your doing

Dear American Media, I’m just asking you to tell America what’s going on in Gaza. Reveal without decreasing Palestinians to dehumanised numbers and rough generalisations, as have oppressors all through history. I am not requesting that you quit loving Israel but rather give Palestinian suffering the same weight as Israeli enduring, and report all the facts. I understand.  This is hard for you. You’ve been recounted to one tale about the Israeli-Palestinian clash your whole lives.  However, you’ve most likely started to notice that the latest advancements do not generally line up with that story. You realise that accusing Israeli government approaches can be harmful to American politics, and you are ...

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