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Arjuna Nagendran

Doctor,

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What experiences have made you more comfortable with mental health disorders?

What things make you fearful of mental health disorders? And what experiences have made you more comfortable with it?

In the quest to dispell stigma, how can we help our society grow out of its fear?

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    Oct 23 2012: My first wife was the victim of abuse. She had all the earmarks of what religion would have called demonic possession. A religious friend walked me through what could've been a nightmare until her death from an accident. This friend even foresaw her death and prepared me for it in advance.

    I recognized that my first wife had multiple personalities. I also recognized that the abuse she endured was probably the cause. For this, I gained much from the experience. My love for her overcame any fear that I might have felt.

    I had another friend that was hyperactive and had a lot of built in anger. He had been put on Ritalin as a child and often given additional doses to shut him down. He felt that his childhood had been robbed from him. He would talk tough and even violent that no one had better mess with him. I discovered that his demeanor was a survival ploy. I told him that his demeanor was sabotaging his ability to make friends that could help him out in life. Gradually he began to listen and realized that I was on his side. In time, he softened up, which helped him land a job and things improved for him.

    I have another friend who is also hyper. When I first met him, he couldn't stay focused on anything. He was considered a misfit by the community. My talking to him helped me to understand him, and as this went on, I was able to mentor him to a more responsible person. He just needed someone who was willing to listen (and not charge him $$$ for it).

    I read a book by Dr. Arthur Janov called "The New Primal Scream" that talked of how early childhood trauma can lead to mental disorders. Once the trauma is exposed, the disorders generally fade afterwards. For those who are not born with brain disorders, there is hope if your are willing to listen. I've learned not to judge one's behavior, but to listen for clues that underlie the behavior. I find that they recognize when someone shows that they care, and it brings about a change in their demeanor.

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