Stories about trauma

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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How reliable are the mental health clinics in Pakistan?

It was half a decade ago when I started my own mental health consultancy that offered courses and other educational services related to my field. At that time, opening a psychotherapy or mental health clinic in Pakistan was not particularly common. Offering psychotherapy was not lucrative enough for beginner level professionals and only benefitted those at a senior level. Fast forward five years, and I see a significant increase in mental health services, and many of these services are also being offered over the internet in the form of Skype consultations, chats and emails. There are a variety of mental health clinics, ...

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Why we should not ‘force’ our children to watch the ritual of qurbani

Children from the entire area had gathered on the roadside, nearby a lavish bungalow in our community. A sacrifice was about to be offered in the name of God. I looked at their faces: frantic, joyous, excited, confused and clueless. I couldn’t help but wonder, how many of these kids have an idea about what was going to happen? By the look of it, it seemed that they were surrounding the giant camel and the butcher merely for the thrill. Thrill is an interesting emotion if you put it in the context of the Abrahamic sacrifice. Because seeking thrill is not the purpose of this religious ...

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Cyber bullying: Misogyny under the garb of animal welfare

Ayesha Chundrigar Foundation (ACF) is an animal rescue service in Karachi that provides free treatment and shelter to stray animals along with managing other projects. A few weeks back, on their Facebook page, ACF posted a video of a ‘pet owner’ who was attempting to leave eight severely infected Persian kittens at the shelter without informing the staff or following their protocol. The man continued to resist and injured one of the girls working at ACF. Although the video clearly showed the man being disruptive, struggling to get inside his car, and drive off leaving the sick kittens behind but inevitably ...

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#TherapistDiaries: Physical, emotional or cyber, cheating is cheating

Have you ever been cheated on in an intimate relationship? Have you ever seen a couple where one partner cheats on the other on multiple instances yet they are trusted and forgiven each time? Does it ever frustrate you that your friend, acquaintance or a relative cheat on their partner but shudder at the thought of separating or divorcing their spouse? Cheating is one of the most commonly occurring themes in a relationship, and so far, a lot of research has been done on it. There are two categories and three types of cheating. Cheating can either be a one-time incident in a ...

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#TherapistDiaries: Old age and the game of betrayal

The mere sight of my dad’s shivering hand gives me heartbreak. He has crossed 60, and hence the strength of his body keeps drifting away every once in a while. My mom, in her 50s, struggles with circadian rhythms due to her increasing age. Her screen time – YouTube and Facebook mainly – has increased in the past five years. She bonds with us and her friends over puppy videos and babies-gone-funny posts. There is an innate air of sadness about old age. We are powerless creatures in a number of ways. It is both, our infancy period and old age ...

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From APS to Sahiwal: Does Pakistani media have an empathy problem?

Humans are not naturally empathetic creatures – a primary reason behind cataclysmic wars, the rise in extra-judicial killings, as well as the growing hostility towards people escaping calamities. As the world spirals into chaos, the ability to consciously acknowledge the condition of individuals undergoing distress and mentally processing their misery has nearly vanished. But then again, did such an ability exist to begin with?  There is a silent conflict between those struck by a persisting crisis and those privileged enough to smoothly slither their way out of it unscathed. Humans are prone to living completely autonomous lives, but it seems ...

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Dishonoured

For every person, there is one emotion they can never handle with ease. For me, that emotion is anxiety. As I stand amidst the neon lights and blaring music, my hands are sweating profusely and my eyes dart from corner to corner in search of a means of escape. My heart is clogged with a lump that threatens to emerge in the form of tears. The atmosphere around me is so loud that I feel my own personality melting into the beats of the drums. But no matter how much I wish to, I can’t drink away the troubles of ...

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From Delhi, with regret: How a postcard from India revived painful, unhealed memories of the Partition

From history textbooks and family accounts, we often hear about the intense emotions and trauma felt by those who were forced to leave their homes behind for a new country during the Partition of British India in 1947. These days, it is hard to truly understand those feelings when we are so far removed from the experience itself. But tangible, everyday artefacts from that era – like a simple letter exchanged between separated friends – can suddenly resurrect those devastating and unhealed memories. That’s precisely what happened when my mother was recently looking through old papers in my grandparents’ home in ...

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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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