Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The power of suppression

A few days ago,I was talking to one of my friends, who was quite irritated.I asked him about the cause of his irritation and he said, that things with his wife were not going well.

They were experiencing a sort of a communication break down, where the only things they were uttering to each other were-'kuch nahin' and 'chhodo'.

He said that every time they would say something to each other, one of them would flare up and the conversation would go on a world tour!

But isn't this normal? Happens with all of us at some point or the other.

And it's not just with conversations,but emotions in general.

We all have certain emotions that seek instinctual expression, at a given moment in time.And this is more so with emotions like anger,frustration,irritation etc.The power that these emotions have, is immense.

There is an immediate relief when they are expressed as instinctively as they arise. But with that relief,there are certain consequences attached as well.

Getting angry at a loved one and saying things that we might end up regretting later,is pretty common. 

And because we don't know what else to do to avoid such situations,we resort to 'chhodo','let it be','rehne do'.

In effect,we suppress our instinctive emotions.

So does that really work?

Actually no.

It's just a temporary escape from the situation and it keeps building up inside. Eventually,there comes a point,where we burst out.

The 'break down' point.

You tried avoiding screaming,shouting,crying,or saying the correct but hurtful thing for sometime and threw up everything at once!

Yep,things do get messy and that's the true power of suppression.You cannot hold everything in permanently.Every thought,emotion,desire constantly seeks expression.We may delay the expression for a while,but cannot completely negate it's existence.

But the true problem arises because we don't know how to express our instincts.When we are angry,we try to 'control' the anger.The more you resist,the more it persists and that's why, more problems arise after an uncontrolled outburst.

You try to hold on to your tears and there comes a point,when your emotional tank begins to overflow and you find yourself crying for almost everything or nothing.

You keep ignoring the irritating or annoying  habits or actions of someone.You don't want to hurt them or be rude.

But after a point,you end up doing the only thing that you were trying to avoid.

What's the solution then?

The solution lies in being aware of how you are currently expressing your emotions and finding an appropriate way of expressing them. 

For instance,it took me a long time to understand that when I'm angry,I need to vent out.

Initially,I would utter a lot of rubbish to anyone who crossed my path during my angry phase.Once I realized what I was doing,I went into 'I will not talk when I'm angry' phase.

The result was,that I used to hang around the house sulking and uttering mono syllables.The constant worry of those around me,began to fuel my irritation even more.

So,I had more reasons to be mad at everyone!

After I grew up a little and became 'mature',I realized that there was an easy way out.

Whenever i found myself in a foul mood,I would just tell people that 'I'm in a bad mood,please leave me alone for a while'.

Once I found myself  to be a little calm (I would listen to music,doodle on books,write my feelings down etc),I would then address the pressing issue.

Gradually things and people around me settled down.

The period between experiencing the emotion and the consequences of expressing the same,is the one that needs to be worked upon.

Before we resort to screaming,shouting or simply walking away and harboring the emotion within,we need to take a break.

The reason why I started telling people to leave me alone was,to be able to figure out the best way to put my point forward in an appropriate way.

Activities like listening to music,writing,doodling or sometimes talking to my close friends,helped me calm down and think about the issue rationally.

Once my mental balance was back,I was able to talk and bring up my concerns in an acceptable manner.

That's why phrases like 'let it be','rehne do','chhod do','jane do' are pretty useless.They lead us to the path of suppression.A path that is so powerful,it can blow up everything because we end up doing too much of it.

It would be so much better if, along with these phrases,we actually make an effort, to use that interim period in looking for an appropriate way to express our deepest concerns,emotions and thoughts.

After all,ignorance may not always be bliss :p

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Minding the mind

Sometimes she wakes up in the middle of the night..palpitating,sweating,wondering what just happened...
She worries a lot about everything,gets stressed at the drop of a hat.People say she takes things too seriously and that she should learn to relax.She tries, but fails to understand, how this whole relaxation actually works.

She feels she's about to  go mad..can this worrying ever stop?

Their child has nightmares every night.He's scared to sleep alone.He's 14-not a child anymore.Yet,not big enough to understand what's happening.At school he finds himself getting into fights and arguments unintentionally.He feels lonely because he has no friends.He tries to tell his parents but they blame him.Is there actually something wrong with him?Is he a bad boy?

She cries herself to sleep on most days.Sometimes she finds herself so overwhelmed with her thoughts and emotions ,that tears start flowing even during the day..she's lost and gloomy...

Are these people mad?

Some of us can handle our thoughts and emotions better than others.Some can't.So, is that a crime?

All of us have a twisted state of mind..and emotions are exhibited strongly by others, than the rest of us.We all go through so much in our lives, that bogs us down at some point or the other.

We can feel whatever we want.Yet,we can't talk about it..why?

The one thing that keeps us going..alive and kicking,is not allowed complete expression.The mind-the software that keeps the body's machinery going, is supposed to be tucked inside somewhere in our head, and not allowed even a whimper.

There is stigma,there is taboo,there are labels attached to anything related to the mind..Why?

Being depressed,anxious,stressed,compulsive,lonely,aggressive etc is not a disease.It's a state of mind and states are transitional.We keep shifting from one mental state to another, right from the time we open our eyes early in the morning.

And yes,sometimes we get stuck on one state..because at that time,that state serves a purpose.

If I'm depressed then clearly something in my life is causing that depression.Watching comedy movies,going out with friends is not a's just a distraction.Seeking help is a solution.

If i'm anxious and stressed,then yes,there are things which are not in my comfort zone.And I am unable to move past them,to make that transition from a worried to a relaxed state.I know I should relax,but I can't.So what should I do?

Some people are blessed with a mind that needs to be programmed and used differently.No matter what names we give to them-autistic,dyslexic,mentally challenged,obsessive,compulsive,schizophrenic etc; the fact is,that they are human.

They are just not the same as the rest of us.And that's fine!No two people are the same any way.But it's just human to attach a name,a label to anything that is not 'regular' or 'like us'.

And that doesn't help.

What helps,is actually going out there and helping the ones who genuinely need it.We are all struggling in our day to day lives.Some struggle more,some struggle less. And at any time,it's all right  to reach out and ask for support,encouragement,guidance or at times,just a listening ear.

Physical health cannot flourish without a balanced state of mind.And we are all embroiled in a quest to find our own balance.

Mental health is more important that physical health because it is the mind that ultimately drives the body.What's the point of a car without a steering wheel?

It's high time that we all decided to take ourselves, a little more seriously and break out of these limiting notions about mental health,mental illnesses and psychological and psychiatric help available at our disposal.

It's only human to experience a particular state of mind.It's human to behave a little out of order,because not everything in life can be planned or controlled.

Asking people to 'relax','take it easy','ignore' is not always a solution.If they could do it,they would have done it.

The fact that they can't means,that there is a deeper issue that needs to be unearthed and resolved.Therefore,encouraging people to reach out to counselors and psychologists is actually a good idea.

It's actually amusing to see how everyone turns into a counselor for those who are distressed.But,we don't take the profession itself seriously.

As I blog on this issue,I can only hope and wish that those who are distressed,are able to realize that there is help available and are encouraged and supported by their friends and family to take that help.

I hope and wish,that more and more people begin to show sensitivity towards their own and others' state of mind.
Because it's not that we are not aware of the concept of mental illness,counseling,psychology etc., but it's convenient to be rooted in redundant beliefs.

It is the breaking out that requires effort.

I hope and wish that more of us are able to break out.