Presenting Aaina

Hi. My name is Aqseer. I am a law graduate from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. I am now doing my Master’s in Psychology at the Ambedkar University Delhi and am setting up Aaina – a low cost clinic for psychic health in South Delhi starting August this year.

This retelling of my story and my work is aimed at resonating with your experience and charging you up to join the work of reducing human suffering – including and especially your own.

Like most 20 somethings today, I graduated from law school with stars in my eyes, wanting to change the world. Heartbreak, unrealistic expectations and an inadequate understanding of my self led me slowly into the seductive embrace of depression. With the immense help and support of my family and friends and dogged work on my part, I am now a better, more whole version of my earlier self.

Having gone through almost every offering in the mental health and holistic wellness treatment routes – and having benefited from some more than others – I am now charged up to ensure psychic health for all.

This work taps into my emotional and intuitive talents as a psychologist-in-training and healer, as well as my background in law and policy.

In the next sections, I will lay out some of the things we need to work on, and highlight shifts in approach that my clinic will make.

If you or a loved one has been through an episode of mental illness/immense psychic pain – you might have had to face debilitating questions, such as:

  • Should I go/take her to a psychiatrist or psychologist?
  • Should I/have her go on medication?
  • Can I speak to the psychiatrist without telling her?
  • Can I go off my medication without telling the psychiatrist?
  • Am I/is she better off with her spiritual leader?
  • Is meditation the answer?
  • What about arts therapy? Yoga? Fitness? Nutritious food? Theta healing?
  • How do I/how can I help her see that life is worth living – if she can learn how to be purposeful and content?

These questions are bewildering to navigate without support. The terrifying range of options comes, very simply, from the fact that mental – or rather – psychic pain is

  • difficult to pin down
  • at the heart of all human suffering

This means that really, there is no one way to help yourself/a loved one diagnosed with mental illness/suffering from psychic pain.

I am here to argue that the routes to psychic wellness are more numerous and more benevolent than being taken to a psychiatrist and given medication (almost always) against one’s 100% consent[1].

In other words, I wish to say that what we are dealing with is psychic and not mental – not cranial or brain-ial health.

Thus the routes to contentment and creative expression – what I term as psychic health – are not just through medication, not even just through talk therapy; but also necessarily through the body – and ‘Eastern’ traditions that embrace the body as the site of the collective mind. I am here to argue that the term mental health is leading us astray – away from the body-as-part-of-the-collective­-psyche.

In other words, the chakra system, meditation, yoga, healing and arts therapy need to be mainstreamed and taken as seriously as psychiatry – if not more. These are not “alternate” or “complementary” therapies, they are legitimate and different ways of understanding the self-in-relation-to-the-world.

Secondly, I want to argue that most people do not require “therapy,” a word that might make them feel like they need fixing and be met with resistance.[2] However, EVERYBODY requires good listening. You know well that there is no person on the planet that you can talk to about everything unreservedly – because you cannot curse your best friend to your best friend, and your partner to your partner. And yet, if we had a safe space to explore, air and reconstruct the most shameful and shy parts of ourselves – we would be a lot happier.

My clinic thus makes ana pana meditation, listening and creative expression the bedrock of its preventive and curative treatment arsenal.

Lastly, I want to argue that the route to psychic health, and further, collective psychic health is through prevention, not cure. To this end, Aaina will use the train-to-train model to take ana pana meditation, listening skills and tools to enable creative expression to lower income communities – beginning with Delhi and spreading outwards through social and mass medias. This will ensure that we grow up emotionally literate, and are able to embrace and empathize with our feeling, unstable selves.

I need your help!

Join me. Begin by joining your emotional self 🙂


Please visit the excellent White Swan Foundation’s website for resources to help you recognize your pain and place it in the psychiatric framework if necessary

[1] The question of what agency a mad person ought to be granted is a thorny one, and will be taken up later.

[2] This was certainly my experience.

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9 comments

  1. This is fantastic! Love that someone’s looking at meditation and psychic wellness as part of general mental health. Looking forward to meeting you in Delhi!

    Like

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