Tag Archive for 'Anxiety'

The Snake in the Garden: Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer in NYT:

Once upon a time a friend told me about a retreat house in the hills of California. I drove three hours north from my mother’s home and came upon an 800-acre spread, with golden pampas grass tumbling down to a great expanse of blue 1,200 feet below. The place was radiantly silent — save for bells tolling three or four times a day — and I was so far from telephone and laptop that I could lose myself for hours in anything at all, or nothing. At dusk, deer stepped into my private garden to graze; an hour later, I stepped out of my room and found myself under an overturned saltshaker of stars.

The retreat house was the rare place where it seemed impossible to be fraught. All my worries of the previous day seemed about as real and urgent as the taillights of cars disappearing around headlands 12 miles to the south. I started to go to this place of silence more and more often, and one spring day, on my way to two weeks of carefree quiet, I told my old friend Steve about it. Much to my delight, he booked himself in for a three-day stay that would coincide with my final weekend in the sanctuary.

I stepped into my cabin on the slope above the sea, 12 days before our meeting — golden poppies and lupines everywhere — and instantly began to wonder how Steve would see it. What if the sky clouded over before his arrival, I thought, and he was greeted by rain and mist? Maybe the vegetarian food set out in the kitchen would fail to meet his exacting standards? What about the crosses on the walls? Might they trigger some unsuspected trauma from his Roman Catholic boyhood? Every day for the next 10 days I worried that the place might not live up to his expectations — or my billing. More:

Psychotherapy for all: An experiment in India

A new program in Goa, India, trains laypeople to identify and treat depression and anxiety and send them to community health clinics. David Kohn reports from Siolim, India, in The New York Times:

At the faded one-story medical clinic in this fishing and farming village, people with depression and anxiety typically got little or no attention. Busy doctors and nurses focused on physical ailments – children with diarrhea, laborers with injuries, old people with heart trouble. Patients, fearful of the stigma connected to mental illness, were reluctant to bring up emotional problems.

Last year, two new workers arrived. Their sole task was to identify and treat patients suffering depression and anxiety. The workers found themselves busy. Almost every day, several new patients appeared. Depressed and anxious people now make up “a sizable crowd” at the clinic, said the doctor in charge, Anil Umraskar.

The patients talk about all sorts of troubles. “Financial difficulties are there,” said one of the new counselors, Medha Upadhye, 29. “Interpersonal conflicts are there. Unemployment. Alcoholism is a major problem.”

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