Why Can’t we have Luxury to say ‘I am not Fine’?

”Why can’t we have the luxury of saying – ‘I am not fine’ when we actually feel so: not fine and emotionally down?”

This question is haunting me for a week and it all started when I asked a friend of mine, who is an expert in Psychology:  How are you feeling? He clearly seemed to be feeling down and mentally unhealthy. But his – simple reply was ‘All good, I am fine’. I am sure he might not want to share it but my question is: Would he say the same if he had a headache or fever or fractured hand? I am sure, no!

When WHO has defined Health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’; why cannot an individual has a luxury of saying ‘I am not feeling fine’ when they are in a low mood or feeling not good mentally?

 

No matter how much we try to advocate the change in awareness in mental well-being and how much we talk about our Emotional and Mental Health, unless we be true to our mental wellbeing and emphasize as it exactly like of Physical Health, it’s never going to be any different.

May be we are focusing so much on being strong and portrayal of Heroic figure or controlling our sadness, we force ourself not to speak up about it. May be we are teaching our kids to look stronger and not show our failures. So next time, if you are feeding your kid with these: make sure to remember: Health is the combination of Physical, Mental and Social-wellbeing and to fully function, you got to feel healthy in every ways.

Here are the few statements I tend to hear elders preaching or few songs expressing which I have reservation on. Watch it out, if you are doing the same next time:

  • If you are teaching your daughter – ‘Queen will always turn pain into Power’ or ‘Big girls don’t cry’. Stop right there, right then and there.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you feel happy or pleasure or excited or any other pleasant emotion, why cannot you feel suffocated or cry? Negative emotion is just another emotion. Tell them to Let it go, speak it out exactly like what you do with your positive ones.

  • ‘Sometimes all you can do is Chin up, Hold your tears and Move on’.
    But I ask you-Why?

Why should you ever do that if you feel like not doing so? Why can’t you have luxury to feel down and cry it hard if you wish to? Is there any crime in not feeling well, it’s your life and your have every right to feel anything you feel like. Let people know about it and seek help!

  • ‘All’s well that Ends Well (Or, In Hindi: Anta valaa toh sab valla)’.                                                                                                                                                                                                                Is it okay to suffer in the journey just with the hope of good end?
  • ‘Cowards Cry (Or, In Nepali: marda rudaina)’.

If you are saying so. Seriously?

Trust me, It’s okay to feel. You aren’t weak. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

  • ‘Its easiest to Pretend that you don’t care rather than to admit that it’s killing you’.

    I don’t think so. Pretending is never easy especially the thing you feel. Like John Lennon said my friend ‘One thing you cannot just hide is when you’are crippled inside’.  Also pretending does more harm to yourself.

Dear friend, the one-liners explaining how should you behave in Public or how should you control your emotions will remain in use in every language, in every culture and in every forms. We are brought up in the culture where expressing sadness or negative emotion is the sign of being coward or lazy or the sign of trying to get away from the reality. But psychological and emotion focused researches explains that being able to feel our feelings actually makes us stronger and more resilient. When we allow ourselves to fully experience our feelings, it actually help us sort out what we really want and think. Feeling helps outlef in a safe and healthy and we are actually less likely to act on them in destructive manner.

You can trust on psychological facts and figures that, it’s possible to feel hurt without acting victimized and feel anger without being destructive; it’s possible to feel fear without hiding and feel heartbreak without breaking down.

So when next time you are verbally feeding your kid or explaining your friend on how to behave or stop the sad feeling, think back and ask yourself: Would you do the same if he has bodily pain, would you still ask him to suppress the pain and tell him to be stronger?

I understand sharing can make one feel worse, but how can you say that without trying?. I am sure sharing your pain, insecurities, fear can be daunting sometimes; and here i am not saying it should be shared to every next person you see; but to the ones whom you trust and most importantly atleast to the counselor if you really want to be helped.

Since quoting John Lennon once again: ‘One thing you cannot just hide is – when you’are crippled inside’; so why try it when it’s going to do more harm then benefit, my friend!
Let it out!

 

 

 Psychology is not ‘just’ about Mental Health  

There are some issues if understood in time would be a good thing to take it to the long run. ‘Psychology is all about Mental Health’ is the one.

I am avidly promoting Mental Health through the work I am doing and constantly participating with other friends in the promotion of Mental Health; but at the same time being a student of Psychology first- I am little concerned when Psychology is limited to just the clinical perspective. And here is something I wanted to write for a long time to balance the view.
I am very much excited when Psychology is given emphasis these days. From the time when I started to study academic Psychology in under graduation to this time of my graduate Psych studies, there is a big difference on the way the mass is concerned about this subject and the way mass is starting to recognize it as the today’s need. There are many positive changes but I am concerned on the overall development of the field of Psychology.

Whenever we mention Psychology-the general view is ‘it is concerned with mental illness or mental well-being’. Many of the times, in programs, when psychologists are called- they are only made to talk about the topics of ‘Mental Well-being’. But to remind you again- Psychology is the scientific study of Human Behavior and Mental Process’. And when we talk about Human behavior and mental process, it can be anywhere and anything related to this.

Social Psychology is the one. It is basically concerned with the interaction of human in the society and yes it is also the Psychology.

Likewise, Industrial Psychology is another. How wonderful the recruitment process or HR Department would turn out to be if there are industrial Psychologists placed there. Don’t you think the productivity will just go up or better perform if they have someone to ‘scientifically study human behavior and mental process in the industrial setting?’ THINK ABOUT IT!

Likewise, Environmental Psychology is the next. I personally only knew about this topic when I was in first year of my Master’s program. How wonderful it would be to have someone in Kathmandu studying the human behavior around Bagmati River and help the people living around to make the effective and efficient progress to make it clean. Do you know ‘The Polluted Cloud you see in the horizon is very much responsible in degrading your formation of memory?’ How wonderful it would have been if we have Environment Psychologist recruited in the Agencies which work for promotion and betterment of Environment.

And to remind you again, there are many other.

HERE MY POINT IS- SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGIST, ENVIORONMENT PSYCHOLGIST, INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGIST DO NOT TREAT AN INDIVIDUAL CLINICALLY. THEY DO NOT GIVE COUNSELING. THEY ARE NOT WORKING IN THE SECTOR OF MENTAL HEALTH. BUT STILL…THEY ARE PSYCHOLOGIST.

Don’t you think it’s also time to give the space to those ‘diversity’ of psychology rather than thinking Psychology and just concerned with Mental Illness and modification of behavior.

Likewise, there are many fields of Psychology from Sports Psychology to School Psychology  and many many other fields. (Google can be a good friend to find about them more).

Here, my concern today is not regarding the career prospects of Psychology. We can find whole new prospects of career, it just depends on how much explorative you are. Here, my concern is ‘WHY don’t we see Psychology other than Mental Health?’

The biggest problem is the academic limitation in Nepal which gives very few options in the applied and academic setting.  Hence the students of Psychology in Nepal do not get the exposure in other varied subjects of Psychology. Clinical Psychology-Academic-Research-Social Psychology are few things which attract me in Psychology. I honestly am so glad to have seen the change regarding the recognition of Psychology in masses. I feel proud to be associated with the change. But I was little worried when a younger (who is interested in psychology) asked me suddenly:  ‘’Kripa didi, I want to study Psychology but I don’t want to work in clinical setting.’’ Poor thing!

Biggest concern here again, as a student, and a promoter of the field of Psychology- Let’s start talking about PSYCHOLOG-IES rather than PSYCHOLOGY.

And to everyone, who are students, who are not studying Psychology at all and specially to those young minds who thinks they should study psychology only if they want to work for mental health; I want to make it clear.This is NOT the Case. Feel free to explore. Its not about PSYCHOLOGY. There are PSYCHOLOGIES!

There are many fields you can hop in. If you are interested to study human behavior-mental process, there is not any field where we cannot integrate it. Feel free to explore. Feel free to take psychology in a different way.
We, as passionate promoter of Field Psychology, its again optimum time to emphasis on the research, social psychology, environmental psychology and many other aspects of PSYCHOLOGY to promote our field!

We are doing great job promoting Mental Health and awareness.  But don’t you think it’s the time to promote our FIELD as a WHOLE!

Manojigyasa Episode 7

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This is the podcast of the radio program Manojigyasa which was originaly broadcasted from Ujjyalo 90 Network. Manojigyasa is a program based on Psychology and Mental Health. This was originally broadcasted on January 2, 2016.

In this episode, we have dealt with:
1. The psychology of protest
2. Depression
3. Psychbigyaan tip to strengthen your mind

Here is the link to the podcast:

Manojigyasa Promo

Manojigyasa is our weekly radio program  exclusively  on the topic of psychology and mental health. This program is presented by Psychbigyaan Network Nepal with the support of US Embassy and GPYC Nepal. It airs every Saturday from 5:15 to 6:00 from Ujjyalo 90 Network.  The program is prepared and hosted by Sujan Shrestha and Kripa Sigdel.  It probably might be the first program of its kind in Nepal.

Twiiter chat on #MentalHealthNepal organized by #Psychbigyaan

snapshot of twiter chat

Twiiter chat on #MentalHealthNepal organized by #Psychbigyaan

-Psychbigyaan

On Saturday, 13 December 2014 Psychbigyaan organized the twitter chat on Mental Health condition in Nepal with professionals and stakeholders.  The event was held for an hour from NST 7 pm to 8 pm.

Notably three persons involved in Mental Health shared very important views about the condition of Mental Health in Nepal:  Sujen Man Maharjan who is working  as a  ‘psychosocial field officer’ in ICRC Nepal , Bijaya Gyawali who is a ‘practicing clinical psychologist’ in Japan and Dr. Anupam Pokharel, a ‘psychiatrist’ practicing now in Australia. Along with them several interested students of psychology were involved. In the question regarding the overall mental health condition in Nepal, the professionals held the belief that it disjointed in which in one extreme it is extremely medicalized and other extreme trivialized. Concerns were raised about its increasing importance but on the contrast less awareness and seriousness towards this neglected field. But some were optimistic with the recent development on the field.

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The issue of giving license to clinical psychologist with the proper recognition by the government and the collaboration of clinical psychologist with psychiatrist was discussed because their less collaboration has led to over medicalization of mental patients. The differences between the mental health system in the developed country like Japan and Nepal was discussed in which it was suggested Nepal should be focusing on producing more trained human resources.

Some of the psychology students raised the need of the proper documentation of the data and information regarding mental health so that they can be readily available and raised the question about the proper authority from which information can be extracted and obtained easily.

The topic of the mental tolling of civil war on the victims of it was also discussed. In the interaction the war victims were said to have been affected on various levels-individual, family, social and so on. Their integration was said to be possible if there would be disintegration of pre-existing relations and the acceptance from family and society at large.

The hot topic of suicide was also broached upon on the discussion. The cause for this in the modern time was suggested  mainly for increasing unemployment and decreasing social relations.  The stigmatization of mental problem in our society was considered to be the major barrier of reporting  of the mental problems to the concerned persons. This has led to the tragic consequence of increasing suicide even among educated youth as in the recent case of famous celebrity Alok Nembang. The solution suggested for de-stigmatization  of mental problem was the continuation of awareness in the large scale despite it taking too long time and it should be focused on all the professionals as well. The induction of mental health in the school curriculum was also suggested for the effective destigmatization.

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Finally on the question of the possible solutions for the problems related to mental health condition in Nepal, many solution were put forth. Mainly three solutions were put forth. The first one was with the government coming up with the proper mental health policy and enforcing it. Secondly the people should be made aware of the mental health problems and sensitize them and include mental health in the national school curriculum. Thirdly we should focus on producing more trained professionals for this field.

Henceforth, the one hour lively and interesting twitter chat came to an end with the positive feedback from the participants. The participants were hopeful of such social media discourse in the coming future as well.

BBC Nepali weekly discussion Program

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bbc nepali weekly discussion featured the discussion on mental health on 15th November 2014 with mental health activist Matrika Devkota and psychiatrist Dr. Arun Raj Kunwar. The discussion was focussed specially on depression led suicide and other mental health problems in general. The symptoms and effects of depression , the mentality of people with regard to metal health condition and the diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems including depression were the content of the discussion. Listen to the podcast of the program clicking the link below:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nepali/multimedia/2014/11/141115_nayanepal15

(P.S. The hotline number for Suicide Prevention Helpline Nepal is 9840021600 . Save in your mobile and spread the message in case of emergency assistance)