• 02 Aug
    Shruti Gupta Delhi

    The death game - Blue Whale 'Suicide' Challenge

    The Blue Whale Challenge is said to have originated in Russia which compels teenagers to commit suicide. It begins by asking the participants to draw a blue whale on a paper and carve it on their body. Once they complete this task, they are given other self-harming tasks such as involving watching horror movies alone in the middle of the night. The game demands the participants to complete 50 such tasks in 50 days, the last one being suicide. The game ‘blue whale’ got its name from the phenomenon of beached whales, which is linked to suicide.

    blue whale challenge

     

    The game has said to cause numerous suicides among teenagers all over the world. At the initial stage, feelings of self-loath and hatred are induced in them so that they feel low about themselves. Their meaning to life and existence is told them to be a waste. Participants are made to believe that the world would be a happier place if they died. If, however, they were unwilling to do so, they are constantly told how nobody cares about them and wouldn’t be bothered if they did not live.

    It begins by attracting the target audience (young teens) through scary videos on a social networking site. One video leads you to another and finally to a page where the game ‘the blue whale challenge’, begins. People who are willing to take the challenge are said to have negative thoughts, feelings of low self-esteem and self-loathing attitude towards life. They are majorly depressed and wish to die. This game seems to them as a way to make their suicide a little more interesting, since everything else doesn’t interest them. This is where the game begins. Once they sign-up, they are made to do their tasks in the middle of the night, mostly at 4.20 AM. The kids, feeling that they have been assigned a responsibility, complete the tasks as per the instructions, so as to not disappoint those who have entrusted their faith in them.

     

    The game has been created by Philipp Budeikin, 22 years old, a former student of psychology, who had been expelled from his university. A victim of bipolar disorder himself, he revealed that his mother and his brother hit him when he was a child. He believed those who are weak are a biological waste, and must not live in the society.

    “THERE ARE PEOPLE – AND THERE IS BIOLOGICAL WASTE. THOSE WHO DO NOT REPRESENT ANY VALUE FOR SOCIETY. WHO CAUSE OR WILL CAUSE ONLY HARM TO SOCIETY. I WAS CLEANING OUR SOCIETY OF SUCH PEOPLE.”

    He targets those who can be easily manipulated and further convinces them to die. He used sleep deprivation as a tool to influence the kids. It is strange how the study of human behavior can make someone play with the psyche of kids of a tender age.

    Philipp, who has claimed that he is responsible for lives of seventeen teenagers, is actually accountable for over a hundred deaths. Yet, he has been receiving love letters from teenage women from across the country despite being under police arrest. One of the possibilities of this happening is because of the warmth and understanding that the creator provided the participants of the game which the victims lacked in their lives.

    The number of deaths caused by this game is alarming, unfortunately, one such incident took place here in India. On 30 July, a 14-year-old ended his life by jumping off the building he used to reside in, in Mumbai. The boy had allegedly discussed the game with all his friends and even left a text saying “I am going to the building to jump.” This statement was unfortunately joked about and not taken seriously. It came as a shock to everyone that someone as young as a class 9 student would be vulnerable to such atrocities.

     suicide game

    After the shocking incident, the school suspended classes for the students and counseled them as to how suicide is not something to be proud of and how it must not be glorified at any cost. In response to this incident, Fadnavis, the Cheif Minister of Maharashtra showed his concern. Since government keeps a check on what kind of visual content is available to us, a check on online games is as imperative to prevent any more cases like these.

    parents blue whale 

    Parents are hence requested to keep a tab on what sites their wards surf on the internet. Also, they must be a part of healthy communication on a daily basis. Parents must speak with their children to know if they are going through a bad phase, or having feelings of dejection inducing low self-esteem.

    If they find their child going through any of the symptoms, like withdrawal from favorite activities, fear, anxiety, despair, irritability, lethargy, sleep disturbances, and erratic changes in behavior, they must speak with them or even provide them with counselors, if necessary. Remember, anything is better than ending a life. So, if any alternative is available, take it. Don’t hesitate in visiting doctors. They will only help you, and will probably, save a life as well!

    Through this piece of writing, I would like the readers to know that this post, in no way, intends to promote the game. It is indeed a deadly game and people, especially teenagers, must not indulge in it just to know 'what the fuss is all about'. This game can ruin one's life as it clearly intends to do so. Students and children are, therefore, requested to stay away from this game.  

    Responses 1

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Aug 04, 2017 08:11 PM

      A clear example of how having intellect or knowledge is important but it is important how you apply it. It is puzzling that the inventor of the game getting love letters. Such games should be banned wherein you have to harm yourself. It is a good piece of information which needs to be spread not just among the young children but also to their parents so that they can meet their kid's psychological needs.

  • 02 Aug
    Sanjna Verma

    Simple steps to get over laziness

    Laziness can be termed as something which stops us from performing a task in our life. At times, people do not feel like doing anything after they performed a strenuous job like, lifting heavy objects or when a student has studied for many hours and is exhausted, and he does not feel like doing anything immediately. It is normal because, at that juncture, the body needs rest. However, if a person is not doing anything for a fairly long period of time and has a lot of work to do, it is a matter of concern. The reason behind such feelings has to be ascertained before treating them.

    Laziness can have physiological or psychological causes. The physiological cause is high and low blood sugar levels due to skipping breakfast or excessive intake of sugar present in food items like coffee, rice, pasta etc. The fluctuations in the blood sugar level can be one of the factors for symptoms of depression, fatigue and inability to cope with stress. It can also be caused due to the imbalance of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, Gamma Amino Butyric Acid (GABA), acetylcholine which affects mood, energy, and motivation.

    The problem can be psychological also. The nature of the task and the personality traits of an individual play a major role. The person may feel lazy because he/she does not like the task or because it is too difficult for him/her which causes him/her to lose self-confidence. Or the task is monotonous and the person does not feel like doing it.

     

    Here are a few ways by which one can get out of the habit of lying in bed or being unproductive:

    • Belief in oneself: As I mentioned earlier, when we comprehend the complexity of the task, we do not feel motivated to go further and accomplish it. Belief in oneself is important as it keeps our spirits high. Without this, we would not be able to communicate with others or even assert our viewpoints.
    • Physical Activity: It is seen that physical activities such as walking, running or jogging and even a 5 to 15-minute workout helps, as it increases metabolism and blood circulation thereby helping a person feel energetic and motivated enough to do the pending tasks.
    • Eating Habits: Avoid eating junk food, it contains ingredients which do not help a person feel energetic. This is the prime reason for the increase in obesity in metropolitan cities today. One should eat a healthy diet which includes fruits, vegetables, and nutritious food items.
    • Dividing tasks into smaller parts: If the task looks humongous one should divide it into smaller parts. This will not just help towards accomplishing the goal in a composed manner, but also help one work according to one's potential, current need and without worrying about the completion.
    • Getting started: Even if you prepare a to-do checklist, it is important to pull up your socks and implement your plans, because if you do not start, the paper and ink will get wasted for preparing the to-do list, right? A good start is equal to a good beginning, after all.
    • Creating the ‘Right’ Atmosphere:  Wearing a tracksuit and a pair of sports shoes will make one feel geared up for an intense workout. Whereas a formal suit may seem absurd during a workout! Similarly, for a desk job, keeping things in order so as to feel like working and minimizing all possible distractions. If the task is monotonous, one can reduce it by playing light songs which would not only help in killing the monotony but also relaxing our minds. It is important to create the right ambiance and present yourself accordingly.

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    • Visualise: If you do not feel motivated enough to start, try to think of the consequence of not doing so. Say, if you do not complete your homework in the said deadline, you will be reprimanded. This is a small example. You can try it for other tasks as well. 

     

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    • Keeping your eye on the goal:  It happens that we lose motivation or feel exhausted after performing the task for some time. But you cannot sit because there are goals in front of you.  For that, think why you started to think of it at the first place and motivate yourself with those intentions. Example: You might not feel like going for a workout. In that case, you can motivate yourself by reminding yourself as to why you had started this activity- for losing weight or to stay healthy or to wear your favourite dress you wore 3 years ago. Any external factor which holds extreme importance to you can act as a motivator.
    • Reinforce yourself for accomplishing a goal: It is a psychologically proven technique to reward or reinforce yourself for accomplishing a goal- telling yourself, “Well done!” (like patting your own back) after achieving smaller goals or using positive reinforcements such as treats after accomplishing tasks.

     

     These are a few ideas to get over your laziness, provided you are not lazy enough to even think about it!smile

  • 01 Aug
    Reshma Venugopal

    Can your eyes give away your lies?

     

    If you have grown up watching murder mysteries and thriller shows, then you must be familiar with lie detection. Sure, there are many modern techniques to find out whether or not suspects lie, for example; through the lie detector, also known as a polygraph test.No doubt, these tests look fascinating in the movies and tv shows but let's face it, movies and tv shows will always remain in the imaginary world for us. However, what about the real world?

    People lie all the time, from a child’s very first lie about the stolen cookie, to some drug dealers lying about not knowing where they kept their stash; lies have a universal process and a more universal way of catching them. Is the talent of catching lies important to lie? Well, I am going to leave that opinion to you, but the following article is going to describe how you can tell if someone is lying based on their eye movements and facial expressions.

     

    Visual Accessing Cues: A.k.a the lying eyes.

    Researchers conducted a number of studies which tried to see how eye movements of right- handed people change when they are asked a question. They can be further categorised into six sub points:

    • Visually constructed images (Vc)
    • Visually remembered images (Vr)
    • Auditory constructed (Ac)
    • Auditory remembered (Ar)
    • Feeling or Kinesthetic (F)
    • Internal dialog (Id)

    1. Visually constructed Images (Vc)

    This is particularly noticed when someone is asked to imagine something, let’s say a blue potato, then their eye movement will shift to the top and to the left. This shows that they are trying to imagine the potato, as they are trying to “visually construct an image” (Blifaloo.com, 2017)
    So how can this particular point catch a lie? So, let us imagine that someone asked for your brother’s car keys, and you ask them who sent them or why they want it. If they move their eyes to the top and to the left, you can tell they are making up an answer, as they are “constructing a visual image”, or in other words making up some nonsense.

     2. Visually remembered images (Vr)

    Ask someone what their first school looked like, you will notice their eyes looking at the top and then to the right. This shows they are trying to recall an image from their past. How can we use this to detect a lie? Well, if you ask the same question to the person, and they look to the top and right, that means they are trying to remember what was said, so we can possibly give him the benefit of doubt.

     3.Auditory constructed (Ac)
    Ask someone if they can create the weirdest sound they have ever heard, and you will notice their eyes looking to the left. This is slightly different from the Visually constructed image, as that requires the eyes to move to the top and then to the left. While with the auditory constructed, the eyes will simply move to the left. How do you know the person is lying with this? Clearly, if they are making it up, they will look to the left side, and hence, you could suggest that they are lying.

    Say, for example, you ask someone if they heard and could recall last night’s noise of a woman screaming down the street. If they really did not hear it, they will look to the left, trying to construct a sound that could possibly match the original noise.
    4. Auditory remembered (Ar)
    Similar to the Visual remembered image; auditory remembered image will make your eyes move to the right. Ask someone if they remember their first school song, you may notice that their eyes will move to the right. This suggests that they are trying to recall the sound.

    So in the above examples case, if the person did hear the sound, then they will look to the right in the order to remember. Hence, proving they might be saying the truth.
    5. Feeling or Kinesthetic (F)

    This occurs mostly when someone is asked to recall or remember the feeling of something. Let’s say a woman comes into the police station to report a molestation case, and the officers in charge ask her how she felt. If her eyes move from the bottom to the bottom left, then this suggests that she does not truly know the feeling of being molested. As she is trying to recreate or construct a feeling in order to describe it.

    6. Internal dialogue (Id)

    If you ask someone something, and they start talking to themselves, their eyes will move to the bottom right. This suggests that they are trying to make sense out of what is happening, or trying to make a sensible lie.

     

    While the above-mentioned points are all based on eye movement, there are many other methods of lie detection. Many researchers have downright rejected all of the mentioned points as they are not always consistent with every research, so perhaps generalizing them is not okay. A good liar may not show the slightest eye movement or facial expression, but professionals may detect these lies through the dilation of their pupils, or their speech changes. Others may simply sweat more when they lie or have awkward hand movements.

    Moreover, the above-mentioned points are based on right-handed people. Note that left handed people may show the same eye movements but in the opposite direction.

    The points above have been summarized from a book called "Frogs into Princes: Neuro Linguistic Programming" by Richard Bandler and John Grinder. They had conducted this research and eventually derived to these points. As I mentioned before, they are subjected to many factors, and cannot be generalized to everyone. Many critics have found other more reliable ways of catching lies, but they are not necessarily based on eye movements. Maybe you could try these on your friends, family or even colleagues and conduct this test by asking them related questions, and watch their eye movements for proof. I did, and it worked about 70% of the time, especially for the visual remembering cue!

    Responses 1

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Aug 04, 2017 08:23 PM

      Woah! This is fascinating stuff and as you said that it is something that we have seen in detective serials and yes, everyone could have wondered about it's true nature. Very interesting.

  • 01 Aug
    Radhika Goel

    Islam and Mental health

    There are several questions that can be addressed when one talks about Islam and mental health. For example, how people’s attitude towards Muslims affect their mental health and how the Muslims own stigmas regarding Islamic law and other religious beliefs influences their opinions about mental health. Thus there are several barriers that the Muslim community encounters on the road to seeking help for mental illnesses. In this article, I attempt to address these questions and the state of mental health conditions of Muslims in different situations.

    Muslim mental health

     

    How do Islamic law and people’s faith influence their stigma towards mental health?

    Some experts on Muslim law have expressed that Muslim families may neglect the issue of mental illness because they feel it brings shame on them and their reputation. Islamic law asks Muslims to rely on God to heal them. When suffering from either physical or mental illness they pray to God to make them feel better. It is believed if you are a spiritual and faithful person and pray to God/Allah, he will put you through trials and cure what he deems right. Others may suggest that illnesses are an opportunity to remedy disconnection from Allah or a lack of faith through regular prayer and a sense of self-responsibility.

    However, there is a need for increasing awareness and re-understanding of Islamic law. Prophet Muhammad has reported, “down a cure even as he has sent down the disease.” Translating this, health is a gift from God and Muslims must seek treatment and advice for all illnesses (physical and mental) to cherish this gift from Allah.

    Having faith in a higher power is beautiful and helps many people but it needs to be channeled and hence combined with proper treatment to reach the root of the illness that plagues a person. God/Allah will always be there to turn to but everyone needs to be able to talk openly about their problems to someone( depending on the severity of the problem) who can help them. People should have a network of friends and family who can support them emotionally and with love.

    Lead researcher Dr. Ghazala Mir, of the university's Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, says this is a common concern among Muslims, who are under-referred for mental health treatment.This stigma does involve the idea that maybe if you need treatment, there might be something wrong with your faith identity in the first place. 

    Habiba a victim of anxiety said, “I live within a big Muslim community and there is hardly any talk about mental illness. It is as if the problem does not exist. In fact, it seems like it should not exist because people are so ashamed of it and that makes me feel ashamed to even have an illness. We need to start talking.  This highlights that the Muslim community at large lives with the stigmas attached to mental health issues and some interpretations of Islamic law discourages them from seeking treatment as well. However, not all Muslims view mental illnesses in this light, al Razi established the first psychiatric ward in Baghdad, Iraq in 705CE. Several other Muslim scholars like him have contributed to the development of psychotherapy.

    Several barriers for Muslims in psychotherapy techniques

    Even if Muslims overcome the stereotypes and stigma attached to mental illnesses they face a number of difficulties in the process of therapy. Researchers found that many Muslims are hesitant to seek help from the mental health professionals in Western countries due to the differences in their beliefs and lack of understating of the helping professionals about Islamic values in their treatment. Consequently, Muslims might feel uncomfortable in seeking psychiatric help to avoid being in conflict with their religious beliefs. Not only individual therapy but even group therapy as practiced in Western settings often conflicts with a number of Islamic values. Therapists not aware of Islamic customs, festivals, and values may not be able to change medication dosage according to the religious responsibilities of Muslims like Ramadan fasting.

    If therapists modified therapeutic procedures to include cultural differences and practices, Muslims would feel more comfortable to talk to a person who understands their core beliefs. Dealing with mental health issues in accordance with their religious beliefs would help patients feel comfortable and secure and help in developing a patient-client relationship. Example, spiritually modified cognitive adaptive techniques such as to count how much God has blessed us and focusing on what we have and not on what we don’t can be used to relieve stress, help in anxiety, to cope with grief, and depression.

    How does Islamophobia affect Muslims, their freedom and mental health in countries like India, USA?

    Islamophobia can be defined as an irrational belief of adherents of Islam. After 9/11 and increase in terror attacks, one could notice the rise of Islamophobia in Western countries. Islamophobia was further encouraged by the government’s unfair treatment of the Muslim population in the United States. However, 62 percent of the world’s Muslim population lives in Asia in countries like India, Middle East, UK etc and Islamophobia is as prevalent in Asia as much as the West. Muslims who have no part to play in terror attacks, Muslims who have no faith in the ideology of the extremists of their faith find themselves being targeted and answerable for crimes they did not commit.

    Kameelah Rashad who runs Muslim Wellness Foundation highlights the kind of mental health issues Muslim students face. She expresses,The things that happen abroad at the hands of ISIS and Boko Haram and al Shabab -- they do more harm to Muslims because it’s not a reflection of our faith. It’s not a reflection of what we believe. When that small percentage becomes the face [of Islam] it robs us of our own humanity.” She also claims that most of the issues Muslim students face are related to identity and how they do not have the freedom to practice their religion without being called extremists. Muslims who are aware of public stigma about Islamic law may view negative attitudes as legitimate or not legitimate and react with shame, indifference, or righteous anger. Thus, Muslims across the world not only face problems in the form of daily stressors such as studies, work, relationship problems, or death of loved ones but also face problems in the form of lack of security and labels for crimes of others.

    The objective of this article was to raise awareness about the mental health issues faced by the Muslim community today. It is not intended to hurt anyone's religious or cultural sentiments.

    Responses 1

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Aug 07, 2017 05:26 PM

      This is a good piece of information. I did not know about how Muslims view mental health as a stigma and loss of connection from God. The line wherein you wrote that God/Allah will be there for them and the importance of emotional support, is so true. Praying may provide with mental strength for facing a problem but the actual solution can be provided by those who know us or some therapist or counsellor. The last lines remind me of generalisation in the principles of learning. Everyone is different and if a particular group of people may have malevolent thoughts, that does not mean everyone thinks the same way.

  • 31 Jul
    Aparna Kanmani

    How to deal with a cheating spouse?

    Life can turn upside down when you know your spouse is cheating on you. The heartbreaking moment would bring the harsh reality into light while shattering your trust and belief, in not just one but all domains of life.

    My friend, from where you are right now, the life ahead is not going to be the same. It all depends on you, whether to choose a new life or bargain with the existing one. The reason why he or she shifted attention may be many but what is important is to sense that things are changing around you two. 

    • F‌inding faults in everything. If you were picking on every single thing they do may be it's time to realize that you have nothing in common. That's okay as long as both are willing to adjust and adapt. If that level of tolerance breaks then there is no point continuing a dead end relationship.
    • ‌Forgotten love. Think of the last time you told him or her “I love you” or the last time you had a heartfelt talk during dinner. If you have forgotten its existence, then your life has, unfortunately, become monotonous. There is nothing more exciting in life you both follow the same old routine which you don't care to change.
    • Misunderstandings.Every time you say or do something your spouse takes it the wrong way. Small misunderstandings may be talked over and resolved then and there. If you have been piling up complaints towards your spouse over a period of time then it ought to burst out one day or another.
    • No efforts to make each other happy. Each one's expectations from the partner are different. What is important for one may seem negligible for another. An empty dissatisfied relationship can pull the spirit out of life and make life disappointing.
    • Avoiding staying around. Impulsive urges, when acted upon, can twist a healthy relationship. One may not be able to resist the pleasure available from a source other than the spouse. This may be an intentional or unintentional (impulsive) act but leaves a deep scar that cannot be undone.

    Whatever the reason may be, you have been cheated on and it's not fair; but remember, life doesn't end there. The cultural and societal pressure is only dust's worth. The fear of tolerance may press you to stay where you are forcing tolerance down your throat. But think. No one other than you is going to be the victim. What has happened has happened. Future is completely in your hands.

    Here's what you do next to find peace for yourself.

    1) Evaluate the relationship: Take a moment and think about your relationship. All the ups and downs you have been through and how much the other means to you. You need to know where the relationship was going and is it worth taking it forward.

    2) ‌Talk to your spouse: Confession time! This is the hardest part but you need to talk to your spouse and give them a chance to explain themselves. The motto is not to dig the past and find faults on each other or mark your sacrifices in the relationship. Just understand where they are standing and how willing they are to take this forward.

    3) ‌Understand your feelings: Once you know what they have in mind try to figure out what you want. ‌Would you like to give the relationship another chance or break away? Be sure of what you are feeling.

    4) ‌Be practical and not emotional: Patient thinking is key. Don't make hasty decisions out of anger or distress. Being too emotional may hide your weakness and strengths which will cost you the future. If you are not an earning member and you choose to end the relationship think of how financially independent you can be in the future.

    5) ‌Think of your children: Things become more complicated when you have people dependent on your well being. Children (or old age parents) should be considered before making any quick decisions. They are too vulnerable to manage.

    6) ‌Make a decision: Considering all the above things make a wise decision. You can take help of a trusted friend or a therapist to make sure you don't take unreasonable steps towards the future and also to comfort yourself that moment.

    “For men may come and men may go, but I go on forever...” -Alfred Tennyson

    Whatever happens, life goes on. You have a million reasons to live for. Among them, your spouse's love and attention are only one of them. Your children, career, or parents may be where you find direction in your life. Never make hasty decisions in anger and depression. Talk to a professional if you don't trust anyone or choose not to disclose your personal worries. Although, it is really good to pour it out to at least one person so that these thoughts don't suffocate you.

    With the rapidly changing world, we are losing the value for one's emotions. There is a lack of commitment and adjustability in the budding relationships. While some being too dependent and the other being too independent, we lack a balance where the two fall in place. Every person is beautiful in their own way. However, some may fail to recognise that and realise it only when it is too late.

    Be bold; Be confident; The world is yours; Go out and call it a day. 

    Responses 1

    • Sanjna Verma
      Sanjna Verma   Aug 26, 2017 06:12 PM

      All the points in this article bring out the fact that the comfortability level with the spouse is very important. Expressing yourself is important be it in terms of expressing love or explaining if something is making one feel uncomfortable.

      I liked the point where in you mentioned that in today's time people are lacking in emotions. I believe it is because of the fact that in this age of technology, people do not have time for anything and want everything as quick as possible. This is why they do not have time for commitment for long term relationships.

      I don't understand why society views something like divorce so negatively. It is their own choice whether to live together or live separately. I reckon they never view marriage as associated with sentiments but as something without which life is incomplete.

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