Major life events like death of a spouse or a close family member, divorce, change of residence, marriage etc are main sources of stress in life depending on the amount of readjustment in life we have to undergo in response to that event. Diferent people react to these stressors in different ways depending on many factors including their genetic vulnerability, childhood experiences, their beliefs and assumptions, current life situation and other stresses and their coping ability.
An appropriate emotional reaction based on reasonable intensity, frequency, duration and without affecting self esteem and important areas of life is normal and healthy. Abnormal emotional reactions stem from our irrational thoughts and negative meaning and perceptions we give to that event. It is important to mention here that at times this negative or irrational thinking may lead to abnormal reactions to an apparently minor event or without any event.
So we have the choice and option to react in the manner we like no matter how big the event is. Why we choose the self defeating or unhealthy option is related to multiple factors mentioned above but also related to the fact that we are mostly unaware of ourselves and hardly give anytime to improve our coping ability and resilience.
Consequently we are witnessing this crumbling under stress, increasing no of suicides, suffering, pain, nervous breakdowns, sleepless nights, pills, shattered hopes, no peace and paralysed cognitive abilities. This is pertinent to mention here that according to WHO , depressive disorders shall become no 1 cause of global burden of illnesss by 2030.
This is a wake up call for all of us otherwise deluge of pessimism arising from personal tragedies, poverty , terrorism and other stressors is going to engulf millions. And we or a very near and dear one may just be one of the unfortunate victims!
At a personal level we can protect ourselves from this danger by enhancing our self awareness, develop our spiritual resources, refine our problem solving and social skills, modify our irrational beliefs, assumptions and perceptions and adopt healthy life styles. At a collective level we can support the cause of education and training in this all important area.
We hope that Hopeful Pakistan shall be providing a forum which shall be fullfilling some of these needs for promotion of mental health.