Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The year that was 2020

2020 began as a usual year for me, no drumrolls, no fanfare. The usual lonely New year, the usual academic year-end for the young one, and a brief family trip to Nainital thrown in February to get away from the monotony.

We returned and all hell broke loose in Delhi with the Delhi riots and then in a few weeks, Corona hit the scene. By mid-March, there were whispers of the government deciding something big- it came on March 23rd, one day long Janta Curfew and then....a word I had heard bit never imagined could be so heavy LOCKDOWN. 

The other day watching UNPAUSED on Amazon prime I was reminiscing the life that changed on that fateful morning. 

The stories in the films are my stories in patches, I am sure some of the snippets are your stories too. I haven't written much in the last year, yes I did attend webinars and webinars and upgrade all my skills, make myself useful to whatever social work or activism was possible online, and yes SURVIVE along with writing one book and translating TWO! 

I don't know any longer what is normal, the one that was or this new normal? Will life be ever the same? This has certainly been a long road through mental health struggle and resilience, logistic difficulties and survival.

I wonder. 

I am beginning to forget who I was.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Festival Season and Depression

Depression tends to increase during the festival season due to an increase in demands (perceived as stressful), family issues, and being unable to manage expectations. The increased demands on our time, energy, patience, and flexibility can take a toll.

For those already managing depression who may already be struggling with symptoms of fatigue, irritability, sadness, and feeling unable to cope with change or additional stress, the result of all the additional stress of the holidays can be simply feeling unable to meet those expectations, which can, unfortunately, lead to increased feelings of depression.

A common symptom of depression is anhedonia or the loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities or the inability to experience any kind of pleasure.

The festive season is a busy time when normal routines are often interrupted. There are many behaviors and situations which may cause stress and/or depression at this time of year.

The festive season is a period of over-indulgence and the combination of too much food and generally poor nutrition can have a negative impact on an individual’s mood.

The materialistic nature of society is thought to contribute to depression in general, and in the festive season, there is considerable pressure to buy luxuries, which causes financial strain for many.

Festive family gatherings are, at least according to expectations, a time for sharing love and joy. In reality, they often mean extra work and can be a time of conflict. Conflict with family members can cause stress and contribute to depression.

The festive season is unlikely to be perfect or stress-free. Coping with the stress of festivities can be easier if you approach them with realistic expectations.

Whatever events arise and cause stress in the festive season, remember that it is just one short period.

Seek help if and when needed.

This post is part of #CauseAChatter via Blogchatter.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Anxiety: A Book Review

 Title:  Anxiety: Overcome It and Live without Fear

Author: Sonali Gupta 
Format: Kindle and Paperback
Publisher: Harper Collins India

The book strikes you with its white cover and opens with an insightful foreword by renowned Indian Writer Jerry Pinto who has earlier edited and curated an anthology of mental health stories titled Book of Light. His understanding of this sensitive issue certainly stands out and the foreword in itself seems like an essay on mental health that has been written with elan and poise. When he says, "You have a right to be anxious.We all are.", it sets the tone of the book as a conversation about mental health rather than a preachy sermon.

The author Sonali Gupta is a Mumbai-based clinical psychologist with16 years of experience in the field of mental health. She writes a weekly column for Mumbai Mirror titled 'Terms of Engagement'. She currently runs a private practice in Khar and South Bombay.

On her website she says about the book:

Anxiety is a mental health crisis that has gripped over three crore Indians. In my debut book Anxiety: Overcome It and Live Without Fear, I delve into the condition, using case studies to identify how anxiety can be triggered at work, in relationships, and by social media. I have attempted to share a unique glimpse into this mental health condition in India, especially among Gen Z and millennials. 

Gupta lives up to what is promised by the book successfully and brings the mental health conversation to an Indian context. The book is about routine issues of an average Indian and how that is related to anxiety and also has a lot of tips and methodologies about how to deal with them. Hence the book becomes not just a book but a kind of WORKBOOK with ample DIY activities that help in self-care and self-analysis along with an entire last section dedicated to managing anxiety. The book is interactive with its readers and has columns to write things as you go. This not only makes it fun but also helps the reader to understand his/her own unique issues better.

In an interview with Women's Web the author says:

“The problem with anxiety is that it’s so normalised that people don’t talk about it. Just because something is normalised doesn’t mean it is okay that people have to live through it. It is a problem we need to address it at a systemic level.” 

In the book she speaks about not just anxiety but other related issues like BURNOUT saying:

“Most millennials who start jobs by age twenty-one reach their first burnout when they are about twenty-six or twenty-seven years old. Their second burnout is generally between age twenty-nine and thirty-years. This is usually the time when most people reach out for help and almost believe in its legitimacy since they now feel that a decade of work has taken a toll on them.” 

The tone is crisp and the material absolutely well-researched and supported with loved experiences and professional observations. 
Definitely a must-read for any Indian who has any interest in understanding mental health better.

This post is part of #Bookchatter  and #CauseAChatter with Blogchatter.

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To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
The Alchemist
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
The Odyssey
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Count of Monte Cristo
Eat, Pray, Love
The Da Vinci Code
The Kite Runner
The Silence of the Lambs
The Diary of a Young Girl
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Notebook
Gone With the Wind

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario
my work on display there !!!!!