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Girl interrupted
By Tahiat-E-Mahboob

If you have seen the movie Girl Interrupted, I strongly suggest that you read the book. In spite of being caught up in the charm of Winona Ryder and the feistiness of Angelina Jolie I believe if the movie is so good then it's no wonder that the book from which it is adapted will be better. And that is exactly the case with the novel Girl, Interrupted.
A memoir which Newsweek describes as 'tough-minded...darkly comic...written with inedible clarity' this book is a memoir of Susanna Kaysen. In 1967, 18-year-old Sussana Kaysen was put in a taxi and packed off to Mclean Hospital after sitting with a shrink she had never laid eyes on before. Mclean Hospital was renowned for its celebrity "inmates"- Robert Lowell, James Taylor, Ray Charles and who could forget the very famous but very morbid poetess Slvia Plath. Well after that fateful taxi ride Susanna Kaysen most of the following two years the pychiatric hospital's teenage girls' ward.
In the memoir, Kaysen draws remarkable yet clear portraits of her patient buddies and of the staff that stands as their sentry. Set in the raving and multitude era of the sixties the memoir makes a suggestion of a "parallel universe". Consequently it provides a crystal clear and unflinching insight that leaves an everlasting imprint and gives explicit facets to our definitions of sanity, insanity, mental disorders and recovery from them.

This is one book which often gives readers more food for thought than they can chew. Nevertheless it is a brilliantly written piece by Susanna Kaysen (Duh! No wonder they made it into a very famous movie!) and everyone should read it- not just to grasp ideas on mental illness but also on human emotions and the test they are put to when combating such an illness.
Sadly the book is not available here but I'm sure that if you contact Omni Books they can get a copy for you. Till next week just hold your horses cos' there's going to be magic in the air!


Beat your fear
By Syed Sadaf Sultan

From the day humans have lived on this earth, they have known fear. And they had to fight this fear in order to survive. In the Stone Ages, the fear came from nature and its many threats. The storm, lightning, comets and the sun were not only the center of human wonder but also the center of their fears. But were these fears really justified? The humans began to question. At the end they unanimously accepted one answer. Their fears were groundless. This small but important realization helped us to overthrow our weaknesses and paved the path to our greatness and prosperity.
It's not easy for a human to move through the world with fear. Neither was it in the prehistoric period, nor is it now. The old days are gone, and standing in the middle of a sophisticated and highly mechanized modern world the human race can proudly proclaim:- "What is fear? We don't know it. We are the rulers of this planet, superior than any other earthly creature. We form the most advanced, complicated and intelligent race on earth. Who would dare to threat us? How can we face a challenge?" However, as every other humane emotion, fear has also existed amongst us. And in the minds of a few, it lingers to such an extent that we often mistake it for a mental disorder. That fear is intense and unexplainable, and one who has only experienced it knows how horrid the feeling is.
Phobia, as the malady is called, is indeed a mental illness but of a rather special kind. The list of phobias is a long one and increasing every day. Up to the present date more than five hundred human fears have been recorded and there are still a lot more to discover. Some of the phobias are very peculiar in nature but others such as claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), acrophobia (fear of heights) and agoraphobia ( a paralysing terror of anything outside the safety of the home) can be very serious. On the other hand the most common phobias are often from the things around us. For example, electrophobia is a morbid fear of electricity, eisoptrophobia is the fear of mirrors and enetophobia, eosophobia and erythophobia is the fear of pins, dawn and daylight, and blushing respectively.
Most phobia sufferers try to deal with their problems by coping with them as they come by. In other words they try to avoid their fears. An American student with a phobia for snakes stapled together the pages of his textbook to avoid flipping to a photo of his tormentor. A similar phobic is so scared of cats that she sends her daughter into an unfamiliar store to give an all-clear sign before she steps in herself. However these devices are only temporary solutions and may raise greater fears among those phobic who are always on the watch out. They are also quite unnecessary as this disease does have a number of remedies. The breakthroughs of modern science have established permanent cures of phobia giving millions of phobia sufferers around the world a hope to lead a better life.
Psychologists classify phobia to three broad categories:- social phobia, in which the sufferer feels a paralysing fear of human encounters; agoraphobia or panic disorders, in which the phobic experiences overwhelming fear for no apparent reason; and specific phobias i.e. fear of snakes, enclosed spaces, heights etc. On the other hand scientists define phobia as a central nervous system wildfire which is impossible to mistake for a normal fear. This can even result to a nervous breakdown or a fatal brain haemorrhage whilst the distressed experiences sweating, racing heart, difficult breathing and even the sense of imminent death.
Specific phobias are the easiest to treat as they are the easiest to understand. However, treating social phobias can be more difficult as many people try treating themselves by simply not going to large parties and thus avoiding social encounter. But they totally fail to realize that social phobias can creep into the other aspects of life. Such isolation can lead to hopelessness and this in turn can bring about the risks of alcoholism and depression for the sufferer. Therefore, upon the discovery of a phobia the most sensible thing for one to do would be to visit a psychiatrist immediately and undertake appropriate medication. It should be understood, that a phobia can haunt for years and a self-devised technique of approaching it can make the complications more insoluble.
The commonest way of treating phobias is to confront the sufferer to the phobic object and thus help him to gradually override his fears. For a phobic suffering from arachnophobia (fear of spiders) this treatment would be slow and very systematic. The doctors would begin with photos of the phobic object (spiders) and they would gradually take shape into videos. The videos in turn would also be replaced, by the object itself. The patients would initially deal with small spiders but eventually much bigger spiders would be used as the patient grows in confidence. This process would be repeated and the phobic will gradually become non-responsive to the spider, just as a person slowly becomes accustomed to traffic noise.
Phobia might seem to be an encroaching social implication but fighting it is not increasingly difficult. One only has to have a good knowledge about the subject and must know the right way of approaching this problem. We must remember that phobia is a mental disease and it only tests our mental strength. And so, we should stand up against this threat with our courage, determination and confidence, so that we can beat our fears easily. In other words, if our minds are strong enough than fear itself will have no place to hide!

 

Book Review

 

Clare's war

By Bonhomie

Clare Springer was known to be the authorized black sheep in the family. It became all the more obvious after the night she killed her sister, Felicity. Well, it was actually an accident, but Clare's father and the rest of her family blamed her, not for a week or a month but for a year. And the guilt that built in her at that time changed her life forever. It took her from becoming a reckless, brainless child to a revolutionary woman who became an invaluable French activist in the Second World War. At the age of seventeen and after her sisters disastrous death Claire is sent away to Paris to complete her education. The year is 1938 and Clare is in the enchanted by the city, relishes her newfound freedom and life. Before long she falls in love with a handsome Frenchman and as she becomes more and more wrapped up in the world she has left behind, she fails to notice the gathering clouds of war. One gloomy day, France is invaded, Clare is tramped and down a path she never dreamt she would stride...and is forced to pay a terrible price.
In her breathtaking book, Anita Burgh (also the writer of The Golden Butterfly and The Cult) has drawn a vivid sketch of how the war had wrecked lives, ruined families and altered humanity. Through Clare's physique, who faced tragic loss of love during the war but still fought till the end, Anita has gathered a most true fact of how life had been for the bravest of young women at that time. At the end of the 1939-45 war, medals were awarded to the brave fighters of the French Resistance. Of a thousand accorded, six were given to women. Anita respectfully dedicated this book to all those women who felt they had done little, who were awarded no metals, but without whom less would have been achieved.This epic story of one woman's journey through an occupied country at war with itself is not a wise thing to miss.

 

 
 

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