12.1.17 Feature Friday – From Shame to Self-Acceptance – Nazia Adil

As someone pursuing a career in the psychology field, it can be difficult to justify my decision to others in the community. There aren’t many who can relate to these struggles; which is why it is great to hear from someone who has gone through similar experiences before: Dr. Nazia Adil, a loving mother, wife, and practicing psychiatrist. This is an excerpt from a project mentioned in last week’s Feature Friday: Humare Zamaane Mein. I hope you find it as inspiring and reassuring as I did – Note from the editor (Zuni)

Dr. Nazia Adil: The most interesting thing about psychiatry is the fact that no matter what the conversation is about,  it almost always turns into a question about shame and guilt. This is exactly what happened when Salman asked me how I ended up choosing psychiatry as my specialty. 

My medical school friends wanted to become cardiologists, surgeons, internists etc. They had a hard time comprehending that a seemingly “normal“ person can choose to be a psychiatrist. You see, the stigma attached to mental health is chronic and ubiquitous across generations and cultures. I had to deal with the same wonder and amazement during residency and at times, now as an attending. It’s always an off hand comment for example “I don’t know how you do this every day.” I never ask an internist this question.

The great thing is that 4 years of residency and hours of therapy with patients does teach you a lot about yourself. I have managed to learn to take these comments lightly and not make it about my choice or me. On the contrary, it has become my passion to educate my patients, my children and largely the people around me how to deal with guilt and shame. Society around us, our culture, and the media give us messages that associate certain feelings with everything we do or say.

Being thin is associated with happiness, having good grades is a marker of success. We automatically assume that if someone is overweight, they must be miserable. Or if someone is not a stellar student, they are doomed for failure. We forget that human beings are not one dimensional.

We have multiple strengths, but we are taught to pay attention only to negatives. At our worst, we are selfish. Every time something goes wrong or is a success, we ask ourselves, “what does this say about me?” If we try to go past our own egos and start to think about others, all of a sudden it becomes much easier.

Loving someone means that you have to accept them, warts and all.We have to nurture the successes and failures of people around us. That’s how we can help them do their best. Especially when it comes to children. If we give them the message that their success makes us happy, all they have to do if they are mad at us, is to do poorly. Unconditional love is the biggest and most precious gift we can give someone. No one should be shamed if they are not perfect, because in reality no one is. – Nazia Adil, a practicing pychiatrist, on how we can move away from shame and towards unconditional love and respect for each other.

“The most interesting thing about psychiatry is the fact that no matter what the conversation is about, it almost always turns into a question about shame and guilt. This is exactly what happened when Salman asked me how I ended up choosing psychiatry as my specialty. My medical school friends wanted to become cardiologists, surgeons, and internists etc. They had a hard time comprehending that a seemingly "normal“ person can choose to be a psychiatrist. You see, the stigma attached to mental health is chronic and ubiquitous across generations and cultures…It’s always an off hand comment for example, ‘I don’t know how you do this every day.’ I never ask an internist this question.”-Nazia Adil #HZM Full story: https://wp.me/p931WI-9T

A post shared by Humare Zamaane Mein (@humare_zamaane_mein) on

 

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Hi, I'm the founder of The PhDream. I'm a second year docoral student who wasn't satisfied with sititng behind a desk and doing research. While my research may have an indirect impact, I wanted to engage with the community and provide a platform to discuss neglected and sensitive issues in minority communities. Along with that, I try to stay sane in my program by stress baking, glamming up even when I'm down, and sharing my dad-joke captions on the gram -- if only that creativity could translate into my research... Anyways, I'm always looking for contributors, collaborations, and people to eat my zelicious creations, so don't hesitate to reach out or follow me @ZuniJilani :)

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