• 26 Nov
    Oyindrila Basu

    How your obsession or depression can help you in your focused thinking.

    a beautiful mind

    We have a notion, that mentally unstable people are not able to perform tasks properly, in fact, their cognitive abilities are weakened.

    However, on the contrary, a depressed person is more focused, or concentrate better on any work as deduced by Jonah Lehrar who writes in the New York Times about her research in this field.

    A depressed person can make a better mathematician, and the analogy between the two states of mind are almost the same.

    A depressed person is focused on believing his/her melancholy as the truth, and the mathematician need to be focused on formulas and techniques to solve problems.

    Let us see how this analogy is drawn.

    A person who is a good mathematician need to have an obsession for numbers, formulas and derivations; and a person in depression holds the same kind of obsession for a selective person or situation; the broken hearted person is concentrated on each and every detail of his/her pain and humiliation, such that he/she cannot get out of that depressed phase.

    Depression is a state where a person is very focused on the pain and hence cannot recover from it easily; the same kind of dedication or obsession is required for mathematical theories to solve problems. In certain cases, you also need to be imaginative about your steps while problem solving, like a depressed person imagines his/her grief to a different level, unique to the world.

    Professor John Nash was a genius, a gem of a mathematician and we all know he was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and acute depression. #ABeautifulMind gives clear example of how an obsessed person, who visualizes his passion, becomes excellent in the field.

    This great mathematician was disillusioned, yet he solved algebraic equations and in-equations like a magician. He was depressed because of his lack of self-knowledge and struggle with illness, yet he was exceptional in his academic skill.

    He solved arithmetic on the window panes, he could visualize his numbers with the power of his mind, the focused quality of his mind, made him imagine a friend, and the same gave him the ability to invent the ‘game theory’.

    Cognitive functioning follows the same mechanism for a person who is focused and for a person who is depressed.

    For e.g. if a person is depressed, because he has had a break-up; in this situation, depression draws from the fact, that he is concentrating all his energy on one person who has left him, and he desires to get her back; he doesn’t give up; he focuses on every detail of his painful feelings, how he feels rejected, humiliated, insulted, ditched, betrayed and the like; every minute expression of the heart come alive for a depressed person.

    The brain of such a person is not weak at all, in fact, it is very productive which gives him this amount of dedication and concentration on a particular individual, the same quality of brain is required for a mathematician to exceed normal limits, and hence we can conclude that depressed persons, if they try to work out on problem solving, can do great.

    They just need to be provided with the path, so that they shift their focus from their pain and grief towards a calculative outcome oriented task.

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  • 24 Nov
    eWellness Expert

    Sleep, Mental Illness, and Addiction: Preventing Tragedy

    painting on love and mental illness

    Suicidal thoughts can happen to anyone for a number of reasons. However, people with mental illnesses, including addiction, are at a greater risk for suicidal thoughts and actions. Just one or the other can trigger suicidal thoughts, but for many people, the two conditions come hand in hand. Problems sleeping can play a significant role in all of it.

    Addiction and mental illness tend to be co-occurring problems with each potentially triggering the other.

    If you or a loved one has a mental illness or addiction, here are some of the things you should know in order to prevent suicidal thoughts and actions.

    Being unable to sleep can be a sign of substance abuse and/or mental health issues (especially depression), though sleeping too much can be too.

    It is not uncommon for those with an addiction to experience the symptoms of depression as well as other mental illnesses. Depression is one of the most common causes of suicidal thoughts, meaning that addiction is dangerous in more than just the most obvious ways.

    The best way to prevent addiction-fueled depression is to get treatment as soon as possible.

    Sleep disorders often occur alongside depression as well as other mental illnesses such as PTSD. Poor sleeping habits can exacerbate other mental illnesses.

    Symptoms can include irregular sleep patterns, an inability to sleep, or sleeping for too long. Treatments often involve sleep medications and supplements along with the recommendation of a nightly routine. While the latter is a good idea, medications can lead to addiction, even if unintentionally abused.

    It’s a good idea to establish a sleep routine. It could look something like this: eat dinner, go for a walk, watch a little television, catch up on some reading, and go to bed. Just remember, it’s only a routine if you do it each night. Engage in activities at the end of the day that are relaxing so you can help ease yourself into a restful state. Do not turn to drugs or alcohol for comfort because this can lead to addiction, and even create more sleeping problems, even if they seem to help on the surface.

    While depression is often the cause of suicidal thoughts, other mental disorders can very easily become the root of these thoughts. Anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and more can either trigger symptoms of depression or cause suicidal thoughts.

    The most important part of facing this threat is seeking help. Too many people go without treatment and watch their symptoms get worse as time passes. This is when suicidal thoughts have the opportunity to strike.

    Self-medication describes when a person abuses a substance in order to control the symptoms of an illness. It’s very common among people with mental illnesses who are not receiving proper treatment. Not only will the untreated mental illness contribute to suicidal thoughts, but the developing addiction that occurs as a result of self-medication will also have a detrimental impact.

    Substance abuse can seem to help ease the symptoms of mental illness, but in reality, long-term abuse will make things worse. This scenario can pose a deadly risk and should not be taken lightly.

    If you recognize that a loved one is struggling with addiction, mental illness, or a combination of the two, do not take your observations lightly. The longer your loved one struggles, the more at-risk for suicide they become. Treatment is not a luxury; it is an absolute necessity.

    Getting help for your loved one can be difficult if they are resistant but do not give up. Your love and support can make all the difference in whether or not they get the treatment they need.

    Knowing that you or someone you care about is at risk for suicide can be a frightening revelation. However, it is important to remember that knowing the risk factors is half the battle. If you are able to recognize the signs, you have an opportunity to get the help you need. Once proper treatment is secured and recovery is under way, a happy and healthy life is on the horizon.

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  • 17 Nov
    Oyindrila Basu

    Facebook posts go beyond ‘Connectedness’, to define your personality traits.

    girl facebook

    Many of us, these days, are obsessed with the idea of notifying their daily activities to Facebook and Instagram; some of us keep giving momentary updates like “Shopping in Arcade Mall”, “Watching ADHM with my love” and many such things to make sure, that world knows that they are enjoying.

    Even we praise their commitment to social media calling them smart and connected people. A recent research established, that people who are addicted to giving posts on Facebook and twitter are actually suffering from low self-esteem.

    Exhibiting your achievements, and public portrayal of your love life or romantic partner is a symptom of insecurity. You take pictures with your boy-friend or girl-friend and keep posting on the web, because of either of the following reasons-


    • You want the world to know about your relationship because you are afraid, your partner may not be serious with you, so you want to make the thing public as fast as possible.


    • You are not sure of your partner, so you want the world to see him or her, and give their opinion on your choice.


    • You want everyone to know that you are happy, and be jealous, which shows you are not sure about your potentials.


    • Posting updates and pictures about your partner signifies your insecurity about your relationship, you do these to make sure your relationship exists.

    Similarly, we have also seen people posting pictures about their physique; they keep posting updates on their regular exercise schedule; how much calories they have lost; how they are dieting and things like that every moment, with images, which signifies that they are type of narcissists who are obsessed with themselves, hence they keep standing in front the mirror observing every extra inch gained or lost, and to make sure it happened, they post it on Facebook to take others’ opinion.

    Psychology lecturer Dr Tara Marshall, from Brunel University London collected data from 555 Facebook users to conduct research on 5 personality traits extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness and included self-esteem and narcissism too.

    Findings concluded that people who give regular updates to Facebook and brag about their love life or partner are suffering from low self-esteem and insecurity while those bragging about their fitness goals are essentially narcissists.

    Even those who are ready with make-up to take selfies reflect self-obsession. While people who don’t post Facebook status updates, are stronger in mind, and possess a normal outlook towards life and social activities.

    They tend to be free from social-networking addiction or being glued to tech gadgets, hence being physically and mentally healthier than others.


  • 17 Nov
    Oyindrila Basu

    What can a depressed person, feel within?

    depressed girl 

    A person in severe depression has a world of his own, which is dark, bizarre, negative and harmful.

    There is no light; no hope; no motivation at all in that place. The disastrous place is the truth for a depressed person, and there is no way to convince such a person that the earth is beautiful or life can be good.

    Last Sunday, I was at a birthday party; my very good friend and colleague had invited us and some of her batch mates from college for a get together, to celebrate her special day.

    We cut the cake, sang for her, and were having a gala time over some drinks, when I found a girl sitting quietly at one corner staring out of the window.

    After some enquiry, I came to know, she is the birthday girl’s childhood mate, and she was there with her family. Her name was Sarita, and to my surprise, there was not a spec of smile on her face; I wondered why she was so sad, on her friend’s birthday, and what was she staring at! I went towards her to understand what was going on in her mind.

    I tried talking to her; asked a couple of questions and answer was “……….”, that’s right, silence, she seemed not to listen. I touched her hand, and she startled with surprise; she felt irritated and said, “leave me alone, go away, else you will be doomed like me” ………….. “why do you think you are doomed”, I asked.

    Life has been tremendously unfair with me; you know when I was born, God had just ripped off my forehead with misfortunes; I am a fool, an idiot, a stupid; in fact, I am ominous, please go away from me, I cannot do good to myself, neither can I be of any good to others. I have no right to live, there is nothing to live for; you see the darkness outside, that is the only thing waiting for me”.

    I wasn’t shocked or anything hearing all this; I inferred that she was in depression, and I understood what she was going through.

    I have been in depression myself in my college days, and it just feels horrific, but I had turned on my will power to the maximum then, whatsoever the internal feelings were the same.

    A person going through depressive phase has minimum self-esteem or confidence; it seems whatever wrong is happening around, is because of him/her.

    Every depression has its own cause, especially if it is a failure in something, recovery is too tough. Family is generally confused with your behaviour, and they make your situation worse by interrogating you.

    Sometimes, they are even irritated with you, hence they try to make your problem appear trivial, commenting sarcastically or cracking a joke on it, and you feel like you are just alone in this big bad world.

    This girl was going through the same; she felt she was causing more pain to her family, by being around them; she was just an acquaintance, but I could relate to her somehow.

    What can a person do, if he/she is in depression and feels this way? For people undergoing mild depression, there are several remedies which can be resorted to immediately-

    1. Turn to a healthy lifestyle i.e. include more fresh nutrients to your diet like fruits, green vegetables, good carb like lentils, oats etc.


    2. Free yourself from caffeine and alcoholic and carbonated beverages, which can be worse to your depression.


    3. Exercise – This sounds weird, but sweating releases packed up negative energy from the brain; you tend to feel more motivated. Any form of exercise, like dance, yoga, running, aerobics can help. Even crying is a way to release lumps of emotions, and the body loses significant number of calories, as good as 1.3 calories/minute.


    4. Music in any form should be ritually practised, if you are depressed.


    5. Natural remedies like lavender oil, flax seed, sunflower seeds can help to some extent.


    However, major depressive phases are difficult to control; you can practise self-counselling or rationalizing, but that doesn’t come so easily for everyone, hence psychotherapy is required; doctors can counsel you or imply psychotropic medications as required, but there is no point living with your depression; life is precious and it should be made worth living.

    Share your thoughts with those who understand you and are concerned about you. Don’t consider friends and family as foes.


    What the family and friends of a depressed should do?

    Do not argue with the person who is in depression.

    If you try to convince them that it is sunny outside, they will naturally not agree, and get even more rigid with their idea.

    If you try to remind them of their happy phase, before depression, that is quite unreal to them now; for e.g. if a depressed person doesn’t feel any love for his/her spouse or children, you cannot make them feel the love by reminding them of their previous life before depression; in fact, that will trouble them further, the dilemma can actually affect them badly; they will be stubborn upon their dark reality, so do not try to convince them on the triviality of their problem; everybody believes that their problem is major and important, so try to be patient with your loved one, who is depressed; console them that you understand, be a good listener, so that they can share their thoughts with you. Do small actions which can create a spark of happiness for them; be by them, but do not question much, give them time.

    However, it is the duty of near ones to assess the thoughts of a depressed person too; they can be dangerous sometimes, hence if you envision something like that, motivate him/her to take professional help.

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  • 01 Oct
    Jennifer Scott

    Understanding Suicide Factors and Helping Bereaved Loved Ones

    suicide prevention

    There are so many factors that figure into someone committing suicide that it can be impossible for bereaved loved ones to understand what has happened and the reasons for it. If you are trying to help a friend and support them after losing a loved one to suicide, it is important for you to understand the external factors that lead to suicide.


    External factors that contribute to suicide


    There are several risk factors that contribute to suicidal thoughts and actions. People who commit suicide often have a history of substance abuse, incarceration, a family history of suicide, poor job security or low levels of job satisfaction, a history of abuse or witnessing continuous abuse, a diagnosis of a serious medical condition like cancer or HIV, a history of social isolation or being the victim of bullying, or being exposed to suicidal behavior. There also are certain groups of people who are at higher risk for suicide, including men, people over age 45, and Caucasians, American Indians, or Alaskan Natives.


    Because people cannot control these external factors, it is imperative that you stress the fact that your friend is in no way to blame for the loss of her loved one. Help her understand that she is not responsible for the death of her loved one so that she can work through her grief in a healthy way.


    Mental health factors into suicide


    Certain mental disorders, mental illnesses, and mental health issues may increase the risk of suicide in people. Specifically, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and schizophrenia may increase the risk of suicidal behavior in people.


    Depression is a common mental health issue around the globe; Studies also show that mood disorders, including depression, are the most common psychiatric conditions that relate to suicide, though the risk of suicide greatly varies with the type of depression. Key indicators for suicide among those with depression include previous self-harm, the severity of illness, alcohol or drug abuse, serious or chronic physical illness, loneliness, anxiety, and personality disorders.


    Bipolar disorder is another common condition that increases suicide risk; in fact, suicide risk is 15 times higher for people with bipolar disorder than in the general population. Studies show that people with bipolar disorder attempt suicide less often when they commit to maintenance drug treatment and treatment for depression and avoid alcohol and drugs.


    People who suffer from schizophrenia attempt suicide 40% of the time, and the most common cause of death among those with schizophrenia is suicide. Risk factors for suicide among people with this mental illness increase when they also suffer from depression, lack treatment, or have a chronic illness.


    Again, you need to help your friend understand the relationship between mental health and suicide. While the facts and statistics may not be as meaningful to her in her grief, it is important for her to understand that the suicide was beyond her control.


    Substance abuse factors and suicide


    Substance abuse also plays a role in suicide and understanding the connection between the two may help your friend realize that she is not to blame for the suicide of her loved one. A mental health condition combined with addiction increases the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Veterans especially are at risk of substance abuse and suicide.


    Your bereaved friend may or may not have been aware of substance abuse issues with her loved one while he was alive, and this may be a sensitive issue. In order to help her, you need to be supportive and empathetic. Do not judge her or her deceased loved one and listen to her when she needs to talk.


    While you may not be able to understand exactly how your friend is feeling about losing a loved one to suicide, you can help her try to understand what happened and why. She needs to know that she is not to blame and is in no way responsible for the suicide. Offer to listen, talk, go for a walk, see a movie, or anything else that will help your friend process her grief and get through this incredibly difficult time. 

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