BODY DYSMORPHIC DISORDER(BDD)

Body Dysmorphic disorder is a mental disorder marked by an obsessive of perceived defects or flaws in once appearance. A flaw that to others is considered minor or not observable.

People suffering from BDD

  1. Can feel emotion such as shame and disgust concerning a part or parts of their body part and fixate on this.
  2. The obsession is so intense that the person repeatedly checks and compares the perceived flaw seeks reassurance sometimes for several hours each day.
  3. The person can also adopt unusual routines to avoid social contact that exposes the perceived flaw.
  4. This pervasive thoughts about their appearance and body image interfere with their daily life via
    • Educational
    • Occupational dysfunction and
    • Isolation

No matter how many times people assure them that there is no flaw, they cannot accept that the issue doesn’t exist.

The most common features about which people obsess includes:-

  • Nose
  • Wrinkles
  • Acne
  • Complexion
  • Blemishes
  • Hair
  • Skin
  • Vein appearance
  • Muscles size
  • Tone
  • Breast size
  • Buttocks
  • Genitalia

BDD is estimated to affect up to 2.4% of the population. The condition usually starts during adolescence affecting both men and women. BDD does not go away on its own if Untreated it may get worse with time leading to

  • severe depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior

Causes

The exact cause is unknown, but like every other disorder BDD may result from a combination of causes such as:-

  1. Brain differences
  2. Environmental factors; special if they involve negative social evaluations about the body or Self-image
  3. Childhood trauma
  4. Genetics; studies suggest that BDD is likely to run in family.

Certain factors that may increase the risk of developing the condition may include:-

  1. A family history
  2. Negative body image
  3. Perfectionism
  4. Negative life experiences such as bullying or teasing
  5. Introversion
  6. Media influence.

Symptoms

Extreme preoccupation with a perceived flaw in your physical appearance that appear minor to others for at least one hour a day. Attempting to hide perceived flaw with –

  • styling, makeup or clothes – to seeking plastic or cosmetic surgery,
  • avoiding social situations,
  • constantly comparing appearance with others,
  • always seeking assurance about appearance from others,
  • low self-esteem, compulsive behaviour such as skin picking and frequent clothes changing.

Extreme preoccupation with an appearance that interferes with social life work, school, or other functionality.

Diagnosis

A medical evaluation will be carried out other medical conditions after which further evaluation is carried out by a mental health professional.

Diagnosis is based on:-

  1. A psychological evaluation; which aims at assessing risk factors and thoughts feeling as well as behavior can be associated with a negative self-image.
  2. Personal, medical, family and social health history.

Treatment

Treatment option may include therapy and medication includes:-

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy; that helps you learn how to cope and behave to improve your mental health
  2. Medications; such as SSRIs may help is control obsession and control repetitive behaviours

Psychiatric hospital may be suggested if the symptom is severe such as when you’re in immediate danger of harming yourself.

Famous personality with BDD

Here is a list of people with BDD;

  • Michael Jackson(singer, dancer)
  • Billie Elish (singer)
  • Robert Pattinson (from twilight)
  • Ileana D’Cruz (from Rustom)
  • Miguel Herrán (from money heist)

Facing the Future: Lessons to be Learnt From the Pandemic

“The outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia will inevitably have a relatively big impact on the economy and society … For us, this is a crisis and is also a big test.”

With the whole Coronavirus pandemic engulfing the whole world in its clutches, there’s a thing or two humanity had to learn the hard way. Firstly, all strings are attached. If your neighbour’s house is on fire, then it is not the time to judge his doings, his karma, even shielding your own house isn’t advisable. Run for him, save his house put off the fire first. Secondly, invisible thing mess us up better, whether it is your so called almighty or a deadly virus. Third, public are the second priority for any government, obviously, first is their party. Lastly, home isn’t sweet home but a jail if you live locked in it for months. It eats you, it’s door is like mouth and you’ve walked into it yourself, and can’t find an escape route.

We, as people, have started craving human connection. What happened to conversations? We are all stuck in this same catastrophe, feeling like there’s nothing left to say. We focus on the weather, pretend its something new. There’s an elephant in the room that keeps us standing six feet apart. We all miss human touch. We now feel like an empty shell, once fuelled by love, now left to rot. It’s hard to speak these days. Respirators and cloth masks return our warm breath and words against our lips and cheeks. Many of us haven’t seen a smile in weeks. Even if our mouths weren’t covered, I’m not sure I would see a smile in these conditions. These are dark times. There’s a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. I’m so afraid we’ll all forget these lessons, as we open back up, and cause greater destruction. It’s really sad that coronavirus is creating a point of shared experience between the chronically ill and disabled and generally healthy people all forced to stay at home. And while it will be handy going forward to explain to people who think me being home on disability must be nice, I can now say “remember coronavirus?” But at the same time, people have died and are dying just so ablest get a taste of what disability living is like.

The pandemic has also taught us a few valuable lessons that can’t be ignored in the future.

• Foundational research may be expensive, but it is necessary.
• No country can deal with a crisis like this on its own.
• A strictly for profit health care system is not prepared to deal with a pandemic in any way, shape or form.
• Instead of equating wealth to success, as we have done until today, we will need to start equating positive contribution to society with success.

We can see some signs of such a motion during the pandemic in the praise that health-care workers receive for their efforts to help the often-unmanageable amount of coronavirus cases. However, we need to further internalize this redefinition of success, as our social connections, life engagements, work and social values all stem from it: There is nothing successful in being individually successful and wealthy at the expense of others. Success lies in creating a positively-connected society, where its members take responsibility and care for each other, contribute to each other’s well-being, and promote to each other the need for centering everyone’s focus on benefiting others instead of benefiting our individual selves.

The world is learning about the need to be more considerate of everyone, as we all depend on each other. However, I think that an extra “push” on our behalf to further implant this understanding will serve to better balance us with the tighter interdependence and interconnectedness that the coronavirus era has revealed to us.

Whatever silver lining we can find in this crisis will, however, always be tainted by travesties we had to endure, because we had the knowledge and tools to do a lot better and save more lives.

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A key way to fight a pandemic is with positive chaos, to sew kindness and love into the fabric of society at every opportunity possible.

Homosexuality in Ancient India

 

“History owes an apology to the LGBT community. They were denied the fundamental right to equality, the right against discrimination and the right to live with dignity.”

– Justice Indu Malhotra

 

“Gay marriage and relationship are not compatible with nature and are not natural, so we do not support this kind of relationship. Traditionally, India’s society also does not recognise such relations.” As usual, other members of right-wing factions joined the chorus – stubbornly maintaining that homosexuality is against nature.

But are we sure about that? Can we honestly say that it was never “recognised”?

It’s impossible to talk about homosexuality in ancient India without referring to one of its most affirmative and visual ‘proofs’, so to speak. The sculptures in the Khajuraho temple of Madhya Pradesh are known for their overt homosexual imagery. The temple is popularly believed to have been built sometime around the 12th century. The sculptures embedded in the Khajuraho temple depict what seem to be sexual fluidity between man and man and woman and woman with either women erotically embracing other women or men displaying their genitals to each other, the former being more common (suggesting a tilt in favour of the male voyeur).

The story of Shikhandi, a transgender who becomes the nemesis of Pitamah Bhishma in the kurukshetra war, and the story of Arjuna turning into a transgender with the name Brihannala for a limited period due to a curse, which in fact is proved to be a blessing in disguise when the Pandavas were required to lead an incognito life at the end of their exile, are two examples of the existence of and awareness about the transgenders even during ancient times.The story of Krishna assuming female form to marry Aravan the son of Arjuna might also have been an euphemism or a veiled reference to homosexuality. During the Mughal rule, men were reportedly castrated to make them transgenders, before getting posted as sentries or servants in the Harems of the Kings where a large number of queens and other ladies were confined behind the Purdah.

I think the fact that the boys and girls getting married at a very early age (in pre adolescence and in case of girls even before attaining puberty) during older times in India also might have prevented a large number of men and women even to properly understand sex or become aware of their own sexual orientations. And in a closely knit joint family/community living systems, LGBTs might still have managed to lead the lives of their choice without openly flaunting their alternate sexuality or inviting the notice of the society to this particular behavior.

Purushayita in the Kama Sutra, a 2nd century ancient Indian Hindu text, mentions that lesbians were called “swarinis”. These women often married other women and raised children together. The book further made mention of gay men or “klibas”, which though could refer to impotent men, represented mostly men who were impotent with women due to their “homosexual tendencies”. The Kama Sutra’s homosexual man could either be effeminate or masculine. While they were known to be involved in relationships of a frivolous nature, they were also known to marry each other. The book further mentions that there were eight different kinds of marriages that existed under the Vedic system, and out of those, a homosexual marriage between two gay men or two lesbians were classified under the “gandharva” or celestial variety – “a union of love and cohabitation, without the need for parental approval”. Varuna and Mitra, famously referred to as the “same-sex couple” in the ancient Indian scripture of the Rig Veda, were often depicted riding a shark or crocodile or sitting side-by-side on a golden chariot together. According to the Shatapatha Brahmana, a prose text describing Vedic rituals, history and mythology, they are representatives of the two half-moons.

Amongst scenes from epics and legends, one invariably finds erotic images including those that modern law deems unnatural and society considers obscene. Curiously enough, similar images also embellish prayer halls and cave temples of monastic orders such as Buddhism and Jainism built around the same time. The range of erotic sculptures is wide: from dignified couples exchanging romantic glances, to wild orgies involving warriors, sages and courtesans. Occasionally one finds images depicting bestiality coupled with friezes of animals in intercourse. All rules are broken: elephants are shown copulating with tigers, monkeys molest women while men mate with asses. These images cannot be simply dismissed as perverted fantasies of an artist or his patron considering the profound ritual importance given to these shrines. There have been many explanations offered for these images – ranging from the apologetic to the ridiculous. Some scholars hold a rather puritanical view that devotees are being exhorted to leave these sexual thoughts aside before entering the sanctum sanctorum. Others believe that hidden in these images is a sacred Tantric geometry; the aspirant can either be deluded by the sexuality of the images or enlightened by deciphering the geometrical patterns therein. One school of thought considers these images to representations of either occult rites or fertility ceremonies. Another suggests that these were products of degenerate minds obsessed with sex in a corrupt phase of Indian history.

According to ancient treatises on architecture, a religious structure is incomplete unless it’s walls depicts something erotic, for sensual pleasures (kama) are as much an expression of life as are righteous conduct (dharma), economic endeavours (artha) and spiritual pursuits (moksha). Why is homosexuality considered such a big taboo in India? We marry people to trees and rocks in the name of religion but do not support a homosexual marriage.

To sum up, if we go by these popular references in Indian history and mythology, then it appears that ancient “Indian society” did indeed “recognise” homosexuality through that period, and in many cases, even accepted it. So, ultimately, it’s just factually incorrect to deny that homosexuality has been part of Indian tradition.

The Visibly Invisible

Hijras are a sexual minority that’s very visible, and yet they are treated by the society as if they’re invisible.

When Lord Rama was exiled from Ayodhya and his entire kingdom began to follow him into the forest, he told his disciples: “Men and women, please wipe your tears and go away.” So they left. Still, a group of people stayed behind, at the edge of the forest, because they were neither men nor women. They were hijras, which in Urdu means something like eunuchs. Those people waited in the woods for 14 years until Lord Rama returned, which won them a special place in Hindu mythology.

At a traffic signal on a busy day, the slight tapping on my car’s window by a transgender would often unnerve me. They are persistent, and there is a common notion that they will cause you embarrassment if you don’t hand them money. At other times, one might find them in the trains badgering the passengers for money, often to point that even the bystanders feel uncomfortable.But is that all there is to their identity? What is it like to be a hijra in India?

I can only guess. One must be fighting a constant battle with the rest of one’s nation to be taken seriously, to be accepted, to be respected, to be spared a laugh, to feel secure about their sexuality and to be understood, among so many other things. We can only guess.However, we can at the very least attempt to understand their plight. Imagine you’re thrown out of your house. What would you do? You’d go to your friend’s place? Or you’d go find some work and make your living? Imagine you don’t have any friends. And even if you did have any, they wouldn’t let you anywhere near their houses. What would you do now? Obviously you’d get some petty job and start earning for your own expenses. Now, imagine this. People aren’t even willing to give you a job. Everywhere you go, they just shoo you away, wanting to get rid of you from those places as quickly as possible. What’s next? You can’t go back home since your family has deserted you. You might want to try to talk to someone. Then, imagine no one even wants to lift their eyes and look at you when you approach them. You’re someone most people don’t even want to see. That’s the daily life of a transgender or a hijra.

Today hijras, who include transgender and intersex people are really hard to miss. Dressed in glittering saris, their faces heavily coated in cheap makeup, they sashay through crowded intersections and crash fancy weddings and birth ceremonies, singing bawdy songs and leaving with fistfuls of rupees. Behind the theatrics, however, are often sad stories — of the sex trade and exploitation, cruel and dangerous castrations, being cast out and constantly humiliated. Within India’s L.G.B.T. community, the hijras maintain their own somewhat secretive subculture.

Hijra communities face several sexual health issues including HIV, and since most hijras are from lower socioeconomic status and have low literacy levels, there are several barriers stand in their way of seeking health care. Mental health needs of hijras too are barely addressed in the current HIV programs. Some of
the mental health issues reported in these communities include depression and suicidal tendencies, possibly secondary to societal stigma, lack of social support, HIV status. There’s also the need to address alcohol and substance use among the hijra communities, a significant proportion of which consume alcohol possibly to forget stress and depression that they face in their daily life.

One might argue that since they’re able-bodied, they should just get a job job and provide for themselves. Yes, they absolutely should. Except for two words – social stigma. Most people would know the Kochi Metro recruited many transwomen when it started operations. Almost all of them have since quit. Why? Because while the job paid them 9–10,000 rupees a month, nobody would rent them accommodation, so they had to end up in lodges which cost hundreds daily. Ergo, they spent more than what they earned. In that instance, the government tried, and so did they. But society didn’t. The media also outed some women who were living secretly, away from family. The result? Threats of death if they came back home. In India, lakhs of male engineers are struggling to find gainful employment. What chance do these uneducated transwomen stand? They are not eunuchs by choice, they were born like that. We fail to create an environment for them in which they feel equal to us (which they are), in which they can lead a respectful and decent life by earning a living and not by begging, the least we can do is to help them by giving them these small amount of money, which hardly makes any difference to us.

Thus, the next time you meet a transgender, be polite, behave in a humble manner because what we see is the reflection of what we as a society have done to them. Tackle them with empathy and kindness, and be eternally grateful that you are not struggling with your gender, thrust on you by society. It could’ve easily been any one of us in their place. Even if you don’t give them money, at least don’t look at them with disgust.

At the end of the day, they’re normal people but it’s the world that makes them feel different.

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The visibly invisible community.