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Mental Health: Coping With Lows.

Discussion in 'Healthy Living' started by GeetaKashyap, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    Friends,


    Mental health issues range across a wide spectrum. This is a small effort to understand this issue. Let me clarify that I am not a doctor or a mental health professional. Whatever I have expressed here comes from my personal interest in Psychology and my short working experience as a volunteer tele-counsellor at a Suicide prevention centre. I invite everyone, especially those with some professional knowledge, to contribute and enrich this effort of mine. Please feel free to correct me if any inadvertent errors have crept in. I sincerely hope that it helps everyone to develop a positive outlook and cope with their struggles in life. Thank you.



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    Mental Health: Coping with lows. (Part 1 of 2)

    "Depression, suffering and anger are all part of being human."

    _Janet Fitch

    [​IMG]

    Show me, one person who has never experienced a simple/prolonged boredom, off mood, stress over a silly to a serious issue, biological irritations, work or study pressure, overwork or a bad day with spouse/children/parents, humiliations, dejections, frustrations and so on. One could be suffering from a simple off-day which is nothing to worry about or something a bit serious like a mild depression, a serious psychological issue to a debilitating mental illness! When the depression or certain mental illnesses remain untreated, antisocial acts or suicides are to be expected at a future date; it is a strong possibility.

    [​IMG]

    When any of the above confines us, there are days and nights when we really do not want to do anything worthwhile, we feel like sulking, crying, avoiding social contacts, either oversleep or stay sleepless! To battle the lows, we have to accept that some ups and downs are a part of everybody’s life and everyone has some inbuilt skills to cope. Some of the issues can be sorted out simply by relaxing and making some small changes in our routines and habits, by not constantly recalling the past hurts and disappointments, by surrounding ourselves with positive thoughts and people, by rejoicing smaller victories and developing a deep sense of gratitude. Learning to change our paradigm from ‘why me?’ to ‘why not me?’ also helps to reduce expectations and develop a tough attitude. If the issue is situational or transient in nature, it can be tackled on our own or with the help of family and friends. But if it becomes a long drawn suffering, takes a serious turn or if it is related to disturbances in the mental faculties, meeting a mental health professional is the best option. Please do not to reach out to quacks and other unqualified characters as you will definitely end up in a worse situation.


    Depression is a prison where we are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer.

    — Dorothy Rowe


    Many times, mental disturbances alter our perceptions, thereby, affecting our decision-making capacity also. Therefore having a healthy or working relationship with family and friends becomes a necessity. We need at least a couple of reliable well-wishers around us acting as our support system. They act like a trampoline and help us in coping with the pressures in life. Generally, when one is under such pressures and also experience loneliness, it is easy to succumb to alcohol or drug abuse and it will worsen the situation further. Committing suicide is another act that has become common lately. Do we blame the individual, the (uncaring) family, friends or the indifferent society? Can we imagine how lonely and hopeless a person should feel to commit an act of no return? If he is successful in his attempt, he gets a release from his immediate earthly concerns. What if he fails? (All countries have not still legalised suicide.) What about the trauma and a sense of shame and guilt his near and dear ones have to go through for life? How does it reflect on the society?


    "It's often difficult for those who are lucky enough to have never experienced what true depression is to imagine a life of complete hopelessness, emptiness and fear."

    _Susan Polis Schutz


    "If us don't think our anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact our physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in our body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days."

    _Kris Carr


    So having awareness is the key to managing life and its myriad pressures. It is equally important to handle situations with alertness and compassion. It could be us or anyone in our surroundings; a little awareness goes a long way in saving a life, giving them hope and bringing them back to the mainstream.


    "That's the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it's impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key."

    _Elizabeth Wurtzel


    Our lows need not always be treated as our weakness. Especially women have more reasons to go through these lows; hormones can play havoc at times like during the premenstrual, post-partum, pre and postmenopausal periods. The patriarchal society and its rigid rules, difficult interpersonal relationships, suppressed ambitions and desires, body image issues and so on, can also take their toll. When worries begin to eat us, psycho-somatic issues (bodily health issues) also crop up. Generally, men are affected by certain social and professional pressures, interpersonal issues and body image issues. Men tend to easily find an escape by developing addictive habits and anti-social behaviours. A few sufferers from both sexes seem to enjoy these lows because it gets them a lot of attention and relief from their routines! I have come across a few who associate this issue with creativity and boast as if being depressive is a title to cherish and seek attention. Lately, I have read so many celebrity interviews where they talk flippantly about their OCD or Bipolar disorder. The smiling face of the celebrity, the plush backdrop and the statements of this sort could be dangerous as it impacts their young followers adversely. On the other hand, a responsible talk can bring about a lot of awareness. Actress Deepika Padukone has set an example by highlighting her struggles with depression. My suggestion is to empower our self with knowledge, seek help and get out of that low situation at the earliest.

    "It has been my philosophy of life that difficulties vanish when faced boldly."
    _Isaac Asimov


    At the suicide prevention centre, we were taught that an attempt to commit suicide is a victim’s way of calling aloud for help and attention. This feeling of extreme hopelessness or depression is momentary in most cases and if that moment is somehow passed, the person is safe until the next low period. Most people who attempt suicide do speak about it before actually attempting it, so if anyone around you appears vulnerable, be alert and help them to tide over the difficult period and seek medical help.


    "The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can change his life by changing his attitude of mind."
    _William James


    Then how to pass these moments of crisis till sanity is restored? If we don’t distract our selves or vent, chances are that we will end up in a quagmire from which escaping won’t be easy. Thanks to forums like the Indusladies and some social media where anonymous venting is possible and there are some helpful souls too who are ever ready to offer soothing words, suggest alternatives and help the person see hope and bounce back. There are many anonymous free tele-counselling centres and NGOs in all the major cities that help people see hope and get better.


    *******************************************************"Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget about everything except what you're going to do now - and do it." William Durant


    Okay, here are some suggestions to safely pass “that time of crisis”; a fun way to the serious, since we are covering a wide spectrum from sheer boredom to mental illness.



    The lazy and relaxed way

    1. SLEEP. This is the best of all methods. It restores energies and equilibrium. Simple disturbances settle down, be it physical or mental. With some good sleep, we successfully kill those moments of lows and despair and also if we are lucky, we may enjoy a good HD quality dream. If not..?
    2. Curl up and read a nice book. It could be any light reading or some DIY/self-help books. I believe that gaining deeper knowledge or insight into a burning issue can help us to rationalise and move on.
    3. Watch a favourite TV show.
    4. Catch up with a fun movie; they help to distract and change our mood.
    5. Watch a music channel, as the music videos entertain and soothe our nerves. One fun way to enjoy music videos is to mute our TV and watch the ridiculous dance steps. (Telugu film songs are our best bet;)) Either we end up giggling or we may get creative and write a parody!
    6. Switch off the net and type a no holds barred letter to anybody who has irritated. Vent all the stuff that is bugging you. Finally, when all our worries are off our chest, delete that stuff with a big smile. It helps to simply unload the mental burden and have some mental clarity.
    7. Call a friend or a relative who can bust the current mood and make us laugh or feel better. Gossiping and criticizing others does miracles! (Yes, yes!:banana:)
    8. Make some fryums/ bhajias with coffee/tea/juice. Enjoying it mindfully. (Don’t do it too often for obvious reasons!)
    9. Watch the sky, ocean and trees or walk with bare feet over the green grass or sand. They help to calm down the agitated senses.
    10. Simply take a leisurely relaxing bath; indulge with massages, aromatic oils, scented candles, luxurious bubble bath and so on. It washes away negative emotions to some extent. Experts say, that some essential oils also help to alleviate mood, give it a try.
    ****************************************
    End of Part 1
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
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  2. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    Mental Health: Coping with lows. (Part 2 of 2)

    "Accept challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory."
    _George S. Patton



    The creative way


    1. Try out some outlandish/fancy makeup.
    2. Download makeup Apps and try out makeups, photoshop effects, collage effects on our new or old photographs. Indulge and enjoy. Sometimes we will get some very good results which we can show off at a later stage! Or simply enjoy them in our private moments.
    3. Download sketching Apps and try sketching, calligraphy, embroidery, knitting and such activities. They help us to focus on the present and thus helping us to overcome the mental pressures.
    4. Surf the net; we would be surprised as a whole new world unfolds. If you are a visual person, search for places to visit, fashion and so on. Type anything and we will definitely find some relevant awesome stuff on the internet. If you love music, you will have a whole world of music at your fingertips! I think the Internet is a new age Kamadhenu!
    5. Watch the road, guess what different people are up to, and try to read their body language/thoughts. It is a wonderful method to distract our mind and also gain a new awareness.
    6. Doodle/Zentangle: Trust me, it really refreshes us. Creating repeat patterns almost help us zone in; it is therapeutic and meditative.
    7. When we are a bit collected, we may try drawing, painting, writing or pottery: anything that helps us to move away from the irritants mentally. Learn to focus and appreciate the present. The excited mental state sometimes unleashes creativity. The strokes in a drawing, the colours or the words, help to soothe us and get rid of our pent-up feelings.
    8. Hum or listen to favourite songs or simply dance. We don’t have to be a trained singer or dancer to enjoy these mood-enhancing activities. They help in the release of mood-enhancing hormones like the dopamine in the brain.
    9. When we feel better, we may try some elaborate cooking and most of the time, the different sensations associated with the cooking helps to distract and recharge our body and soul.
    10. Press clothes, sweep, clean the cupboard, organize, rearrange or repot plants. Strangely, this will improve our mood.
    11. Clean junk from the cupboards, mobile or computer. It gives a sense of redemption.
    12. Play with a kid or a pet.
    13. Write a gratitude journal to appreciate our blessings. It helps to improvise our outlook and attitude.
    "Minds are like parachutes, they function only when open."
    _unknown author


    "Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget about everything except what you're going to do now - and do it."
    _William Durant




    The outdoorsy way


    1. If you are the outdoorsy type of a person try a long walk, jog or a swim. You will feel refreshed and can also knock off a few calories!
    2. Go window shopping. Don’t indulge in real shopping as you may end up with wrong choices or overspending.
    3. Simply hop onto a bus or a train. Enjoy a long ride and allow the mind to wander. (It is better not to drive on our own as it is dangerous to allow the brain to wander aimlessly.)
    4. Visit an old peoples’ home or an orphanage. A little bit of goodness on our part makes us feel good deep inside.
    5. Get busy gardening.

    · "Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round our life, as a dog does his master's chaise. Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still."
    _Thoreau


    The spiritual way


    1. Meditate.
    2. Practice Pranayam, Yoga, taichi and similar meditative activities.
    3. Sing bhajans aloud. (And bug others!)
    4. Read some scriptures or philosophical books. Listen to CDs with headphones; this way we can block other’s efforts to distract us.
    5. Write or chant God’s name, some prayer or mental affirmations repeatedly. This also gives us the benefits of meditations.
    6. Spend a few quiet moments in a temple or any place of worship. Even spending time gazing at sunrise or sunset helps.
    7. Enjoy ‘aloneness and travel inward.’
    "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."

    — Helen Keller


    The Other ways

    1. If you feel like crying, go ahead and cry. Enjoy even that process. It helps to unburden many known or unknown hurts and pains. It helps us to bounce back easily. Generally, men don’t shed tears and to them I suggest, behind the closed doors try it, and let all the burdens flow out in the form of tears. Though this may not change the status of our problems, it does release us from some of the shackles and thus helps us to face life again easily. Most of the women know and practice this trick to perfection. My suggestion to them is to not cry, at least, sometimes and explore their tougher side.
    2. Write down all the bothering problems and worries. Later, vent anger by tearing that paper into the tiniest possible pieces and flush/destroy them. Ah! What a release it offers! Scribble any nonsensical thing that comes to your mind and then tear/shred. Destroy some harmless stuff like an old newspaper or a calendar. It offers an amazing relief. Ensure not to destroy something valuable as it induces regret later and also we may alienate our own people for damaging utility items.
    3. Punch a pillow.
    4. Go on a holiday, a recital, a magic show or a drama. They enhance our mood and relax us.
    5. Milder and transient issues can be easily tackled by actively adopting one or more of the above methods. For a serious issue, talk to a trusted friend/ adult or see a medical professional at the earliest. Sometimes depression and some other mental illnesses cannot be handled all on our own. So reaching out to anonymous tele-counsellors* or forums like this may be one of the initial steps we can take. (Google to find out about such organizations in your city and always have their phone numbers handy. If not for us, we can use them to help someone else in distress.) * 13 Helplines That Hear & Help People Struggling With Depression & Suicidal Thought (They have listed just a few)
    6. Finally when nothing seems to work, Please seek medical help. There is no shame in consulting a mental health professional.
    "Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat."
    — F. Scott Fitzgerald

    "Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever."
    _Lance Armstrong



    Resilience is the ability to overcome difficulties in order to thrive; we all have it in us.

    "The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."
    _Elisabeth Kübler-Ross


    Yeah! So many ways to kill time or pass the moments of distress safely till sanity is restored. Do share your ways. Let us enrich our “Coping tricks.”


    [​IMG]

    Quotes ref: Inspirational Quotes for People With Depression

    ***********************END***********************
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
  3. messedup

    messedup Platinum IL'ite

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    Very well explained and useful information. I too had undergone this feeling and applied many of these methods. The first thing is crying that really help to get relieved. Next could be anything depending on the time and mood. Good job done as always. What new one can find to praise an all time topper. Just want to say keep it up and stay as you are.:)
     
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  4. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the first positive response, dear M. All of us have coping mechanisms and survive our lows. Yet, when we are down, the path appears very difficult or impossible and we lose hopes. This serves as a reminder to spring back. Darr ke aage jeet hai!
     
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  5. shravs3

    shravs3 IL Hall of Fame

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    Wow a very wonderful and useful thread Geeta.
     
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  6. SinghManisha

    SinghManisha Platinum IL'ite

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    Geeta, this is a very informative post. In our culture depression is viewed as a weakness or an inability to be happy and grateful. It is a medical condition that needs some form of treatment. It is not easy for a depressed person to count their blessings and be happy. All the tips you provided might definitely help.
     
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  7. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you, dear Shravs. If you can think of, feel free to add more ways to cope.
     
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  8. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for your feedback, dear Manisha. Sometimes, due to overwhelming feelings of despondency, people don't realise that simple things can help to divert mind. An assurance that 'feeling low or depressed is normal/common and it is an easily treatable condition by and large,' will help suffers try some of these harmless methods to regain control of their lives, at least, till they gather the courage to consult a professional. The word depression is also loosely used; a certain dip in the mood doesn't qualify to be called depression but all of us use that word. That is the reason I have sparingly used the word Depression in the above article. Clinically diagnosed depression requires some medication, psychotherapy, counselling and re-learning of some of the coping skills. What I have covered is basically what we all go through and manage to get through. When we are aware of the possibilities, we can guide someone in need to see hope.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2018
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  9. Viswamitra

    Viswamitra IL Hall of Fame

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    @GeetaKashyap,

    Thank you for your wonderful post.

    The people who are depressed generally not like to socialize, stay alone and feel mostly worthless. Even medication to manage the level of Serotonin and dopamine may not help much. The family members can provide substantial help being extra considerate to those who go through depression. The last thing the family members do is to blame them for anything or yell at them for their behavior. It is a disease and should be treated as such rather than considering it as behavioral change.

    Most of them have a tendency to over medicate themselves and sleep a lot. The family members will have to keep an eye on the depressed person to the extent possible as they get suicidal tendencies suddenly. If the family members are all working, it is better to call them every now and then to see how they are doing.

    If they are upset and creating tantrums, it is not because they are upset with other family members but because they feel bad about themselves. This understanding by the family members help a long way to resolve the depression of one of the members of the family.

    Even at work, when someone doesn't socialize much, it might be a good idea to engage them in a conversation and bring some interesting and exciting news/humor to them. Sometimes, a simple gesture like sharing or having lunch with them helps a long way. The effort is to make them feel worthy and deserve the respect and love of others.

    Viswa
     
  10. GeetaKashyap

    GeetaKashyap IL Hall of Fame

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    "The people who are depressed generally not like to socialize, stay alone and feel mostly worthless. Even medication to manage the level of Serotonin and dopamine may not help much. The family members can provide substantial help being extra considerate to those who go through depression. The last thing the family members do is to blame them for anything or yell at them for their behavior. It is a disease and should be treated as such rather than considering it as behavioral change."

    @Viswamitra Sir,

    Thanks a lot for your invaluable feedback.

    In clinical Depression or other psychiatric cases like the Bipolar disorder etc severe breakdown is experienced and many times the treatment is also long drawn and the risk of antisocial behaviours or suicide also rise substantially. The following article explains the Clinical Depression well. https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/major-depression#1. In these cases, untrained people like us cannot help much in rehabilitation and a professional help is a must. Also, as you rightly pointed out the caretakers have a tough job on hand.

    I have seen quite a few people with hysteria, schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder very closely and having interacted with them, I know how unpredictable they can be and how taxing it is for the family to manage them for an extended period of time.

    In the Relationship forum, we have many young women writing about their issues; some of them are in genuinely bad situations while a few of them require only a bit of guidance and reassurance to recover. It is appreciable that this forum 'Indusladies' offers a space for them to safely vent and we also have so many good members who selflessly guide them and offer support. My article is basically for such people who face difficulty in dealing with temporary setbacks. I am trying to convey to them that everybody faces setbacks and everybody somehow cope with their situations with a little help because I believe, it is reassuring for all to know that others also have their own battles behind their beautiful external facades; it motivates them to battle their issues better. I am just suggesting them a few ways to deal with their lows and bounce back at the earliest with optimism. While dealing with temporary setbacks, a person can help herself or the family and friends can do the needful by providing some diversion and hope.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2018
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