The Stigma of Mental Illness in Pakistan

‘Paagal’ – isn’t that what they call everyone with a mental illness in Pakistan?

To a great percentage population of Pakistan, anyone with a mental illness is quickly labeled as ‘paagal’ (mad). It doesn’t matter what kind of illness it is – a mild case of depression or hallucinating schizophrenia – the label remains constant: paagal.

Recent studies have revealed that cases of depression and anxiety have been on the rise. Yet in Pakistan only a fraction of them actually seek professional help. The lack of awareness coupled with the taboo has left patients with an actual mental illness helpless.

A common misconception here is that depression is temporary; triggered by short-term events that cause low moods. The truth is it’s not temporary and the low moods persist for a long time even after problems have been solved.

mental-health-1420801_1920

Depression occurs on a cellular level in the brain and is cause by low levels of a neurotransmitter serotonin.

Similarly, anxiety is much more than just stress. It is also caused by disturbed levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. The medical basis of both anxiety and depression make them actual mental illnesses that need therapy and even pharmacological intervention.

The stigma surrounding mental illnesses is imminent in Pakistan. Socioeconomic wellbeing is affected not only because of the illness itself but because of how the society reacts to it.

The solution: education.

Sadly, the answer isn’t as simple as a 9-letter word. Education needs time and shattering generations-built myths and taboos need courage. Starting from an individual level and spreading the right knowledge among those around you is what can make the stigma around mental illnesses a little less burdensome.

Next >>

 

Advertisements

Beauty Within

Written by Sumayya Feroz

According to our society’s standards a person is only beautiful if he or she has a fair skin tone. The people with dark skin tone mostly get bullied from their childhood by their friends, teachers, relatives and specially the old age aunties which are found in every family who have right to criticize every one’s appearance, these type of persons can find “a mole” on some one’s face but not beauty in the heart. God knows who gave them this right to judge a person like some show piece. Due to this fairness craze girls use different whitening creams which contain huge amount of mercury, steroids and other harmful chemicals, in the beginning these creams give you a fair colour and then after some time the skin condition get worse.

People out there listen to me very carefully; you are beautiful in your own way.

A pearl is pearl either it is black or white nothing can bring down its value. Your creator made you in the best form. And the people who humiliate you have an inferiority complex so they get satisfaction by laid down others. When someone can’t do something good by themselves then they criticize others who are better than them in any way.

If someone asks me ever where we can find beauty or what is beauty? I can easily say beauty is everywhere, beauty is in the world, beauty is in the white and beauty is in the black.

Love you All

Muqabil (review) Episode 21 – 22

For the past two months, Muqabil has slowed down a great deal. I feel that in one episode they show the happenings of only one day (in terms of the time span being shown) . And that might be the reason why they have so many filler scenes and so many conversations that don’t seem to be going anywhere. We all do that at home with our family members, right? But when we are watching a serial, we want each and every scene to somehow contribute to the progress of the story. Unfortunately for the past several episodes, Muqabil has been full of such futile conversations. However the good thing about Muqabil is just when I’m losing hope, it hits me with a shock, a surprise, a twist in the story which is completely unpredictable.

Since arman found the truth about his father, the story was going round in circles. Although I did understand what arman was going through, I found it a little difficult to digest many of his dialogues even with his flawless acting. I kind of knew that arman is angry with Pareesa because he thought that Pareesa has used him against his own father as revenge but it came a lot later than I expected. The conversation between arman and Pareesa should have been in the previous episode. That might have saved us from a lot of tantrums that arman has been throwing since. Anyway, better late than never. Perhaps they wanted everyone to feel and sympathise with arman. So yes, great scene where Pareesa is trying really hard to save her marriage with arman because she loves him and arman is just trying hard to get away from all of them because he considers himself the real victim here. I really liked his dialogues and the way they both delivered them (Mohsin Abbas needs to improve his urdu a bit more) and what was the best part of the episode was the last bit! Yes, arman’s mother has overheard them! And with her screaming capabilities, I’m hoping she will be able to tell the rest of the world.

I have watched na maloom afraad and I thought kubra khan and Mohsin Abbas haider were the real weak links of the movie. Fast forward a few years and they have turned into a treat to watch. They have an amazing chemistry, great on screen presence and impeccable acting skills. The way Mohsin Abbas haider looked at kubra khan in the last scene when she was leaving the room was done so well. The expression on his face was that of a man who was completely helpless: someone so deeply in love but who has no choice but to let go of his love.

So anyway, now that arman’s Mommy hopefully knows the truth, I’m expecting a power packed and happening episode next week. I hope they don’t drag it further and can finish it off in 24-25 episodes.

 

Why she stayed?

Silicon Valley CEO abused wife for 10 years, jailed for 30 days only

Yes, you read it correctly. Only 30 days.

And what angered me more was that the judge actually asked her why she stayed for so long?

And since I have read this, I have been thinking the same, why she stayed? She was an educated, independent woman who was an engineer at Apple. She should not have tolerated this abuse even for a day. How did she let it be for 10 years?

But is it really so easy to get out of abusive relationships?

Unfortunately, no. It’s not easy at all. It’s in fact, very difficult.

Abuse is very common, a lot more than we think. In fact, we overlook it most of the times. It’s something we don’t want to talk about, scared that people might be judgemental towards us. But by doing that we also make our loved ones feel that being a victim of abuse is something to be embarrassed about. Also, if the abuse is psychological, we often don’t pay heed at all.

Abusers have one goal in mind: to take (and mainten) control over the victim. To do so, they can choose any method: fear, intimidation or guilt to make sure the victim does not ask for help or try to get out of the situation.

All abusive relationships work in a cycle: the tension build up, the explosion and the honeymoon period. The explosion is the time when the abuse actually happens and can be triggered by something very petty and the honeymoon period is the time when the abuser pretends to act sweet and tries to win over the victim again. This is also the time when although the abuser apologises for his/her behaviour but also makes sure to tell the victim that it was only the victim’s actions that forced the abuser into committing that act. Victims of abuse over time loose confidence and start believing this lie slowly and gradually that it’s their fault to be in such a situation.

One of the many reasons why Neha Rastogi decided to stay with her abusive husband Abhishek Ghattani for 10 years. Because she loved him. And because she believed him when he told her that every time he abused her, it was her mistake.

But that’s not the only reason I must say. Victims often start doubting themselves: what if I will be unable to cope? What if he really will change just like he promised me last week? And things like this only make the victim fall deeper into the abyss.

And then of course the social stigma. Since childhood, girls are bombarded with the idea of them being the damsel in distress who would be saved by their knights in shining armour. They dream of their weddings and divorce is often seen as a failure of being a good wife and/or mother.

And then finally when a victim musters all the courage to actually take action, the judge asks her, “Why did you stay for so long?”

 

Yakeen ka safar (review) Episode 1

Post edited by Warda moeed Siddiqui

 

Written by: Farhat ishtiaq

Directed by: Shahzad Kashmiri

Cast:

Sajal Ali, Ahad Reza mir, Shaz Khan, Hira Salman

I have been waiting for a while for this serial. The main reason being that I have read the novel ‘woh yakeen ka naya safar’ several years ago and fell in love with the romance between Dr asfand and Dr zubia. I recently read it again only because it was getting difficult for me to wait for it to start. However it’s going to be difficult but I will try my best not to compare the serial with the novel because Farhat ishtiaq herself announced on her fan page that although the serial is based in the novel, the serial will be a lot more detailed.

The first episode showed three girls from three completely different backgrounds.

  1. Noori is an educated girl in a village called Rab Nawaz Village. She is a school teacher is considered very ambitious due to the Conservative environment in the village. She is abducted and like a lot of men in pakistan, her father blames her for this. He is embarrassed and does not want to go the police because he thinks that he will become the laughing stock for everyone for letting his daughter pursue her dreams.
  2. The second one is zubia (Sajal Ali) who lives in karachi. Her father (Ehteshamuddin) is a very conservative patriarch. Her mother (fazeela qazi) has recently passed away and zubia is devastated. Her father is unable to understand the gravity of the situation as he never valued his wife ever in her life and is only doing rituals sans any emotions. Zubia’s Khala, Mahjabeen (Huma nawab) tries consoling her and also tells her brother and bhabi to take extra care of zubia as she was very close to her deceased mother. Her father, on the other hand, although considers himself very religious but he lets no chance go by where he can other people’s feelings.
  3. Finally is the beautiful Gaiti (Hira Salman) who is getting married to Daniyal (Shaz Khan) after a six year long engagement period. Daniyal was in England during this time, studying to become a lawyer. Daniyal is Gaiti’s cousin and it seems her younger sister  is also engaged to Daniyal’s younger brother Asfand who is pursuing his mbbs currently. This track was the only relief during this high intensity episode.

Over all, I quite enjoyed the first episode. Every one looks good for their roles. Sajal Ali and Hira salman look beautiful. But as far as the performance goes, Sajal Ali was definitely the best. When the serial was announced and I found out the Sajal Ali will be playing the role of Dr zubia, I wasn’t completely convinced but her performance in the first episode was beyond awesome and I’m glad she was chosen for this role.

Did any of watch the first episode?

Muqabil (review) Episode 18 – 19

One word – wow!

The last 2 episodes of Muqabil proved that pakistani actors are immensely talented. All they need is a good script and a director who can push them in right direction and they can do wonders.

So the big secret is out as Arman knows who violated Pareesa as a child. He probably tried to commit suicide but was somehow saved and was brought into a hospital. Almost 20 minutes of the previous episode were spent on showing the reactions of all the people involved, while they were searching for Arman and i was cursing ARY for showing that Arman would be in hospital in the precap of the previous episode.

I’m glad Arman didn’t suffer from amnesia and clearly remembers the conversation he had with Pareesa in the pool. Arman had a difficult time seeing his father and his wife in the same room and rightly so. Pareesa asks everyone, including Mehmood, to leave as she wanted to stay with her husband. I loved the ‘woh Meri Zindagi hai’ dialogue btw. During the night she realised that Arman is perhaps angry with her and doesn’t want to see her in the morning and she goes back to her parents home. On the other hand Arman’s mother is sensing that it’s something to do with his mental state as his physical wounds are not so serious.

The last two episodes were full of extraordinary scenes. I really enjoyed the two conversations between Pareesa and Mehmood’s confrontation in last two episodes. Pareesa and Arman’s conversation in hospital was heart wrenching. Mohsin Abbas was phenomenal in that scene. The way his eyes overflowed with tears was a tear jerker for me as well. I also liked how Pareesa just went and hugged her father, it was really cute. But of course my favourite was the one where Mehmood tries to make dua and Arman feels disgusted of his father and throws up. Mohsin Abbas is a power house of absolute talent. This scene had such a great impact due to his impeccable acting.

Both Kubra Khan and Asif Reza Mir are doing a great job but Saba Hameed needs a mention here too. She is such an amazing actress that we take her for granted and often even forget to praise her hard work. Her dressing and make up is always on point and the way she has handled the character development in Muqabil, it needs to be applauded.

The preview of the next episode was quite intense and now i just can’t wait for next week. Here’s hoping a happy ending for both Pareesa and Arman.

Edited by Warda Moeed Siddiqui

Muqabil (review) Episode 9 – 11

Fahad Mustafa might be a great actor and host but I have always hated the drama serials produced by him. Muqabil is surely changing that opinion of mine about him.

Pareesa is now married to arman and arman is making it clear how smitten he is by her. Pareesa being a victim of child abuse is scared of being touched and she tells arman that they can only stay in the marriage as friends and not like a normal married couple. Arman assumes that Pareesa might have been in love with someone else and that’s why she does not want to be intimate with him. On the other hand, no matter how strong Pareesa tries to pretend to be, she is extremely affected by the way she was violated as a child. Arman, being the good person he tries his best to make Pareesa comfortable with him. Mehmood over hears a conversation between the two of them and finds out the dynamics of their relationship. It makes him feel even more guilty (which of course is not enough). Arman has gained Pareesa’s trust and she realises she has found the perfect partner. She now wants to have a normal relationship with him but she is scarred emotionally. But she does ask arman to leave her and lead a normal life because he deserves better in life. I just loved arman tells her that he will not back off and will stay with her.

I’m in love with this serial. It’s actually my favourite of this season. I love how characters are being developed through out. I really like how Shehnaz has changed over time and has started feeling guilty for things going wrong in Pareesa’s life. Also the way they have shown the caring side of Pareesa is awesome. She might seem aloof and lost in her own world but she knows what is going on in every one’s life.

All the actors are doing great in their respective roles. Mohsin Abbas is a talent power house. Just love his expressions. Kubra khan can be a little monotonous at times but she has still done a better job than most actresses her age. Saba hameed and asif reza mir are natural and I often forget I’m watching a drama while watching their scenes.

I’m loving this serial. Are you watching too?