It’s been nearly 4 months of the earthquake. But frankly the remnants of the fear are still lurking in my mind. On top of that the frequent jumpy aftershock reinforces the fear. I guess people are slowly coming to the terms of the earthquake and want to dump it into their sub-consciousness as best as possible. But it seems the scar of the earthquake is to be here for some time in the people’s mind.
In this article I would like to share my own experience. I didn’t experience the major earthquakes because I was outside the country. In that sense I might be lucky. But the ripple effect of the earthquake definitely touched my mind. After 18 days of the earthquake I came back to Nepal. It was very much disheartening to see the fragile mental condition especially of my family members and the people. It is true that fear is contagious and this constant anxiety of the people and the uncertain nature of the earthquake have made the environment fearful. That fear has somehow sipped inside me as well. And aftershocks are there to make the matter worse.
The peculiarity of my anxiety is that at day time the fear doesn’t come in but at the night-time when I lay on the bed to sleep then slowly my mind ruminates about the questions such as what if the earthquake is to come while I’m sleeping. And the thought spikes the fear. The fear slowly replaces the sleepiness. Even the dogs barking begins to bother. Initially I have found this to be very much distressing as I didn’t have any ways to solve my fear. But aftersome time I learned to trick my mind. As soon as the fear starts to creep in then I close the door of my mind and get myself immersed in my fantasy and wonderful imaginations. I would like to call this fantasy and imagination as ‘mental storytelling’. It is like telling a story to your mind, feeding your mind with escapism. And the next thing I would be waking up not knowing when I fell asleep the last night. I try to make my imagination and fantasy as exciting as possible. For example one time I fantasized about receiving Nobel Prize and becoming famous in the world. In another instance I imagined to be a rich person and what I would be doing with the money. Like this I fantasize which doesn’t let the mind to fall prey upon the fear. This method has proved its worth to me and has given me a good sound sleep.
Mind should not be let to be your commander but instead you should able to control and manipulate to your own benefit. The mastery over one’s own mind empowers the person. Sometimes our thoughts get distorted and we might think in the wrong way. This happens to everybody but we should be able to manipulate our mind to make it think in our way to diffuse the distortions. This strategy of mine follows the same classic example of cognitive behavioural therapy.
We don’t necessarily have to seek help from others all the time. Often the times we are equipped with enough resources to solve the problem on our own. For that we have to acknowledge it as a problem, the problem of faulty thinking then channelize out thought to its rightful course. The wonderful thing about mind is that it can trick you or it can be tricked by you. The choice is yours !!
( The writer is the president of PNN and chief editor of psychbigyaan blog)