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In Mind: Psychologists’ chair

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Write with your concerns to: inmind@gulfnews.com and selected questions will be answered by a panel of qualified psychiatrists and psychologists. Your contributions will be modified for length and appropriateness, and will be open to other Gulf News readers to comment and suggest solutions.

Let us know if you would like GulfNews.com to withhold your name from your letter should it be published.


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'There are voices that keep on talking to me'

  • Posted by Moderator: Biju Mathew
  • Published 11:19 February 20, 2013

A.Z. asks: I am a 23-year-old male, and I have a lot of psychological issues that rarely anyone knows about.

First and foremost is that I am extremely confused. I can't decide on anything in life and I don’t even know who I am (even if I wish to help someone I can’t as I can’t decide on anything).

There are some voices that keep on talking to me and sometimes they reach a level that I want to end my life to escape this torture, but the thought that my mother will also die with me keeps me clinging on to life. Sometimes my past thoughts of humiliation make me so depressed that the only way to reduce them is by hurting or burning myself.

If people react badly, even if they just talk to me loudly, I want to kill and torture them. Because, they have no idea that their behaviour is actually torturing me to death, but I don’t want to and will hopefully never hurt anyone because I know it is very wrong. I don’t even believe that anyone can help me, especially people like you (commercial psychiatrists) who will only treat people for money and if someone don’t have money even if he kills himself no one cares  (this I can assure from my past experience).

The only thing that I have figured out is that this world and everything around me 'is virtual'. There is nothing real and this keeps me happy that very soon everything will end. My parents will die, then I can also die peacefully. Anyways, the reason for writing this email is that I just like to share my thoughts through this medium; you don't know who I am and I don’t know who you are. There is complete privacy and I can keep on writing my thoughts and they will never end. Every single thought contradicts the other and every question I answer, the answer becomes the question.

Anyways, it was nice chatting with you. Just one question for you: Do you know what is your purpose in life? Why are you alive?

Dr Sreekumar V. Nair ( MBBS, M.D. Psychiatry, NMC Specialist Hospital, Dubai) replies: Dear friend, I agree that past experiences have an important role in shaping our attitudes and beliefs. Hence, I can understand your bias against psychiatrists. But, I can assure you that there is no dearth of good souls and there are plenty of good psychiatrists who have the time to address your issues with empathy.

When you write, "Anyways, the reason for writing this email is that I just like to share my thoughts through this medium, that you don't know who I am ...", you are closing the chance for an in-depth evaluation of the problem.  

Your statement that "This world and everything around me is virtual, there is nothing real", can be considered real from a poetic or philosophical perspective. Sometimes, we pass through the existential crisis, not knowing who we are, why do we live etc. The world around is real. We have to explore the meaning of our lives by the use of our power to freely choose to live a full human life that involves education, job and career, marriage and family, social work, etc.  

Your problem needs a one-to-one interview by a psychiatrist because there are certain serious problems to be considered and addressed. For example, you have started by saying that you are extremely confused and "There are some voices that keep on talking to me and sometimes they reach a level that I want to end my life to escape this torture". Does this mean that you are hearing voices when there is nobody actually talking (hallucination?); or does it mean your own ideas echo in your mind intrusively and repeatedly (obsessive thoughts); or is it that people actually confuse you by imposing their ideas on you?

Each of these warrants a different approach.  For example, if it is hallucination, further detailed evaluation and probably medication would be the most appropriate approach, since it is driving you to consider suicide as the only option. Suicide is never a solution for any problem. 

The inability to make decisions is a problem that troubles many of us. It could be due to low self-esteem or lack of confidence, due to lack of expertise in that issue, due to certain biases, so on and so forth. So, making a factual evaluation of the situation or issue, taking expert advice, being prepared for even negative consequences, etc, will help you to make most of the decisions you need to make.

When you say "... if some people react badly ... I want to kill and torture them...", it shows you are very sensitive to criticism, you fear negative evaluation, you look for approval from others, you have low self-esteem, and you are frustrated that you are not able to do anything about it. So, you need to improve your coping skills, develop the ability to deal with it by learning new skills and thereby enhancing your strengths.  

You ask, "what is the purpose of your life is?", and I say: It’s a million dollar question. But, look at this closely, you say that you will not end your life as long as your parents are alive. It means that you consider that the wellbeing and happiness of your parents is one of your responsibilities. Similarly, when you marry and have a family, you will take up further responsibilities. So, these form some of the purposes of your life.

We can find meaning in the simple pleasures of life, take a minute to enjoy the things around you, the beauty of nature, the beauty of relationship, etc. You can create your own meaning for yourself and your life. After all, it is your life and you are still young and could experiment it to the best of your ability.  Performing each of the roles we are supposed to take, at different points of our lives, (family, social, professional, etc), to the best of our ability, is the purpose of lives of ordinary people like us. At a higher level attaining 'nirvana' or actually finding out ‘who you are’, could be the purpose of life.

Since you are suffering a great deal of distress due to your problems, you need professional help. Consult any reputed institution-based psychiatrist, so that you are not worried about the 'commercial' aspect of it, and ‘Inshallah’ your problems will be resolved.

Write with your concerns to inmind@gulfnews.com and selected questions will be answered by a panel of qualified psychiatrists and psychologists. Your contributions will be modified for length and appropriateness, and will be open to other Gulf News readers to comment and suggest solutions. Let us know if you would like GulfNews.com to withhold your name from your letter should it be published.

Disclaimer: This blog is a conversation and is not an alternative for treatment. The recommendations and suggestions offered by our panel of psychiatrists are their own and Gulf News will not take any responsibility for the advice they provide.

Comments (16)

  1. Added 16:07 February 24, 2013

    Dear friend try to improve your skill and knowledge with a positive notes,pick the thing which is good for the humanity.if you will run away from the problems you will never know your self.mind illusion are always there but being a Muslims i can advise you that we all are here in this world for same purpose but rout to approach are different, PROPHET peace be upon him leave us with a message of life purpose now its all up to us which way we choose to spent our life which can drive you to consequences.an other thing is we must not keep too much expectation from people we will never get hurt if we will do so but we should give them space in life.must know how to tolerate criticism and appreciate other.but you should go to discus with a professional ad-visor you will be fine soon you have purpose to keep you parents happy in your life.

    Hassan, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 16:29 February 23, 2013

    I think the doctor wrote an excellent response. I also think that seeing a psychiatrist would be the best thing for you. You need good help, these things won't improve on their own without help. Understand, you don't like going to doctors. I hate it too, but when I was sick in 2009 I finally gave in and went to a doctor who actually helped me out a LOT. That is what doctors are for, helping sick people feel as well as possible. Best of luck, I hope your suffering improves soon.

    JP, Hawaii in my dreams, Bahamas

  3. Added 16:32 February 20, 2013

    Dear friend, Being a Muslim I believe that my purpose of life is to obey Allah & do as per the instructions of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), it has made my life easy & meaningful & the life of people around me... it feels like you dont have a purpose in life or thats what you think, this is y u are asking people such question. I hope you get the guidance required & stay a blessed peaceful life Ameen :)

    Ab, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 16:21 February 20, 2013

    Dear friend you know better who you are and no one will know much better than you. you can clear your mind and decide. yes you did. you decided to share your thoughts through this. you decided not to hurt anyone and you know hurting someone is not right. you decided to live and share your life with your mother. don't live from your past bad experiences, learn from these experiences and move on with life.don't be afraid of rejections/ criticisms from others, learn from them. you must not question everything in life that the world can't answer. accept that each of us has own strengths and weaknesses. learn to enjoy on simple things, smile and live a happy life.

    elsie david, abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 15:57 February 20, 2013

    Sometimes I too think that everything is virtual and in real nothing exists... and if that is the case I have definitely too much overpaid for my last carpet...

    Murat Selim, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 15:47 February 20, 2013

    No matter you belong to any religion.. if u just read the translation of the Holy Quran... I Guaranty you , your life will be completely change. You will live a happier life and you will get the answers of all your questions..One more thing i want to say just compare your life with the people who are lower than you. Just see the people who don't have anything to eat..I'm sure this will give you a reason to live...Make sure you keep yourself busy all the time become an empty mind is a house of a devil. Thank You.

    Muhammad Abdul Samad, sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 15:19 February 20, 2013

    Hey brother.... I was at your age when my mom suffered the same situation with what you are going through right now. I had listened to all this what you said before, from my mom when she was going through that phase. Dude, believe me you need help. Thank god I was with my mom at that time and I took her to a good psychiatrist. With the help of proper medication and consultation she is 100% fine. I am telling you this because I really need you to believe that you need help from a good doctor. Visit a doc and change your surroundings (life style). Wish you good luck in future and have a healthy n prosperous life.

    Sonal, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 15:13 February 20, 2013

    The purpose of life is to recognise your creator and worship him alone as per his term without associating anybody.

    abdul vahid, duabi, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 14:57 February 20, 2013

    Dear Friend, Please visit the physically challenged orphanage to see that your problem is nothing compared to them. Everyone has problems ranging from triffle to driving-you-insane kind , i'msorry but i dont think your comment will be really helpful , neither will mine , i know, but atleast it will spread it to others that to give such advices is worse than if you dont. To take him out of the stituaion, explaining and understanding is important , someone's in the dark and needs help , you won't say' there are others in places darker than you ' and leave him there, will you ?

    Sania, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 13:57 February 20, 2013

    Hi! I cant help but to write something here maybe because i have a keen interest in Psychology. To Mr. Sender/Writer, yes you are so young to make a conclusion about what life is or what your life is all about because you're experiencing these strange things, perhaps you just have to listen to the experts and little by little you'll learn that there is more about world. But above all take courage to allow these people to dig in inside of you, if you want to get helped, help yourself first. Remember, every dark cloud has a silver lining, dont keep the dark cloud pal, I know you can do it. These professionals were born for people like you so let them serve their purpose too.

    Yam, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

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