The Beginning, Middle and End: A Tryst with Depression

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Queer Infocus | July 2020

The Beginning, Middle and End: A Tryst with Depression

The Mental Health Institute 2018 – Day 2

MUMBAI — Day two of The Mental Health Institute was full of information and discussions. We started with a lecture by Dr. Kersi Chavda, psychiatrist, who covered multiple dimensions of adolescent mental health, focusing on depression, aggression the increasing rate of suicides in the country. He also discussed the Blue Whale issue which continues to take many lives around the world. Dr. Chavda stressed on the need for mental health professionals to focus on helping the youth build and maintain a healthy personality. As a long-term solution, we discussed how this (a healthy personality), along with adequate information about the dangers of “games” such could prevent the tragedies of the Blue Whale and similar cyber bullying.

Post  the intensive discussion, Mrs. Aditee Guttikar, a career guidance counsellor, shared with us the world of vocational guidance, tests, counselling, how guidance works at different ages. Mrs. Guttikar confirmed that it is not advisable for one to do testing during the course of treatment.  This wasn’t the end. In the second half of the day, another set of speakers were lined up.

Thelma Schoonmaker said,“With digital editing, I now can make many, many versions of a scene.” Looking at our increased reliance on the internet for information, news, and communication, it is necessary to be aware about the way the digital world functions and our relationship with the web. Ms. Janki Mehta, a psychotherapist and co-founder of Mind Mandala discussed about how an individual should maintain their mental health in the virtual world. She shared her thoughts on how the ease of using the internet is reducing the efficiency of human beings. We talked about loneliness perpetuated by the virtual world. The internet does give one a voice; staying behind the screen is often easier and much safer than going out into the real world, for some. However, as much as it is a comfort zone for a set of people, we tend to forget that the virtual world is twice as dangerous. Despite the cons, though, Ms. Mehta agreed that technological advancement is a necessity and it will not stop growing, but it is us as individuals who are supposed to set boundaries.

On these similar views, the next speaker, Dr. Avinash Desousa, founder trustee of Desousa Foundation also focused on Digital Psychology, and how social media has created a global world that is just a click away but at the same time created distance between people. He explored the subject, giving numerous examples of families, adolescents, teenagers and even kids who simply can’t live, offline. This dependence perpetuates a vulnerability to various mental and physical illness like self-esteem issues, low attention spans, and sleep disturbances. He reiterated that the world will evolve with each passing day, but as individuals, we can prioritise, set boundaries, be alert and more engaged with the world around us. When asked about eBooks, he jokingly said, “There is nothing that can replace the smell of a fresh book.”

Discussions in full swing.

Participants seemed to enjoy the different ideas and new information brought forward to them; addressing questions and clarifying concepts related to mental health in the best possible manner is one of the objectives of the program.

The day concluded by introducing the Innovation Challenge to participants, where they were given an opportunity to create a plan to make the educational sector more inclusive of mental health services available to them. The organisers will mentor and micro-fund the winning idea.

Dhanshree Waghmare is a volunteer at the De Sousa Foundation.

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Queer Infocus | July 2020

The Beginning, Middle and End: A Tryst with Depression

Pre and Post Menstrual Syndrome

All you need to know about it

There’s a subject that has been taboo for a long period of time, and unfortunately, continues to be so — Menstrual health and hygiene. This very taboo has prevented women and others from discussing the important concerns of menstruation, and the effect it has on their health.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is the name given to the physical, psychological and behavioural symptoms that occur two weeks before a female’s menstruation cycle. It’s also known as Premenstrual Tension (PMT) and was described in 1931 as a “state of unbearable tension”. Some women experience PMS from the time they begin having their menstrual cycles, but for most, PMS begins in the pre-menopausal years — around the mid-thirties — and becomes increasingly severe as the years go on, till the women achieve menopause.

Post Menstrual Syndrome is not as well-known as Pre Menstrual Syndrome. Post Menstrual syndrome is defined as physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms that take place 1–2 weeks after the period has ended. The only difference between pre and post menstrual syndrome is that post menstrual syndrome occurs after the menstruation cycle has ended for the month.

Symptoms of Pre and Post Menstrual Syndrome can be categorised into physical and emotional changes. Physical symptoms include joint pain, weight gain, food cravings, breast tenderness, headaches, fatigue, cramping, bloating, cramping, acne flare-ups, bleeding, constipation, diarrhoea, headache, migraine, nausea, lower back pain, discharge, etc. Emotional changes or emotional symptoms include tearfulness, anxiety, irritability, mood swings, anger, mental fatigue, poor concentration, change in libido, cravings, insomnia, etc.

1 in every 20 women have symptoms that are severe enough to stop them from living their normal lives. This is often the result of a more intense type of PMS known as Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). Current estimates are that severe Premenstrual Syndrome occurs in 2.5 to 5 % of women, and mild PMS occurs in 33 % of women. Indian studies that discuss the prevalence of PMS are few. However, one study conducted by Raval et al. (2016), in Gujarat, says that the prevalence of PMS was 18.4%. Moderate to severe PMS was 14.7% and PMDD was 3.7%.

There are several myths about Pre and Post Menstrual Syndrome which are held by conservative society, and that are prevalent even today, thereby affecting different women in various realms of their lives. Some of them are –

  • “All women suffer from Premenstrual syndrome” — According to the Journal of Women’s Health, 20% of women need medical aid due to PMS, but it is not a universal problem for all women.
  • “It is the same as the Menstruation Cycle” — Despite the words, Pre and Post in it, some people tend to believe that it is the same thing as menstruation.
  • “It just has one form” — As mentioned above, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a severe form of PMS.
  • “Women need to get accustomed to it since there is no cure to it” — It can be treated with various medical treatment and with lifestyle changes.
  • “All pain that women have before their menstrual cycle is due to PMS” — For a condition to be considered as PMS related, women should have symptoms present for at least three consecutive menstrual cycles.
  • “Women suffering from PMS just have mood swings ‘cause of the hormones” — PMS is a lot more than fluctuations in hormones. They are just one of the causes of the different symptoms of PMS.

There are many causes and factors that contribute to the conditions of Pre and Post Menstrual Syndrome. Some of them include:

  • Different symptoms are caused due to hormonal changesHowever, these symptoms disappear with menopause or pregnancy.
  • Fluctuations in serotonin, which is an important neurotransmitter, could trigger various symptoms of premenstrual syndrome since this neurotransmitter plays an important role in mood changes.
  • Many women who suffer from Premenstrual Syndrome have undiagnosed depression
  • Going through a stressful life event can also trigger symptoms of Pre and Post Menstrual Syndrome.
  • According to Nicole Jardin, who is a certified women’s health and nutrition coach, insulin dysregulation or resistance is one of the major symptoms and causes of imbalances.

Some of the most opted for and advised treatments and cures for Pre and Post Menstrual Syndrome:

  • Regular exercising
  • Yoga
  • Massages during and after one’s menstrual cycle
  • Low caffeine intake
  • 7 hours of sleep
  • Ample intake of calcium, minerals and vitamins
  • A healthy diet which includes ingestion of different fruits and vegetables
  • Intake of omega six fatty acids and
  • Yoghurt
  • Sufficient intake of water
  • Herbal remedies
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Acupuncture therapy
  • Medical treatment from a certified clinician

Feature Image Credit: Janos Richter on Unsplash


Riddhi Panchal is a Research Associate at One Future Collective.



Natale, Brittany. “Irritability, Brain Fog, and Cramping After Your Period? It May Be Postmenstrual Syndrome.” POPSUGAR Tech, 25 May 2018.

What Is Post Menstrual Syndrome? How Do You Treat It?” The Period Vitamin, 2 June 2016,

Raval, CM, et al. “Prevalence of Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder among College Students of Bhavnagar, Gujarat.” Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 10 June 2016,

Lodha, Pragya, and Riddhi Panchal. “Let’s Talk About PMS And Some More Pre-Menstrual Stuff.” Feminism in India, 3 Apr. 2018.

We’re updating our website!

Queer Infocus | July 2020

The Beginning, Middle and End: A Tryst with Depression