3842544-min-1200x801.jpg
24/Aug/2020

Thanks to the advancements in neuroscience and modern technology, with the help of medical pieces of equipment and imaging techniques like EEG and MRI scans, we are now able to get a clearer picture of the brain structure and function.

And it has been seen that neglect and abuse, even of the emotional kind can leave a lasting impact on our brain. Sophisticated imaging techniques like diffusion tensor imaging provides information on the white matter tracts, and how the circuits in our brain are altered in an abusive environment.

Amygdala, which is one of the brain’s most important areas, process fear and fear response within us. And regular abuse results in increased activity in the amygdala, which advances to behavioural changes such as impulsivity and a constant state of heightened alert. And on the other hand, the reward centre of our brain shows a blunted response, which means that we find it difficult to feel happiness. Emotional regulation and behavioural maladjustments are other key changes that happen with constant stress and abuse.

In the previous article, I spoke about the kindness one can offer a partner. But people rarely talk about the abuse one greets one’s intimate partner with.

I was a terrible lover to my partner.

I am you; you are me, we’ve all been here on this path before.

Strangely enough, I was never a bad guy. I’ve never hit a woman or even used a swear word against one. I’m not abusive in that popular cultural reference kind of away.

But I was still abusive in that I didn’t respect my partner’s thoughts and feelings as much as I should have. Even though I didn’t intend it as such, I ended up making her feel like her opinions were worthless, and in effect, she was worthless.

When two people disagree, they do so because both of them think they’re right. I thought I was right. I thought this more often, even when I didn’t think of her as wrong.

I forgot the inalienable truth; sometimes there’s no right or wrong, especially in a relationship. One person can like colour, the others needn’t. One might like a particular kind of movie, the other needn’t. There’s no right or wrong over here. But I treated it as such. What I felt and thought and hence believed, I considered as true. Which automatically meant, I thought she was wrong.

I had promised to love her, and I did. I never stopped loving her. But I did stop observing what effect my nonchalance was having on her.

I always put her first in my life. But not when it came to disagreements and fights. When we fought, it was all about me, how I had to prove to her how I am not to be blamed, how I am in fact blameless. It’s not that I wasn’t, but my insistence on proving my “innocence” meant that I didn’t see how it was affecting her.

She told me about it. Once, twice and many more times than I can recall. I heard her plenty, but I didn’t listen to her.

I was a good person. I was charitable. I was generous. I was sacrificing. How can I be a bad guy, then? Those people (bad people) do horrible violent acts. Then how can I be one of them? Then it hit me; a good man can still be a lousy professional. A good man can still be a bad teacher, doctor, and officer. I was just a bad lover.

The fear response in our Amygdala acts in haste when we hear perceivable bad things about ourselves. When our fear response gets activated, our sympathetic nervous system gets activated. We react unconsciously and impulsively. We get defensive, we get angry, we try to rationalize and justify our behaviour.

I didn’t hit her. I didn’t call her names. But I still drove her to tears during a fight. Constant abuse altered her brain circuitry. It affected her behaviour; she was in constant distress.

When she moved away from me for good, it finally hit me what I was doing to her. When she moved to cities and went back to college, I realized what I had lost.

Emotional abuse, it’s the silent devil in relationships.

I share my story so that you don’t end up alone like me.


3343619-min-1200x801.jpg
21/Aug/2020

Our brains are squishy structures that can change and that can be changed by us, us, you know, by our own brain!

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to change, adapt and grow as we learn and practice new skills. In countless MRI scans, it has been revealed that by simply moving our little finger for an hour can bring about changes in the motor cortex region of our brain. What’s even strange is that even if we don’t actually move our finger but merely think about doing it for an hour, it still shows changes in the post thought MRI scans!

Compassion and meditation have shown to increase the thickness of our prefrontal cortex. So if someone calls you a big-headed person, it’s a good thing! Well…

The science is pretty simple though. The more action or thought we do of a single event, the more connections we make in our brain. The more we strengthen the neural pathways in our brain. And over time, such chemical changes can even alter the structure of our brain.

The name of the game then is kindness, and no better player to practice this with than your partner. One way or the other, they are the ones who are going to influence you the most in your life and the person with whom you’re going to spend most of your time.

But how? What should I do? How can I be kind to my partner?

For starters, when your partner is interested in something and tries to engage in a conversation with you regarding it. Learn to pay attention and tune in to what they are talking about. You must learn to do this even if the thing that they are into isn’t really your thing! This is how you’ll strengthen the connection, both in your brain and between people.

We all lead busy lives; there’s so much to do in a single day. We have to go out, study and work. Commute and curse at other drivers for being worse drivers than us, who don’t know how to drive compared to our superior driving skills. There are housework chores to do, there are taxes to pay, there are curses to conjure towards the government for making us pay taxes, there are credit card bills to pay and then there’s panic to do when you realise you don’t have money to pay your credit card bills. There’s Nietzsche to read and wonder about the abyss, and time to look at your bank statements and wonder what kind of an abyss this is! In short, we all lead busy, tiring lives. But, and I cannot stress this enough. Having a bad day is no excuse to neglect your partner. Even when you’re stressed and tired, you must find time for your partner. Period. Especially during then!

Learn to fight. But don’t go to your local, Amazon acquired a black belt wearing Kung Fu master. Go to your local psychologist and find out how to fight. Everyone knows to fight instinctively, but no one knows how to fight kindly. Anger is natural and fair, fights arising out of it are also natural and fair. But learn, learn how to fight kindly. How to express your hurt and anger without hurting them and angering them.

Let your partner make decisions on their own. Don’t over analyse and find faults with them and their decisions. You’re with an adult, trust them to make their own decisions and any possible stumblings that they might have. If they are doing something to make you happy, accept it without questioning their motive. Just because our parents have conditioned us that when they gift you a watch, it means they expect you to score high in your boards, it doesn’t mean as adults we become suspicious of other people’s generosity.

Watch NBA, watch IPL, learn that cheerleaders are there for a purpose. Cheerleaders cheer when the team is winning and even when the team is losing. That’s what cheerleaders do. We need cheerleaders in our lives. Be the cheerleader in your partner’s life. Please don’t wait for birthdays and festivals to do good by them. Learn to be their rock and their constant support during the good times, and especially during their bad times.


177-min-1200x592.jpg
08/Aug/2020

In 2001 Frumkin mentioned, “Perhaps we will advise patients to take a few days in the country, to spend time gardening, or to adopt a pet, if clinical evidence offers support for such measures.”

As to how nature-assisted mental health interventions might concretely manifest in practice, this, of course, will depend on the particular form of methodological and theoretical integration chosen (e.g., narrative, Gestalt, cognitive, solution-focused, experiential or generally positive psychological or even pharmaceutical approach to intervention).

Various kinds of Ecotherapy

There are several different established nature-assisted approaches, such as:

  1. Horticultural therapy
  2. Wilderness therapy
  3. Civic environmentalism
  4. Walking for health and the use of healing gardens.

Nature as a therapeutic/salutogenic context (or independent variable) may range from quests in the wilderness to passive contemplation in a garden to a natural view from the consulting room. Indeed, it is clear from the outset of this study, that there is a multitude of different parameters, which might influence the particular manifestation of clinical practice.

Additional factors

In addition to those earlier stated, i.e., whether a practice is group-based or solo, active or passive, we also need to take into account factors such as:

  1. the degree of therapist intervention
  2. therapist positioning
  3. goals of therapy
  4. client compliance

Different Methodologies

In the late 1990s and early 2000, several scientists such as Burns, Linden & Grut, Berger, Reynolds, and Townsend demonstrated several methodologies for the practice of Ecotherapy. Specific methodologies have ranged from:

  1. Burns’s outcome-directed use of the Sensory Awareness Inventory
  2. The elicitation of metaphor from either nature-based assignments or shared activity with a therapist (Burns, 1998; Linden & Grut, 2002)
  3. Use of ritual (Berger, 2006) to group involvement in a conservation project (Reynolds, 2002; Townsend, 2006).
  4. Suitable methodologies, which show particular promise in terms of amalgamation within a nature-assisted integrative approach, such as mindfulness/meditation in nature.

In terms of the practice of nature-assisted psychotherapy, nature may be drawn on as the client’s focus elicited homework assignments. Experiences in nature may be the source of therapeutic material taken up in therapy (for example, experiential metaphors may be drawn on – Ibid), or natural settings may be the real context of therapy itself. That is, the consulting room could be under open skies or in a greenhouse.

The field of nature-assisted clinical psychological intervention is still in its fledgeling days, and the need for the development of best practice models is most apparent. At a seminar on nature guided therapy in Copenhagen, the need for ideas and guidelines on how psychologists might practice integrative nature-based approaches was evident. Burls has highlighted the pressing need for training programs for ecotherapists. It has also recommended that future practitioners need extensive psychotherapeutic knowledge and multi-therapeutic skills, including those who may draw from nature as a therapeutic resource.


3505-min-1200x686.jpg
07/Aug/2020

Ecotherapy is the practice of the new field of ecopsychology founded by Theodore Roszak, also known as nature therapy or ecological therapy. In certain instances, ecotherapy derives from the idea that people are part of the web of life, and our psyches are not disconnected or removed from our surroundings. 

Ecotherapy is used to describe a rather diverse range of therapeutic modalities. These range from individual clients’ counselling within a psychotherapeutic context to ‘green care farms’, ‘green exercise’, and green gyms. Unfortunately, ecotherapy is also frequently associated with terms such as animal-assisted therapy, adventure therapy, and wilderness therapy.

Green Impact on Emotions

Researchers at the University of Essex demonstrated the basis for Mind’s afore-mentioned “green agenda for mental health” report. They have also highlighted the link between broader environmental ethics and human health, claiming that the emotional benefits of green spaces can be utilised as an argument for environmental conservation.

It is not shocking that nature has a calming impact when you know that for our entire life, the human race–and all our evolutionary forebears–have been closely related to it. It is only in recent times that many of us have been limited to environments created by man. Therefore interaction with green spaces is like returning home for us and fills us with the same sense of comfort and belonging. They crave nature in the same way as a child needs a mother, and derive from it the same sense of satisfaction.

Perspective of Therapy

Ecotherapy takes a distinctly more instrumental or functional perspective on the therapeutic value of nature. Its usefulness or value in promoting the health or alleviating the mental suffering of individual human beings, rather than from a vision of the interdependence of personal, community and planetary health. From such a perspective, nature is perceived more or less pragmatically as providing an optimal environment to enhance human psychological growth, restoration and healing. These approaches include horticultural therapy/social and therapeutic horticulture, healing gardens various schools of wilderness and adventure therapy animal-facilitated therapeutic practices, green care and green farms, health-promoting environments, evidence-based health design, not to mention the salutogenic use of urban green spaces, such as parks and gardens. 

However, the main reason that nature can heal and transform us is because of its calming and mind-settling effect. Our minds process much less information than usual in life, and by concentrating, they do not wear themselves out. Most importantly, the beauty perhaps wonders of nature in meditation works a bit like a mantra, slowing down the usual ‘thought-chatter’ that runs through our minds chaotically. It fills us with inner stillness and strength, producing a glow of being and intensifying our perceptions.


3086580-min-1200x675.jpg
06/Aug/2020

A metaphor is a “figure of speech in which a word or phrase denoting one form of entity or behavior is used instead of another to imply a connection or analogy between them.” It involves moving the relationship between one group of objects to another for brief clarification purposes.

The use of metaphors in hypnotherapy is universal and essential. It is used widely in hypnotherapy to pass suggestions to the subconscious mind while bypassing critical issues.

History of Metaphor

Milton Erickson is the pioneer in this field. He was the inspiration for using metaphors in a therapeutic context. His methods for communicating with the unconscious mind using sophisticated language patterns and metaphors are recognized now as essential for effective change. One of the main characteristics of therapeutic metaphors is that they are open-ended, thereby allowing listeners to draw on their resources for a solution.

A metaphorical story in a therapeutic context consists of elements that symbolically represent the client’s problem and offers a solution to the client’s problem indirectly.

Advantages of Metaphor Therapy

The following are the benefits and uses of therapeutic metaphor;

The value of metaphor in hypnotherapy is that it can bypass conscious resistances and serves to stimulate creativity and lateral think concerning problems.

  1. Cause something to be remembered.
  2. Make, demonstrate, explain, or illustrate a point.
  3. Create generative realities.
  4. Open up possibilities and strategies.
  5. Normalize or otherwise re-contextualize a particular position or content.
  6. Carry multiple levels of information.
  7. Facilitate new patterns of thoughts, behavior, and feelings.
  8. Stimulate lateral thinking and creativity.
  9. Reframe or redefine a problem or situation.
  10. Introduce doubt into a position that holds that there is only “one” way.
  11. Provide or guide associations and thinking along certain lines.
  12. Allow the client to form a choice or find his direction.
  13. Bypass normal ego defenses.
  14. Allow the client to process directly at a subconscious level (indirect suggestions.
  15. Shift the subject or redirect the discussion.
  16. Suggest solutions and new options.
  17. Provide a gateway between the conscious.
  18. Pass suggestions to the subconscious mind.
  19. Increase rapport and communication.
  20. Facilitate retrieval of resource experiences.
  21. Lighten up the mood.

Example of Metaphor Story

The following is an example of a therapeutic hypnotic metaphor story that frequently used by psychologists:

“Once Buddha and a few of his followers moved from one town to another. It was in the initial days. While they were traveling, they happened to pass a lake. They stopped there, and Buddha told one of his followers, I am thirsty, can you get some water from that lake there.

One of his followers walked up to the lake. When he reached there, a bullock cart started crossing through the lake. As a result, the water becomes contaminated. The follower thought about how I can give this polluted water to Buddha as drinking water.so he came back and told Buddha everything happened. After for a while, Buddha again told him to go to that stream and bring the water. The follower didn’t like Buddha’s request. He talked to himself. The water became muddy, but why couldn’t Buddha understand that? Without saying anything to Buddha, the follower went back to the stream.

He found that this time the stream had completely clear water in it. He picked up some water in a bowl and took it up to Buddha. Buddha looked at the mud and then glanced up towards the disciple and said, see what you’ve done to clean the bowl.

You let it be….. And the mud settles down on its own, and you got clear water. Your mind is also like that. When it is disturbed, just let it be. Give it a little time. It will settle down on its own. You don’t have to make an effort to calm them down. It will happen; it is effortless.”

Many psychologists worldwide have built their ways of using metaphorical interpretation in a very different and individualized way.


4291-min-1200x800.jpg
05/Aug/2020

Your mind can be a powerful healing device when given the opportunity. The belief that your brain will persuade the body that a fake cure is real is known as the Placebo effect. And it has been used for centuries as a healing method.

Medicines or treatment which react to one’s instructions or faith is termed placebo. Pain or physical ailments caused due to psychological reasons can be cured using compulsion or placebo pills.

Misconceptions in Placebo Treatment

 

Patient’s trust in the treatment, the physician, and the latter’s conduct are factors that add to the placebo effect. The mental state of the patient, who has received temporary stimulus as a result of the doctor’s compulsion, is mistaken by the former as prognosis.

Pseudo physicians easily influence many patients who are in the habit of readily believing things. A majority of people wish for a ritualistic solution to their ailments and problems. They prefer pseudo curing techniques that are either spiritual or mysterious in their approach. Such people tend to claim that these medicines were effective even when it had no real effect on them. Pseudo- physicians make outrageous claims about their mode of treatment.

It is made to believe that prognosis happens when there is a belief in the curing capacity of the medicine being taken. Through strengthening the body’s immunity against the disease, some ailments are healed. But this doesn’t work in the case of deadly diseases. Even when many treatments or medicines are of no use, the misconceptions regarding their healing power are widespread. Big wholesale pharmaceutical companies, sell off their sugar pills and useless tonics using grand advertisement tools.

Influence of Psychological Treatment based Placebo effect in curing diseases

 

Mental stress is the reason for many kinds of mental illnesses. Asthma, blood pressure, peptic ulcer, some skin diseases, sexual problems, allergy, sleeplessness, menstrual problems, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, constipation, recurring body pain, obesity, etc. are the primary psychological disorders caused by mental issues. Apart from this, people with physical diseases like cancer, epilepsy, stroke, heart disease, hypothyroidism, or Parkinson’s disease might show symptoms of depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation, psychosis, etc.

Almost 25% of cancer patients suffer from depression or anxiety disorders. The treatment for mental disorders seen among cancer patients is termed psycho-oncology.

Certain peculiar behavioral traits are seen among people with psychological disorders: Over expectation and extreme importance to events. Sudden bouts of happiness and sadness. People with less civic sense, depression, sleep-related problems, etc. Categories psychological disorders include anxiety disorders, convention disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, stress-related ailments, Somatoform disorder, and so on.

For people suffering from psychological diseases and those with physical ailments like cancer, treatments for mental loosening are advisable. Certain studies suggest that psychological loosening up can strengthen the activity of immune cells to some extent. Hypnosis Progressive Relaxation techniques, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, etc. are scientific psychotherapy techniques used to treat psychological disorders.

Many illnesses can be cured without any treatment because our body has natural immunity. There occurs a reasonable gradation in the intensity of many deadly diseases or long-suffering ailments. It is easy to mistake it as a cure.


6972-min-1200x801.jpg
04/Aug/2020

Sleep hypnosis is a process in which a hypnotherapist directs a client through verbal signals that trigger relaxation, in person or via a video, and a trance-like experience that can be used to help you sleep drift.

Hypnosis helps the subject to consciously “sleep,” while staying subconsciously aware. The following trance-like state happens with lower-level brainwave activity, where conscious activity subsides, and mental activity rises.

Hypnosis may be a valuable method for certain people who deal with a series of sleep problems, such as insomnia or sleepwalking.

Hypnosis can help people with insomnia and encourage both the body and mind to relax and get rid of the anxiety that causes not falling asleep. A sleepwalker, on the other hand, could learn to wake up when his feet touch the floor by hypnotic suggestion. Hypnosis can also increase up to 80 per cent of the time you spend in a deep sleep. That’s key because, for memory and recovery, deep sleep is crucial, so you start waking up feeling restored.

Why are the Instructions of a Hypnotist felt as Experienced by the Subject?

The brain’s central nervous system experiences a kind of numbness when the eyes are kept focused on a single object for long. Except for one, all the other sense organs become temporarily inactive. At this stage, the person is entirely devoid of his potential for critical thinking. Then, the few nerve centres that are still active will be compelled to accept the suggestions without checking for their validity. This is the reason why the subject experiences implications.

How does the Hypnotic Sleep Occur?

The related nerve centres experience a kind of induced lethargy when hypnosis is done by focusing one’s eyes on the tip of the nose or by making one listen to sounds or through progressive relaxation techniques etc. This also happens while paying attention to one single object for long. Now the hypnotist goes on to give suggestions that are capable of invoking particular suggestive chain of thoughts in the subject. For example, suppose the individual focuses his eyes on the tip of his nose on being instructed by the hypnotist. Approximately after three minutes, he will start experiencing lethargy in his eyes. Heaviness increases. At this moment, he receives the following instruction: “the heaviness of your eyes is increasing.” As a result of this, the subject starts believing things quickly and, in turn, takes even suggestions for experiences.

Although sleep hypnosis is usually considered safe, and it is a supplementary sleep aid that has mild benefits for some people, there are more efficient ways to get the sleep you need. Speak to your doctor to find out which treatment would be of most significant benefit to you.


3648-min-1200x800.jpg
03/Aug/2020

Is there an impact of instructions given during hypnosis?

Posthypnotic suggestions are intended to make changes after coming out from the hypnotic state. The essential things that are attained through the posthypnotic recommendations are as follows:

  1. Absence of vagueness
  2. Passion of interest
  3. Positive Phrasing
  4. Manifestation of emotion
  5. No conscious disagreement

The person needs to be comfortable in a hypnotic state to achieve the goals. Therein lies the capacity of fluid exchange of information from conscious to the subconscious and the other way around. However, although this exchange can take place, it’s important to note that the subconscious can only embrace suggestions if they are not in conflict first and foremost with other, more dominant concepts already conveyed. And secondly, there is nothing else that prevents the transition.

How does it work?

Specific physical and mental changes occur in the person who has been subjected to hypnosis. In this state of hypnosis, many things can be brought to the subject’s mind, which is not possible when he is in his senses. Many a time, the subject will be able to remember the things which happened during hypnosis, even after waking up. The instructions given during hypnosis continue to influence the person even after waking up from that state. Examples:

  1. Smoking: If a smoker desperately wanting to quit smoking is made to go through hypnotic sessions where he is repeatedly instructed against smoking, he would develop an attitude against smoking when the hypnotic sessions are over. These kinds of posthypnotic instructions are successful many a time. At the same time, he should be made aware of the harmful effects of smoking on him and society.
  2. Sense: Posthypnotic instructions are also capable of nurturing one’s sense of appreciation and creativity. The main factor in the audio-visual media advertisements is nothing but posthypnotic instructions. Thus we are compelled to buy products which are not necessary and are expensive.

The physical and mental changes after hypnotism is a result of conditioning. We are not ready to examine things which we regularly say or hear. We never bother to rationally analyse a situation which we have repeatedly heard and hence have always believed. We are compelled to take it even when it is unscientific. Through these recommendations, events that have not happened are made to think as occurred, which appears because of a human brain speciality. The brain is not capable of differentiating real situations which kindle one’s emotions from similar conditions which are just imagined and are not real. The brain gives orders in producing the chemicals required for a particular emotion if the person imagines visuals capable of generating such a feeling.

Hence, for personality development, the person has to free herself from posthypnotic instructions which happen outside hypnosis. It is possible if he acts according to his will. Analysing other suggestions and acting according to one’s interests is an essential step towards the creative development of his personality.


5404-min-1200x800.jpg
29/Jul/2020

Most people do not understand the condition of hypnosis. They presume to become unconscious, and this is not at all what the feeling is like unless you’re the one in ten who easily achieves the deep level trance. The possibilities are that you can maintain awareness of all things that are going on around you.

Most of the subjects felt a part of them feeling that they were on stage, and a part of them was somewhere else. This was like being in two locations at the same time. That does not mean that you’re not hypnotized. It means, somewhere between light and medium trance, that you undergo a hypnotic level. For each person, it is different, but we typically go a little deeper each time because you are trained, until you reach your natural level.

You can doubt whether you’re really in a hypnotic state during a hypnotic trance. Perhaps you say to yourself, “I should just open my eyes now and get out of the trance, but I just don’t want to.” The reality is, you can, but the fact you do not want is a sign that you are hypnotically relaxed.

How to awake a person form Hypnotic state

A person subjected to hypnosis can be woken up from that state without much difficulty. But the transition from a very different state, when compared to the normal conscious state, to the latter has to be done naturally and slowly. The subject should be freed of all kinds of conditioning before waking them up from the hypnotic state. For example, if anyone of these instructions like, the tightening of muscles, feeling of weightlessness, painlessness, difficulty in opening the eyes etc. was given, it has to be withdrawn before waking her up from the hypnosis state.

By giving the following instructions peacefully and precisely, one can be woken up from hypnosis:

Instruction 1:

“In a few moments, I am going to wake you up from hypnosis. You will experience enthusiasm and happiness after you wake up from this strange mental state. Your body is coming back to normalcy. Here, it has come. Now you are capable of moving your body. Your body is getting rid of its weightlessness. Gradually, you are regaining normal body weight. Your body has come back to its normal state. You are able to open your eyes now. Open your eyes… open your eyes.”

Usually, on giving the above instructions, the subject wakes up from hypnosis. Some might not wake up. There is nothing to be worried here. Give the following instructions peacefully:

Instruction 2:

“Rest peacefully… Listen only to what I say. Now your body is coming back to normalcy. You are waking up… I am going to count from one to ten. You would have woken up by the time I reach ten.”

Count from one to ten slowly. When tried this way, most of the subjects do wake up from hypnosis. If the person still does not wake up, the process could be repeated after a while. In spite of all these, if they still don’t wake up, allow them to sleep for some time. They would slip off from hypnosis to healthy sleep in no time.

By no means should they be physically forced to wake up by patting them, using noise by clapping your hands, by spilling water on their face, etc.? Once both their body and mind get enough rest from normal sleep, they wake up on her own.

Through hypnosis, nobody really gets “stuck.” And because all the hypnosis is self-hypnosis, if you want to, you may wake up and become completely alert right in the middle of a show. Hypnotists have no control over your mind, to the degree to which you are prepared to adhere.


64898-min-1200x800.jpg
28/Jul/2020

The client in front of me struggles to put to words what she is going through. Her shoulders are slouched, her eyes avert contact with mine, and her breathing is shallow. I read her body language and her expressions; I’m forming a hypothesis in my mind as I take mental notes. She begins listing her issues one by one – she finds it difficult to get out of bed; she doesn’t feel motivated; she has trouble sleeping and rarely feels like eating. And yes, she has been thinking about ending her life, finding it all difficult to cope with. It comes easy to me, the initial diagnosis, with such overt symptoms you’d be hard-pressed to miss the demon of depression staring right at me. And as her psychologist, I know I am supposed to be telling her about the power of therapy, those of exercises, the right diet that can do wonders, how cognitive behaviour therapy can help, and there’s always medication to fall back on.

I do all these with her, my client. But I don’t tell her one thing. I leave that crucial part out. I don’t tell her that I too am depressed.

This is the situation I was in a year ago; I was dealing with patients who came to me with a variety of psychological distresses and problems. And I tackled them all head-on and always tried to be there at the forefront of effective treatments for my patients. I never knew or thought that one day I would fall prey to the silent killer. Psychologists who suffer from the symptoms of depression are rarely talked about.

What happened in my life wasn’t all that different from what happens in the lives of my patients. There were financial difficulties, the pressure of working in a challenging space like mental health and issues with family. It wasn’t overnight or all of a sudden, it was slow, it was silent, and one fine day, there were two depressed people in the therapy room.

Unlike what most people think, depression isn’t an illness that springs out of nowhere. In hindsight, when I looked back, I see now the many small actions I took, the many inconsistent thoughts that I had prior to my big realisation. I would get stressed out over small everyday things, I was constantly in my own head asking and questioning myself, I couldn’t sleep and I would toss and turn as I struggled to sleep in spite of having stressful and tiring days. And even though I was a professional, I took all these signs as mere stresses of everyday life.

Then it happened. My partner knew I wasn’t sleeping well and she was concerned. Then one day on my way to work, I broke down and cried in the bus. Nothing happened, no one said anything to me, I didn’t witness a trauma, but I started crying and it felt like I couldn’t stop. At that moment I realised I was in trouble. That there was something wrong with me. In spite of this, I trudged along to work and tried to function as normal as possible.

Back home, my partner was scared and angry that I didn’t confide in her early. She took me to a general practitioner who prescribed a sleeping pill to me. I slept well that night, but I didn’t feel any different or better.

I took a few days off work and tried to come to terms with what I was feeling.  On some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, and on another day I was filled with so much sadness that all I wanted to do was curl up into the foetal position and bawl my eyes out. Whatever it was, I couldn’t see the way out of this.

I tried to do all the mental and physical exercises that I used to prescribe to my patients.  I would write down my thoughts in a journal, I would go out for a walk, I would try different combinations of diet, but forget these working, I couldn’t even bring myself to do half of these things. And this was the moment I realised what my patients actually go through in their lives.

My partner, who is also a therapist suggested a different doctor to me. This new doctor and the new pills started helping me. I slowly started doing the things that I had stopped doing. Things that I had always taken for granted, getting out of bed, wanting to take a shower, enjoying a meal. I began talking with my partner in a professional capacity, and even with the ethical tangle involved in it, she helped me through cognitive sessions where I realised that I had been far too alone in my life and that I needed to open up more and share more. The simplest of things, things that I often tell my patients.

After a month more of therapy, I went back to work. I took it slow and paced my sessions better. I paid better attention to the instances of countertransference happening that used to affect me more in the past. Things which possibly contributed to my condition. And this taught me to open up more, especially with my partner. Friends, when they heard about my condition, found it difficult to believe that I was depressed in spite of being a psychologist and even having a partner at home who was one as well.

Has it made me a better psychologist? It’s hard to say, having depression isn’t a superpower. But it taught me a valuable lesson. And it has also helped me empathise with my patients more. Having walked the same path as my patients have, I know exactly how scary and lonely it can get. And knowing this has undoubtedly helped me become a better and in tuned therapist.


SoftMind

 

We’ve experienced practising clinical hypnotherapist, consultant psychologist and Forensic Hypnologist in our team to work with people with a full range of mental health problems and emotional distress.

Social Profiles

Copyright © SoftMind - 2020. All Rights Reserved

× WhatsApp Chat