• 04 May
    Yakata Sharma

    Say it loud-I love me!

     

     

    A few days back I was watching Sonakshi Sinha’s “Noor” – which got hyped not because of the daughter of legendary “Khamosh” actor but debutante Kannan Gill. The character Noor is a mere reflection of almost every other girl’s not-so-happening life and a complete mess with trivial issues (weight, zero romance, non -satisfying job). She dejectedly uttered “I hate my life” many times in the movie without fail. And suddenly she found love (which didn’t last for long, however) and was found saying “I love my life” with a newly found zeal towards life….

    It left me with a thought to ponder upon --- why is “Love for life” dependent on other people’s entry/exit in/from our life?? Why doesn’t “love for self” come naturally to us?? Or if it does, why don’t we cater to it throughout our life??

    Such a mind wriggling complex human behavior can be understood in terms of our need for affiliation and approval. Need for affiliation denotes an individual’s need of “belongingness” and a sense of “involvement” within a society; Need for approval implies an individual’s tendency to seek and be motivated by the social approval of others.

    Time changes and so do other things but a constant pressure of “fitting –in” or “Us versus them” in the society persists? Where did this come from? Who is to be blamed?

    Well, nobody takes the responsibility to break the vicious cycle. Rather, everybody prefers to be a part of this “need for affiliation & approval” race.  And the worst side-effect is, we all have become shallow with age. We no longer trust ourselves; our abilities, confidence, or introspect, instead we choose to wait for others to instill “love for self”.  We no longer remain masters of our lives rather we become mere puppets in the chain of life.

    “Reema: See my relative gifted me a pouch. It doesn’t look that great. I think I shall keep it and wait for a perfect occasion to pass it on to somebody else as a gift.

    Seema: Are you mad? This pouch looks really pretty. You can keep it for normal outings.

    The pouch was never exchanged. In fact, all of a sudden Reema started liking the pouch. ….”  

    The conversation of these two girls made clear the mechanism behind the need for approval and affiliation.

    Need for affiliation and approval are lethal threats to an individual’s peace of mind. These are addictive and just like any other addiction, if not well supplied, disturb physical and psychological make-up of the affected ones. One’s Need for approval makes him/her an easy target to be conned or manipulated.

    Since these needs get badly integrated in our mind and body, a major concern now is how to get rid of them. The first and foremost step towards it is to start loving “yourself.”  Remind yourself every time you start feeling low that you are a beautiful entity as a whole, who doesn’t require an approval from others.

    Never let others define you or your choices in life. Make sure you do what you like to do, speak your mind without fear. Just Say/Do it!

    Don’t wait for any external source (Parents, Family, friends or anybody) to motivate you. Remember: It all starts from within. You are no less than anyone!

    Try to figure out your source of happiness on your own. Read, dance, write, swim, run, workout, watch movies, TV series, engage in gardening, pursue your hobby, earn money, become an environmentalist, travel places (the list is endless)… explore what makes you happy. Once you identify that source and savor the associated happiness you can easily conquer “I hate my life” phase like a “warrior” without waiting for anybody’s approval.

    Always remember it’s best to be a King/Queen rather than being a pawn in the chess of Life.

  • 25 Apr
    Yakata Sharma

    Bold is beautiful!

    bold is beautiful

    Rajat—Babe! You didn’t put Kajal in your eyes today?

    Neha—Kajal?? Really! Why all of a sudden a conversation on kajal?

    Rajat—Ah! I am just telling you. Kajal will make your eyes look really beautiful…and he winked.

    Neha (giggled) – yeah yeah! I shall put it right now JUST FOR YOU.

    AND this was just a beginning!

    Months later, Rajat started commenting on Neha’s physique. Neha, just like any other Indian girl was wheatish (Indian Standard of Skin color Scheme) in color and had a voluptuous body. She was not fascinated by the new “size zero” trend prevalent in the society but Rajat was! He never let go of any chance to demoralize Neha in terms of her body figure. Neha didn’t pay heed to such comments and took it all jovially.

    8 months later Rajat called off his relationship with Neha. He humiliated her, commenting on her skin color and physical appearance... Neha was shattered by the words he used before ending the conversation.

    To overcome this rejection Neha soon joined a gym and invested majority of her leisure time working on self. She became so obsessed with “weight loss” trend that she started looking like a lanky figure rather than a feminine.  She stopped eating proper food and started “crash diet” to lose weight quickly. Additionally, she became a lot more cranky and preferred to stay aloof. She avoided social gatherings and was left with only a few friends in school. She stopped her evening games and blindly followed “diet” and “weight loss” programs.   

    “Weight loss” regime gave quick results and boys approached Neha once again. The lost self–esteem redeemed itself but only for some time, however. The boys who approached her were fascinated by her “new avatar” but couldn’t resist their love for “fair skin”. Neha realized that weight control was in her hands but she is helpless about her skin color. She couldn’t change her skin color. And this thing started bothering her once again. She tried every beauty product, within her reach, just in case might turn her fairer in color.

    Neha was merely 16 years old when she got her first reality check about the societal trend of Body Shaming and Skin Beauty.

    Beauty… Is it all about fair skin and slimmer physique only??

    History too defined beauty in a very simple way. Beauty lies in one’s head and heart, one has to believe it. Beauty should be flaunted. But for that love for self is mandatory. Love the dusky smooth skin; love the fragile and petite figure; every part of the body...One has to make the world believe who you are, not believe what the world believes of you… (Lanka’s Princess, Kavita Kane).

    Years later Neha got a marriage proposal and faced another criticism on her skin color. She did not let go of such golden opportunity. She herself called off the proposal and made the boy realize that it was his loss and not hers. 

    Presently, Neha has given up on society trends (Body Shaming) and is back to her basic body type. She is no more part of “size zero” mania. She loves herself more and is not ready to compromise in life on account of her looks. She motivates young girls to love their respective body type and not feel disheartened if someone judges them on such physical attributes.

    More importantly, she organizes “Family orientation” programs so that Parents, as well as a child from his/her early developmental stages, should understand the repercussions of body shaming.

     Social media too has come up with a lot of commercials with the tagline “bold is beautiful.” It is important that individually girls should analyze their worth on the basis of their hard work, confidence, and assertiveness rather than relying upon the parameters of physical attributes. If they witness such episodes they should “voice it out” instead of becoming a victim of the situation. 

    It’s time to Be Bold, Be Beautiful!

     

  • 24 Mar
    Yakata Sharma

    Sexuality and the society

     “Never ever do anything which will bring disgrace to the family.” “What?? Don’t roll your eyes on me, Shweta. You know we live in a society and we are answerable to people.”---spoke Mrs. Kapoor, while packing Shweta’s belongings. Shweta was leaving for her new abode the very same day.

    Within a few months she loved her work and enjoyed it more. The new workplace environment, her new colleagues, regular office parties were a few things she looked forward to. On various occasions she showcased her skills; remained on toes and left no stone unturned to please the client(s).

    Soon Shweta was chosen master of the ceremony. Her boss was super excited to see the young bud so enthusiastically involved the whole evening. The party was merely a platform to make new connections. Shweta too didn’t let go of the opportunity.

    When can we meet next?”—Shweta asked her partner with a coquettish grin. She was in love with a girl and realized her sexual orientation lately. “I never felt such an excitement in life until now. With her around me I feel great, complete as an individual”—confronted Shweta to herself.

    And one fine day she told her mother about her sexual orientation. Her mother didn’t understand it first and thought it to be a joke.

    She was petrified to know about it and couldn’t accept the harsh reality. Shweta tried every possible way to tell her mother that it was the way she wanted to live life and would not change her individuality for the sake of society. Since that day her mother insisted her to seek clinical assistance to get rid of the “issue.” 

    Her mother didn’t let go of any chance to humiliate her. She tried to get her engaged with a guy with an intention that initiating things with him will make Shweta ignore her sexual orientation. Soon a cold wave hit mother-daughter relationship.

    Shweta tried to persuade her mother not to ignore the matter but to talk about it. Although she knew that her mother wouldn’t readily accept her sexual orientation however, she didn’t lose hope. Her deliberate ignorance of her daughter’s sexuality and insistence to seek clinical assistance for treatment was the sole cause of Shweta’s mental distress which eventually started affecting her day-to-day life activities.

    Shweta is not alone in this fight against the society. There are many who have kept their sexuality under the wrap with a consistent fear that the society may outcaste them anytime the truth comes out. But is this fear justified?? Why is the acceptance of an individual’s sexual orientation in our society a big deal??

    People need to understand that sexual orientation, just like other developmental process, can be understood best by the psychological theory of nature vs. nurture. The reasons for one’s sexual preference can be genetic or environmental. It’s high time we, as a society should understand that Homosexuality is no disease; Being a gay or not is totally an individual’s choice. In 1994, the APA (American Psychological Association) stated that homosexuality is neither a mental illness nor a moral depravity. It is the way a portion of the population expresses human love and sexuality.

    We, as a society, should have a non-judgmental attitude towards homosexuals; should provide a platform to them so that they can freely “come-out” and live their lives in peace.

    It’s a matter of grave concern to understand the psychological status of a person, who doesn’t have a freedom to express his/her sexual choice. People expect full family support in such situations. But in majority of cases minimal or zero family-support remains the key factor in their enhanced distress.

    People should understand that sexual orientation doesn’t define one’s character or abilities to excel in life. Sexual preference of an individual is as normal as his preference of other earthly matters namely, clothing, food, education, etc. 

    Shweta’s mother should have provided her an assertive and supportive platform to discuss the matter rather than tagging her sexual orientation a clinical problem.

     As a society we should stop judging people’s sexual preferences; exams are enough to do so...!

     

  • 30 Jan
    Yakata Sharma

    Addiction--- A Path towards self-destruction

    alcohol addiction

     

     

    Rohan just like another small- town adolescent had just one big dream: to become a rich man. He left no stone unturned to pass his boards with flying colors and got enrolled in an esteemed college of the city. Within a short span of time, the new freedom, negligible family interaction, so-called ‘cool’ peers and easy access to alcohol and drugs made him more fascinated towards this new life.

     

    Undoubtedly, Rohan was brainy and so became the talk of the college campus. The faculty felt elated to have him in their classroom(s). However, this popularity did not affect him to deviate from his well-set goal. Computers, gadgets, science and technology kept him busy 24*7. The new city finally welcomed him with warmth and open arms.

     

    A few distractions here and there were all what made Rohan’s college life quite eventful. Within 3 years of college he worked hard on his academics as well as his communication skills to leave an impression on the Interview panel so that he could be placed with one of the leading firms/organizations.

     

    By the end of the academic calendar, a plethora of companies visited the college campus to select the prospective candidates for their respective firms. With great expectations and hope Rohan too faced interview sessions for a few companies. The final call for the selected candidates was yet to be declared.

     

    Like Everyone, Rohan too expected that he would be amongst the luckiest guys of his batch to be employed in first attempt. Till the time results were declared, Rohan got busy with night life of the city. Just like other aspects of life he excelled in this area too. Soon this new fascination became an integral part of his life. He was no more an occasional drinker now.

     

    And then came the D day: Campus Placement results were declared.  Rohan, very excitedly went to see the notice board. He couldn’t believe his eyes and with sheer disappointment, he came back to his room and could not understand what just happened!

    Rohan Kapoor—the most sincere, dedicated and deserving candidate of college, FAILED the Interview.

     

    Rohan was taken aback with such a drastic twist in his path of glory. He couldn’t handle the FAILURE and had a nervous breakdown.  His friends too couldn’t help him cope-up with this situation.  He preferred being secluded from his friends. To avoid any confrontation, he stopped talking to his Parents too. To overcome he switched to unhealthy coping strategies namely, alcohol. Once an occasional drinker was now turned into a binge drinker.

     

    His drinking behavior no longer remained a secret. The worried faculty informed his Parents about his newly developed habits and suggested psychological counseling. The Parents preferred to take Rohan back home so that they could be around him 24*7 to provide a healthy and supporting environment. He resisted their decision and hence was forcefully asked by the college administration to seek clinical help before appearing for another placement interview.

     

    The wait for next interview seemed interminable. Without daily intake of alcohol he started having behavioral issues. He showed tantrums, became overly-aggressive and even sometimes turned violent with the family members.   

     

      Keeping in mind his rapidly deteriorating condition, his Parents did seek clinical assistance. It was not that Rohan himself didn’t want to improve his condition but he just couldn’t do so. With consistent efforts of the Family he somehow, agreed to seek professional assistance.

     

    Initially, he visited his counselor regularly but soon his visits to the counselor decreased and eventually, ceased. He didn’t tell his parents about the termination of clinical procedures. He made sure that he didn’t get caught and so continued to leave home as per the schedule. And to Parent’s relief, he no more was having any behavioral issues.….

     

    A few weeks passed peacefully and one night Rohan didn’t return from his counseling session. His mobile was unreachable. His counselor when approached informed that Rohan stopped coming for counseling therapy long time back. Everyone at home was shocked and terrified with a thought that if he stopped going for his counseling sessions then where was he going? Whom was he meeting? What was he doing all this while!

     

    Next day they got a phone call from a Police station. Rohan was found! The family rushed to the station and found Rohan inside the bars. The inspector informed that he was found creating nuisance in a nearby locality and almost tried to kill a person who refused to provide him a bottle of alcohol. With a common consent it was decided that Rohan had to be institutionalized till he recovers.  Rohan had lost all his decision-making and judgment skills. He was as good as a 5 year old cranky child.

     

    It took a year for Rohan to completely get de-addicted of alcohol. Soon he reverted to his professional life. He got placed with a leading IT company and is working really hard to achieve his sole goal in life. Now he doesn’t let any FAILURE affect him and handles it with Healthy coping skills.

    Excerpts from Rohan…….

    “I really didn’t know was that the alcohol addiction I was fighting for or my failures in life?” “Whatever it was I realize now Alcohol is not the solution to problems.” “But alcohol addiction is surely a path leading towards self-destruction.”

    Image source

    Yakata Sharma

    Clinical Psychologist|Masters with 4 years of experience

    M Sc Psychology, PhD Clinical Psychology
  • 02 Jan
    eWellness Expert

    How the Best Drug Rehabilitation Offers ‘Opportunity and a Sense of Light’: Recovering Addicts Share Their Stories

    pixabay

    Anxiety is a condition that many people are working to overcome — including many who are also struggling to conquer an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

     

    Unfortunately, people battling both anxiety and addiction often find that the conditions seem to work together to make life even more challenging. But we learned through our conversations with people in recovery that seeking treatment for their substance abuse issues can not only help them achieve lasting sobriety, it can also provide them the skills they need to cope with their anxiety.

     

    Here are a few personal stories from brave addiction survivors currently in recovery that we hope will not only help those struggling with addiction, but also help people searching for ways to cope with their anxiety.

     

    Cody turns to music to keep him sober and steady

     

    Cody admitted that his decision to seek treatment was riddled with fear — and on his first day at a rehabilitation center, he wasn’t sure he’d made the right choice.

     

    “When I first got [there], I was really scared. I was shaking — I was scared to death,” he said.

     

    To calm his anxiety, he turned to the one sober source of comfort he’d always been able to rely on: music.

     

    “I grabbed my guitar and there was literally a concert going on: everybody’s eyes were all on me, and it really changed my whole perspective,” he explained. “It’s probably the first time I ever actually played sober, and it felt really good. It gave me hope.”

     

    And it wasn’t just comforting. He said his sobriety and time in addiction treatment at Michigan’s Best Drug Rehabilitation truly inspired him:

     

    “I wrote more songs in the time that I’ve been [in treatment] than I have in my entire life.”

     

    Early on in his rehabilitation, he learned that there were ways to cope with his fears without having to turn to drugs or alcohol — a valuable lesson that he still relies on to get him through tough times.

     

    “I came to this realization that inner peace starts with the things around me, and I’ve always thought that it starts within myself,” he revealed. “Now it starts with the things around me.”

     

    Kenny learned how to get off of a debilitating ‘emotional roller coaster’

     

    For those fighting chronic anxiety, an addiction, or both, life certainly has its ups and downs — and Kenny said that’s especially true when you’re trying to find the path to a better way of living.

     

    “I often feel that when detoxing off any substance, you’re going through an emotional roller coaster,” he surmised.

     

    But he said his treatment helped him build a toolkit for dealing with his urges to use and his anxiety.

     

    He explained, “The main thing to do is to find certain things that take your mind off of the outside world, and off the facility and off of stress and tension — for me, that’s working out.”

     

    “I am working on finding my own personal happiness and lighting that flame inside of me,” he continued, “and I feel like once I find that happiness and it’s secure, then sobriety will be the least of what I’m worried about.”

     

    Megan finally got the help she needed after a decade of struggling

     

    Before seeking treatment for her cocaine and gambling addiction, Megan said achieving lasting mental wellness was a constant battle.

     

    “I have been inpatient for mental health issues, long-term, about four times,” she explained. “I was on psych meds for 12 years. At one point, I was on 16 different psych meds.”

     

    She was terrified to learn that as part of her treatment she would be taken off of her prescribed medication. She had no idea how she would be able to cope with the stress of life, not to mention her new life free of drugs and alcohol.

     

    But as it turned out, she found a surprising source of support — her recovery coaches.

     

    “A lot of them have experience in most of the issues that I deal with, and that’s a huge thing for me too, because I have been to places where people have only been trained and read books on addiction and mental health issues,” she said. “But you can’t really get it unless you experience it.”

     

    Her peers demonstrated a similar compassion and understanding that she said was crucial to her recovery:

     

    “Everyone’s very accepting. There’s next to no judgment around what has happened in your life or what you have done in your life, and everyone understands that this is a new start — and we are here to rebuild our lives from this point on.”

     

    Now days away from her graduation, she has more hope than ever for the future.

     

    “I haven’t been working because of my mental health issues,” she said. “I’m at a point now where I feel like after I leave here, I will be ready to go back to work.”

     

    Of course, not everyone with an anxiety disorder,  also suffers from addiction. But we think that much of what the recovery graduates told us offers wonderful insight for those whose anxiety feels like too much to bear. The little things in life we find joy in truly can be a wonderful source of comfort, be it an interest in music, people who understand our personal struggles, or even an active pursuit of happiness through a changed mindset.

     

    We all deserve to be happy, and if we’re having trouble finding it on our own, there is no shame in reaching out for help.

     

    As Kenny said, “If you have a second opportunity, you should take it and uplift it to the fullest because you don’t know when the opportunity might run short. [Going to treatment gave] me an opportunity and a sense of light.”

     

Book an appointment