What is the mental situation of people after the three months of the disaster

Sujen Man Maharjan in the article below has given a glimpse of what the situation situation of people on the ground after the three months of the disaster. In the article the writer has given fugurative possibility of the psychological morbidity with caution not to pathologize the symptoms. It’s an informative read to become aware of the situation. Read the full article in the link below:

3 months on: What is the status of mental health and psychosocial support in Nepal?

I WAS NOT CRAZY, JUST DEPRESSED.

depressed

-Ashmita Karki

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It was hard to wake up in the morning. It was more difficult to get back to sleep if I woke up in the middle of night or at the earliest dawn. I could shut my eyes lying supine on my bed but hardly fall asleep. God knows how many nights I had spent just loitering on the balcony outside my room, not because I didn’t want to sleep but for I COULD NOT fall asleep in all likelihood. Pills could have worked, had I tried to give it a shot. But, I wanted to believe on what people always say- Time heals everything, every bruises, every ails, leaving you scarred but with a hope that it would shrink gradually. Give time, calm yourself, and by and by you’ll be all better.

I would not come out of my room for hours. I would not need no fresh air. I would need neither empathetic kiths nor sympathetic kins to provide me emotional solace since I had started to believe that they would do all bark but no bite to me, just all in vain. I would not let anyone in my room, let alone let myself out. People who occasionally were allowed in certainly thought of me as the meanest girl alive because either I would stay deaf-mute the whole time they tried to start a conversation or just simply ask them to let me be and leave. I still remember how I used to break down at every tiny issue just by their reminiscence, keep my emotions bottled up rather than dealt with and would just curl into a ball so helpless, so frail. Even a 60 db two people talk would be intolerant and annoy me just as a chattery crowded market. Needless to say, I had become a desirer of solitude, colossal solitide, which is clearly a full-bore wrong turn to any sane person. Waking up with heavy head and sluggish wetty eyes, eating like a bird and limping back to my room where I would sleep from afternoon till twilight, dining and then struggling to sleep all night had been a daily routine, a routine that seemed incessant, a routine that I had thought I’d have to live with my entire life.
One day, I even overheard my grand-mom talking to my mom about my emotional state. “Has your daughter gone crazy?”

Mom knew I was going through distress and that it was hard for me to unearth it. I had a mental problem and a big bunch of people outside, had a problem with that. That then led her to see a psychotherapist for me. Tricyclic antidepressant as they said some selective serotonin inhibitors along with psychosocial therapy were which they put me under. The therapist came into my life like a god-father, like my guardian angel and shaped a completely different person out of me,that makes me who I am today. He helped me escape the dungeon I was buried into and showed me path to the way that led to a beam of hope. He resurrected my soul, revived my sloping spirit that was on the brink of collapse and instill an optimism that a little something was still there inside me, glowing, just an old yet naive rayon perhaps, for the flame certainly long snuffed out. He used to say- “What you have in your bones, the real instinct you possess, makes who you are. Often, you digress and lose that instinct, howbeit it never dies out because that thing that you feel deep in your bowels is like a boomerang that comes back one day. Might get lost along way but sure does it backfire to the place it belongs.” And, the boomerang was my identity, my happy-as-a-lark-identity.
One fine morning, the second week of the therapy, he held a glass from the table and showed it to me. I was sure he was going to ask me the “Half-empty/ Half-filled” question. Instead, he asked me the weight of the glass. I guessed 50 grams, 60 grams. After a brief twitch of his lips, he pulled a chair and sat in-front of me and continued- “The weight of the glass is not what concerns you. How long you hold it for is. If I hold it for a minute, I’ll feel nothing just a 10 oz glass on my hand. If I hold it for an hour, it’ll hurt my hand but if I hold it for a day, it will benumb my hand, might even paralyze. The weight, although remains the same, will feel heavier if you keep holding the glass for a long duration. Stress is like a glass. The longer you hold, the deeper you feel the ache. Just as your reflex commands you to drop the glass once you start feeling the ache, make your conscience let you shed off the stress you’ve been holding onto for a long period of time. And by and by, every bit of your torn inside and out forgathers to the form.” That example of the glass struck me real deep like it got etched inside me like a graffiti, ineraseable. That explanation fished me out of the doom and gloom which contained me for all the world and changed my life for good for ever.

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Since then I’ve been trying to live the real meaning of life every moment. I got all my feathers to fly and all my vigor to try. I realized that the be-all and end-all of life lies on how you choose to live it. While dealing with mental disintegrity, there’s no strike-now-or-else-the-iron-cools rule. All you’ve got to do is pace it slow, take it simple and to the top, do not let it aggravate. Which music enthusiast doesn’t know about Syd Barrett, founder member of Pink Floyd, guitarist, vocalist and composer? Which movie maniac might not have watched “A Beautiful Mind” that clearly portrays the struggle and success of mathematician, John Forbes Nash, also a Noble prize winner in Economics. Oh! not to forget, THE Robin Williams. Do I need to mention JK Rowling, author of Harry Potter to all you reading addicts out there or Sylvia Plath or Charles Dickens? All of these mega minds, despite being mentally ill, gave notable contributions to the planet in no way lesser than the wise heads in their best health. What I’m trying to put forth is that one might not be perfectly fit if we peek at the depth of their illness. But, let’s spare a little time to look at the beautiful mind they’ve got that can mend so many things around if they get the proper treatment. If a moment of attention and affection can give them a cherishable life ahead and help them witness a bright light at the end of the tunnel, why shouldn’t/don’t we step ahead? Why do we treat them like a beast which if gets unchained, will hurt us? After treating a human so ruthlessly, if you tag yourself with sanity, then I am not sorry to say that you are the insanest person alive. Who do we wait for to break this chain of stigma and rediscover a whole new definition of mental illness? Do we want to be that stigma that keeps them from seeking medical help with the fear of isolation and those illogical taboos? I, from the blood-red core of my heart, step ahead to unleash the chain of stigma, rooted in our society. DO YOU??

(The writer is student of Bachelor in Public Health. She is interested to work on Mental Health. She is also a blog writer.This article initially published on her own blog : http://ashmitawrites.blogspot.com/2015/03/i-was-not-crazy-just-depressed.html?spref=fb )

Experiencing bipolar disorder

bipolar-symptoms

Jagannath Lamichhane writes about the person’s experience suffering from Bipolar disorder in today’s The Kathmandu Post. Bipolar disorder as characterized by mood swings oscillating between mania and depression is very damaging to a person’s mental health which is portrayed nicely here in the article through personal conversation. We all should know the prime importance of mental health as the person with bipolar disorder rightly puts , “Throughout my life, I have learnt closely
that there is no health without mental health.”

To read the full article click on the link below:
www.ekantipur.com/2015/04/03/oped/matters-of-the-mind/403600.html#.VR4Da5B5tJY.twitter

Insufficient services; A hurdle for Autistic kids

autism

Kritika Lamsal

It is one of those memories that will haunt me until I am nothing but ashes. I remember the day vividly, as if it were
yesterday. I stand in the living room in my white kurthi with an earring in my hand and the other one dangling from my
left ear. The dusk is near as the sun rays leave shadowy patterns on the white rug, turning it slightly red. Abruptly, I hear my mother yell, “He is nowhere to be found; Kastup is lost.” I feel numb. I know I should go comfort her but I could not move my feet. The world stops for a while and leaves me gasping for air. I go and hold her tightly, her tears wetting my curls. I cannot process anything with all the racket and noise. I finally feel something, a warm yet wet sensation on my cheeks. And it didn’t stop the whole night.

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We always knew that Kastup was “quirky” — that something isn’t quite adding up.
When Kastup was a toddler, he never actually communicated, he liked staying aloof. Even by the time he was two years old, he showed no interest in communicating, and never called for “Mama” or “Dada.” He used to sit on
the corner trying his best to flutter the bits of torn up newspapers. He did like crayons, but all he did was scribble
all over the paper. He usually stayed calm but when we changed our routine even by the tiniest manner, he was
outraged. Sadly, since he didn’t know how to use words to express his feelings, he shouted. Looking at his arrogant nature, we presumed that we pampered him a bit too much.His side of the story was never understood. Nine years ago, finally, our family had an answer. Kastup was diagnosed with Autism.

On 21st April 2014, Kastup was not home. He wandered off home and couldn’t make his way back. We spent the evening visiting police stations and local radio
stations pleading with them to broadcast the notice that he’d gone missing. Calls flooded our phones; I picked up every
one with a glimpse of hope of news about him, which faded away as soon as I heard a voice on the other end saying, “Don’t worry. He will be fine. We understand what you are going through.” He was not fine. He is scared of the dark. I imagined him bundled up in a cold dark place over a thousand times. Others would not understand what we were going through.
That is the day I realized that Nepal just doesn’t have services that could help differently able kids like Kastup.
If only there were Autism-friendly services, my brother wouldn’t have gone missing the whole night.

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“We found Kastup”, my dad says, over the phone. A pedestrian had found him on the road, crying and reported it to one of the police stations. When I caught a glimpse of
him, I was relieved but angry. Not angry at him — but at the fact that we were so helpless. Those 14 hours without him were the darkest hours of my life. And it changed me. Fast forward three months, I am here in Seattle. It is different from home. While most notice the differences in
food and air, I notice the differences in services people are provided. Specifically, the ones given to individuals on the
Autism spectrum.

According to the research by American Psychological Association (APA), early diagnosis and intervention services
can help kids move out of the Autism spectrum or at the least improve. Laura Schreibman, PhD emphasizes
“Delaying a diagnosis can mean giving up the significant gains of intervention that have been demonstrated before age
6. Early intervention can even prevent regression of communication and social skills in some cases”.

Supriya Tamang, who is currently pursuing her undergraduate at St. John’s College, Santa Fe, has an autistic sister back
in Nepal. “After coming to the States, I could easily observe the stark inconsistencies in the situation of autistic kids in Nepal from here. There are so many institutions specializing in various facets offering services in form of training,
treatments, financial aid and interventions to make autistic kids as qualified as the rest. Sometimes I wonder how easy it would have been for my family, especially my sister, if we would have been born here. But it is not only about her.What would the rest of the kids do?”

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“Even though the organizations like Autism Care Nepal (ACN) and the Government have been doing a great deal of work, it almost seems impossible to bridge the gap that is seen between these countries. Even if we had 25 percent of
the privileges provided here, the situation would be so much better.”, says Tamang.
Arzu Forough, a mother of an autistic child from Kirkland who founded Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy,
wrote on the blog of WAAA “A child should be able to be evaluated, be assessed, get a treatment plan and for that
treatment to be covered by insurance without this unending loop that families and providers have to jump through.” If
her statement would come true, more underprivileged families could get a better shot at treatments which will
undoubtedly improve the situations of families and individuals with Autism.
In well off nations, various institutions are found catering to autistic kids, in the form of rehabilitation, education, insurance, training, interventions and even allowance. People aren’t privileged with such services back home and have to fly off across borders to get them.

The flashback to three months ago hits me again. If only he was trained enough, he wouldn’t have been lost. He could
have found a way back home! And we wouldn’t have had to feel the way we felt. If only we had the services, Kastup
could have been diagnosed early on and could have a chance at an early intervention. He could have experienced
improvements which could have landed him a seat in one of the ‘normal’ schools.
If only had we gotten such services, our family would not have had to go through the devastation.

But the reality revolves around ‘can’; not ‘could’. This is why I have been doing what I can. Be it telling my closest
of friends to not use the word ‘retarded’ or advocating for Kastup or others like him. I feel responsible, not only for him but all the others. I almost feel like a defender in a
soccer game, preventing my team from getting hit by goals; protecting them from the unfairness in the world.

However, there is still hope. “A barren land has a capacity to produce more yield. Lack of opportunities means that you have a greater chance of creating your own. Nepal might experience the same thing,” says Tamang. When I visited the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation , one
of its walls said “What will your dream organization do?”

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and a girl had written. “My organization would strive for an autism friendly world.” Hopefully, a day will come when wishes take shape of reality.

( This article was originally published in The Seattle Globalist www.seattleglobalist.com/2014/07/18/insufficient-services-a-hurdle-for-autistic-kids/27550 a year ago. It is republished with the prior permission of the writer. This article was written in the context of the writer’s short stay in the USA)

About the author:

Kritika Lamsal is an undergrad student of Development . She has written for publications like Navyaata Magazine, Dreams Magazine and Kathmandu Foodies. When she is not glued to the computer screen, she can be seen
experimenting with food in her kitchen.

Green card is not so green

Fed up with the country’s stagnant political and economic scenario, every educated Nepalese dream of getting settled in developed countries like America. This is more evident by the huge surge of applications for DV every year. But do people realize the mental toll it takes to settle in a new place? This piece details the story of a Nepali immigrant in the US which is seriously worth considering..

http://global.setopati.com/america/377/

Mental illness and suicide in Nepal : their corelations

A very lucid analysis of the relationship between mental illness and suicide in Nepal from Nepali times article. It depicts the scenario of the increasing trendz of suicide with proper data on the age-group, sex and region wise. The underlying reasons found for the suicide has been  mental illness that is left untreated for the most of the cases. This article stresses for public awareness, destigmatization and proper counseling and medication for the holistic solution of this problem. To read the full article, click on the link below:
http://nepalitimes.com/page/suicide-in-nepal