Mental Illness in Kashmir

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Anxiety Disorder and Depression
By Gowher Bhat
  All people succumb to unresolved feelings in their lifetime, mostly in response to economic, social, personal tragedies., However, if a person or family member, displays an overabundance of worry, all the time, it may be due to a form of a Mental Illness called Anxiety Disorder.  Anxiety Disorder is unable to make a person, carry out routine tasks, which breaks down their emotional defenses.
    In severe cases, they tend to awfulize adverse situations, before it even happens. This symptom is an indicator their condition is worsening. It affects their physical health, by experiencing uncontrollable shaking, and crying, displaying frustration and anger. Physically they might experience their heart pound fast. They might seem listless and tired all the time, thinking they have an illness doctors cannot cure.
    Individuals with Anxiety Disorder panic about carrying out everyday tasks, like waking up in the morning, traveling, uncomfortable about speaking to people, or be in a crowded space. In such cases, they feel hopeless and helpless, and they’re obsessive thoughts overwhelms them by overthinking.
        It is essential if you notice any of these symptoms in your family members, children, or friends. Suggest that they need to seek professional help. Constant worry can severely affect their employment, and relationships that may lead them to a severe measure like attempting to take their own life. Do not shun these symptoms, or dismiss them, they are suffering and can’t help themselves.  Show compassion, listen and recognize the symptoms.  This mental illness is curable with medication, psychotherapy, change of routine and having a strong faith.
        In 2015 a survey was taken in the Kashmir Vally according to the Research Summary written by ­­­­­­­­­­­­ by Baba Tamim, 3 Sept 2016.  He outlines that 45% of Kashmiri people have some mental illness like Anxiety Disorder, Depression, or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. In the past 15 years, Kashmiri people in the valley show significant growth in these disorders by mental health practitioners.
    I’m writing this atoward to educate the citizens of Kashmir to understand the uprising epidemic that’s plaguing our state. I have gone through many of these symptoms myself, and without the help of a knowledgeable psychiatrist along with medication, my results would be grim.  In the past decade, statics show that Anxiety Disorder has taken control of the population in Kashmir. With the social issues, economics and military influences, Kashmiri citizens have shown symptoms of these illnesses.
        Mental Illness is not prejudiced and can attack anyone, at any age.
    Zahid Ashraf is a well-rounded person, he’s a university student in IGNOU University, and working hard towards obtaining his Master’s Degree in Psychology.  He’s employed and well established. He was stricken with this disorder when his fiancee left him unexpectedly, and he grew depressed and anxious. He had trouble functioning and focusing on his job and stopped going to university.  He said he felt so out of control that his family isolated themselves from him because they thought he was losing his mind. His behavior was severe that he was admitted into the hospital and diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety Disorder. If it was not for a compassionate social worker, Gamgeen Majeed Narabali who recognized his behaviors and convinced him by supporting him emotionally and spiritually; his outcome would be very different today. I can not stress to you enough the importance of not underestimating any one’s pain whether it’s physical or mental.
    Zahoor Hussain Hakeem, 36 years-old, has a Political Science Degree, He’s obtained his B.E.D. He was unemployed for an extended period; economic pressures were beating him into the ground. Zahoor was not satisfied with his current situation and fell into a deep depression. He considered taking his life, but he knew if he succeeded it would be sinning. He received advise to attend a group counseling session that Gamgeen Majeed Narabali was giving on Mental Health and spoke with him. He was immediately put on medication by a doctor and is now feeling hopeful about himself, working any job he could.
          I’ve worked and seen first hand how crippling this illness could be. It affects woman as well as men. A woman may have not enough food to feed her family. Her husband works hard, and she does not want to tell him that he’s not bringing home enough money. They have no furniture to sit on or beds to sleep. Their children are wearing torn clothes because she can’t afford material to sew. She stays up nights worrying about how she is going to fix this. She fears what will happen in the winter when she can’t give her child a coat to wear when it is cold and snowing. She feels there is nowhere to go for help. Instead of seeking assistance, she is paralyzed by this disorder and does not want to be labeled crazy.
         Men have the same worries and wonder if they can support their families on his income. His wife is having another child, how is he going to afford the medical fees. They wonder if he will lose his job and his wife and children are going to starve. Will people condemn him and call him a vagabond loser, shamed in front of his family and friends. He worries, intensely if this will happen to him and how is he going get through this.
        I  have interviewed ten people, eight of them are feeling the pressures and worrying extensively about how they are going to survive. I also came upon a man who wanted to take his own life. He thought he was a sinner and there was no hope and felt helpless. The social issues in the Kashmir have been disturbing,  with the military and curfews put into place. People shot because of the protest, wondering if one of their family member’s will be next.
        Gamgeen Majeed Narabali, Social Work Chairman Committee of Kashmir has devoted his life to humanitarian issues and has given seminars on Mental Health, like Anxiety Disorder and Depression and will continue his quest Throughout his mature life; he has supported anyone who sought for help, whether it was materialistic or emotional. He said, “he is always ready to help people and sacrifice his life upon humanity and for the sake of God. If anybody needs my kidney, I can give that also not only blood. My heart is ripping apart when I see people of Kashmir facing Mental Health Illness.  I try my best to educate people.” He is not only considered to be a good human being amongst the citizens of Kashmir but is referred to as an angel.
        He has lifted people from their terrible despair and proved to them there life is worth living, by giving spiritual and emotional support. We need more people like him to encourage the residents of Kashmir of all ages and to follow the word of God and seek medical assistance when needed. We don’t need people hiding from their illness because their afraid what people might label them. We need Kashmiri people, to pull together and help each other. I believe if everyone lends a helping hand in supporting each other like Gamgeen majeed narabali, our existence will prevail  our life will be rich with knowledge and rewards.
(The author can be reached at gowherbhat866@gmail.com)