10 Depression Signs And Symptoms4 minute
Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood throughout the day
You are constantly having feelings of hopelessness or despair
You are having Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, even sex
Decreased energy, fatigue, or feeling "slowed down"
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
Appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain
Restlessness or irritability
Thoughts of death or suicide or actual suicide attempts
We often misunderstand depression with just temporary negative emotions. I want to clear that depression is not an emotion, it's an illness. Back in the day, an outcast was one who was not part of a society for breaking a certain law. Someone like Robin Hood, who was celebrated. But now we are in the 21st century, and a depressed person is an outcast. On the one hand, a person crawling through shadows hiding what they feel are portrayed as people with "ideal behaviour"
And if you live in an Indian society, then there is added pressure on your head. I remember when I was 16 years old, and I went to my parents and said that I think I have depression. You can see I was still in denial. I said "I think". And this is how they reacted exactly: "Are you mad? You don't even know what depression is. You have everything in life." And just then, I thought I could not afford to get depressed, or it will break my family. This is the kind of denial we live in throughout our lives. My parents thought that I have food in my mouth and a warm bed to sleep in the night, how could I have depression? Depression was only for the less privileged.
But I want to tell you that our life is not a bed of roses. And our thinking is so Hollywood. Just as in Hollywood films, aliens always attack western countries, they never come to India. This is exactly how we treat depression. Only a first-world country could have depression. It's as if we're not "qualified" to have it.
But I'm here to tell you that now is the time you come out of your shell of denial and accept it as you are. This is not the time or era to lie to yourself. There are some basic human emotions that you can feel from time to time, like- feeling unloved or hopeless sometimes. It is a normal part of the human experience, and there is nothing wrong with it. Death can cause it in your family or friends, or a romantic break up or getting a poor grade or not getting a promotion at work. So keep a clear line between these emotions and the signs I am going to point out below.
I want to point out 10 important signs of depression. While you are reading this, try to analyse the difference between temporary sadness caused due to an event and the signs listed down below:
Following are the 10 signs of depression-
- A Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood throughout the day.
- You constantly have feelings of hopelessness or despair- when you always see the negative aspect of everything and thinking of the worst of every event of your life.
- You constantly have feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness- when you always feel guilty for your actions. You think that you are not made for anything in your life, and you feel like you have hit rock bottom.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, even sex- When you lose interest in any activity in your life, and you want to lock yourself in your room and want to go away from everything.
- Decreased energy, fatigue, or feeling "slowed down" - when you always feel tired, and sense exhaustion as if your mind will explode at any moment.
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions- When you cannot remember the most natural things, and you find it so difficult to make any decision on your own for the smallest things like what you want to eat for dinner.
- Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping- When you are just rolling on your bed the whole night and you cannot sleep. Or sometimes when you sleep you sleep for a long time. If you are experience disturbed sleep or tend to wake up very early in the morning, it might be a problem.
- Appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain- When you don't feel like eating at all or when you eat, you eat like this is the last day of your life. And this leads to weight gain or weight loss.
- Restlessness or irritability - when your mind and body are always in an anxious state, which leads to irritability.
- Thoughts of death or suicide or actual suicide attempts- If you are having suicidal thoughts, then this is a warning sign, and now is the time to get help from the professionals.
Why You Should Care?
World health organization reports that India is the most depressed country in the world. One in six Indian suffers from depression. The most number of deaths between 15 to 24 years of age is not due to road accidents but due to suicide. Isn't it alarming that we are losing our bright minds to depression? We are one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and imagine what we can do if we are able to save these brilliant minds. So if you want to help such people then dont hesitate to talk to them. Because together, we can.
Now you have read, and you can evaluate what kind of thoughts or feelings you are having. Now you have a clear outline of what state you are in. Don't ever hesitate to talk about it. But know whom to talk to. Only open to people who support you as you are without distorting your thoughts or emotions and are accepting of all kinds of behaviour - no judgements.
In the next article, I will talk about the reasons and how you can overcome this illness. And believe me, it's not difficult. With a good support system and determination, you can do it as I have done it.
So feel free to tell me how you feel and what types of thoughts or feelings you are having. You can leave your comment in the comment section.
5 signs you are infatuated with someone3 minute
There is a thin line between love and infatuation. Because infatuation is a shadow image of love. So even if you are infatuated with someone, it feels like love. In the beginning, it is very hard to differentiate between infatuation and love while you are experiencing it. Because your mind will keep giving you shadow signs that it is love. You can only recognize it when you are away from it. We all experience it from time to time and especially during the early stages of life, when we all start our love lives with infatuation.
I am not going to say that you will avoid it in the first go. Because a lot of stable relationships start with infatuation. But if it is not love, then you will realize that the person is not what you expected as time passes away. You will try to make yourself believe again and again that it is love. But here I will give you key 5 signs which if you will keep in mind, you might not have to repeat again and you might just have a clear cut shot at love.
- When you are living in a fantasy world- When you are infatuated with someone then you keep daydreaming about you and your partner. You are always in your fantasy world thinking how perfect and awesome you guys are. But this headspace game is not healthy for a long term relationship. Because at some point you will have to come to the real world and face the real person in front of you. Then all your dreams will be shattered in seconds. And the irony is that some people stay in such dreams for so long that they get comfortable with the ideas of their relationships. So its best if you snap out of your dream world, see the person in front of you for who they are, and then judge your feelings for them.
- All you want to do is flirt and be physical with them- One of the strongest signs of infatuation is to be physical with the person apart and not be inclined to do other things with them. It is normal for new couples to be physical and passionate. But if there is only sex and no deeper emotions/ intellectual experiences then it is not love. Because the other half is missing and with time the physical attraction WILL fade away. You cannot escape this captivity with flirting all the time because at some point you will need to have a real conversation someone who will feed your soul.
- When you get really jealous- When you are infatuated with someone, you get extremely possessive of that person. You go a great length to defend that person. Even if someone is looking at your partner, you think that he or she is going to take your partner away from you. So if you are experiencing such signs then it is clearly infatuation.
- When lust overpowers all emotions- When you look at your partner what do you feel first, love or lust? People always try to justify that lust is common if there is love. That is correct but what if there is only lust? When you are with your partner, are you always looking for a hideout place so that you can make out with him or her? If there is only lust, then it is most definitely infatuation.
- You are only focused on your needs- when you only care about what you want and you don’t care what the other person wants, then you are clearly infatuated. Because, love is all about caring for the well being of another person. So when you are not considering the needs of your partner and if the other person is also doing the same then you are clearly infatuated with one another.
It is important to learn how to differentiate between infatuation and love. If you keep the above-discussed points in your mind, you will be able to differentiate between them and it will save you a lot of time and trouble.
In present times, breaking up and moving on to the next relationship is a daily affair. These short-lived relationships are based on feelings that are not real. An infatuation can last up to as short as 30 minutes and it can even continue for over a year. You can decide for yourself what you want from a relationship. If you are comfortable with infatuation then you can go with the flow. Or you can break the barrier and embark on a love forever journey. The choice is yours.
Tell us how your first infatuation experience was, feel free to drop a comment.
Emotional Intelligence - 7 Ways It Makes You A Better Person4 minute
When I imagine myself sitting on the moon and observing human civilisation, I find it to be extremely diverse. Some people are very good at what they do. Some of them are good at their jobs and some of them are good at sports or studies or arts and music. We're constantly exploring the vast universe. But when it comes to emotional intelligence(EQ), it is sad to say that most of us lack it. So compassionate human civilization is slowly turning into a robot uprise.
Let me tell you how I have observed human evolution through time and what I think we lack. When it comes to personal lives, some things are appropriate for you and some are not. The social interaction in our lives determine the fate of our interpersonal relationships. Either with family, friends, life partners or any other social relationship, EQ plays a key role. It is the ability to understand the emotions of ourselves as well as that of others.
So if you want to be a better life partner or an easier roommate to live with or wish to have fruitful relationships with your family and friends then it is never too late to start introspecting. It doesn’t matter if you were emotionally unavailable in the past. I have gathered for you, the 7 most important ways in which EQ boosts your emotional and social bowl and believe me, what I have observed so far will make your life at least a tad bit more prosperous.
- It helps you accept criticism- We are often furious about criticism because rather than taking it as positive feedback we take offence. It is important to always be prepared to accept criticism with open arms because it will help you and your partner grow together and become a better version of yourself. This way you can find out what your partner likes about you and what changes you can make. So never take constructive criticism personally.
- It makes you a better listener- The key to a healthy romantic relationship is being a good listener. This way you can be in a relationship for a long time. Not listening will only lead to resenting each other. And you will get tired of your partner. Listening helps you understand the needs and emotions of your partner.
- It makes you open to change- One thing I have observed is that humans are so afraid of change that they prefer to be in a set structure. Change in life is a constant thing. Whether it's your career or your personality or your hairstyle. So try to appreciate change and embrace it rather than running away from it.
- It helps you see good in one another- We as humans are prone to negativity. You must have experienced it in your life. But EQ can make you see the good in your partner. You can evaluate that when they are taking you for granted.
- It helps you stay committed- In a healthy and long term relationship, staying committed is a real challenge. Emotional intelligence helps you understand the loss of your partners so that you stay invested in them. Research shows that most successful marriages or relationships have one thing in common, i.e. EQ.
- It makes you better at sharing- We often struggle with sharing our space, like with roommates, for example. It can be difficult to share your space and things with your roommates. EQ helps you understand that the other person has the same needs as you. But this doesn't mean that there should be no boundaries. There's a fine line between sharing and occupying.
- It makes you more mindful- Being mindful is an important aspect of any relationship. In fact, EQ and mindfulness have a symbiotic relationship. EQ helps you understand it. You can evaluate how screaming or slamming the door in someone's face would negatively impact their day. Now compare it with a calm conversation and how rich your relationship would be if you choose the other way. Which way will take your relationship in the long run in both these cases?
Building EQ doesn’t just make you good at your relationships but you evolve into a better person. So it is time to break that robotic barrier and tackle your emotions and needs in a different way. Because there is not a fixed answer for everything. In EQ you make your own answers.
Let me know in the comments how you feel about it. By the way, the earth looks pretty gorgeous from up here and so do you.
7 Ways How Pets Can Help Your Mental Health4 minute
Nothing can beat the joy of coming home and snuggling with your pets. No matter how hard your day was and one glimpse of your pet and all the stress starts to go away. Because we don’t need to tell our pets how we are feeling, as soon as you enter the house your pet is ready to encounter your distress. Studies say that animals have a strong sense and understanding of emotions. So you don’t need to explain to them as you explain it to your human counterpart.
They help with your mental health as well as physical health. Even if you want to just get in your pajamas and stay in your bed while sipping your coffee. Your pets take you out on walking or hiking.
I have owned pets from my childhood, ranging from dogs, cats, cows, rabbits, horses and so on. Here are 7 key findings on how they keep your mental and physical health and helps you overcome emotional distress.
- They help you overcome your loneliness- Either you are having a bad day or you are just feeling lonely in general. Your pets are always there to calm you down and cheer you up. I remember my school days when I had my first breakup and I was feeling lonely as the whole world had turned on me. I was just lying in my bed and my pets (especially dogs, cats and rabbits) would come to my bed from time to time snuggle with me and push me out of bed and show me that this is not the end there is much more to come. And believe me, they didn’t leave me for a minute until I was feeling okay.
- They help you stay in the moment- Pets’ lives are always in the moment. Like humans, they never care what happened in the past and what will happen in the future. In other words, they help you become more mindful. In the psychological term, they bring one’s attention to the present moment, i.e. Mindfulness. Pets also help distract youngsters and teenagers from what’s bothering them. And spending time with a pet helps them to learn how to be cheerful and be in the moment.
- Pets love us unconditionally- Pets love their owners unconditionally. For example, no matter how bad you did in your exams or how your athletic or social skills are. They don’t need such man made reasons to love you. They are just happy and cheerful to spend time with you. Studies say that such unconditional love is very good for mental health as it stimulates the brain to release the chemical, dopamine. Basically, it helps you sense pleasure.
- They keep your heart strong- Not to brag but this is true that they just don’t help with your stress but also with your physical health. Studies have proved that pets help you lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and triglyceride levels. Means with all this combined effect you are less prone to experience a heart attack or stroke. Even if you are recovering from such an incident then your recovery rate is much higher if you have a pet to help you recover.
- Pets provide a sense of purpose- A pet provides you with a sense of purpose and responsibility. Because when you own a pet, you are never alone and you have to look after them. Which helps you organize your daily routine and also fills you with responsibility. It helps improve your mental health problems like anxiety and depression. Taking responsibility for your pet also helps improve your social skills. Which improves your relationships with your human counterparts.
- Pets offer empathy- I remember when one of my family members died when I was very young. We were having a hard time coping with it. So if someone would start crying or having an anxiety attack. Our pets would gather around and will start distracting us with putting their paws on our feet. Or they used to come and sit in our laps and cuddle. And it really helped people from going into severe depression. So always have a pet around, you never know when you might need them.
- Pets help you make more friends- Pets are an excellent way to improve your social interactions. As an adult, it is always hard to make friends. But if you have a pet with you then it is like an icebreaker and he or she is like your wingman. Suppose you are walking with your pet and someone just stops to pet your dog or cat. And just like this, you have a common topic to ta;k about. You will get easily comfortable with other pet owners. So for even introverts, pets are like a knight in shining armor, to help you interact with strangers. Studies also show that a pet owner is more likely to know his or her neighborhood better.
So if you have a fuzzy friend already then it is time to get too close to them and appreciate them more. If you don’t own one then you can just walk to a shelter near your home and bring one this new year. As a parent, if you do not want a pet at home, then you can take your kids to shelter from time to time so that they can encounter compassion and unconditional love. So from now on whenever you will walk to your pets never forget to thank them.
Feel free to drop a comment on how your pets help you with your tough times.
10 Toxic Relationship Signs - What You Need To Watch Out For!4 minute
Relationships are not like a fairy tale you read in a book or see it in a movie. No relationship is perfect, it has its ups and downs. But you should also be able to identify if you are in a good relationship or you are in a toxic relationship. Every relationship starts at a good point. Where there is passion, compassion, and love. But as soon as you start to go deeper in a relationship then the true color emerges of your partner and then you are in a dilemma, is it good or bad? Because this is the same man or woman I loved.
It is not necessary that a weak person only ends up in a toxic relationship. Strong and independent people also end up in a toxic relationship. And some even continue to stay in one for years just hoping that things will change. But always remember that you cannot expect mango from a guava tree. If your relationship makes you feel cared for, respected, loved and free to be yourself then you are in a good relationship. On the other hand, if your relationship makes you feel drained, neglected and left out as your self-pride is being stripped down then you are in a toxic relationship.
Here are 10 signs to show you that you are in a toxic relationship and it is time to let go
- All take no give- when you feel like you are the driving force of the relationship and your partner is not putting any effort into it. Even after pointing it out multiple times, your partner is not ready to change then it is time to let go. Because it will only drain your energy and fill your mind with negative energy.
- Controlling and excessively jealous- When your partner doesn’t let you be yourself. They are always controlling your daily life. Even the sight of you hanging out with friends or staying online till late night makes your partner furious then you need to rethink your relationship.your privacy matters and just because there is a new person in your life. That doesn’t mean that you have to let go of your old life. It is like just being in a prison. It will slowly kill the essence of your soul.
- When there is no privacy- self-love and self-care is the driving force of a soul. And every person has its own environment where he or she feels comfortable in that structure by themselves. If your partner keeps evading your privacy, going through your phone or text history, reading your social media chats. Your partner gets mad just because you liked someone’s pictures on social media. Then it is a toxic behavior. You are an adult and you don’t need 24/7 supervision.
- Constant judgment- everyone wants a person who brings out the best in them. But if your partner is always criticizing your every action in the relationship even when it is not needed. Because when you defend yourself then they get offended and try to explain that they are just trying to help. So always beware of such control freaks who play nice but in reality, they are tearing you down.
- Lack of communication- when there is too much lack of communication in a relationship. Whenever you are trying to talk on some matters and your partner just shuts you out or they become silent. Then it is a toxic relationship. Because without communication there is no relationship.
- Mutual avoidance- when you are your partner keeps avoiding each other. For example, you are eating together and you both are just pretending to be busy on your phones. so you would not need to engage in a conversation. Then your relationship needs an evaluation.
- When you are not able to say “NO”- saying ‘no’ in a relationship is a healthy practice because you cannot agree on every point your partner says. And a loving partner will respect your ‘no’ and appreciate you for it. If you are accepted in a relationship for just saying yes to everything. Then it is time for you to say NO to the relationship itself.
- When you feel very insecure- In a loving relationship, partners always appreciate each other, make each other feel loved, complementing each other. But when you are in a toxic relationship you always feel insecure around your person then it is time to let go.
- Physical or verbal abuse- if there is any kind of physical or verbal abuse in the relationship. Then you should now that it is the end of the line and it is time to break the ice. And run away from the relationship as it will bring severe mental problems.
- When there is no trust, only lies- Trust is a key factor of any relationship, if there is no trust then there is no pint of relationship. Lying just takes away the trust of the relationship. And mistrust in a relationship can turn even healthy people in toxic people. So when you feel it is enough and it cannot be reversed then it is time to break the relationship. Or it will break you.
So these are the important signs to evaluate yourself if you are in a toxic relationship.
There might be an endless reason if you end up in a toxic relationship. Love and happiness always don’t go together. There are times when you have to make sacrifices in a relationship. But if those sacrifices eat away your self-respect happiness and pride, then you are not in a healthy relationship. Because a loving relationship brings a better version of yourself. If you are with a person who makes you feel suffocated then it is time to let go. Because you deserve to feel safe and happy in a relationship.
Feel free to share your experience if you have ever been in a toxic relationship.
Eating disorders and mental health in teenagers4 minute
Eating disorder and mental health are two sides of the same coin. Depression leads to eating disorders and vice versa. Eating disorders among teenagers are very common. For instance, take Rache. She is a 14 years old girl. She finished her lunch in the school cafeteria. She is so upset with sudden weight gain that she went to the bathroom and forced herself to throw up. It might seem normal for starters that sometimes we throw up after eating food, but after doing for 5 to 10 times, and now it is a daily ritual for Rachel. And in the future, it will lead to serious health concerns, even death.
Jack is 16 years boy, and he was a chubby kid growing up, so he became obsessed to have an athletic body. So he started only eating salad and started running miles every day. After some time, jack became tall and thin, but he always felt tired and exhausted. One night he became severely ill with stomach pain and cramps. He was admitted to hospital and now undergoing various tests for his mystery illness.
Nowadays, millions of teenagers are affected by eating disorders, and most of them are girls. One out of every 7 girls are or were struggling with eating disorders. Of all the eating disorders cases, 90% of them are girls. Weight obsession is the main reason for this as all teenagers these days are obsessed with the perfect body.
Eating disorders can happen in many ways; some people don’t like to eat all then some do binge eating. Mainly, There are three types of eating disorders.
- Anorexia Nervosa - People having anorexia nervosa avoid food or eat very less amount of food. Even if they eat, they are very restrictive and selective of their food choices. Even if they are underweight, they consider themselves overweight.
Symptoms- Here are some signs and what it will lead to over a period of time.
- Extremely restricted eating and in some cases intensive and excessive exercise
- Extreme thinness
- A never-ending pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a healthy and normal weight.
- Intense fear of weight gain
- Poor body image, a self-esteem that is heavily influenced and shaped by perceptions and projection of body weight and shape
And these symptoms over time can develop in worse cases like-
- Thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
- Mild anaemia and muscle wasting and weakness
- Brittle hair and nails, dry and yellowish skin, Growth of fine hair all over the body
- Severe constipation, Low blood pressure, slowed breathing and pulse
- Damage to the structure and function of the heart
- Drop-in internal body temperature, causing a person to feel cold all the time
- Lethargy, sluggishness, or feeling tired all the time
- Irregular periods delayed puberty and slow growth
- Infertility, Brain damage, and multiorgan failure
Anorexia is a fatal eating disorder, and it can lead to sudden death. It has the most mortality rate among all eating disorders. People with anorexia often have a hard time remembering things. The thoughts and emotions they go through daily are- feeling alone, sad, or depressed, anxiety, fears about gaining weight and thoughts of hurting themselves.
- Bulimia Nervosa- People with bulimia often have a habit of overeating and then feeling guilty about it. After they go through with intense fasting or exercise or depends on pills. Their thought is that they are compensating for overeating. People with bulimia can be of normal weight or overweight.
Symptoms- Physical symptoms because of bulimia may include-
- Low blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeats
- Feeling tired, weak, dizzy, or faint
- Blood in vomit or stool
- Tooth erosion and cavities
- Swollen cheeks
The person having bulimia usually have emotions as -
- low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression
- alcohol or drug problems
- Thoughts of hurting themselves
- Binge-Eating- People having binge eating disorder have no control over their eating, and they feel guilty about it. Still, they do not do anything like exercising or fasting to compensate for it, as people with bulimia do. That is why people with bulimia are overweight.
- Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, like 2 to 3 hours.
- Eating fast and eating even when full or not hungry
- Eating until uncomfortably full
- Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment
- Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about eating
These symptoms lead to physical problems such as-
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol and triglycerides
- Fatty liver
People with binge eating disorder suffer from low self esteem and anxiety and depression. They have difficulties coping with strong emotions and to get away from that they just take it out by eating in bulk.
Cause of eating disorders-
There is no defined cause of eating disorders, As I would like to point out that there are many various factors which are responsible for it.
For example- The society where we grow up, from morning to evening we encounter things which flaunt perfect body image, but we don’t think for a second that it is real or not, and our kids get caught up in it. So it is influenced by the environment we live in. If we as responsible adults just pay a little attention to eat and teach our kids that they are perfect the way they are. So if you have a kid or any person who is around you and you feel that they are going through the same then don’t hesitate to talk to them.
Because if it is treated early, there are more chances to recover from it.
Diagnosis- Mental professionals first assess the problems and severity of it that how early or late it is. So they can prepare a meal plan with the help of a dietician and proper mental counseling.
So if you feel that you have any of the eating disorders discussed above then feel free to talk to elders, you trust and consult a doctor. It is not that difficult if you have a good support system, then it will be effortless for you to develop your self-confidence. Once you feel good in the state, you are and show love for the body you have. There is nothing in this universe that can pull you down.
Feel free to drop your suggestions and views in the comment section.
8 Myths about period every woman has to face5 minute
Hey! Aren’t you on your period? Then how can you…? Yes! We’ve all heard a lot of these from our parents, relatives and friends. Periods, the name itself has a lot of taboos and myths surrounding it. Let’s take it from the start, periods are a very natural phenomenon that most of us are very hesitant to talk about. Many of us don’t openly talk about periods and that is exactly where the problem lies. We believe the myths surrounding them which aren’t even true and keep passing them on to the generations down the line. So, let us bust a few myths for you today:
- Periods is only a woman’s thing:
Menstruation is mostly considered as something that only a woman goes through, but here is something that we all don’t know. Menstruation doesn’t only happen to women; transgender and intersex individuals also experience periods. This is something that not many people know including women themselves, so the next time we’re talking about periods it’s not only a woman’s thing.
- Having sex during periods prevents pregnancy:
Most of us think that having sex while we’re on our periods reduces the risk of becoming pregnant. NO! This is a huge myth; it depends on the menstrual cycle of each woman. Sometimes women are least fertile when they are on their period but sometimes it can be the opposite and they could be ovulating at the same time of their period. This mostly depends on the length of the menstrual cycle which varies from individual to individual because each woman is unique in her own way Hence, the next time you want to have sex, it is best to use protection and not your period.
- Having a bath causes problem in your bleeding:
Who doesn’t love having a hot shower or a long bath in the tub? but having bath while you’re on your periods is bad because the hot water stimulates the blood flow and has ill effects on your health? Who-ever came up with this has no idea how relieving it is to have a hot water bath especially when you are on your periods and just need to relax yourself. There is no such thing that a hot water bath can cause, it is completely fine to have bath during periods, having mild fragrances and essences also help lighten the mood and obviously release your stress.
- Syncing periods:
Hey, you guys live together right? So, does that mean you both get your periods at the same time? In what world does living together mean getting periods at the same time? The concept of period synchrony- “synching of woman’s periods” first appeared as a scientific idea and was written in an article that women who live together or spend more time together tend have their periods synchronized. Initially they believed this happened because the woman who lived together exchanged Pheromones over time which led to this phenomenon, but later, studies were conducted again and this time the scientist failed to gather evidence for period synchrony and hence this became a myth.
- Exercising during periods:
How can you exercise when you are on your period? Doesn’t it increase the blood flow? Yes ladies! Periods can make us as hyper as a kid and can also make us a couch potato. Exercising while you’re on your periods have a lot of health benefits, it not only makes our body active but also helps in relieving the menstrual cramps and stress. We all assume that exercising on our periods can cause more cramps, but mild exercises and certain kinds of exercises helps to reduce the cramps. Exercising is good, but not straining your body through exercises because that might have a direct impact on your health. So, the next time you’re on your period make sure to exercise and most importantly relieve your cramps.
- Tampon causes loss of virginity:
Tampons definitely have a lot of myths surrounding it and one of the first and biggest one being that tampons will lose your virginity. The breaking of your hymen marks “loss of virginity”, and many people assume that by inserting a tampon can break the hymen. If that was the case, then we wouldn’t be menstruating in the first place because the hymen would block the blood from flowing, many of us don’t know that hymen is actually a thin membrane between the opening lines of the vagina. Tampons in anyway do not affect the hymen as it is very small and something that can be easily put inside for which you needn’t lose your virginity. To, All the ladies out there worrying about losing your virginity, ditch your pads and go for it.
- You can’t swim during your periods:
Going swimming during your period? Have you lost it? We all girls think about how awkward it is to go swimming because of the blood flow and release of bodily fluids in the water. Here is a thing that not many of us know, when we enter the pool or water it is likely to bleed especially because of the pressure in the water which acts as a barrier and stops the menstrual flow. Other than that, tampons and menstrual cups are preferred while entering the pool because it is also designed in such a way and it is also very comfortable. On the other hand, entering with a sanitary pad is something that you might want to re-consider. The next time someone questions you entering the pool while you’re on your period, Just Dive In!
- PMS isn’t a real thing:
For all you men or women out there who think PMS isn’t a real thing, you really haven’t been stabbed internally by your uterus every month! The pain is definitely real and we know how that feels girls. PMS, mostly known as the Pre-Menstrual Syndrome that happens to women before their periods and one of their common symptoms is bloating of the stomach and cramps. The cramps usually make women very cranky and moody throughout the day. Craving for an ooey gooey chocolate cake and in the next minute craving for a spicy biryani, we can be as happy as a little kid jumping around out of joy and within minutes feel like stabbing every next person we see. The cravings, the mood swings, the cramps are all PMS and VERY REAL. So, to everyone who think PMS is not real, No Uterus- No opinion!
Most of us would have heard or read about these things somewhere or the other, but the important factor lies in the part where you stop believing these myths. Periods are natural, it is a way a woman’s body functions and most importantly is a journey from a girl to a woman. So, the next time you hear anyone say things like this, try busting these myths from our side and enjoy their reactions to these myths as much as we enjoyed yours. Do write your reactions and any other myths that we’ve missed out which you want share with us right here in the comment section below.
Let’s keep it Glo-ing !
8 Ways to stay positive and motivated during this pandemic3 minute
If you are like me, you are probably experiencing more stress that usual. Work is different, the Wi-Fi is acting up, and your social life has come to a halt. Stability and predictability are two words that we are unable to resonate with anymore. After a certain point, all of this can get to you. Fear can make you feel powerless. While you cannot control your feelings, thoughts and the Wi-Fi, you definitely can shift your attention towards the things you can control and help restore your sense of confidence.
Make a list of things that you think are in your control (They could be uneventful or extraordinary) and work on them, every single day. I would like to share with you, my list:
- Start a virtual book/movie club: Start your own book club on WhatsApp. Add all the bibliophiles on your contact list. Or if you’re a movie buff, create a group to watch and discuss movies.
- Enhance your skills: Work on advancing your skill! It could be something as mundane as taking up an excel course or something fun like baking. Try to complete at least two online courses this quarantine!
- Work out: You probably saw this coming. But one cannot stress how important it is to work out especially during uncertain times like these, when your anxiety is at its peak and your thoughts don’t let you sleep. Learn new home workouts every day and let the endorphins and serotonin flow into your body.
- Interact (virtually) with your long lost friends and family: Life can get really busy and to be honest it has been. Until now. And we are unable to cope with all the time we have. Talk to all those people you lost touch with and wished you hadn’t (This does not include you ex. DO NOT TEXT THEM!).
- Learn a new make-up routine: I personally feel like, the time I spend wearing make-up is all for me. It is the time I have chosen for myself. It could take you fifty minutes or fifteen minutes. That is YOUR time, you are looking in the mirror and focusing on yourself. So create a new look and wear some mascara because, why not?
- Write a blog on Glo Community: You probably did not see this one coming. But really, put all your thoughts (happy or sad) into words, not only will it help you learn a lot about yourself, but also help you gain awareness of your reality. You will be helping contribute to the WHO Covid-19 fund!
- Limit your news intake: While it is good to be informed at all times, the amount of information can be a double edged sword. So be aware, but also learn to disconnect.
- Do your bit: Last but not the least, everybody reading this is probably doing their part by washing hands regularly and staying home unless absolutely necessary. Every small effort is going to add up and will have a huge impact.
Do not lose hope. Stay positive, stay motivated and please be safe. We are all in this together. 😊
Yoga Poses To Help You Sleep Better49 minute
Yoga can do wonders to your body and mind, but you probably already know that. I’ve been practicing for close to two years now, and I think it’s safe to say that it has changed my life. Yoga has SO many benefits and decoding each pose to know how they help your body lead to simpler goal-setting.
With broken work schedules and irregular sleep cycles having affected a whole lot of people in this quarantine period, you might feel the need to get on track and make the most of each day if you’re anything like me. This article highlights 10 yoga poses that you can practice while at home, either first thing in the morning or at least 2-3 hours after a meal. The article merely consists of the poses to be practiced in order to sleep better/longer. If you're a beginner, you can follow step by step instructions given below
10 easy-to-do Yoga Poses that help you sleep better:
1. Cat Pose
2. Cow Pose
3. Bridge Pose
4. Big Toe Pose
5. Corpse Pose
6. Dolphin Pose
7. Downward-Facing Dog
8. Extended Puppy Pose
9. Plow Pose
10. Standing Forward Bend
4 Work From Home Tips And Tools To Make You More Efficient3 minute
Lockdown amidst this global pandemic of coronavirus making you lose out on productivity? Check out these 5 apps that help you do better.
- Down Dog
Working from home means slouchy, unsupervised postures that can lead to serious spinal issues later on. It’s all fun and games with your PJs on, bra off and your hair rounded in a bun, until it’s not anymore. The weighing scale goes up, you start having issues with sleeping patterns and what not.
Enter: Down Dog. As the name suggests, the app provides a studio-like experience to kickstart your yoga journey to help you lead a fitter, healthier and bendier life. Having appeared in the editor’s choice section of Google Play store, the Down Dog app has announced all of their workouts - Yoga, HIIT, Barre and short 7 minute circuits to be absolutely free for all till the lockdown ends. Need we say more? The app is available on android as well as iOS platforms.
- Recipe Book
Another aspect of your routine that is likely to go downhill if you suddenly start to work from home is your diet. A constant need to snack every now and then is only a few days away from haunting you and this could prove to be a not-so-friendly habit for your body.
Recipe book is a recipe discovery app that curates various recipes from almost all popular cuisines such as Indian, Italian, Mexican, Korean, Thai, Malaysian - even Arabiana and German. Sure, many recipe apps have been around for a while but the apps search facility and the offering of enabling offline saved recipes makes it super user-friendly. There’s a “follow your interests” feature that allows you to follow cuisines, your favorite chefs and blogs. The best part is that the app helps you search for recipes according to the ingredients you enter (In the form of text or images). So you can scout for dishes that can be made off the ingredients lying in your own refrigerator!
Let’s face it, writing up lists on your tiny diary and misplacing them can be a real problem sometimes. Even if you somehow manage a great journal, you need reminders to help you stay on track and stay motivated to accomplish your daily tasks.
ToDoist acts as the ultimate todo list organiser and has helped millions gain control over their lives. Its intelligent software does more than just help you create timely tasks. It helps categorise each of your tasks under sections and schedule reminders for your tasks/meetings as well.
- Insight Timer
Another reason for lack of productivity or motivation during this period of quarantine could be stress, anxiety and restlessness. Simply allotting a couple of minutes a day specifically to calming your nerves can really help you take on each day a whole lot better.
Insight Timer is a free meditation app that helps you sleep better, reduces anxiety and even helps manage stress. Its simple mantra is to improve happiness and let's face it, we could all use some “happy” right about now. There are over 24,000 guided as well as unguided meditation routines that are suitable for all starting from beginners to advanced practitioners. They have material from renowned artists, experts and professors from Stanford, Harvard and University of Oxford too. We're sold!
Hope these suggestions do much to help your productive graph go up. Stay home, Stay safe.
Lockdown On Domestic Violence2 minute
A crisis within a crisis, domestic abuse cases are surging around the world, spreading in homes like an infection, of sorts. But was this bound to happen?
Sociologists and experts who have studied abusive relationships say that there is every reason to believe that the lockdown imposed by nations worldwide would have such an effect on public health considering the domestic violence rates go up whenever families tend to spend more time with each other during holiday seasons like summer vacation or even Diwali and Christmas.
Here are two heart-breaking stories to give you some context:
In China during the lockdown, a 26 y/o woman Lele found herself entangled in multiple arguments with her husband that now seemed to blow way out of proportion after spending much time in the same house. On March 1st, her husband began to brutally beat her up with a high metal chair while she held her 11-month old baby in her arms. She posted pictures of herself where two of the metal legs of the chair had snapped off and every inch of her leg was covered in bruises.
In Spain, upon being contacted by the New York Times, a victim Ana who shares an apartment with her partner reported that she was regularly being abused. He insisted on watching her all the time. If she locked herself in the room or bathroom, he would kick the door until she opened it.
India too has seen a drastic increase in the number of daily domestic violence cases being reported.
But what about these reported cases?
Lockdown on Domestic Violence is an initiative by Akshara Centre, in collaboration with Special Cell for Women and Children. It is supported by the Maharashtra government and Maharashtra police. The initiative urges people who are victims/witnesses of victims of domestic abuse to step forward and register a complaint.
In a recent trending video featuring celebrities Karan Johar, Anushka Sharma, Virat Kohli, Madhuri Dixit, and a few others, they request people to leverage Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s initiative and DIAL 100.
But doesn’t this seem like the obvious thing to do? The answer is NO. People across India are likely to have an assumption that the lockdown may not deem domestic violence cases as top priority and hence hesitate to even make this call. Such people NEED a nudge to step forward and with the help of the #LockdownOnDomesticAbuse initiative, this is now a solid possibility.
All You Need To Know About Health & Fitness Week2 minute
Glo.community has officially announced the commencement of #HealthAndWellnessWeek starting the 27th of April in response to a lot of people’s interest in the same. Did you know that while the lockdown has several benefits to your health, a lot of adverse effects can easily be witnessed as soon as you step out of your homes once the lockdown is officially lifted?
This is the sole reason for experts urging you to build up your immunity while you’re at home. Besides, sitting at home can really take a negative toll on your food habits, eating and sleeping patterns, and everyone’s current nightmare (well, besides the novel coronavirus, of course) - submitting to the lifestyle of a “couch potato”.
For all of these reasons and more, Glo has decided to bring to you: The Health & Wellness Week.
We have some very interesting conversations with health experts going live on our Instagram and a bundle of tips, titbits and articles launched each day to keep you up-to-date and answer all your health and wellness related questions.
Some of the topics covered in these questions would be: At home workouts, tackling stress and anxiety, dealing with a lack of motivation to do things, mental health and women, eating disorders, the importance of healthy eating, and lot more.
If you wish to publish an article of your own, make sure to do so on our website.
Until then, here’s some grandma verified gyaan on how to build immunity, that has seemed to work for a lot of people we know:
- Garlic. Tastes disgusting but garlic bread is great, right?
- “Haldi Doodh” AKA turmeric milk never goes out of style
- Exercise, every day. Mopping floors has seemed to work for me
- Drink pomegranate juice
- Sleep for 7/8 hours - not more nor less
We hope you folks are staying home and keeping safe.
6 Ways To Boost Your Immune System in Lockdown3 minute
With a lack of essential vitamins, stress caused by uncertainty and staying indoors all day rises the need for a boost in one's immunity. Here are 6 ways you can aim to boost yours in this lockdown:
1. Cold Showers
The ample benefits that cold showers have on your skin are all highlighted enough across the internet. Supermodels even go to the extent of dipping themselves in ice buckets to have glowing skin before important photoshoots. But what is not widely known is that cold showers have the capabilities of boosting one’s immune system. Wim Hof, a guru of all things cold explains that benefits of cold baths included speeding metabolism, reducing inflammation, improved sleep, and also improved a person’s immune response. Besides, it is summer after all, so this should be quite an easy step to follow this lockdown period.
2. Sweat (or stretch) It Out
Most people are well-aware of the link between physical activity and the body’s defense system. Regular exercise improves your mood, reduces stress, and also contributes to general well being overall. The benefits of yoga too, are understated, to be honest. With millions of free workout videos available to you and also made convenient by many apps, you must choose to incorporate at least 30 minutes of ANY exercise (Dance, Yoga, Jump Rope or Other workouts) in your daily quarantine routine.
3. Eat To Boost Immunity
Your diet is an integral part of how you feel. How strong you are highly depending on the food you consume every day. Even with easily available ingredients, you can achieve a boost in your immunity if you choose to do so. Some foods that promote immunity:
2. Turmeric (Haldi)
3. Spinach (Popeye was onto something after all!)
4. Citrus Fruits like oranges, gooseberries, lemons, grapefruit, and mandarins
In addition to this, you must aim to cut down on alcohol, caffeine, and smoking, and eat a diet that’s rich in fruits and vegetables, oily fish and nuts. It might sound like the obvious thing to do but most people struggle to even get these basics right sometimes.
5. Fermented Food/Probiotics Are Your Friends
Food like yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, dhoklas, and kefir are fermented foods that are rich in beneficial bacteria. A flourishing network of good bacteria in your gut helps your immune cells better differentiate between healthy cells and harmful invaders which decreases the likelihood of infectious diseases.
If due to unavailability or other reasons, you don't wish to consume probiotic foods, you can always resort to probiotic supplements that are equally beneficial, if not more.
6. Ditch Sugar For A While
Research suggests that refined sugars and carbs could lead one to the path of obesity. How is this relevant to your immune system? According to a study, people with obesity who received the flu vaccine were still likely to get the flu, unlike people without obesity who received the same vaccine. Something to worry about, especially in this time of a world pandemic where health should be your number one priority. Although, natural sugars (found in fruit, honey, for example) and whole carbs can still be consumed in moderation.
7. Stay Hydrated
Although hydration doesn’t necessarily protect you from a virus as such, preventing dehydration is very important for overall health. Not drinking enough water (At least 2 litres a day) can cause headaches, negatively impact digestion, mood and kidney function and it is these complications that could potentially increase susceptibility to illness. So you must stay hydrated!
Besides physical health, the lockdown can cause some people to have unusual stress and anxiety and this is as much of a concern to your immune system as your physical health. Practice meditation, get adequate sleep, laugh without reason, draw, doodle or do some yoga to help your mind relax. This too shall pass.
Why Vitamin D Is Important During The Lockdown3 minute
First things first. Why does your body need Vitamin D?
- Healthy bones
Vitamin D plays an essential role in maintaining calcium as well as phosphorus levels in the blood. This, in turn, contributes to strong, healthy bones. You NEED vitamin D for your intestines to absorb as well as retain calcium and without it, one would be at risk of causing their bones to soften. In simple words, without sufficient amounts of this Vitamin, you could have poor bone density and weak muscles.
- Promotes Immune System Health
Studies show that Vitamin D has a protective effect against the influenza virus. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) also suggests that there exists evidence pointing towards a connection between low vitamin D and an increased risk of allergic sensitization. Besides this, regular sources of Vitamin D also have anti-inflammatory benefits to your body.
- Supports Brain and Nervous System
There is a correlation between winter and negative moods for a reason. The lack of sufficient Vitamin D from sunlight causes people to have increased sleepiness and sleep difficulties. This is primarily because Vitamin D helps enhance mood, and also promotes nervous system health.
- Respiration and Cardiovascular Health
One of the biggest roles of Vitamin D is regulating the immune system. In doing so, the body is less susceptible to immunity-related conditions like acute or chronic respiratory complications. Respiration: the highest prioritized consideration of the human body requires Vitamin D. It basically helps you breathe better. Need we say more?
What are some common symptoms of a Vitamin D Deficiency?
- Repeated infection or allergies
- bone/ back pain
- bad mood (that occurs often)
- impaired wound healing
- hair loss
- muscle pain
Sensible sun exposure on bare skin for around 5–10 minutes, 2–3 times per week, allows most people to produce sufficient vitamin D. However, vitamin D breaks down quite quickly, meaning that stores can run low, especially in winter.
It is natural that during the course of this nationwide lockdown, you can't get enough sunlight to get your daily dose of vitamin D like you normally would. Vitamin D deficiency can take a serious toll on your health.
What can you do to fight a Vitamin D Deficiency? (Besides getting natural sunlight)
A list of foods that help boost Vitamin D are:
- fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna
- egg yolks
- beef liver
- fortified milk
- fortified cereals and juices
Below are some general guidelines for how much Vitamin D your body needs:
Vitamin D Recommendations
Besides the consumption of Vitamin D rich foods, you can even resort to supplements if necessary:
Two forms of vitamin D are available for supplementation: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Although they differ in structure and source, both are converted, by the liver, into the same form of vitamin D that is measured in the blood to determine a person’s vitamin D status.
Vegans and others who prefer a plant-based source of vitamin D typically choose to supplement with vitamin D2, compared to animal-based vitamin D3 sources.
Multivitamins, on the other hand, include either 400, 500, or 1000 IU vitamin D in the form of D2 or D3 or a combination of both.
What every source you choose, ensure you don't go overboard fueled by the lack of sunlight. Vitamin D is important, yes, but it's imperative that the supply is in prescribed amounts only.
We hope this was helpful.
Why Mental Health Is Important Especially During Isolation3 minute
Empty shelves at the store, the exhaustion of self-isolating (especially for extroverts), and the very fear of contracting the disease, this pandemic has caused a lot of people to feel quite abnormal, so to say. Although it’s difficult for people to recognize their feelings and state of mind in such a situation, the center of it is mostly stress, anxiety, and in some cases, even depression.
Although altering the sudden external changes around you may seem like an impossible thing to do, there is in fact much you can do to cope up with the change.
5 tips to take care of your mental health during this COVID-19 pandemic:
- Reverse Your Approach towards things
Someone wise has once said, “It’s all in the head”. Now while this might not seem to be true for everything, this rule most certainly does apply to the circle of motivation. To stay motivated, you have to ditch an attitude that says “I’m stuck here” and use a rather different approach like saying “I finally have all this time on my plate”. Doing things that you have been setting aside for a long time is a great way to feel positive. Do one important task that is beneficial to your long term goals every single day, and you will feel more and more positivity in your thoughts each day.
- Go on an “Anti-depression Diet”
All those diets you’ve been meaning to try out that do nothing but harm your body in the long run? Ditch them all. Go on a happy diet. There are certain foods that have anti-inflammatory properties and are also known to increase the levels of serotonin in your brain. These include eggs, cheese, nuts, whole grains, pineapple, tofu, salmon, berries and green leafy vegetables. Ensure you include at least some of these, if not all, in your diet to contribute to a healthy gut. After all, a healthy gut is the key to a healthy mind.
- Tidy-up your home (and your work ethic)
We understand that it can be difficult to set routines and stick to them, especially while working from home. But a lot of people do it even without being forced to. Working from home and freelancing are not new concepts to have risen in various parts of the world. How do these people do it? It’s not easy, but it is simple. You need to have set stations for various activities. Don't eat in your bed, Don’t workout in your kitchen and do not work on your couch. Also, ensure that you’re home is organized and tidy or you’re just going to feel claustrophobic and unmotivated.
- Therapeutic Sleep
A major cause of feeling depressed or anxious is a lack of sleep or irregular sleeping patterns. Try to get a full 8 hours of sleep and wake up at approximately the same time every day. Get some sunlight on your balcony/terrace first thing in the morning after waking up. To increase the quality of your sleep, you can also resort to cutting off screen-time at least 2 hours before you sleep. A good nights’ sleep goes a long way in helping you deal with any kind of stress-induced emotion.
- Use the Exercise pill
A lot of clinical studies show that regular exercise produces chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine in your brain that act as effective antidepressants or psychotherapy to treat milder cases of depression. Since most of you might not have access to a gym, given the current circumstances, create your own home workout routine. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 4 days of the week. If you do suffer from clinical depression, it can be hard to want to exercise, so start small. You could aim to begin with about 10 minutes of moderate exercise a day and then build your way up from there.
"It’s not my fault”- Reflections of the wife of an alcoholic5 minute
I am a wife of an Alcoholic. There I have said it and it’s out in the open.
Why do we feel the need to hide this fact? He is the one drinking, he is the one who is abusive, he is the one who is not earning and I have to sweep everything under the carpet and keep quiet because we want to protect the family name?
I am the one dreading family gatherings or shudder at the thought of calling friends over. After all, who likes to be embarrassed? So that makes me the spoilsport and he is always the life of a party.
So, I’m saying this aloud. “I am a wife of an Alcoholic”. And what I wanted to write about and give importance to is how over a period of years I have learnt to deal with it.
However, before we go there let’s talk about the alcoholic first and typical traits.
- Do you see your loved one finding an excuse to drink - good news, bad news, indifferent news- anything is a reason to drink.
- Do they start hiding their drinks? This not only helps them to access it quickly but also helps them to hide the amount of alcohol they have consumed after all they don’t want you to see that they finished X amount of bottles already!
- They only want to attend parties and gatherings where there is booze available freely. Everything else is a waste of time and boring! Never mind if you were looking forward to spending some quality time with these people or were so wanting to go hiking in the mountains or for a stroll in the garden.
- They gradually start drinking earlier and earlier in the day. In my case these days he is already high by 10 a.m. That’s the only way he can step out in the world.
- Money starts going missing from your purse; you might have some jewelry missing too. That’s when you learn the hard way that your belongings all need to be under lock and key always. Imagine having to stay like that in your own house.
- Then they stop eating proper meals, always on the lookout to have a drink only and start neglecting personal hygiene and that’s when you realize that you have an issue at hand. He goes without brushing his teeth for weeks, let’s not talk about baths! This is when the verbally abusive behavior begins. Physical abuse is not far away.
These are just a few typical traits and mostly what I relate to however there will be plenty of other warning signs and trust your instinct… Always... it’s never wrong.
Sometimes you don’t need to read about typical traits after all the blood-red eyes, hangovers, the smell; the disheveled appearance is right in front of your eyes… all in plain sight.
I have been married for 18 years now and he has been an alcoholic even before we met. During our engagement phase, I didn’t realize it or rather did not take heed of all the warning signs and for various other social pressures went ahead with the marriage after all you are living in India and arranged marriages are a norm even now. Has been a roller coaster ride ever since.
And through my entire journey of living with an alcoholic there is one thing that I have realized and that is I am powerless over his drinking.
You can drain his drinks down the drain, hide his bottles, don’t give him money, try to reason with him, put him in rehabilitation centers, try to be more loving or go the opposite way and threaten him with different consequences but all these are just ways to aggravate the situation more and waste of time if he is not ready to see reason. I have even left home twice now but nothing changes. Earlier it was easier for me because I would escape to my mother’s place every weekend which would make the week ahead bearable but after she passed away 4 years ago I lost that privilege too.
That’s when I was told about Al Anon. This is a group for the family of an alcoholic. It’s a worldwide group where people with similar situations come together once a week. You can say it’s a byproduct of the Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) group because alcohol doesn’t destroy the alcoholic alone; it takes a toll on his/her family too.
I attended meetings for a couple of months and I realized that though the purpose of the whole thing was to give some semblance in my life this particular group was not working for me. Not that the group was not helpful or most caring but due to my own inhibitions.
But there are some learnings that I picked up from these meetings which have been embedded in my mind since then. It can be hard to hear that you need to change yourself when a loved one is living with alcoholism. After all, it's their problem, isn't it? Unfortunately, you can only change yourself, and the only way you can interrupt and change the current course of your interactions with an alcoholic is to change your reactions. I have tried to incorporate them in my daily life and it has really helped me cope up with my situation(not always successfully but patience is the name of the game and my friends do tell me that I should get an award for the level that I have reached). Anyway, let me share some of these with you.
My Life Learnings
The first learning out of this that one needs to take in is that of “Acceptance”.
The first and foremost advice that I would like to share with you is to stop trying to change him. You need to accept the fact that it is a choice that he is making of staying in this drunken stupor and only he can decide when to stop. To say it in simple language it means that you can take the horse to the well but you cannot force it to drink water. You also need to accept that Alcoholism is a disease just like any other disease like cancer and should not be underestimated.
Nothing works for the simple reason that YOU are trying to change him. If you tell him how he looked, how he acted, what you think of him for it, it won’t work. He’ll just fall back on the old excuse, ‘She’s picking on me again,’ and he’ll have a grievance against you again and another excuse to drink. They never want to discuss what triggered us, just how you reacted! You have to say what you mean but you have to say it without being mean and let him draw his own conclusions. He has to learn that there are always consequences for each and every action and he has to take responsibility for his actions. He is an adult and you cannot control him, accept that it is for his own good. It is very difficult to do it, trust me I have been in such situations. Your maternal instinct kicks in and you want to avoid an ugly scenario and help him however you can but LEAVE HIM BE.
I have learnt this the hard way. He had taken money from some moneylender and when he was not able to pay back there were thugs who came home and threatened the entire family with dire consequences if we did not pay up within the next 48 hours. I did pay up at that time but refused the next time.
Another time a person actually called the police and as he had contacts they came and took him in, beat him black and blue and kept him overnight at the station. Sounds like I am heartless but he had to bear the consequences.
An active alcoholic will always be in a stage of strong denial and will never accept that he has an issue. He can come to a stage where he realizes that he is unable to get out of this vicious circle and needs help. A stage where he accepts that alcohol is a cause of all his troubles and he wants to come out of it. This is where we can help him/her with the help of Rehabilitation Centers and AA Meetings till then you are completely helpless and nothing you say or do is ever going to work.
You also have to accept that he might never reach the stage where he realizes that he has an issue. Such cases can go to the extreme where he can have multiple organ issues and might not make it. Harsh truth but it is what it is.
The second thing that we have to learn is “Expectations”.
We feel that if he really cared about me and if he really wanted he could stay sober and avoid drinks totally. We have too many expectations not from ourselves but from another human being. Why?
I so wanted to get inside his brain and turn the screws in what I thought was the right direction based on what my expectations were. Why can’t he be a sober husband with a good job, a loving person and a caring and supportive father?
There are days when he is sober and he makes all types of promises. “My drinking is not that serious, I can stop whenever I want”, “I swear I will not drink again”, “I swear I will be a different person now just help me out from this situation” etc. And the very next day when he comes home drunk again I am so hurt by the broken promises and take the lies personally. We naturally expect them to be sincere to us. This is what expectations looks like.
What seems like a reasonable expectation in some circumstances might be totally unreasonable when it comes to someone with an addiction. Is it reasonable to expect someone to be honest with you when the person is incapable of being honest even with themselves and admit that they have a problem and need help?
In reality, we as a family should do nothing and can do nothing. When a person with a substance use problem reaches a crisis point, sometimes that's the time the person finally admits they have a problem and begins to reach out for help. It is very difficult to sit back and let it play out to its fullest extent. When an alcoholic reaches the point that they get a DUI, lose their job, or get thrown in jail, it can be a difficult concept to accept that the best thing you can do in the situation is to do nothing. It may seem like it goes against everything you believe and against all your expectations.
In a nutshell, the only person you can work upon is your own self. Once you realize this trust me life will let you breathe easy. When you reach this stage you will feel a burden on your shoulders and will be able to admire the view. My happiness, my peace of mind, my attitudes, the way I look, the way I stay, the way I behave are all my responsibility. Only I have the power to change all that and the thought that I don’t have to take responsibility for the alcoholic’s behavior is such a relief.
I hope this has helped in bringing some sense of comfort and ease to your life. If you know of any dear and near ones who are going through the same situation and feel that it could help them in any way then please do share this.
And to end this let me tell you that working on Acceptance and Expectations is less than half the battle won. You can then move on to what I call the second stage. I shall touch base on that another time. Till then keep repeating the three “C”s of Al Anon to yourself:
I didn’t Cause it
I can’t Control it and
I can’t Cure it
Overcome Depression: 9 Warning Signals You Should Not Ignore5 minute
It is not uncommon for people, especially in India, to shy away from a conversation relating to mental health. Anxiety means “to worry about things is a good thing, you’ll get over it”, to be depressed is to be “stubborn”, to be happy is “in your control” and to have mental breakdowns (even if they’re almost every day) is “to suffer from a serious lack of confidence”.This article largely aims to talk about one of the most common disorders faced by people across the globe. The WHO estimates that one in every four people in the world will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives and most will invariably be linked to depression.
People so often speak of health as the most important aspect of living a wholesome life. But while parents are so willing to expend a great deal at a dentist’s office to fix their child’s crooked teeth to have them perfectly aligned, they are not as unyielding to heed their child’s mental health all the same to have their thoughts perfectly aligned.
Let me lay down some stats for you. A report by WHO suggested that 7.5% of the Indian population suffers from some form of a mental disorder. If this isn’t enough to get you in a tizzy, here’s another one: Mental illnesses constitute one-sixth of all health-related disorders in the world and India contributes to a shocking 15% of the global mental, neurological and substance abuse disorder burden. There’s more. A treatment gap exists when there are a certain number of patients suffering from a disorder and only a proportion of those people actually get treated. This gap is over 70 percent!
It is after a great deal of awareness by celebrities, social media and mental health campaigns that mental health issues have finally found a voice today. Not one that specifically says “It's completely okay to speak of depression as a rife topic”, but we’re getting there.
What is Mental Health and Why is it Important?
Mental health includes our cognitive, emotional and social well-being. So naturally, it has a direct impact on how we think, how we feel and how we behave. Positive mental health not only allows one to realise their full potential and work productively but also helps them deal with stress and emotions in a healthy manner and entitles one to have a proactive approach to life. A lack thereof, would hence adversely affect your work, relationships, disrupt a routine and meddle with interpersonal connections. Do you see the severity of the problem?
Studies suggest that to maintain positive mental health throughout one’s life, the following play a crucial role:
- Seeking professional help when you need it or think you need it
- Staying connected with other people - homo sapiens are social beings and human connection is an integral part of who we are
- Attempting to stay positive using affirmations
- Staying physically active (Health experts recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week)
- Offering help in situations where we can significantly contribute
- Getting adequate sleep - A good night’s sleep is not only key to a well-rested body but a well-rested mind too. It is because of this that you would notice people on their worst moods when they haven’t gotten enough sleep
The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health
It is not uncommon for people, especially in India, to shy away from a conversation relating to mental health. Anxiety means “to worry about things is a good thing, you’ll get over it”, to be depressed is to be “stubborn”, to be happy is “in your control” and to have mental breakdowns (even if they’re almost every day) is “to suffer from a serious lack of confidence”.
The problem with our society’s take on mental health issues is that they’re so committed to being in denial of such a concept, they could succeed in convincing an entire generation of the same. This is precisely why people grow up with a whole bunch of messed up psychological problems, not being aware that they had a problem, to begin with - let alone getting around to fixing it. It’s why you’d mostly find people over the age of 40 at a therapist’s office because his/her younger self was strictly advised against believing in what Indian parents so fondly call and I quote “ a myth”.
A stigma is essentially viewing someone in a different light, a negative light. The stigma around mental health is not uncommon. More often than not, the stigma leads to discrimination that could worsen someone’s condition with an existing mental health issue. Even when the discrimination is not direct or blunt like making a shrewd comment or calling people names because of their illness, it is almost as bad to avoid someone because this might lose them a great deal of self-confidence.
Harmful effects of stigmatising someone with a mental health condition:
- It might make them reluctant to seek professional help
- Influence other people’s behaviour towards them and eventually normalise the discrimination
- Lack of acceptance at school or jobs
- Bullying, harassment
- Health insurance that doesn’t fully cover one’s mental illness treatment (because it doesn’t see a mental health disorder as a “real” disorder
- Triggers one to believe they can never be an equal as the rest of the people in the society
While it would take me more than just a blog article to cover an exhaustive list of mental health problems prevalent among people in the world, the most common mental disorders are as follows:
- Bipolar Disorders
- OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
- Eating Disorders
- Personality Disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Schizoaffective disorder
This article largely aims to talk about one of the most common disorders faced by people across the globe. The WHO estimates that one in every four people in the world will be affected by a mental or neurological disorder at some point in their lives and most will invariably be linked to depression.
Depression Does Not Equal Sadness
Depression or clinical depression is a mental health disorder associated with persistently low, depressed moods and a complete lack of interest in daily activities that could cause significant impairment to one’s life. There are various causes of why this could occur - some of the most common include heredity and social distress.
While feeling low from time to time might be a part and parcel of life, perpetual feelings of hopelessness and sorrow may be a sign of something more serious. You can identify the difference between sadness and depression by questioning the nature of your struggle. If a setback or incident has caused you to feel short periods of sadness, it might not be a cause for worry. But if you notice changes in how you feel, think and respond to normal day-to-day activities and social encounters, interference in your sleep and appetite and a lack of general appreciation for life - this may signal towards a case of clinical depression.
What is important to know is that no matter how hopeless or helpless you feel, there is always a scope of getting better. With an understanding of the causes, symptoms and potential treatment options for depression, you’re already at step 1 of attempting to make things better.
Signs that you could possibly be suffering from Depression
- Feeling Sad or empty on most days and being unable to explain why
Persistent feeling of emptiness is one of the main symptoms of depression. When you lack the motivation to do something as normal as cooking breakfast or driving to work, feel bogged down for no specific reason, it might indicate that you suffer from clinical depression.
- Losing feelings of pleasure, especially in activities that you once seemed to enjoy
The inability to enjoy things you usually love doing is yet another sign. Depression can take out the fun or pleasure from all that you once looked forward to - your hobbies, social interactions and even sex. Studies show that a low sex drive, a lack of interest towards sexual activity or even impotence can be possible signals of depression.
- Irregular Sleep patterns - Sleeping for too long or too little a time period
Part of the reason that you stop to enjoy the things you normally do is that depression makes you feel tired all the time. While an overwhelming feeling of fatigue and low energy levels can lead to excessive sleeping, depression has also seen to cause insomnia in some people. The lack of restful sleep can even lead to anxiety or worsen other symptoms of depression.
- A change in appetite - eating too much and too frequently or complete loss of appetite
A sudden change on the weighing scale (without intent to have made this change) is a common symptom. Different people experience depression differently. While some people notice a surge in their appetite and gain a lot of weight, some might experience loss of appetite and lose weight. If this fluctuation takes place with no dietary or lifestyle change, it might be caused by depression.
- Feeling Anxious
Although depression might not necessarily cause anxiety, the two often tend to occur together. Symptoms of anxiety include feelings of dread, danger and panic, palpitations, rapid breathing, restlessness, muscle twitching, increased heart rate and heavy sweating.
- Feeling unworthy/self-loathing
Depression causes you to have a hopeless outlook on life. It tends to give you a rather negative perspective on life, completely changing how you think or feel about things. This feeling is often complemented with feelings of self-doubt, worthlessness and guilt.
A common symptom of depression in men, irritability can often be a lot more dangerous than it sounds. Irritability in depression results from escapism, substance abuse and being in denial - all of which happen to be the leading cause of death (by suicide) in men.
- Uncontrollable Moods
If you find yourself with unexplainable mood swings - one minute you’re angry, the next you’re crying uncontrollably and your emotions seem to be all over the place - this is a signal that you might have depression.
- Thoughts about death and suicide
There are 135,000 deaths (on an average) by suicide in India every year. The global average is 800,000. In 2016, suicide was the leading cause of death in India within the age group of 15-39 with the number as high as 230,314!
Now there’s no saying what the causes of these suicides are but studies suggest that a lot of times, suicide is connected with depression. And people who die by suicide will generally show symptoms of this thought first. It is up to the people around, to be aware in case a known individual suggests an inclination to end their lives.
All other symptoms such as hopelessness, lack of self-worth and a lack of motivation work in tandem to make one feel like suicide is the only way to escape. So recognising these signs plays a crucial role in avoiding things to escalate.
Warning signs that someone you know might be suicidal:
- If they speak about killing or harming themselves
- Expressing feelings of perpetual hopelessness
- An unusual obsession with topics related to death/dying
- Irrational behaviour depicting a lack of value for life- like speeding up aimlessly while driving through red lights
- Leaving goodbye notes or calling to say goodbye for no specific reason
- Getting all of their affairs in order such as tying up loose ends
- Hinting a lack of belongingness by saying things like “I wish I didn't exist” or “no one would notice if I was gone”
- Suddenly going extremely anxious and depressed to acting happy and calm
If you’re the slight bit suspicious that a friend/family member is suicidal, express this concern immediately, let them talk to you openly, and try to talk them (without any coercion) into seeking professional help. Sometimes all it takes is a carefully acknowledged, no-judgement conversation to save a life.
Types of Depression
Depression is a complex disorder, as are most illnesses that involve the mind. There are various causes of depression. Understanding the types of depression could potentially hint towards its underlying cause.
There are 7 common types of depression:
- MDD (Major Depressive Disorder)
MDD is what people generally refer to as clinical depression. It is a mood disorder characterized by several factors including a lack of interest in generally enjoyed activities, changes in sleep patterns and weight, tiredness, lack of concentration and thoughts of death and suicide. If these symptoms last for longer than a couple of weeks, it is best to seek professional help rather than try to deal with it on your own.
Also known as PDD (Persistent depressive disorder, dysthymia is a type of chronic depressive disorder that lasts for brief periods throughout a person’s life, if not treated. Although it might not be as critical as MDD, PDD is still a cause for concern as it disrupts one’s ability to enjoy life. Some common symptoms of dysthymia include feelings of anger and sadness, irritability, loss of pleasure, fatigues, low self-esteem, insomnia as well as changes in appetite.
- Bipolar Disorder
A type of mood disorder that’s resulting in periods of abnormally extreme or elevated moods known as mania, bipolar disorder is an illness that increases a person’s risk of suicide by 15%. Elevated moods can be mild or extreme - in which case, a person loses his sense of reality and has to be hospitalized. Symptoms of bipolar disorder include indecisiveness, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, lethargy and unexplained physical pains/aches.
- PPD (Postpartum Depression)
Pregnancy can bring about some major hormonal shifts in a woman’s body that can often adversely affect her moods. Depression can have an onset either during pregnancy or after the birth of the child.
Postpartum depression is more than just “baby blues” and its symptoms include feelings of sadness and worthlessness, anxiety, trouble bonding with your baby, social awkwardness, panic attacks, thoughts of harming yourself of the baby and appetite changes that last more than a couple of weeks.
- PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)
While symptoms of PMS include food cravings, increased appetite, anxiety, irritability, aches and bloating, PMDD is more complex than that. All the symptoms related to mood are extreme and more prominent such as binge eating, inability to focus, feeling hopeless and having severe crying spells.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Similar to MDD, but only experienced in certain seasons (like winter) is probably the simplest way to describe Seasonal Affective Disorder. How does this make sense? SAD is said to occur as a result of the disturbance caused in the normal rhythm of one’s body. Light entering your body can influence this rhythm and a seasonal variation can cause a disruption that could lead to depression. SAD can often be treated with what is known as light therapy.
- Atypical Depression
As the name suggests, the symptoms of this disorder are not like ones of “typical” depression. If you experience some symptoms of depression such as extreme sensitivity, oversleeping or binge-eating but still seem to enjoy the occasional meet and greet, you might have Atypical depression. Common symptoms include weight gain due to excessive eating, oversleeping, sensitivity to rejection, weakness and fatigue.
Causes of Depression
There are a number of factors that contribute to increased chances of depression, but the most common ones are:
Past abuse: A history of past sexual, emotional or physical abuse can increase the vulnerability of a person to suffer from clinical depression later in life.
Medications: Certain drugs, such as isotretinoin (used to treat acne), the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids, could increase your risk of depression.
Conflict: Depression could also result from personal conflicts or disputes with friends and family members in the case of someone who already has the biological vulnerability to be depressed.
Death or a loss: Sadness/grief from the death or loss of a loved one, though natural, may increase the risk of depression.
Genetics: One of the most common causes of depression is genetics. If your family has a history of depression, this may increase the risk of you suffering from the illness as well. It's assumed that depression is a complex trait, meaning that there are different genes that each exert small effects, rather than a single gene that contributes to the disease. The genetics of depression, unlike most psychiatric disorders, are not as straightforward as the ones in purely genetic diseases like Huntington's chorea or cystic fibrosis.
Major Events in One’s life: Sometimes even the good events in one’s life such as being accepted into a chosen university or getting married can lead to depression. So can stressful events like losing a lot of money or a job, getting divorced or moving to another country. However, clinical depression doesn’t allow you to "normally" respond to such stressful life events.
Interpersonal Problems: Social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of one’s family or social groups can majorly contribute to the risk of developing clinical depression.
Medical illnesses: Sometimes depression co-exists or could even be triggered by an existing illness or medical condition.
Substance abuse: Over 30% of people with substance abuse problems also tend to have major or clinical depression. Drugs and alcohol might temporarily make you feel better, but they ultimately aggravate symptoms of depression.
Treatment for Depression
Although there isn’t a single treatment for depression that guarantees a full recovery and to add to this there’s the fact that not all people respond well to the same treatment methods, there are still a range of effective medications and professionals who can assist you on your path to recovery.
Broadly speaking, there are 2 widely-used methods of treating clinical depression:
- Psychological Treatment
Psychological treatments (also known as therapy) could help you change your thinking patterns and improve your coping skills so you're better equipped to deal with the stresses and conflicts of life. Along with supporting recovery, psychological therapies can also help you identify and change unhelpful thoughts and behaviours.
There are several types of effective psychological treatments for depression, as well as different options for delivery. Some people prefer to work one on one with a therapist/professional, while others feel like they get more out of group therapy. There’s also a rise in online programs or e-therapies, available to assist with one with depression today.
Types of Psychological Treatments:
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
- Interpersonal Therapy
- Behaviour Therapy
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT)
The main medical treatment for depression is antidepressant medication. There's a lot of misinformation about antidepressant medication and while there is no simple explanation as to how it works, it can be very useful in the treatment of moderate to severe depression and some anxiety disorders.
If you're experiencing moderate to severe depression, your doctor may prescribe antidepressant medication, along with psychological treatments. Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed when other treatments have not been successful or when psychological treatments aren't possible due to the severity of the condition or a lack of access to the treatment.
People with more severe forms of depression (bipolar disorder and psychosis) generally need to be treated with medication. This may include one or a combination of mood stabilisers, antipsychotic drugs and antidepressants.
Apart from receiving professional treatment, these are some effective natural remedies to treat depression (advised by doctors)
In depression, the smallest things have proven to make huge differences (sometimes even more than medical treatments) Some things to assist a speedy recovery:
People have used essential oils for various treatments in the past. However, it is important to note that these oils aren’t necessarily a cure, they only help in relieving certain symptoms and help manage your condition better.
Some essential oils that are known to relieve symptoms of depression:
- Lavender Oil - relieves anxiety, reduces stress and uplifts mood.
- Wild Ginger Oil - activates the serotonergic system and helps reduce stress
- Bergamot oil - Possesses uplifting and calming properties
- Rose Oil - Decreases blood pressure, heart rate and helps with symptoms of anxiety
- Chamomile Oil - Calming properties, relieves anxiety
Books To Read:
- The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon
- First, We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson
- Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns
- The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling and Start Living by Russ Harris
- Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff
A list of feel-good movies that have proven to assist those with depression:
- “It’s Kind of a Funny Story”
- Silver Linings Playbook
- Perks of Being a Wallflower
- 10 things I hate about you
- Goodwill hunting
A List of Movies made on Depression that couldn't be more candid:
- World’s greatest dad
- The Skeleton Twins
- Garden State
- Little Miss Sunshine
- Prozac Nation
I hope this helps. :)