Ask The Mentalist-Fighting stage fright
Almost 1-2% of the entire population is suffering from mental ailments such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. These are mental disorders of the highest order.
Almost 50 million people, a number which is almost 5% of the population, are suffering from mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. Extreme weepiness and severe melancholy are not the only calling cards of depression, a serious mental disorder that roughly affects 10% of the population.
From the figures above it is evident that India is facing a serious mental health crisis, what prevents us from getting the required help is our own prejudice against people suffering from mental health issues and depression. There is a pervasive stigma preventing people from getting treatment or even acknowledging the need for it. It has been observed that there is a new kind of fear emerging, the fear of being diagnosed with mental health issues as if it were taboo itself. At DNL we recognize the need to address these issues which may be common and rampant and the individual still might not know how to deal with it.
Hi, I am a 39-year-old man. I think I am somebody with higher than average intellect. I am able to rationally evaluate situations and provide answers for tricky situations at work. I am generally able to find the way out and am reasonably awarded for my performance. I used to be an introvert and over the course of time my interactions with people have been a lot more proactive and people seek my company. Even so, I still get stomach cramps and abnormal racing of the heart when I have to put my point across in a meeting room or a group discussion. Even if it is basic self introduction, I start sweating. I have been working for 20 years now and when I began working I thought this problem would disappear with time but it hasn't. I know I have stage fright and have taken a few trainings to overcome it over the years but it hasn't helped, I get these palpitations even in a conference room of 10 people. What can I do to overcome this fear?
Dear Introvert, happy to hear that your initiatives to address your fears have helped you become more confident in your interactions with people. As cliché as it sounds, doing something (like taking a few deep breaths) that helps you feel physically calmer is the first thing to do when approaching fear causing situations. In addition to this, know what your fear is telling you about yourself. Is your fear about making a mistake, of being mocked, of not being liked, or of being judged? The way we think exaggerates the level of fear. Sometimes we imagine the worst, assume that a specific negative consequence might happen, or we are blind to our successes. Challenging these negative thoughts using rational and positive statements helps reduce the fear. Additionally, setting small, reasonable targets help. I should not feel afraid is an unreasonable target in the first go. I shall say the points I have in mind, or ask a question in today's meeting, are more reasonable targets. Further, if it feels you are trying too hard not to be an introvert, recognize that the strengths of being an introvert - your strengths could be your ability to listen, be thoughtful and respond with sensitivity. Find a way to accept who you are and use your strengths.
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Dr. Shruti Kalra is a Consultant and a Clinical Psychologist at VIMHANS Hospital, Delhi, for the last 10 years. She specializes in the areas of relationships, marital and family Issues, adult mental health, depression, counseling skills and psychological assessment. If you have a question or would just like some friendly advice, you can write to us here.
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